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For the time being, we will post our MLB Content Schedule here at the top of the article. It’ll be updated with links when each article is posted, so check back throughout the day!
Today’s Coaching Sessions
All sessions take place in the MLB chat room.
- Bullpen Coach (Phil Backert) – 9am ET
- Pitching Coach (DraftCheat) – 12pm ET
- Hitting Coach (Vlad Sedler) – 4pm ET
- Cash Game Breakdown – You’re reading it!
- The Early Bird – Conquer today’s Early Slates!
- Bullpen Coach – Everything you need to know about each team’s bullpen.
- Hitting Coach – A deep dive into the top hitters (& fades) on today’s slate.
- Pitching Coach – An in-depth breakdown of today’s starting pitchers.
- Cheat Sheet – A snapshot of the top plays at each position & salary level.
- GPP Breakdown – We use game theory, & advanced stats to uncover tonight’s low-owned studs.
- MLB NOW Livestream – A daily video show breaking down tonight’s entire slate.
- MLB Summary – A summary of what we discussed in today’s Coaching Sessions & on the livestream.
- Ownership Projections
- Fantasy Baseball Elite Podcasts (Mans/Flowers/DraftCheat/Vlad)
- MLB Chat Room
- Daily Projections & Optimizer
- Splits Hub
- Umpire Factors
- The Opening Line
Wednesday, May 15th
Before we get into tonight’s DFS MLB slate, I want to bring your attention to a terrific article written by our boy Ray Flowers over on the Fantasy Guru site titled, “What Is Wrong With Fantasy Baseball?”
I know there are a lot of you who either used to or maybe still do play seasonal fantasy baseball but even if you are a DFS only player, we have to recognize the flaws within our game(s). Avoiding the problem and talking yourself into believing everything is fine is the same as ignoring a serious illness for days/weeks/months thinking it will simply go away. It won’t, believe me. We have all got to be proactive in discussing the problems facing MLB (notice I didn’t say FANTASY in there?) and not afraid to make some changes where necessary.
In that same spirit, we are always evolving here at Elite Fantasy. The toughest thing for me each and every day is to decide whether the results that did not go my way were indeed a problem on my end, bad luck or a combination thereof. We all want a solution and we want it fast. It’s why we go off on the drive thru clerk that gave us the wrong order or the cashier at the retail store that charged us too much for our product. Going off on them make us feel better if only temporarily.
Let’s be honest here. Most fantasy analysts have a real hard time admitting mistakes including yours truly (that means me). I do not like change. You can ask anybody that knows me and they can tell you where I will be, what I will be doing, what I will be saying (ok maybe not that) at any given point in the day. I am predictable. I prefer the term “reliable” but my Wife might disagree.
But as predictable (RELIABLE!) as I am, I am never afraid to change. Fantasy baseball needs to change. Daily fantasy baseball needs to change. Perhaps a better term for change is “improve.” We should all want to improve in one area or another every single day. So, what do you do if you are a predictable (for the last fucking time, RELIABLE!!) DFS analyst who doesn’t like change but is in the midst of a three-week span of spinning his wheels in DFS MLB? Well, if you are one of if not the most profitable players in history (fact) and have a long-established model you probably don’t make any sweeping changes. Unless of course, you are an open minded fellow (or Madam) who isn’t threatened by change and constantly wants to get better.
Which brings us to this evening. See, I told you that I would eventually get here. What I want you to know is that I can tell the results over these past few weeks haven’t been what you or I would like. Sure, every night I am seeing and RTing screenshots of subs that are hitting some big GPP winners and all of that and of course I love it. But I’m not going to bury my head in the sand and not listen to my dudes in the MLB chat who are getting boxed out of cash games and not generating enough big point totals for GPP success. I got you.
Today we begin to work on two new features into our cash game model. If you follow my work and specifically my SiriusXM radio show closely, you are well aware of the first improvement and that is fielding rating. I’ve taken RZR (revised zone rating), ZPS (zone per shift) and ODM (overall defense metric) and brought them into both my pitching and hitting analysis. We’ve been testing these all year (well, since April 8th) and have finally locked in the proper weight these should carry. Considering that I am all-in on the paying down for pitching philosophy, having these fielding ratings in our pockets to find underpriced arms is a big deal.
The second improvement to our model is something I am calling the six-pluses. It’s not a dramatic change but I am not filtering out all of the MLB player events (hits, IP, etc) that result in less than six points. I am then taking that gross number and dividing by that players salary that night. What this does is weed out events that quite frankly I am not looking for. Do I love runs, RBI, singles and walks? Absolutely. But my model has always credited those events as valuable commodities, so I am not worried whatsoever about downgrading players who are pesky on-base machines. But we all need more power and to that end more speed. Without these 6+ point events we are at a disadvantage, so it is time to start weighing them differently. Again, I’ve been working on these features for well over a month and thus I am confident in their use and impact.
If you are looking for any breakdown of the four early game or the two 6:30pm ET contests you will not find those here. Please read Scott Bondar’s Early Bird article for early slate plays. I am all about this eight-game evening slate tonight. Am I upset that I cannot use my guys Jake Odorizzi, Chris Archer or Yankees bats against Dan Straily? You bet your ass but those are the cards we’re dealt today.
I’m not going to write much more in this intro. It is already too wordy and I cannot actually feel some of your boredom flow into my brain. What I will express is that if you are grinding everyday and have been spinning your wheels like I have been, I got you. These are the dog days, man. I have been doing this for a real long time and I am telling you that we are going to play with an advantage over our opponents every single day. That is what you entrust me with and that is what I am constantly striving to help you with. If these changes or modifications can help just one of you break through and build your bankroll or hit a life changing GPP, that is gold. Some days we will all simply demolish every contest in our path. Others we will struggle to survive. But when all is said and done, we’ll always be outworking our competition and improving our game to remain ELITE.
For more info and updated forecast, please check out our MLB Weather Center.
Toronto Blue Jays at San Francisco Giants –This game is NOT on the main slate but if you are playing early games, make sure you check the status here where light rain will be falling pretty much all afternoon long.
- Houston Astros: -230
- Washington Nationals: -160
- Tampa Bay Rays: -160
- Boston Red Sox: -150
- Los Angeles Dodgers: -150
Highest Run Expectancy
- Houston Astros: 5.46
- Tampa Bay Rays: 5.14
- Atlanta Braves: 5.08
- Philadelphia Phillies: 4.71
- Boston Red Sox: 4.64
Lowest Run Expectancy
- Detroit Tigers: 3.25
- Miami Marlins: 3.43
- New York Mets: 3.51
- San Diego Padres: 3.59
- Colorado Rockies: 3.86
Today's Pitchers Grid
1) Justin Verlander, RHP, Astros ($12,000/$11,000) –But…but…Jeff…you said that you never pay up for pitching! Why is Verlander ranked first in the writeup then? To be clear, I NEVER said “never” about paying up for pitching. Tonight is only one true ace on the hill and that is Justin Verlander. A heavy favorite going up against his former team at his former park where he owns a .235 BAA and .283 wOBA against the Tigers with a 29.6% strikeout rate. There’s really nothing I can say about JV that all of you don’t already know. What it comes down to this evening is whether or not we can afford him. On Fanduel, it is going to be a stretch. On DK, I think we can pair him with a cheap arm to offset some of this cost and lock in both the highest floor and ceiling on the board tonight.
2) Mike Minor, LHP, Rangers ($8800/$9400) – By now, we all understand that Mike Minor is in the middle of a breakout season. His last start against the Astros wasn’t great but five innings, five strikeouts and three earned runs are far from a disaster. I’d like his price to be down a bit more especially on DK but it’s still quite affordable considering the matchup in front of him tonight. Sure, the Royals destroyed Shelby Miller last night but Minor is quite different. Kansas City has the second worst BA Vs LHP (.215) this season and the fifth worst wOBA Vs LHP (.283) this season. Minor owns the second-best LOB% on the slate (84.7%) and is much better at holding on runners having just 16 attempts against him over the last five years.
3) German Marquez, RHP, Rockies ($8700/$9000) – Marquez has graded out highly for me three times this season: at Miami, at Tampa Bay & at San Francisco. In those three starts he threw 22.0 innings, is 2-0 with 3 quality starts, gave up 6 total hits, walked 6, gave up just 1 earned run and struck out 23. That’s an average of 52 FD points per game. Over the last month however, Marquez has just one start on the road (at Milwaukee) with four others coming at home at Coors Field. He hasn’t been bad in those home starts as he’s averaged 32.4 FD points per game, but he’s been overpriced for most of those starts. As a result, Marquez is priced down tonight against the Red Sox. The key to this outing for Marquez will be his curveball. He is throwing it over 20% of the time this season but with less horizontal and vertical tilt than it had during his breakout in August and September of 2018. He’ still generating the third most swings (54.84%) and whiffs (51.76%) among all curveballs in MLB so something is still right with the pitch. I am confident that the loss of movement on the curveball is due to his five starts in Coors Field where breaking pitches don’t move the same. The Red Sox are seventh worst in wOBA (.301) vs the curveball this season and third worst in ISO (.106). I’m sure that our boy Draftcheat will be all over him yet again but this time he will actually be right.
4) Jalen Beeks, LHP, Rays ($5500/$7600) – I am seriously considering using Beeks tonight even in cash games. He is so cheap and will be backing up Ryne Stanek against the lowly Marlins tonight. In his last four outings, Beeks has thrown 3.1 innings (50 pitches) vs the D-Backs, 6.2 innings (84 pitches), 4.2 innings (75 pitches) and 3.0 innings (66 pitches). In those 17.2 innings he’s struck out 17 hitters and given up just four earned runs. The Marlins are just plain awful ranking in the bottom five in just about every offensive category on the season, against LHP and over the last week. His baseline is three innings and three strikeouts with a very good chance for a win tonight which would give him over 20 FD points. At $5500, that gives us the ability to pay up for five additional bats which is at the very least worth considering.
(2018 Data) (Click here for more park factors!)
1) Citizens Bank Park – 21.9% above average in runs scored, 34.9% above average in HR’s, 14.6% above average in 2B, 47.4% above average in 3B.
2) Comerica Park –16.7% above average in runs scored, 11.2% above average in HR’s, 210% above average in 3B.
3) SunTrust Park – 17.9% above average in HR’s, 47.8% above average in 2B.
Things To Target (Against)
1) Jose Urena, Marlins – .290 BAA, 4.52 xFIP, 1.48 WHIP, 15.9% HR/FB%, 1.35 HR/9, 7.8% swinging strike rate, 43.5% hard contact rate.
2) Jorge Lopez, Royals –.273 BAA, 4.59 xFIP, 1.49 WHIP, 33.1% FB%, 22.7% HR/FB%, 2.09 HR/9, 39.8% hard contact rate.
3) Michael Wacha, Cardinals – .265 BAA, 4.91 xFIP, 1.65 WHIP, 34.2% FB%, 18.4% HR/FB%, 1.70 HR/9, 8.8% swinging strike rate, 37.5% hard contact rate.
4) Wilmer Font, Mets – .257 BAA, 4.10 xFIP, 43.1% FB%, 13.6% HR/FB%, 1.50 HR/9, 49.0% hard contact rate.
Click here for our Stolen Base Target Tool. I strongly recommend checking it out to find a value play or to properly assess how likely a player on tonight’s slate is to steal.
The hottest hitters at each position.
Batter v Pitcher
For more, visit our BvP Matchup Page!
C – Travis d’Arnaud, Austin Hedges
1B – Freddie Freeman
2B – Phil Gosselin, Cesar Hernandez, Josh Harrison
3B – Hernan Perez, Todd Frazier
SS – Jean Segura
OF – Michael Conforto, Keon Broxton, Andrew McCutchen, Lorenzo Cain, Ryan Braun, Ender Inciarte
Overall Hitter Rankings
- Robinson Chirinos, Astros
- Yasmani Grandal, Brewers
- Brian McCann, Braves
- Wilson Ramos, Mets
Chirinos has been fire lately hitting .333 with a .600 wOBA, 2 HR, 5 RBI and 5 runs over his last five games. The rest of the catchers that grade out above the cash line are pretty expensive with Ramos being the most contrarian against Patrick Corbin.
- Rhys Hoskins, Phillies
- Freddie Freeman, Braves
- Mark Reynolds, Rockies
- Ji-Man Choi, Rays
- Mitch Moreland, Rockies
Rhys at home against a below average lefty is a recipe for success. Freddie Freeman averages 12 FD points per game which is a 3x return even in an average matchup. Tonight he draws Michael Wacha who is giving up 18.4% HR/FB rate and 37.5% hard contact rate. Mark Reynolds is a great value option here as he will be in the Rockies lineup tonight against the lefty Eduardo Rodriguez. Reynolds is a career .272/.348/.496 hitter at Fenway Park with 8 HR’s. Ji-Man Choi has been held scoreless in just one of his last 10 ball games.
- Rougned Odor, Rangers
- Cesar Hernandez, Phillies
- Aledmys Diaz, Astros
- Michael Chavis, Red Sox
Interesting development here as my new “6+” metric catapults Odor into the top spot in our second basemen pecking order tonight. Odor has the most of these events of any 2B in MLB over the last week. Cesar Hernandez is a career .286/.419/.571 career triple slash against LHP and has a .476 wOBA and .318 ISO over his last six games. Diaz is starting for the Astros while Jose Altuve is in the IL and is making the most of his opportunity hitting .333 with 3 HR’s during that time. It’s not a great matchup but Chavis is as hot as any hitter in MLB right now so it’s more of a GPP play here this evening.
- Matt Carpenter, Cardinals
- Anthony Rendon, Nationals
- Alex Bregman, Astros
- JD Davis, Mets
- Justin Turner, Dodgers
This is a loaded position tonight as we have five really strong options at our disposal. Both Carpenter and Rendon are in tremendous spots at very affordable prices that are well beneath their actual skill value. Bregman is one of the best hitters in the league and leaders in 6+’s. JD Davis is a sneaky value play who owns a .761 career OPS against LHP.
- Carlos Correa, Astros
- Jean Segura, Phillies
- Trevor Story, Rockies
- Nicky Lopez, Royals
The Astros have the highest expected total and Correa has been on fire while remaining underpriced continuously. He’s hitting .308/.379/.692 with 2 HR and 6 RBI over his last seven games. Nicky Lopez is starting at 2B for the Royals but is SS on both FD and DK for the time being. He got on base twice in his first MLB game yesterday and is quite a value contrarian tonight. Lopez hit .339/.393/.403 against LHP last year in the minor leagues and was hitting .310 against southpaws this year before his call up.
- George Springer, Astros
- Austin Meadows, Rays
- Juan Soto, Nationals
- Jose Martinez, Cardinals
- Nomar Mazara, Rangers
- Chris Taylor, Dodgers
- Tommy Pham, Rays
- Christian Yelich, Brewers
- Franmil Reyes, Padres
- Hunter Pence, Rangers
The Astros, Rays, Nationals and Rangers…take your pick! These are the prime OF spots tonight with Springer, Meadows and Soto leading the charge. If you’re looking for value in the outfield tonight we are looking at Chris Taylor, Jose Martinez is underpriced and Franmil Reyes. Also, be sure to keep an eye on the lineups I mentioned above. Those will be the ideal spots to acquire some value bats lower in the lineup.