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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
Friday, May 31st
Jon Duplantier, RHP, Diamondbacks ($5500/$7900) – If you want to be a little different tonight and just cannot go with Andrew Cashner, I am OK with rolling out the minimum priced Duplantier against the Mets tonight. He is an elite level prospect that has been poorly used out of the bullpen for a while this season. His acumen and pitch mix is clearly that of a starter and he has four clear setup up and put out pitches he can use to roll through the order multiple times.
You really do read the intro! I want you all to know that I really appreciated the feedback on Wednesday after I kind of fell off the rails and just freelanced the intro of this article. After two months of the MLB season, I am starting to realize that all of my repeating the same strategies (pay down for pitching!) and principles over and over. That’s totally alright with me of course but I was beginning to wonder if you guys weren’t just starting to tune me out. But the response was great and I appreciate every one of them.
So, I will continue to provide additional insight here in the intros every day. Today in fact I want to dive into the idea of sample size. I’ve noticed a lot of fantasy analysts that despise using certain stats and metrics because of a lack of appropriate sample size. Batter versus pitcher is the bullseye for this argument and has created a lot of heated exchanges over the years between analysts.
In my opinion, the only reason to leave out a stat is laziness. Either you don’t want to work hard to fine the data, you don’t want to (or possibly aren’t smart enough) to build formulas or you don’t want to spend the time to do any of it. Saying that any data point “isn’t relevant” is just the excuse that lazy people give to appear smarter than they really are. If you refuse to at least look or consider data, you’re limiting yourself. You don’t have to love every data point. You don’t have to weight every stat with the same degree of importance. But if you’re open minded and allow the data to guide you toward the right answers, you’ll get there a lot faster.
There are 28 spreadsheets, each of which is packed to the gills with information that we run every single day to guide us through this Cash Game Breakdown. This is on top of many other sources of information such as weather forecasts, Vegas information, salary history and much more. I look at it all but am only interested in the outliers that can give us an edge on a player, team, lineup or contest.
This whole concept of needing a ton of sample size is counterproductive to DFS. Aren’t we trying to find information and build lineups that defeat our opponents? Do we have a better chance of that using data that is already widely known and proven? Or is there may be an edge to being one of the first to identify a trend and capitalize on it? Derek Dietrich at 2% owned hitting three homeruns is a GPP winning play. Derek Dietrich at 75% owned doesn’t even assure us of doubling up in cash. So, if you saw that the breakout of Pirates RHP Jordan Lyles may be susceptible to the longball because of where his pitch location has been and that the Red bullpen had been giving up 47% FB% and 52.2% hard contact over their last seven games, you may have considered Dietrich. But if you claimed that Lyles was a good pitcher because of his baseline stats and that bullpens “don’t matter” there is just no way you’d have used Dietrich.
The point of all of this is to not be afraid to fail or God forbid be called “stupid” on Twitter. If you are a GPP player, you have to be the first person on a breakout player BEFORE it happens. Once its proven, your edge is lost. If you are a cash game player, you have to be aware of the trends BEFORE the competition. Gaining these advantages are vital for short term DFS success and mandatory for any thought of long term profit.
Friday’s. I love Friday’s in DFS MLB. You all know this because you are here and you’re reading the intro. This is a terrific DFS late tonight with all 30 MLB teams in play. Ace starting pitchers? We’ve got them tonight in Chris Sale, Trevor Bauer and Patrick Corbin. Mid-tier starting pitchers? We’ve got them too, but more on that later.
We also have Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards, Globe Life and of course Coors Field in play. It’s only May but there will also be a playoff atmosphere this evening as teams like the Red Sox/Yankees, Twins/Rays, Astros/A’s, Cubs/Cardinals and Phillies/Dodgers are doing battle.
There are fifteen games, thirty teams, 254 hitters and 221 pitchers all in play here tonight. There are tens of thousands of statistics and millions of numbers that can help you claim your share of the prize money that will be won tonight. Now do you really believe most of these guys who are tweeting you all of their thoughts on life have put in the work to do better than you? No, they haven’t. But I have and your trust in me is about to pay off my friends cause I’ve got you covered in tonight’s DFS MLB Cash Game Breakdown!
For more info and updated forecast, please check out our MLB Weather Center.
Can you believe that we have 15 games and ZERO weather concerns? Me either, but that is the case here tonight.
- Colorado Rockies: -260
- Atlanta Braves: -170
- Cleveland Indians: -170
- San Diego Padres: -160
- Los Angeles Dodgers: -155
Highest Run Expectancy
- Colorado Rockies: 7.05
- Texas Rangers: 5.33
- Cleveland Indians: 5.21
- Kansas City Royals: 5.15
- Atlanta Braves: 5.05
- St. Louis Cardinals: 4.99
Lowest Run Expectancy
- Miami Marlins: 3.07
- Philadelphia Phillies: 3.78
- San Diego Padres: 3.93
- Oakland A’s: 3.95
- Detroit Tigers: 3.96
- Arizona Diamondbacks: 4.00
Today's Pitchers Grid
1) Trevor Bauer, RHP, Indians ($10,500/$9200) – Bauer has been beaten up of late and while the average of 29 FD points against the Rays and A’s are discomforting, getting beaten up by the Orioles suggest something is wrong. A deeper dive into Bauer’s recent downturn uncovers a couple concerning items. It appears as though Bauer simply doesn’t have a good feel for his slider right now. The pitch still grades out incredibly well registering the most horizontal movement in MLB and is registering the 9th most whiffs per pitch. While this is “good” news, we have to wonder why he is throwing it just 8% of the time compared to 18% last year. His inability to control the pitch is likely to blame as his first pitch strike rate is down 8.5% from last year (63.8% to 55.3%) and his walk rate his up almost 4% (8.0%-11.6%). Still, the White Sox don’t present much of a threat to him even without control of his slider. In fact, his curveball will be a better weapon against Chicago as they own the 8th worst wOBA (.304) and 4th worst ISO (.109) against curveballs this season. Bauer is throwing nearly 30% curveballs in May and will likely feature the same mix tonight. I am not going to use Bauer on FD tonight but he is quite intriguing on DK where his price is just $9200.
2) Joey Lucchesi, LHP, Padres ($7600/$8800) – The Looch is back, baby! The price on Fanduel is absolutely fantastic though he has some serious competition at this price point over there. There is a narrative out there that the Marlins aren’t bad against LHP but that’s not actually true. Miami owns the fourth worst BA at .228, worst wOBA at .261, worst wRC+ at 63 and worst ISO at .105 against LHP. They don’t strikeout as much as they do against RHP but at this price that is perfectly fine. The Looch is a fourseam fastball, sinker and changeup pitcher. This just so happens to be the pitches that the Marlins are worst again. The Marlins are dead last overall against the changeup, second worst against fourseam fastball and eighth worst against sinkers this season.
3) German Marquez, RHP, Rockies ($7500/$9500) – Surprised? Me too a little but let’s be clear that this isn’t a great play on DK at $9500. I don’t know how FD can put him at such a dramatically low salary but that makes him playable even in cash games. Marquez has been bad at Coors this season with an ERA of two points higher and a WHIP of nearly double. But the good news is that the Blue Jays come to town and they have been horrible lately. Toronto is hitting just .213 (2nd worst), have a .290 wOBA (5th worst) and a 26.0% strikeout rate (6th worst) over the last seven days. The Blue Jays also have the fourth worst hard contact rate of 34.6% over the last two weeks. The Rockies should beat up on Edwin Jackson and the Toronto bullpen too which puts him in prime position for a win as well. All we are looking for out of Marquez is 30 FD points which he is averaging (30.8) over his five previous starts at Coors Field.
4) Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Braves ($7300/$8500) – His overall numbers this season are lethargic but there is hope for Folty tonight. The Tigers are among if not the worst offense in MLB. The Tigers own the second worst BA at .226, third worst wOBA .281 and second worst strikeout rate at 26.3 in all MLB this season. Now you take away the designated hitter from them and there just isn’t any thunder to worry about but there are a ton of strikeouts. If your question is about whether Foltynewicz will regain his 2018 form at some point this season, that outlook does not look very promising. But if you need a cheap pitcher in a safe environment with big strikeout upside he is your guy.
5) Andrew Cashner, RHP, Orioles ($6500/$6600) – Cashner has faced the Yankees twice, the Red Sox and the Rockies in Coors Field over his last four games but has averaged a respectable 28.5 FD points per game over those contests. Tonight, he gets the soft hitting Giants at home where he is 2-0 with a 2.96 ERA and 1.15 WHIP over four starts this season. The Giants have the worst BA at .220, second worst wOBA at .281 and fourth worst ISO at .144 this season. Using Cashner on either site would allow you to afford all of the bats you want and as we all know, bats win money in today’s DFS MLB.
(2018 Data) (Click here for more park factors!)
1) Coors Field – 47.9% above average in runs, 22.6% above average in HR’s, 21.7% above average in 2B, 205.6% above average in 3B.
2) Camden Yards –12.5% above average in runs, 35.9% above average in HR’s, 12.5% above average in 3B.
3) Great American Ballpark –21.3% above average in runs, 29.2% above average in HR’s, 25.3% above average in 3B.
4) Guaranteed Rate Field –17.4% above average in runs, 42.9% above average in HR’s.
5) SunTrust Park –9.3% above average in runs, 24.6% above average in HR’s, 45.5% above average in 2B.
Things To Target (Against)
1) JA Happ, Yankees –.261 BAA, 4.73 xFIP, 43.4% FB%, 18.4% HR/FB%, 2.16 HR/9, 39.2% hard contact rate.
2) Mike Foltynewicz, Braves – .252 BAA, 5.40 xFIP, 46.2% FB%, 20.4% HR/FB%, 2.70 HR/9, 45.0% hard contact rate.
3) Edwin Jackson, Blue Jays – .339 BAA, 5.52 xFIP, 1.64 WHIP,35.3% FB%, 27.8% HR/FB%, 8.2% swinging strike rate, 41.2% hard contact rate.
4) Jhoulys Chacin, Brewers – .241 BAA, 5.52 xFIP, 1.37 WHIP, 41.8% FB%, 15.9% HR/FB%, 1.79 HR/9, 7.5% swinging strike rate, 44.1% hard contact rate.
5) Mike Leake, Mariners – .286 BAA, 4.64 xFIP, 1.40 WHIP,35.6% FB%, 20.5% HR/FB%, 2.19 HR/9, 8.1% swinging strike rate, 41.4% hard contact rate.
6) Mike Fiers, A’s –5.38 xFIP, 44.0% FB%, 14.3% HR/FB%, 1.71 HR/9, 7.0% swinging strike rate, 40.5% hard contact rate.
7) Chris Archer, Pirates –.245 BAA, 5.45 xFIP, 1.55 WHIP, 46.0% FB%, 15.4% HR/FB%, 1.77 HR/9, 39.5% 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 – Buster Posey, Christian Vasquez, Josh Phegley, JT Realmuto, Jonathan Lucroy
1B – Kendrys Morales, Anthony Rizzo, Eric Hosmer, Edwin Encarnacion, Albert Pujols, Logan Forsythe, Daniel Murphy, Steve Pearce
2B – Jose Peraza, Rougned Odor, Jason Kipnis, Cesar Hernandez, Tommy La Stella
3B – Nolan Arenado, Kyle Seager, Eugenio Suarez, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jose Ramirez
SS – Brandon Crawford, Corey Seager, Jean Segura
OF – Joey Gallo, Leurys Garcia, Kevin Pillar, Aaron Hicks, Gregory Polanco, Lorenzo Cain, Yasiel Puig, Shin-soo Choo, Marcell Ozuna, Robbie Grossman, Andrew McCutchen, Mike Trout
Overall Hitter Rankings
- Wilson Ramos, Mets
- Yasmani Grandal, Brewers
- Jorge Alfaro, Marlins
- Brian McCann, Braves
- Willson Contreras, Cubs
Ramos is getting more expensive but that’s because he’s been raking lately. The Mets backstop is hitting .348/.444/.739 with 3 HR, 7 RBI and a .391 ISO over his last six games. Grandal fits well as a standalone or part of a Brewers stack against the woeful Chris Archer and the Pirates bullpen. Alfaro is a guy who is always rating highly on my model mostly because all that he does is make hard contact. McCann should be behind the plate against the Tigers tonight. McCann has reached base six of his last 12 times at the plate.
- Josh Bell, Pirates
- Daniel Murphy, Rockies
- Justin Smoak, Blue Jays
- Freddie Freeman, Braves
- Matt Adams, Nationals
Bell just hasn’t slowed down at all this season and now draws a matchup against the flyball and hard contact prone Jhoulys Chacin. All of the first basemen in Coors Field are in play tonight with Murphy being the best against Edwin Jackson. Murphy is hitting .350/.458/.500 with just an 8.3% strikeout rate over his last seven games. Both Justin Smoak and Rowdy Tellez are usable tonight here with Smoak being a much better cash option and Rowdy for GPP. Matt Adams is the best value play here since he is likely to be in the lineup and crushes at Great American Ballpark. Adams owns a .327/.358/.712 triple slash with 11 HR, 25 RBI and 7 2B in Cincinnati in his career.
- Ryan McMahon, Rockies
- Brendan Rodgers, Rockies
- Hanser Alberto, Orioles
- Keston Hiura, Brewers
- Addison Russell, Cubs
Don’t get me wrong, I love the Rockies tonight but I am worried that the expectations are a bit too high. I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a seven projected total and that may be throwing some of the numbers off tonight. McMahon is red hot right now but don’t forget about Rodgers even though he’ll be in the last third of the order. Hanser Alberto is a much better off-speed hitter and faces a perfect fit for him in Drew Pomeranz tonight. The Cubs make for a very contrarian stack tonight against Miles Mikolas. Russell has 3 HR and a .450 ISO his last seven games.
- Nolan Arenado, Rockies
- Jose Ramirez, Indians
- Matt Carpenter, Cardinals
- Anthony Rendon, Nationals
- Kris Bryant, Cubs
- Mike Moustakas, Brewers
First time all season a position is this loaded that I absolutely had to add an extra spot to the rankings. There are actually four more 3B who grade out over the cash line tonight including Blue Jays rookie Vlad Guerrero Jr. I kept Vlad Jr off because of the matchup and the recent illness he’s dealt with that may still be zapping some of his stamina. Jose Ramirez is a guy that is finally starting to rake and will likely be underpriced for the next week. We can grab J-Ram tonight for well under 10% ownership and that just screams of GPP buster to me.
- Trea Turner, Nationals
- Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
- Francisco Lindor, Indians
- Trevor Story, Rockies
- Manny Machado, Padres
Turner is your pinball machine ball of DFS points tonight. He gets a premium matchup against a terrible pitcher, ballpark upgrade and low ownership. Turner is 6-10, 3B, 2 R, BB & 2 SB over his last two games. Don’t overlook these Red Sox bats tonight either against JA Happ who has been a hard contact machine this season. The price tag on Machado on FD really makes him pop.
- Raimel Tapia, Rockies
- Bryce Harper, Phillies
- JD Martinez, Red Sox
- Hunter Renfroe, Padres
- Ian Desmond, Rockies
- Mookie Betts, Red Sox
- Kyle Schwarber, Cubs
- Juan Soto, Nationals
- Christian Yelich, Brewers
- Derek Fisher, Astros
- Leury Garcia, White Sox
- David Dahl, Rockies
Coors Field, the Red Sox and a couple of one-off bats. That is our DFS outfield tonight. The Phillies bats are very interesting though the matchup is far from ideal. Bryce Harper is as locked in as it gets and makes for a very good contrarian play. This is a very pricey bunch so hopefully as we get closer to lineup lock tonight we will uncover some more value plays in the outfield tonight.