MLB DFS Picks, Spotlight Pitchers & Top Stacks: Justin Verlander Renaissance (June 9)

Sunday wraps up the weekend with a 10-game featured slate beginning at 1:05 p.m. ET first pitch on DraftKings and FanDuel. Yahoo decided to go with a four-gamer locking at 4:07 p.m. ET, so do not miss the first pitch! Before we get to our MLB DFS picks, as always, we will use Stokastic’s tools to help identify today’s MLB DFS stacks, key pitchers and daily fantasy baseball lineups. Look to Justin Verlander as a key arm, while the Padres look like the go-to team tonight and the Cardinals are the early team to target.

Still trying to find your MLB DFS edge? Luckily Stokastic has a new tool to help you get there — the MLB Sims Tool! With it, you can simulate any MLB DFS contest you are playing on a given night and see which lineups are the likeliest to be profitable. And if you need a head start on strategy, we’ve broken down how to use the MLB Sims Tool to create the best DFS lineups each night.

MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks | June 9

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers

Main Slate Primary Pitching Target: LHP Cole Ragans (KC vs. SEA)

Royals vs. Mariners – 3.8 implied runs
First Pitch: 2:10 p.m. ET
$9,800 at DraftKings
$10,200 at FanDuel
$48 at Yahoo

The Stokastic Top Pitcher’s Tool has LHP Tarik Skubal as the most likely top scorer on both DraftKings and FanDuel, while Nathan Eovaldi checks in as an intriguing fantasy point-per-dollar option. However, there are a couple other hurlers worth a gander, so let’s unpack the other available frontline starters.

Currently LHP Cole Ragans ranks seventh in the league with 10.97 strikeouts per nine innings while still managing a solid 42.7% ground ball rate. It is hard to believe that today will be just his 35th start in The Show, which goes to show how quickly he has established himself as an ace.

Seattle has a 25.7% strikeout rate this season against southpaws, though the team has been league average when it comes to run creation with a 100 wRC+, and it has shown some pop with a .159 ISO. The M’s have the eighth-most home runs but are tied for the fewest doubles overall. Pitching has been carrying the Mariners, who lead the American League West with a 36-30 record despite dropping the first two games of this series with a paltry +5 run differential.

Ragans has not allowed a longball in his last 26.1 innings, with only three total “Ernies” in his last 22 innings. Seattle’s projected lineup has a 25.1% strikeout rate against lefties since the start of last year and a .165 ISO. If Ragans can mitigate Julio Rodriguez, Cal Raleigh, Dylan Moore and Mitch Garver, he should be good to go.

Main Slate Secondary Pitching Target: RHP Grayson Rodriguez (BAL at TB)

Orioles at Rays – 3.9 implied runs
First Pitch: 1:40 p.m. ET
$9,500 at DraftKings
$9,800 at FanDuel
$49 at Yahoo

This is a park upgrade for RHP Grayson Rodriguez, with this matchup taking place in pitching-friendly Tropicana Field. Tampa has plated the fifth-fewest runs in the league this season and just 49 home runs, which is a league low. Similar to Ragans, this will be only the 34th start for Rodriguez, who has been another exciting young arm in the American League.

Though the 24-year-old does not have as wicked a strikeout rate as his Kansas City counterpart, his 10.1 per nine this season have him as a borderline elite ace. Outside of Isaac Paredes, Josh Lowe and Brandon Lowe (no relation, though both have missed significant time with injuries), the rest of the Tampa offense has been dreadful against righties this season. The projected lineup has seven players who strike out 25% or more against right-handed pitching, with almost no power.


Afternoon Slate Primary Pitching Target: RHP Justin Verlander (HOU at LAA)

Astros at Angels – 3.7 implied runs
First Pitch: 4:07 p.m. ET
$9,800 at DraftKings
$9,200 at FanDuel
$45 at Yahoo

This afternoon it is veteran RHP Justin Verlander and a trio of young and unproven arms in RHPs Mitch Spence, Bowden Francis and Adam Mazur. Arizona is likely to use an opener in front of LHP Tommy Henry, which leaves 27-year-old LHP Patrick Sandoval as the second-most experienced starting pitcher in the player pool.

All we really need to know is that Los Angeles has not scored more than four runs in 16 games while averaging 2.4 over the last 11. Mike Trout, Brandon Drury and Anthony Rendon remain out, which leaves Taylor Ward, Luis Rengifo and Willie Calhoun as the most worrisome bats. Enjoy!

Today's MLB DFS picks, top stacks and pitchers on DraftKings and FanDuel include MLB DFS predictions for key talent like Tanner Bibee...
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MLB DFS Picks: Top Stacks

Main Slate Primary Target: St. Louis Cardinals

Cardinals vs. Rockies – 5.0 implied runs
First Pitch: 2:15 p.m. ET
Opposing Starter: LHP Ty Blach
DK Top Stack %: 7.1%
FD Top Stack %: 6.3%

The Stokastic Top Stacks Tool loves Atlanta against rookie LHP DJ Hertz, who is the 12th-best prospect for Washington. The Nationals acquired him at the trade deadline, along with shortstop Kevin Made, in a deal with the Cubs, sending out veteran Jeimer Candelario. Deception is the strategy for Hertz, who is very green with only 40 innings above Double-A.

Boston also looks popular, mostly for the cheap salaries and, of course, the matchup against RHP Chris Flexen. Tyler O’Neill (knee) is out, and it is unlikely Rafael Devers will play after leaving early yesterday with his own knee issue. Masataka Yoshida is still on his rehabilitation assignment, so that means ample understudies in prominent roles for the BoSox this afternoon.

St. Louis gets a matchup against LHP Ty Blach, who, of course, is better away from Coors Field, but he still has a poor 4.31 strikeouts per nine innings and pitching to contact in the hopes of inducing ground balls is not the safest strategy. Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt have picked things up over the last fortnight, which is crucial for the Redbirds to have any hope at relevance prior to the trade deadline. Masyn Winn has been frisky from the leadoff slot against southpaws, while Nolan Gorman is actually a strong option in lefty-lefty matchups from the heart of the order. The Cardinals look best as a mini-stack with duos or trios on the featured slate. They are the fourth-most popular stack but are still not in double digits with 19 other teams in the player pool on DraftKings and FanDuel.

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Late Slate Primary Target: San Diego Padres

Padres vs. Diamondbacks – 4.7 implied runs
First Pitch: 4:10 p.m. ET
Opposing Starter: LHP Tommy Henry
DK Top Stack %: 19.9%
FD Top Stack %: 19.3%

The Stokastic Top Stacks Tool likes the Padres against LHP Tommy Henry, who is slated to be the bulk pitcher this afternoon after spending the last month with the Triple-A Reno Aces to work on some things in a less pressure-filled environment.

The 26-year-old did have just over a strikeout per inning in his 32.1 frames down on the farm. Unfortunately, he also had 5.97 walks per nine innings and a 3.41 ERA that was not supported with his 5.19 FIP and 5.37 xFIP. Henry has been tasked with improving his ground-ball-to-fly-ball rate in order to mitigate his general lack of strikeouts and propensity for home runs.

Manny Machado (hip) is unlikely to play, though that puts discount dandy Donovan Solano in the heart of the order to maximize his at-bats with the platoon advantage. Fernando Tatis Jr. and Ha-Seong Kim are the hitters to round out a solid power trio, with switch-hitter Jurickson Profar doing his best work from the right side of the plate. Luis Campusano is fine as a one-off catcher on DraftKings and Yahoo while also being in the mix as a stacking option from the back of the order.

Things should be spread out among Houston, Toronto and San Diego, so there is no need to reach for differentiation. With so many unproven pitchers, just taking a one-off or two from different games will be enough to find separation from the field.

If you need some more tips on how to use the Post-Contest Simulator to improve your lineup study process, Steve Buzzard has a great guide here on how to maximize your lessons learned from the Sims! Check it out HERE.

Zack Littell has been a solid pitcher for Tampa Bay, but he stands out in the OddsShopper model for the under on his 4.5 strikeouts prop. The best line is the -112 currently available at FanDuel, which is key since this rates out as a losing proposition at every other book.

OddsShopper shows this bet has -119 “true odds,” so the -112 line brings a reasonable 3.0% expected ROI.

We can also see how crucial it is to shop the odds, as sportsbooks tend to vary wildly with their offerings. This can be seen with shops like Fliff all the way down at -155, which is just ridiculous with a negative 11% expected ROI. Be a savvy shopper!


Little projects for 4.6 strikeouts, which is above the 4.5 line but still below the five needed for the under to lose. The Baltimore lineup has a 19.8% strikeout rate against right-handed hurlers since the start of last year, while Little is not much better with a 21.2% strikeout rate over his last 674 batters faced. In Camden Yards last Sunday, the Orioles struck out only twice in six innings against Littell, generating 11 hits across six innings. in the five games prior to that, Littell had nine, seven, three, three and seven strikeouts.

Other wagers are continually popping up and disappearing every few minutes as lineups are being announced, which is why it is key to get an OddsShopper Premium subscription to take advantage of all opportunities.

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Final MLB DFS Picks & Thoughts for Sunday, June 9

Mother Nature is giving the green light to all of the MLB games today, though as always it is worth one last doublecheck with your favorite MLB Weather Report page closer to first pitch for updates.

Before you finalize your MLB DFS picks, check out today’s Stokastic MLB Live Before Lock Show, at 12:00 p.m. ET brought to you by Sleeper – new users, use this link to receive a $100 first deposit match! Full details here.

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Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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