Today’s dual six-game slates are scheduled to kick off at 6:37, as things stand right now at least. With the MLB DFS pandemonium created by yesterday’s player strikes across most professional sports leagues having the potential to repeat itself today, it’s going to be more important than ever to stay on top of all the breaking news, so keep the Live News Blog up for all the latest.
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Tampa Bay Rays – 1-2-3-5-6 – Brosseau – Diaz – Lowe – Martinez – Renfroe
The Rays are getting flat-out ignored on both sites right now. They rank right around the middle of the stacks tool at 6.10% probability, but their ownership of just 1.8% on DraftKings and 2.5% on FanDuel is obviously far too low. The team is taking on Orioles starter John Means, who is average at best. Means has a 10.13 ERA and a 5.53 xFIP in just 10.2 innings over four appearances, two of them starts. In 155 innings in 2019 Means had a 5.48 xFIP and struck out 19% of hitters. The lefty has yielded a 1.77HR/9 to right-handed hitters for his career. This seems like a smash spot for the Rays bats, particularly some of the big right-handed hitters.
Hunter Renfroe is a big right-handed hitter. The outfielder is struggling in 2020 so far with just a .163/.236/.400 slash and five home runs, though his .238 ISO is encouraging. For his career, Renfroe has a .304 ISO against left-handed pitching. He’s a bargain at just $2,900 on FanDuel and $3,800 on DraftKings, and I want to get over the field on him by a fair amount in my Rays stacks at under 2% ownership on both sites.
Austin Meadows may or may not be in the lineup against a lefty here. He sat the last two games against left-handed pitching but was in the lineup hitting second against James Paxton on the 20th. Meadows is up to just 85 plate appearances after missing some time early in the season. The lefty outfielder leads off for this team and provides a terrific blend of power and speed for MLB DFS purposes. He’s currently at .233/.318/.452 with three home runs and a stolen base, while his ISO sits at .219 and his WRC+ is 10% above league average. The reason he’s sat the last two against lefty starters is that he’s currently at a 41.7% strikeout rate over his 24 plate appearances against them with a .048/.083/.048 slash and a hilarious 133% below average WRC+. Again, this is over a 24-plate-appearance sample, and it seems shortsighted of a usually smart organization to sit a player with a career .233 ISO and WRC+ 11% above average in this split. Meadows has 13 of his 42 career home runs against lefties in half as many plate appearances as against right-handed pitchers. The combination of his struggles and Means’ ability to limit lefty power make this an interesting MLB DFS inflection point for Rays stacks tonight, if he’s in the lineup at all.
Brandon Lowe is a lefty who is more likely to be in his usual spot in the lineup. For his career, Lowe has displayed a ton of ability against same-handed pitching, with a .252/.315/.519 slash, a .267 ISO and a WRC+ 24% above average. With dual outfield and second base eligibility, he’s still worth paying up to the big $5,600 price tag on DraftKings, though I greatly prefer the $3,700 that FanDuel is asking.
The right-handed duo of Mike Brosseau and Yandy Diaz should offer two great options near the top of the lineup for our stacking needs. Brosseau offers good power in the split. Over his limited sample he has seven of his nine career home runs against lefty starters, with a .270 ISO and a WRC+ 45% above average. Diaz is at .297/.427/.386 for the season though his power has been lacking, and he has just a .089 ISO. The WRC+ 37% above average despite not driving the ball is encouraging here, however, and we can roster Diaz at just $2,800 on FanDuel and $3,500 on DraftKings.
Shortstop Willy Adames is an underrated low-cost option at the position. In 584 plate appearances in 2019, he hit 20 home runs though his WRC+ was 3% below average. Jose Martinez is yet another platoon specialist on this team. Against lefties for his career, Martinez has a .235 ISO and a WRC+ 53% above average. Manuel Margot offers an interesting mix of speed and gap power as a cheap outfielder hitting late in this lineup. For the season so far, Margot is at .301/.363/.425 with three stolen bases, a home run and a WRC+ 22% above average.
Catcher Mike Zunino is a player I rarely get to. Hes someone who might get mashed into the catcher spot in a lot of Rays stacks given the lefty-righty matchup but his career splits don’t really indicate that we should be confident in that. The power is real when he makes contact, but overall Zunino is at just .203/.274/.368 with a .165 ISO and a WRC+ 21% below average against same-handed pitchers. His .199/.268/.405 with .206 ISO and WRC+ 15% below league average against right-handed pitchers suggests there’s not much more to look forward to when the Rays get into the Orioles bullpen. I don’t think we necessarily need Zunino here, and I might be comfortable letting others roster him in the catcher spot on DraftKings while I fill it with a player from my second stack. He’s a mix-and-match option at best.
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New York Mets – 1-2-6-7-9 – Nimmo – Conforto – Alonso – McNeil – Rosario
The Mets are going slightly under-owned in the stacks tool, and on a day with only six games, that’s enough for me with a quality lineup like this one. The team is matched up against rookie hurler Sixto Sanchez, who I don’t hate as a pitching play at a very cheap price either. This is a spot we can get to both sides of. Sanchez is a very high-end prospect in the Marlins system who arrived from the Phillies as part of the return for catching star J.T. Realmuto. Sanchez works in the high 90s with his fastball and occasionally touches 100 mph. He throws a changeup that sits in the low 90s with a high-80s slider and mixes in a curveball and a sinker. In his 66-pitch debut, he generated a good amount of swing and miss on the breaking balls and off-speed stuff, with the slider leading the way at 43%.
The Mets have plenty of bats to throw up against a young kid, and regardless of the quality of the prospect, I’ll typically lean toward the bats in a matchup like this. The Mets profile very well in my home run model for the day and they’re sitting fifth in the stacks tool. Pete Alonso is leading the way in my power marks as usual. Alonso has disappointed so far after his wild rookie season. This year he has struggled to just a .225/.358/.402 slash with five home runs, a .176 ISO and a WRC+ only 9% above average. Still, this is an absolute masher of a hitter who blasted 53 home runs in his 693 rookie plate appearances in 2019. At just $3,600 on FanDuel and $4,500 on DraftKings, he’s a bargain on both sites, even if he’s hitting sixth in this lineup again.
Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto are excellent options atop this lineup and in two of your outfield spots when stacking Mets. The pair have an average .429 on-base percentage so far this season and do a great job of producing points of their own and setting the table for the hitters behind them. In fact, the top five hitters in the projected lineup for this team tonight are at an average .418 on-base percentage. This is a team that can absolutely give this pitcher fits and get him out of the game early.
At $4,000 on DraftKings and $2,900 on FanDuel, third baseman J.D. Davis makes a terrific option at the hot corner on both sites. Over the first 112 plate appearances of his second year of full-time action, Davis is at .293/.411/.457 with four home runs and a WRC+ 44% above average. Dominic Smith is a great option tonight if he’s in the lineup. Finally delivering on his promise, he has dual eligibility at first base and outfield on DraftKings and costs only $3,900. Surprisingly, FanDuel is up to speed on this one, pricing him at $3,500 in the outfield. Smith could sit out tonight; we’ve seen several emotional statements from the young man in recent days, and the situation is slightly unpredictable. Smith did play last night, but the Mets game was one of the earlier starts of the evening, before the cascade of strike decisions began in earnest. Smith does not need but absolutely has my full support in whatever he does. If he’s in the Mets lineup, I plan to have him in a lot of mine.
Aging Robinson Cano and youthful Jeff McNeill might be involved in some sort of Vice Versa/Freaky Friday body-switching type of situation this year. Cano is experiencing an early-season renaissance at .382/.419/.632 with four home runs, 14 RBIs, 10 runs, a .250 ISO and a WRC+ 85% above average in his 74 plate appearances. McNeill, on the other hand, is at just .267/.341/.320 with a .053 ISO and a WRC+ 10% below average. This is a player we saw put up a .318/.384/.531 with a .214 ISO and WRC+ 43% above average in his 567 rookie plate appearances in 2019; numbers which jibe with his career minor league stats. I have faith in McNeill, while I expect Cano to regress to his recent norms, although both are in play at under 5% ownership across the board in MLB DFS tonight.
Catcher Wilson Ramos is priced at just $3,300 on DraftKings given his recent struggles. The regularly reliable Ramos is scuffling to a slash of just .221/.299/.299 on the season, with a .078 ISO, one home run and just six RBIs. Still, with just 3.9% projected ownership on a catcher-mandatory site like DraftKings, we can justify including Ramos in some of our Mets builds based on the career history. Joining the catcher near the bottom of the Mets lineup is dynamic shortstop Amed Rosario, who offers slate-breaking upside with his bat and legs but has only managed a .202/.202/.315 slash with a .112 ISO and WRC+ 62% below average in 2020. That stat line is precisely why Rosario costs just $2,900 on DraftKings and $2,400 on FanDuel. We saw quality counting stats over Rosario’s first 1,417 plate appearances from 2017 to 2019 where he hit 24 home runs and stole 50 bases. He makes an interesting wraparound option here.
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