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MLB DFS Tournament Picks & Home Runs 5/25

Terry McBride

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DraftKings MLB DFS picks today DraftKings MLB lineup optimizer projections FanDuel DFS baseball

The mid-week main slate is fast approaching after technical difficulties and a quick technology purchasing trip pushed the publication of this article back further in the afternoon. As such, we’re in short-form mode for today’s MLB DFS slate, which features seven games starting at 6:40 ET on FanDuel and only five games with a 7:05 ET lock on DraftKings. The board includes a handful of quality options on the mound, though some of the best options of the night will be challenged by stiff competition or highly owned by the public. On the hitting front, several of the league’s best lineups appear to be in good leverage situations, providing a few obvious targets at high prices but little popularity for tournament play across the industry. Below, we’ll break down some of the best MLB DFS picks today for DraftKings and FanDuel lineups.

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Top Home Run Ratings & Predictions

Using a model based on a blend of several predictive statistics for the batter-pitcher matchup we will give each team one of the top choices from their projected lineup. However, the pick included below will not always be the actual top-rated player, particularly when there is an obvious star who rates atop his team’s lineup each day. Check out all of Awesemo’s top-notch baseball content and free MLB DFS picks.

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Scale: 5-10 Average; 10-20 Good; 20-25 Very Good; 25+ Great

Atlanta Braves: Ozzie Albies — 2.73

Baltimore Orioles: Anthony Santander — 11.29

Boston Red Sox: Rafael Devers — 10.57

Chicago Cubs: Patrick Wisdom — 5.67

Chicago White Sox: Yasmani Grandal — 6.02

Cincinnati Reds: Brandon Drury — 6.74

Cleveland Guardians: Josh Naylor — 8.18

Houston Astros: Kyle Tucker — 6.53

Los Angeles Angels: Mike Trout — 6.47

Miami Marlins: Jorge Soler — 5.91

New York Yankees: Aaron Judge — 14.23

Philadelphia Phillies: Kyle Schwarber — 7.46

Tampa Bay Rays: Randy Arozarena — 8.89

Texas Rangers: Corey Seager — 10.49

Power Index

This is intended to capture the full range of home run upside for each team. It is not meant as a stack ranking and does not account for pricing or popularity — only home run potential. The first column is the average rating for the full projected lineup and the second is for the top six hitters in the projected lineup.

MLB home run projections predictions 5/25/22 MLB DFS picks DraftKings FanDuel

MLB DFS Weather Update: Postponements & Risk Assessment

There are several games with threatening weather conditions, the Cubs vs Reds game sees some risk of in-game delay with light showers in the area, and both the Phillies vs Braves and the Red Sox vs White Sox games are tracking for greater than 50% probability of precipitation. The overall risk of postponement for any of these games is low, but they are worth monitoring as lock approaches.

MLB DFS Picks Today: Pitchers, Best Stacks & Low-Owned Plays

This section will feature a few standout MLB DFS spots and teams to look at for potential plays on DraftKings and FanDuel.

Be sure to check out the Awesemo MLB DFS Ownership Projections for critical updates and monitor the top stacks tool throughout the day for changes.

On the Hill

The Wednesday pitching slate breaks down along interesting lines from site to site. There are two bonus games on FanDuel, with both Drew Rasmussen and Luis Castillo looking potentially interesting on the blue site. The five games that land on both slates offer a range of quality at a variety of price points. The obvious name at the top of the board on both sites is White Sox ace Lucas Giolito who will be taking on a tough Red Sox lineup. Giolito is well worth getting to, but he will be excessively popular on the slate as the lone true ace available. Astros starter Cristian Javier is pulling in a significant amount of ownership for his high price on the DraftKings slate, but he is owned fairly efficiently in terms of leverage, while Charlie Morton and Ranger Saurez fall in behind him from a more shaky tier of talent and probability, but positive leverage in their duel in Atlanta. Both pitchers in the Phillies vs Braves game are capable of suppressing power and home runs, but neither has been firing on all cylinders for strikeouts this season. The value tier offers first-time starter JP Sears from the Yankees at a very low price but massive popularity, while lower-end options like Glenn OttoTyler Wells, and Cal Quantrill check in at higher prices in far worse situations.

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On the FanDuel slate, righty Drew Rasmussen will be facing the Marlins, a team with an active roster that ranks 17th with a 22.5% strikeout rate and a 2.66% home run rate against right-handed pitching this season, but also one that has created runs 14% better than average in the split. Rasmussen is a talented pitcher who has a 22.4% strikeout rate with a 3.18 xFIP and just a 1.32% home run rate on the season, he is an interesting option at mid-range pricing and popularity on the blue site from near the top of the probability board. He is joined by Reds righty Luis Castillo, possibly the slate’s biggest wildcard at just $7,300. Castillo will be drawing down against a Cubs active roster that strikes out at the highest rate in baseball in the split against righties at 27%. The team hits for moderate power, their .152 ISO sits 13th and their 2.65% home run rate ranks 18th, but they have created runs six percent better than average so far this season. The odds are with Castillo in this matchup, the roller coaster righty has just an 18.8% strikeout rate over his first 15.2 innings this season, but he is a far better pitcher than that and he could find his form in this spot. 31% of the public is betting that Castillo does return to form, however, catapulting him far over the border of negative leverage land on the blue site. Castillo should be rostered, the spot is too strong to ignore, but undercutting the massive public share by even 10 percentage points seems like a good idea.

Even in a matchup against the Red Sox, righty ace Lucas Giolito is the undisputed best pitcher available on tonight’s main slate. He has an excellent 34.6% strikeout rate over six starts and 31.2 innings this season, pitching to a 2.63 xFIP with a 14.4% swinging-strike rate, and he is possibly under-owned at just 20% on FanDuel, where he is priced up to $10,300. At just $9,800 on DraftKings, Giolito will be owned at a rate greater than 50%. The spectacular righty has had a few bumps in the quality contact department this season, Giolito has a 4.72% home run rate on 40.3% hard hits and an 11.1% barrel rate, but that will likely shape up closer to last year’s numbers by the end of the season. The Red Sox active roster has been better than average against right-handed pitching this season, they rank 10th with a .158 ISO and 16th with a 104 WRC+. At 19.8%, the Red Sox limit strikeouts better than all but six teams in the split against righties, but their 2.58% home run rate drops to a lackluster 19th. Giolito will be challenged, but he is worthy of a major investment on tonight’s MLB DFS slate.

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Braves veteran righty Charlie Morton ranks second on the FanDuel slate and third on DraftKings by his probability of landing as one of the top pitchers of the day. Morton has made eight starts and pitched his way to a 20.7% strikeout rate over 40 innings so far this season, a dramatic dip from the 28.6% rate at which he sent hitters back to the dugout last year. Morton has an inflated 1.45 WHIP and a 10.6% walk rate that is up roughly three points over last year. The righty has remained good at limiting quality contact, he has yielded a 38.1% hard-hit percentage with a 5.9% barrel rate and a 2.23% home run rate this season, but the Phillies lineup is filled with talented hitters who can take any pitcher out of the ballpark. Morton is interesting at just $8,800 and single-digit ownership on FanDuel, where he lands at positive leverage. Even with a quarter of the field including him in lineups on DraftKings, the Braves’ righty stand above the leverage line on that site as well, making him a prime target at $9,000.

On the other side of the same game, Ranger Suarez will be in search of his strikeouts against a team with one of the most aggressive approaches in baseball. The southpaw struck out 25.6% of hitters over 106 innings last season, but he sits at just 19% so far this year, with his swinging-strike rate dipping from 11.3% to 8.2% in 39.1 innings this year. Suarez will be facing a Braves lineup that is loaded with power, the team stack plays from one through nine and there are several lethal right-handed bats, but the active roster does strike out at a 28.6% rate in the split, the 29th-ranked team against lefties in all of baseball. Suarez is low-owned on FanDuel, the 2.1% popularity reflects a lack of faith in the starter’s ability to get to a quality start against a team that has created runs 10% better than average and has a 3.51% home run rate that ranks eighth in the league with a .189 ISO that ranks sixth against lefties. Suarez ranks fourth by his probability of being a top-two option on the DraftKings slate and sixth by his odds of being the top overall option on FanDuel, but he is an interesting leverage play with strikeout upside on both sites.


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Houston Astros

The Astros have a spectacular lineup against both hands and the team does everything well from getting on base to running to hitting for power, they can be rostered from top to bottom on most slates, but when they come at positive leverage or low relative ownership they must be prioritized as a rule. Houston will be facing Guardians righty Cal Quantrill who has just a 15.1% strikeout rate over 41.1 innings this year. Quantrill struck out 19.6% in 149.2 innings in 2021, he is a low-end option who puts too many on base and does not throw enough strikes. The righty has been somewhat effective in limiting premium contact this season, his lone saving grace, but simply keeping hitters to a 1.81% home run rate and a 36% hard-hit percentage is not going to be enough against a lineup of this caliber. Houston’s lineup is drawing attention, but the only significant ownership marks on DraftKings are going to leadoff man Jose Altuve and cleanup hitter Yordan Alvarez, while hitters like Michael Brantley and Alex Bregman are at playable single-digit popularity, or thereabouts. There are excellent low-owned options at the bottom of a lineup that plays similarly to the quality at the top of the batting order for many teams, those options include Yuli GurrielKyle TuckerJeremy Pena, and Chas McCormick. The Astros can be stacked from one through eight, with an option to include Martin Maldonado where catchers are necessary.

Atlanta Braves

With positive leverage on both sites, the Braves come up as an interesting stack once again. The matchup against Ranger Suarez should see a good number of balls in play against the pitcher who is not striking out hitters nearly as frequently as last year, but Suarez has been effective at limiting power over his roughly 140 Major League innings since the start of last season. The southpaw allowed just a 2.87% home run rate with a 32.8% hard-hit percentage so far this year, he was at a 31.1% hard-hit percentage with a 2.6% barrel rate and a microscopic 0.96% home run rate over 106 innings last season, inducing a 4.4-degree average launch angle and a 59.2% groundball rate. Suarez is not the easiest pitcher to pile up runs against, but he is facing one of baseball’s elite power lineups and they come at positive leverage across the industry, which creates instant appeal for MLB DFS purposes. Targetable Braves include Ozzie AlbiesRonald Acuna Jr.Matt Olson, and Marcell Ozuna from the middle of the lineup. William Contreras and Travis d’Arnaud both slot capably into catcher spots, while righty power bats who have been pushed down the lineup look extremely interesting. Despite where they are hitting, any of Austin RileyAdam Duvall, and Dansby Swanson should not be skipped in Braves stacks.

New York Yankees

After playing the first month and a half of the season at excellent health relative to the maladies that have plagued them over the past few seasons, the Yankees are suddenly dealing with a handful of injuries and absences for key players in their lineup. The team is pushed down the probability board further than they normally can be found, and they come up with positive leverage marks despite a matchup against limited starter Tyler Wells. The righty has a 17% strikeout rate this season and he has yielded a 3.7% home run rate on a 37.1% hard-hit percentage and an 8.6% barrel rate. With an odd projected lineup, the Yankees may be offbeat enough to be an appealing tournament play on this slate, despite the massive public popularity going to the team’s superstar outfielder.

Flexible infielder D.J. LeMahieu has slipped from a strong start to slashing just .250/.329/.375 with a .125 ISO and three home runs to this point in the season. LeMahieu has been priced down to just $3,000 on FanDuel, but he is still carrying a $5,300 price tag on the DraftKings slate. LeMahieu is dealing with wrist pain and he received a cortisone shot before scratching from yesterday’s lineup, his status tonight is a question mark but he is likely to be under-owned relative to price and talent in Yankees stacks if he does take the field. LeMahieu is excellent for lineup differentiation, given his three-position eligibility on the blue site.

The version of the lineup that anticipates LeMahieu’s absence will likely see Aaron Hicks in the leadoff spot. The outfielder will be a part of the batting order in one position or another, and he belongs in stacks despite scuffling to a .216/.348/.252 start. Hicks is a good option for correlated scoring, his on-base skills keep him a relevant part of the lineup even when his hard-hit rate has slipped to just 30.1% with a 1.2% barrel rate. He is more ideal leading off than he is in the middle of the lineup.

Superstar Aaron Judge will be in his traditional second spot in the batting order, and he needs little introduction with 15% of the field including him for $6,200 on DraftKings and 27% of the public including his $4,600 FanDuel price. Judge has hit 17 home runs while creating runs 110% better than average over his first 177 plate appearances, leaving little doubt about who was right in his failed contract extension negotiations. Even with the popularity, Judge is too good to leave out of stacks, his utility as a one-off at that weight of ownership is more of a question mark.

Lefty first baseman Anthony Rizzo will likely hit third, though there is a slight chance he lands in the leadoff role in the absence of LeMahieu. Rizzo is slashing .232/.350/.517 with a .285 ISo while creating runs 50% better than average. He has hit 11 home runs with a 39% hard-hit rate and he has struck out just 16.1% of the time while walking at a 12.2% clip. Rizzo is a terrific hitter on all fronts, he is under-owned in single-digits on both sites and should be a major priority in assembling Yankees stacks.

Second baseman Gleyber Torres has a strong 47.7% hard-hit percentage and an effective 8.1% barrel rate this season. The still-young player has turned that into seven home runs over 145 plate appearances, nearly equalling his total of nine over 516 plate appearances last year. Torres has a .211 ISo this season, well up from the .107 he posted last year, and he is striking out in just 17.2% of his plate appearances, another major improvement. The young infielder is quietly back to delivering on his massive prospect expectations, but he remains a cheap and somewhat low-owned MLB DFS option across the industry.

Things get a bit bumpy around this point in the lineup. You have likely already noticed the absence of sluggers Giancarlo Stanton and Joey Gallo. The latter has missed several recent games, but Stanton is newly added to the list of banged-up Yankees after exiting last night’s game with a calf injury. Any number of the following hitters could occupy this space, the bottom of the lineup will be made up of these bats in some order from five through nine, whether they can contribute and help turn the lineup over for the bigger bats at the top is in question.

Switch-hitting Marwin Gonzalez seems like one of the more likely candidates for the fifth spot in the lineup. The Swiss-Army utility man can still play anywhere on the diamond but his bat has long since departed the quality zone. Gonzalez has made 49 plate appearances and he is slashing .205/.265/.273 with no home runs and a .068 ISO while creating runs 40% worse than average.

Minor leaguers Estevan Florial and Miguel Andujar will probably see an opportunity to contribute, with Stanton and Gallo out, and Josh Donaldson on the COVID/terrible person list. Florial is hitless over 12 plate appearances this year, though he has managed to steal a base while getting on at a .083 clip. Andujar has made 10 plate appearances and he is slashing .200/.200/.200 in a sport where .200 is not particularly good. Andujar hit 27 home runs in the Show in 2018, but he has not maintained a Major League job since then, missing significant time with injury and under-performing in the minors. Florial is still just 24-years-old, despite seemingly already missing his prospect window, he offers mid-range power and speed upside and is probably the better of the two players.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa is a regular toward the bottom of the lineup, he could easily climb to the five spot today, but he is limited at the plate. Kiner-Falefa was the Yankees’ answer to the tourists who don’t understand the game and call for slap-hitters from the stands, he is a reasonably effective defensive player who led the league in singles last year, but he contributes little for MLB DFS purposes. Kiner-Falefa is slashing .261/.311/.306 with a .045 ISO while creating runs 17% worse than average. He can be played from wherever he lands in the lineup, but tempering expectations, even against this lousy starter, is probably for the best.

One version of the projected lineup has Jose Trevino catching again tonight, and another features lefty veteran Rob Brantly, neither catcher has major appeal for MLB DFS purposes.

Home Run Prediction Today: Josh Naylor — Cleveland Guardians

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Terry used to do other things, now he writes words on the internet. He hopes his more than 20 years’ experience in season-long and daily fantasy sports and his custom models for MLB, NBA, and NFL don't steer you too wrong when he writes columns and makes picks on Awesemo.com. A lifetime of experience keeping odd hours make Terry ideal to cover KBO baseball overnight until the world returns to normal. Most of those late night hours have been spent on the couch watching sports, T.V., and movies; just try to shut him up about any of the above. You can find his pop-culture ramblings and more on Sideaction.

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