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MLB DFS Picks Saturday 6/18: Spotlight Pitchers & Top Stacks Today

Eric MacPherson



Daily fantasy baseball advice. MLB DFS Picks on Deeper Dive & Live Before Lock. DraftKings and FanDuel picks for 6/24

Saturday, June 18, brings twin featured slates with a nine-game afternoon slate locking at 4:05 p.m. ET followed by a five-gamer with a 7:15 p.m. ET first pitch. Let’s get into the top MLB DFS picks today for pitchers and stacks for DraftKings and FanDuel daily fantasy baseball lineups.

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DraftKings & FanDuel MLB DFS Picks Today (6/18)

Top Stack: Cardinals at RHP Kutter Crawford — 5.0 implied runs

All of the attention tonight will be on the Coors Field Extravaganza, which makes sense, as it will be in the mid-80s with an 8 to 12 mph breeze blowing out over the centerfield fences. The run total is approaching 12, so this game will not be sneaking up on anyone, particularly with the struggling German Marquez taking the mound. Marquez has a 6.09 ERA and 1.51 WHIP this season, and even though tonight’s stadium promotion is a bobblehead commemorating his 2021 All-Star appearance, the Padres should be in line for crooked numbers. Nick Martinez will be on the bump for San Diego, and yes, this is the same pitcher who had a 5.63 ERA for Texas over the last two seasons.

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Back to St. Louis, the Stokastic Top Stacks Tool is showing that they have a nice combination of potential success, projected points per dollar and going underrepresented in tournaments. Kutter Crawford is only the 21st-best prospect in the Red Sox organization, and he has had command issues during his limited time in The Show. Most projection systems have him as a back-of-the-rotation starter or a multi-inning reliever who is better off not going through the opposing lineup a second time.

The Cardinals are one of the top stacks on the evening slate, and Paul Goldschmidt in particular projects to be the highest-scoring 1B on DraftKings.

Aside from Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, not many casual baseball fans could name any other lineup regular. Nolan Gorman is the best prospect for the Cardinals, and he has already become a regular in the heart of the rotation after being called up less than a month ago. Fellow rookie Brendan Donovan has been solid this season and should be near the top of the order, which will give him a strong probability of seeing five plate appearances. Dylan Carlson is a solid switch-hitter, as is Tommy Edman, and in the back of the lineup Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader both have power upside. The top half of the Redbirds lineup is spendy, which should keep their popularity in check with Coors Field in play, and the bottom half is cheap and will go overlooked, making them an excellent secondary stack for their differentiation.

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Late Slate: Twins at RHP Luke Weaver — 4.8 implied runs

Even with Jorge Polanco (back), Miguel Sano (knee) and Kyle Garlick (hamstring) out, the Stokastic Top Batters Tool is highlighting several options against Luke Weaver. The Chase Field roof is scheduled to be closed during this homestand, but even that combined with the humidor is not going hold off Minnesota for long. Opposite-handed batsmen have been the bane of Weaver, who has suffered a .264 ISO in his last 123 matchups against lefties. Right-handers are finding success as well, and though they do not make frequent contact, when they do it is for power, as evidenced by a .199 ISO over the last season and change.

Max Kepler is the prime target tonight, as he should be batting cleanup with Polanco on the shelf. In his last 489 plate appearances against right-handed hurlers, he has a stellar .210 ISO and 11.5% walk rate. Fellow lefties Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach are both under $2,500 on DraftKings and barely above the minimum salary on FanDuel. They open up plenty of salary cap, which will allow Coors Field stacks and above-average pitching choices. Brandon Buxton has an absurd .345 ISO in against righties since the start of last year, and he is bested by only Mike Trout (.377 ISO) and Bryce Harper (.362 ISO) among hitters with at least 315 plate appearances.

But wait, there’s more! Luis Arraez has only 27 extra-base hits in his last 540 plate appearances against opposite-handed pitchers; however, his .335 batting average trails only Michael Brantley (.342 average) in this timeframe. Singles are not particularly sexy, but having a runner on base when the rest of your stack is coming up in the order can pay big dividends. Carlos Correa and Gary Sanchez also have light-tower power, and it is easy to come up with all sorts of full-stack permutations using the Twins.

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Early Slate: Mets vs. LHP Braxton Garrett — 4.7 implied runs

The Metropolitans have been a force this season, though they only have the second-best record in their hometown. Lucky for them, that is also good enough to be the second-best record in the league, with only the Yankees recording more wins. There is still plenty of time for the #LOLMets to show up, but until then we need to consider them as a prime DFS option.

Braxton Garrett is only the 28th-best prospect in the Marlins system, and he has struggled during his brief time in the majors over the last three seasons. There is still time for him to turn things around since he will be only 25 years old in August, but it will be an uphill battle making progress on the learning curve against big league hitters.

Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor and Mark Canha are the trio to target at the top of the order. Starling Marte (hand) was out of the lineup Thursday after being hit by a pitch earlier in the week, but he did play last night. The former Pirate has a long history of success against southpaws, and he is a solid selection to round out a full stack.

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Best MLB DFS Pitchers Today

Top Target: LHP Julio Urias vs. Guardians — 4.9 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $9,400 | FanDuel $9,300

Pitching is rather thin on the main slate with only 10 teams in the player pool. Julio Urias stands out for his talent and decent matchup against Cleveland. However, he will also be wildly popular, and as such, a Guardians “hedge” stack is in play for gamers creating more than half a dozen lineups. Though he typically has a soft ceiling of 90 pitches, Urias has completed the sixth inning in seven of his last nine starts. The strikeouts are down a little and the home runs are up, but he has allowed more than two runs on just two occasions this season. Jose Ramirez and Ahmed Rosario are the duo that should anchor any hedge stacks, with Owen Miller or Oscar Gonzalez making for a solid third leg. Of course, Austin Hedges is in play as well both for his name and by having the platoon advantage over Urias if he is behind the plate.

Secondary Target: RHP Justin Verlander vs. White Sox — 3.2 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $10,600 | FanDuel $10,900

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    Few teams are worse against righties than the White Sox, and EMac loves Justin Verlander as a high-priced arm today.

Though the White Sox have the third-best offense in the league against southpaws, they are in the bottom quartile when facing right-handed pitchers. Justin Verlander continues to chug along in his age-39 season. The elder statesman is leading the league with an 0.81 WHIP and his 1.94 ERA ranks seventh. The two-time Cy Young Award winner and former MVP has tallied at least five strikeouts in all but one game this season, and the projected Chicago lineup has a 22.1% strikeout rate against righties over the last two seasons. Verlander is far from cheap, though perhaps his salary and perceived difficult matchup will keep the field from congregating here.

Wild Card Target: LHP Jeffrey Springs at Orioles — 3.7 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $8,000 | FanDuel $8,700

It will be cooler in Baltimore today, with temperatures in the mid-70s for this afternoon affair. That should be a boost to the pitchers, along with the Camden Yards redesign that has dramatical reduced the offensive outbursts of days gone by. Tampa Bay is not going to push the workload of Jeffrey Springs, but he has averaged just over 90 pitches in his last three starts and he should be good for a least a strikeout per inning in this matchup.

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Additional Opportunities

Alex Wood has a nice matchup against Pittsburgh this afternoon and he warrants consideration in the MLB player props market. Currently, he has a 5.5 over/under on his strikeout prop and the Stokastic MLB Projections have him for 6.1, giving him a 65% probability of exceeding that milestone. While he has recorded more than five strikeouts only twice this season, he has six starts with five, including his last three. The Pirates have the third-highest strikeout rate against southpaws this season, and their projected lineup is even worse at 27.3%.

Other Pitching Options

  1. RHP Kyle Wright at Chicago Cubs (Early)
  2. LHP Alex Wood at Pittsburgh Pirates (Afternoon)
  3. RHP Aaron Nola at Washington Nationals (Afternoon)
  4. LHP Taylor Hearn at Detroit Tigers (Afternoon SP2)
  5. LHP Jose Suarez at Seattle Mariners (Main SP2, Late)

One-Off Hitters

  1. Austin Riley at LHP Justin Steele (Early)
  2. Kyle Tucker vs. Johnny Cueto (Afternoon)
  3. Kole Calhoun at RHP Rony Garcia (Afternoon)
  4. Freddie Freeman vs. RHP Cal Quantrill (Main)
  5. David Peralta vs. RHP Dylan Bundy (Late)

Final MLB DFS Thoughts & MLB Weather Notes

The only potential precipitation is in Coors Field, though it is far enough out that the forecast will need to be monitored later this afternoon and heading into lock.

Thanks for reading to the end of this article! If you appreciate this free content and want to see more of it every day, you can help us out by sharing this article on social media! Looking for more MLB DFS picks content? We have loads of daily fantasy baseball articles, data, DraftKings and FanDuel cheat sheets and more on the Stokastic MLB DFS home page.

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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