Thursday, May 19, is an off day for half of the league, which gives us a three-game featured slate with a 7:10 p.m. ET first pitch with a mix of afternoon action across the DFS sites! Let’s get into the top MLB DFS picks for pitchers and stacks for Yahoo, DraftKings and FanDuel daily fantasy baseball lineups. Make sure to visit the Awesemo MLB DFS & Fantasy Baseball home page for the best MLB DFS picks and cheat sheets you need to get prepared for tonight’s slate of games.
MLB DFS Picks Today: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks | Thursday, May 19
Yahoo Stack of the Day: Boston Red Sox vs. RHP George Kirby — 4.6 implied runs
Today, there is some precipitation risk in Boston as the Mariners and Red Sox begin a four-game series. Fortunately, it looks like it may only be cool and cloudy, but do keep tabs on this situation heading towards first pitch. Rookie George Kirby will be making his third start in The Show, and while he is talented, these outings represent his only action above Double-A. Kirby does project as a frontline starter, though this is far from a foregone conclusion.
This season, the BoSox have been right around league average with a 97 wRC+ against right-handed hurlers. There is too much talent in their lineup for them to end the season outside of the top-10 offenses in the league, so some positive regression should be headed their way as the temperatures continue to warm. The trio to target is as always Rafael Devers ($20), J.D. Martinez ($21) and Xander Bogaerts ($18). Alex Verdugo ($7) will likely be hitting fifth or sixth and he can be used to round out full stacks at a discount. For differentiation, the same can be said about Jackie Bradley Jr. ($7) at the bottom of the order, where he will be under the radar and can be part of a wraparound stack back to the big boppers.
Early: Chicago White Sox at RHP Carlos Hernandez — 5.2 implied runs
It is going to be in the 80s today at Kauffman Stadium with a 12- to 15-mph breeze blowing out to left field. There is bad, there is abysmal and then there are the six starts from Carlos Hernandez this season. While it feels like he has been around forever, he is still just 25 years old and this is only his third season in the league. In his six appearances, he has been crushed with a 9.11 ERA and 13 extra-base hits while allowing 2.03 baserunners per inning. Across 26.2 innings, he has more walks (15) than strikeouts (13).
Anyone in the lineup for the ChiSox is worthy of DFS consideration and that can help us find some differentiation within the most popular team on the early slate. Yasmani Grandal, Gavin Sheets and A.J. Pollock all have a .220 or better ISO since the beginning of last year, and being in the bottom half of the order will have them underrepresented in tournaments when comparing them to Jose Abreau, Tim Anderson, Luis Robert and Yoan Moncada. Anything less than three home runs from the visitors today will be a disappointment.
Top MLB DFS Target: RHP Zac Gallen at Chicago Cubs— 4.0 implied runs
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $48 | FanDuel $10,600 | DraftKings $10,300
There are just six pitching options on the featured slate tonight and only two are truly in contention for the top honors. Framber Valdez is at home facing the Rangers and his Astros are 2-to-1 favorites to garner the victory. However, the question with Valdez always comes down to how many strikeouts he will get. The answer is usually less than one per inning. That is going to push a lot of the field towards Zac Gallen, who has a better strikeout rate, though a slightly worse matchup in Chicago against the Cubs.
Chicago has quite a few switch-hitters, which will allow it to have a majority of its batsmen swinging the stick from the left side of the plate against Gallen. These Cubs do have an above-average strikeout rate against right-handed hurlers since the beginning of last year, though that does come with above-average power. Fortunately, Gallen does a respectable job limiting extra-base knocks from opposing lefties with a sterling .101 ISO in his last 318 such matchups. While we are paying a premium, Gallen is the safest of the pitching options for those who are risk-averse and are only creating a handful of lineups.
Early MLB DFS Target: RHP Chris Bassitt vs. St. Louis Cardinals — 3.0 implied runs
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $47 | FanDuel $10,400 | DraftKings $10,500
This afternoon, the Cardinals will roll out two or three opposite-handed hitters against Chris Bassitt. That bodes well for the 33-year-old righty, who is currently in the top 15 among starters with a 2.34 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. In his last outing against the Redbirds, Bassitt held them scoreless for six innings in St. Louis with half a dozen strikeouts while allowing only five baserunners. Across his last 783 batters faced in a near-even distribution of lefties and righties, he has tallied strikeout rates of 24.9% and 25.7% respectively.
Looking to Framber Valdez on the main slate against Texas is a strong play for DFS given our limited options. However, we can also use this opportunity to hedge our risk by targeting him in the MLB player props. Currently, he has an over/under on his strikeout prop of 5.5, and the Awesemo player projections have him for a reasonable 4.6 against the Rangers. That gives him a 65% probability of staying under that threshold. In seven starts this year he has recorded six or more strikeouts three times. Last year, he tallied six or more in 13 of 22 regular season starts. Collectively, the Rangers’ projected lineup has a 21.7% strikeout rate against southpaws over the last season and change.
Other Pitching Options:
- Jordan Montgomery at Baltimore (early slate)
- Yu Darvish at Philadelphia (early slate)
- Rich Hill vs. Seattle (main slate)
- Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge at LHP Bruce Zimmermann (early slate)
- Brandon Nimmo vs. RHP Dakota Hudson (early slate)
- Bobby Witt Jr. and Hunter Dozier vs. RHP Vincent Velasquez (early slate)
- Marcus Semien at LHP Framber Valdez (main slate)
- Ty France at LHP Rich Hill (main slate)
Final MLB DFS Thoughts & Weather Notes for the Thursday, May 19 Fantasy Baseball Slate
Aside from a slight precipitation risk in Boston, the weather looks good. There are some potential offensive boosters in Kansas City where it is warm with a strong breeze to left field and also in Chicago where there is a light breeze to left field.
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