MLB DFS Picks, Spotlight Pitchers & Top Stacks: Aces Abound on Thursday’s Travel Day (June 8)

Thursday is a travel day, which means split-slate MLB starting early in the day and a variety of contest start times on DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo. Before you build lineups, several Stokastic tools can help identify daily MLB DFS Top Stacks, key pitchers and MLB DFS picks. Let’s dig into the player projections and popularity for DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo lineups, including RHPs Spencer Strider and Zack Wheeler and the Angels offense hosting LHP Drew Smyly.

MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers

Main Slate Primary Pitching Target: RHP Spencer Strider vs. New York Mets — 3.8 implied runs

First Pitch: 7:20 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $12,000 | FanDuel $11,400 | Yahoo $60

The FanDuel featured slate does have RHP Zack Wheeler and the Phillies hosting the Detroit Tigers, so on the blue site that is the preferred ace — if the air quality in Philadelphia allows the game to be played.

RHP Spencer Strider is, of course, still in play on FanDuel, as well as being the priority pitcher on DraftKings and Yahoo. There is no discount for the budding superstar on those sites, but Strider is essentially matchup-proof, even though this will be just his 46th appearance in the big leagues. Strider is tied for the strikeout lead with RHP Kevin Gausman, though his American League counterpart has made one additional outing. The 24-year-old leads the league with 14.6 strikeouts per nine innings, which is two more than any other qualified starter in the league outside of RHP Hunter Greene (12.8).

The Metropolitans have a good offense; however, Pete Alonso is likely out after being hit by a pitch on his left wrist last night in his first at-bat. The New York lineup does tail off at the back end a bit as well, so this is where Strider should be able to pad his fantasy production and also what helps him post the best median projection among all the options in the player pool.

Early Slate Pitching Target: RHP Tyler Glasnow vs. Minnesota Twins — 3.4 implied runs

First Pitch: 1:10 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $9,800 | FanDuel $9,000 | Yahoo $51

This afternoon RHP Tyler Glasnow is projected to start, though as of this writing he has not been confirmed. If he is not toeing the rubber today, pivot over to RHP Merrill Kelly in Washington against the pedestrian Nationals.

UPDATE: Glasnow has been pushed back to Friday, RHP Yhonny Chirinos is being recalled to start in his place. Chirinos already had seven appearances as a bulk reliever for the Ray, logging 83-plus pitches in his final two May outings. For Triple-A Durham, the 29-year-old made three starts on a regular cadence to remain stretched out for a “bulk” role. Chirinos can be used as an SP2 on DraftKings ($5,900) for differentiation. 

Glasnow suffered an oblique injury this spring, so he has only made two starts in The Show this season. He did have four rehabilitation efforts with the Durham Bulls in Triple-A, so he was stretched out enough to log 83 and 88 pitches versus the Dodgers and in Boston against the Red Sox. The 29-year-old looked good, with 14 strikeouts in 9.2 innings and allowing just four runs.

The injury carousel continues for Minnesota, with Joey Gallo and Byron Buxton now reserved due to various maladies. Jorge Polanco, Carlos Correa and Max Kepler have all been dinged up this season as well, and while they are available, they are looking a little rusty. Rookie Royce Lewis had a collision on the base path, which looked rather terrifying, though fortunately he seems to have avoided a concussion. He did play yesterday, going 1-for-4 at the plate. Even without Buxton and Gallo, there are plenty of strikeouts available for Glasnow, making him the core building block for the afternoon action.

MLB DFS Picks: Top Stacks

Main Slate Primary Target: Los Angeles Angels vs. LHP Drew Smyly — 4.9 implied runs

First Pitch: 9:38 p.m. ET

For some reason, casual MLB gamers think that LHP Drew Smyly is a gas can, and that is simply not the case. Since the beginning of the 2020 pandemic-shortened season, the 34-year-old journeyman has logged 325 innings across 70 appearances for three different teams. During this stretch, he has posted a solid 3.88 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP and a 4.31 FIP. He has allowed 1.44 home runs per nine innings in that timeframe, and that is what sticks with most observers.

The Stokastic Top Stacks tool has identified the Angels as the spot where the field is likely to land tonight, so we can join them — but by being selective with a few hitters, we can try to corral any potential home runs but not burn up roster slots with a full stack. Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani are two of the best in the game against southpaws, and they are the most likely producers in this matchup.

Hunter Renfroe is on the paternity list, so the Angels have recalled Jo Adell from Triple-A. The 24-year-old was the 10th overall selection in the 2017 MLB Draft, straight out of high school. Each of the last three seasons, he has seen 130-plus plate appearances, but he has not quite been able to hold his own against MLB pitchers.

The Angels decided to keep him down in the minors this year to help build his confidence and because they had a crowded outfield. In 55 games for the Salt Lake Bees, Adell has crushed 18 home runs and 12 doubles for a wicked .593 slugging rate. He will be wildly popular tonight, but his near-minimum salary across the DFS sites will also help alleviate cap constraints and allow more differentiated lineup construction strategies at the other positions.

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Early Slate Target: Los Angeles Dodgers at RHP Graham Ashcraft — 6.1 implied runs

First Pitch: 12:35 p.m. ET

This is an early day game after a night game, and the Dodgers are traveling to Philadelphia for their next series. As such, it would not be a surprise to see a few regulars getting the day off. Of course, it would make sense if the veteran players were arguing their way into the lineup to get a couple of chances at RHP Graham Ashcraft.

The wheels have come off the wagon for Ashcraft this season and his last six starts have been something to behold. He has allowed at least seven earned runs in four outings, culminating in a 10-run debacle against Milwaukee on Saturday. During this stretch, he has allowed 39 runs and struck out just 22. All told, the 25-year-old has a 12.99 ERA, 2.20 WHIP, eight longballs and a 7.04 FIP.

Pretty much anyone in Dodger blue is in play today, even the bat boy if he can get a one-day contract signed in time. Look to the usual suspects, with Freddie Freeman, J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts and Max Muncy being the core four to target. Catcher Will Smith is likely to get the day off, even from designated-hitting duties, so that should open up additional opportunities for the reserves. Journeymen outfielders David Peralta and Jason Heyward are solid selections if they see a bump in the batting order, as well as their young counterpart James Outman.

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Additional Wagering Opportunities

Peralta is an intriguing option in the sports wagering market. Looking at the new “True Odds” feature on OddsShopper, we can see that the +750 line for the venerable veteran to hit a home run is actually mispriced, with the MLB Bet Pro probability having this as a +701 line. That is like getting a 7% booster from the sportsbook without doing any extra work.

Though Peralta’s best days are behind him, the 35-year-old should still be able to pick his spots against a broken pitcher like Ashcraft. While he has only two home runs in his last 298 at-bats, this is the perfect wager to drop a finski on and have a rooting interest while avoiding work this afternoon.

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Final Thoughts for Thursday, June 8 | MLB DFS Picks

The smoke drifting down from the Canadian wildfires ended up postponing the games in New York and Philadelphia yesterday. Washington also is dealing with this hazard, though not to the same extent as the other Mid-Atlantic metropolitan areas. Keep tabs for any updates closer to first pitch, as this is a variable far harder to forecast than weather.

On the weather front, there are some afternoon showers forecast for Colorado, though they should not impact the game beyond a delay. New York also has some potential rain — which would help with the smoke — that could impact the end of the first game and the start of the second tonight.

Check out today’s Stokastic MLB Deeper Dive and Live Before Lock Shows, at 5:00 p.m. ET, brought to you by PrizePicks – new users, use this link receive 30 days of Stokastic+ Platinum and a first deposit match up to $100.

Eric MacPherson
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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