MLB DFS Picks, Spotlight Pitchers & Top Stacks: Bobby Witt Jr. and Kansas City Look Terrific! (April 4)

Thursday brings an early featured slate locking early at 4:05 p.m. ET on DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo. Before we get to our MLB DFS picks, as always, we will use Stokastic’s tools to help in identifying today’s MLB DFS top stacks, key pitchers and MLB DFS picks. Look to Pablo Lopez and Seth Lugo as today’s aces, with a mix of hitters throughout the slate.

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks | April 4

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers

Main Slate Primary Pitching Target: RHP Seth Lugo vs. Chicago White Sox — 3.6 implied runs

First Pitch: 10:10 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $8,300 | FanDuel $9,700 | Yahoo $43

The Stokastic Top Pitchers Tool has RHP Seth Lugo as a semi-safe, though over-leveraged option on the two-pitcher sites. Sadly FanDuel seems to have taken then “shortening of NBA slates” and transported it to MLB, so the featured-slate on the blue site consists of just three matchups. They do offer an “all-day” option, but the prize pools are non-existent.

Chicago has struggled on offense so far, scoring just 11 runs in their five games, which is the second lowest per game rate in the league. Things are not likely to be any better today against Lugo, who limits walks and with an above average ground ball rate, rarely implodes for big innings as the bases are usually kept clean.

Last year was the first time Lugo served as a full-time starter and he performed relatively well in his lone campaign with the New York Mets. While he did see his strikeout rate dip to 8.61 per nine innings, that is still strong, especially when combined with his lowest walk and home run rates in four years. Those looking for a pivot, RHP Tanner Bibee is in play against the Twins.

Main Slate Secondary Pitching Target: RHP Pablo Lopez vs. Cleveland Guardians — 3.5 implied runs

First Pitch: 4:10 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $9,800 | FanDuel $10,600 | Yahoo $51

It is going to be in the mid-to-upper 40s in Minnesota this afternoon, which bodes well for the pitchers in this game. The Guardians have plated 46 runners through just seven games this season, so there is some trepidation with going “all in” on RHP Pablo Lopez. Last season, Lopez was stellar as he switched over to the American League, from the Miami Marlins. He ended up with career-highs across several categories including 32 starts, 10.86 strikeouts per nine innings and a 3.00 xERA.

Normally this would be a push the chips in the middle of the table situation, but even if we discount the four game series where the Guardians piled up 29 runs in Oakland, they did hammer RHPs George Kirby for eight runs and Luis Castillo for four, in the last two days. The hitters who are most worrisome for Lopez would be Jose Ramirez, Josh Naylor and Andres Gimenez.

MLB DFS Picks: Top Stacks

Main Slate Primary Target: Pittsburgh Pirates at RHP Josiah Gray — 4.7 implied runs

First Pitch: 4:05 p.m. ET

The Stokastic Top Stacks Tool likes the Pittsburgh Pirates in Washington, against mercurial RHP Josiah Gray. The start of this game may be pushed back a little, but there is a clear weather window for most of the evening, albeit with cooler temperatures.

Gray was destroyed last Thursday in Cincinnati when the Reds hung seven runs on him in just four innings, including a pair of round-trippers. Long balls have been an issue for Gray since being called up as a high-level prospect for the Dodgers, but it seemed like he was starting to figure things out last year, dropping his home run rate down to 1.25 per nine, which was almost an 80% decrease. That also saw a tradeoff with strikeouts, but it was worthwhile.

Spring training was a rollercoaster for the 26-year-old as his 13.78 strikeouts per nine were offset by a dreadful 7.16 walk rate. The top half of the Pittsburgh lineup is legit with Bryan Reynolds, Ke’Bryan Hayes and Jack Suwinski. Lefty Oneil Cruz finally gets a cherry matchup where he can take advantage of his platoon-splits which have resulted in a .348 wOBA and a .200 ISO, in his last 41 plate appearances versus right-handed hurlers.

Rowdy Tellez is fine for stacks as well as being a one-off with his light-tower power. This is one matchup where his all-or-nothing approach could really prove fruitful.

Main Slate Secondary Target: Kansas City Royals vs. RHP Michael Soroka — 4.6 implied runs

First Pitch: 7:40 p.m. ET

After being a heralded prospect for Atlanta, RHP Michael Soroka was never able to break through with any consistency and of course injuries took their toll. Above average power and walks are not a good mix for a pitcher that is not able to get out of jams via strikeouts. Last Saturday, the Motor City Kitties put 10 runners on base with seven hits and three walks. The game ended after five frames for Soroka, who left the mound with a 7.20 ERA and 2.00 WHIP.

Kansas City does not have the most disciplined group of hitters against righties, but the projected lineup is teeming with power, boasting a .214 ISO last season. Vinnie Pasquantino and MJ Melendez will enjoy the platoon-advantage, while Bobby Witt Jr., Salvador Perez and Hunter Renfroe are all adept against same-handed hurlers.

Other DFS and Sports Wagering Opportunities

This afternoon we can look to Rowdy Tellez in the sports wagering market with his +540 prop to hit a home run. The True Odds feature on OddsShopper shows this bet has +513 “true odds,” and the +540 line currently available at both Bet Rivers and Unibet provides a reasonable 4.5% expected return on investment (ROI). We can also see that these two books are misaligned, when comparing them to the +360 line on FanDuel. Typically FanDuel has the most generous home run lines without fail, but it is still important to use OddsShopper to quickly peruse what is available across all sites.

While home run wagers are fun, they are long shots and one nice feature that OddsShopper provides is customized wager amounts, based on a specific bankroll. For a bet like Tellez to hit a dinger, the recommended wager is $3 of a $1,000 bank role. This takes into account that we are looking at a very long time horizon to realize the elevated ROI% of 4.5%. Still, looking at Bet Rivers and Unibet, we can see their offerings far outpaces most books which are hanging a +350 to +425 line range.

Over the last three seasons, Gray has been hammered by lefties, which bodes well for Tellez to make this dream come to fruition with a dinger.

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Final Thoughts for Thursday, April 4 — MLB DFS Picks

Since the Detroit Tigers at New York Mets doubleheader is not on most slates, that leaves Washington as the only weather spot to monitor. Things should be clearing up by the evening, so better decisions can be made closer to first pitch to make sure the forecast stays on track.

Before you finalize your MLB DFS picks, check out today’s Stokastic MLB Live Before Lock Show, get 30% off the Stokastic MLB Packages including DFS Sims, Lineup Generator and Data, with promo code DINGER.


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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