MLB DFS Picks, Spotlight Pitchers & Top Stacks: Can Jose Berrios Be Trusted?! (April 14)

Sunday has a robust and frontloaded schedule, so we will have ample options across all positions 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 stacks, key pitchers and daily fantasy baseball lineups. Look to Corbin Burnes and Jose Berrios as key arms, with the Baltimore and Cincinnati offenses shaping up as two of the best stacks this afternoon.

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks | April 14

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers

Main Slate Primary Pitching Target: RHP Corbin Burnes vs. Milwaukee Brewers — 3.4 implied runs

First Pitch: 1:35 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $9,700 | FanDuel $10,800 | Yahoo $53

The Stokastic Top Pitchers Tool has RHP Corbin Burnes at the top of the projections, with a chip on his shoulder and a little “Remember Me?!” attitude in his heart. Baltimore traded for Burnes in February, getting the former Cy Young Award winner for LHP D.L. Hall and Joey Ortiz. Burnes will be a free agent after this season, and he is likely to get something more than double the $15.6 million he made this year on an annual basis.

Sunday will be the fourth start for Burnes, who has allowed a scant four earned runs in 18.2 innings, with a solid 20 strikeouts and only a piddling pair of walks. Burnes will not turn 30 until mid-October, so he is currently at the apex of his powers. While his strikeouts have slid each year since his Cy Young campaign, he remains one of the top-five pitchers in the game.

Milwaukee is likely going to be without Christian Yelich who is dealing with a back issue that had him leave before Friday’s game was complete. Jake Bauers finally got his first home run as a Brewer, though with his career average of .201 across 1,245 at-bats over five seasons with five teams, his high strikeout rate of nearly once every three at-bats is dreadful and more importantly exploitable. Even with temperatures in the mid-70s and a 12-to-15 mph wind out to center field, Burnes should be able to mitigate the likes of Brice Turang, Jackson Chourio, Sal Frelick and Oliver Dunn. That leaves former Philly Rhys Hoskins and slugger Willy Adames as the only dangerous bats.

Main Slate Secondary Pitching Target: RHP Jose Berrios vs. Colorado Rockies — 3.4 implied runs

First Pitch: 1:37 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $8,100 | FanDuel $9,600 | Yahoo $44

DFS gamers tend to have a love/hate relationship with RHP Jose Berrios, but when taking a clinical look at his statistical production, he is damn good. Aside from 2022 when he essentially career-lows with his 5.23 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and 7.8 strikeouts per nine innings. Other than his rookie season all the way back in 2016, Berrios has been at or below a 4.00 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. The last half decade we have seen Colorado struggle both against right-handed pitching and also when they are away from Coors Field.

The main challenge is that they lack left-handed power and of course mainstay Charlie Blackmon, who greatly benefits from the universal designated hitter position, well he will be 38 in July and is no longer the fierce hitter he was in his heyday. Nolan Jones is inconsistent and Ryan McMahon cannot get it done all by himself, which makes for a fun team to pick on with right-handed power pitchers. Since the beginning of last season, the Rockies have struck out at a 26.9% rate against right-handed hurlers, while producing a pitiful .136 ISO, which includes all the at-bats in the thin Denver air.

Late Slate Pitching Target: RHP Luis Castillo vs. Chicago Cubs — 3.8 implied runs

First Pitch: 4:10 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $9,500 | FanDuel $8,900 | Yahoo $37

It definitely has been a rough start to the season for RHP Luis Castillo, who has allowed four earned runs in each of his three starts. The strikeouts and walks are actually better than what he has averaged over each of the last three seasons, but the .451 batting average on balls in play indicates that he has been unlucky. This has manifested in a 6.89 ERA, but only a 3.56 xERA and 3.19 xFIP.

The Cubs feasted against the Rockies with 26 runs in three games, making it seem like they were in Coors Field. While they have cooled off with around four runs per tilt after five games on the West Coast. There is no doubt the team has pop as the projected lineup boasts a .170ish ISO against both righties and lefties. Last night three of the four runs scored by the Windy City Whompers were via solo shots.

Castillo typically limits walks and is above average when it comes to strikeouts, being essentially splits agnostic in both categories with a 7.0% walk and 27.1% strikeout rate. The 31-year-old does have elevated power rates, though that is a function of challenging opposing batsmen. The .216 ISO allowed to the last 431 opposite-handed hitters is not exactly comforting, especially since Chicago will do its best to have at least four and potentially five batters swinging the stick from the left-side of the plate on Sunday afternoon.

MLB DFS Picks: Top Stacks

Main Slate Primary Target: Baltimore Orioles vs. RHP Colin Rea — 4.8 implied runs

First Pitch: 1:35 p.m. ET

The Stokastic Top Stacks Tool is all for loading up on Baltimore boppers this afternoon, with RHP Colin Rea being a good guest and bringing ample home run opportunities to the host team. In his last 274 matchups against opposite-handed hitters, Rea has ceded a .224 ISO and a 31.7% fly ball rate. The venerable veteran will celebrate his 33rd birthday just before the All-Star Break and his best days are well behind him. Hard contact is an issue, with just over a 50% rate allowed to the last 564 batters he has faced, which plays right into the strength of the Orioles.

Gunnar Henderson and Colton Cowser are a terrific one-two combination of lefties at the top of the order, with switch-hitters Adley Rutschman and Anthony Santander forming a quality quartet. If the Batters of Birdland pick up traction in the popularity projections, Ryan O’Hearn, Cedric Mullins and Jordan Westburg are a secondary trio from the back of the lineup who can produce power and differentiation.

Afternoon Slate Target: Cincinnati Reds at RHP Michael Soroka — 5.2 implied runs

First Pitch: 2:10 p.m. ET

Back in 2020, RHP Michael Soroka became the youngest Opening Day starter for Atlanta, just a few days shy of his 23rd birthday. In August of that abbreviated season, he suffered an Achilles tear that ended his campaign. Rehabilitation and a subsequent retearing of the Achilles cost him the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Then last September after working his way back to The Show, he landed on the disabled list with right forearm inflammation and was shelved for the rest of the season.

Atlanta and Chicago worked out a trade in November with Soroka and some tertiary talent heading to the White Sox in exchange for 30-year-old LHP Aaron Bummer. The latter hurler was an effective reliever with the ChiSox, particularly over the last four seasons, but that is a major devaluation of Soroka, that he alone could not command that level of trade return and needed to be accompanied by Nicky Lopez, Jared Shuster, Riley Gowens and Braden Shewmake.

The long ball has become an issue for Soroka, allowing 2.30 per nine innings since the beginning of last year. The strikeouts have fallen to a pitiful 6.70 per nine in that same timeframe and Soroka is now attempting to induce weak contact and ground balls, rather than get hitters out at the plate.

Even with T.J. Friedl and Matt McLain on the injured list and elder statesman Joey Votto no longer in the picture, the Reds have plenty of pop in their lineup. The projected starting nine has a collective .194 ISO and .341 wOBA over the last season and change. Yes, they do strike out at a 25.2% clip against right-handed pitching, but as detailed above, that is no longer part of Soroka’s repertoire.

The trio to target at the top of the order includes Will Benson and Christian Encarnacion-Strand, who are a terrific lefty/righty combination, with switch-hitting veteran Jeimer Candelario slotting in as the likely cleanup hitter. Nick Martini is the cheap power bat, with Jake Fraley having wildly divergent salaries on FanDuel ($2,900) and DraftKings ($4,400). DK also has Elly De La Cruz ($5,600) and Spencer Steer ($5,500) well over $1,000 more than their teammates, which has the duo underrepresented in tournaments as the models are pushing leadoff man Jonathan India ($4,300) for the discount and hitting five spots higher in the order.


Late Slate Target: Oakland Athletics vs. RHP Trevor Williams — 4.6 implied runs

First Pitch: 4:07 p.m. ET

This afternoon the Athletics should find things a little easier than yesterday, when LHP MacKenzie Gore racked up 11 strikeouts over five innings. The Oakland offense has produced a grand total of six runs in the last four games, though that should change this afternoon against RHP Trevor Williams.

Last year, Washington counted on Williams to answer the bell every five or six days and he was more than capable, making 30 starts. Of course he also allowed just over two home runs per nine innings and was well below average with 6.92 strikeouts per nine innings. So far this season he has lucked out with a .207 batting average on balls in play, masking his walk issues and inability to get outs at the plate.

Switch-hitter Abraham Toro is coming off a three hit game and he is very much in play with a .370 wOBA and .167 ISO in his last 42 plate appearances against right-handed pitchers. Catcher Shea Langeliers may be in the lineup as a catcher or designated hitter, but he is a strong option as well. Zack Gelof has been a hidden source of fantasy goodness with an elite .403 wOBA and .287 ISO in his last 264 same-handed matchups.

The rest of the lineup is pretty dodgy, though considering how many gamers will be going to Williams as their SP2 on DraftKings and Yahoo, it makes sense to sprinkle a few others across a player portfolio for luck.

Other DFS and Sports Wagering Opportunities

Will Benson is jumping off the page with a +450 home run prop on FanDuel. OddsShopper shows this bet has +390 “true odds,” and the +450 line currently available at FanDuel provides a tempting 12.3% expected return on investment (ROI). Keep in mind that home runs are fickle and need to be judged on a longer time horizon, with Benson having a one-in-five probability of taking one out of the park this afternoon.

Using OddsShopper to scan the entire marketplace, we can see that most books are in the +300 to +330 range, which means those are likely losing bets on a long-term time horizon. Home run markets are dramatically different across the various sportsbooks, which is why it is key to be a smart shopper.

In his last 321 plate appearances against opposite-handed pitchers, Benson has a stellar .394 wOBA and a .254 ISO. Extra-base hits are in the forecast and with a little luck, he can garner round-tripper in this matchup. It is going to be a warm afternoon in Chicago with temperatures in the mid-70s, with a slight 8-to-10 mph breeze out to right field.

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Final Thoughts for Sunday, April 14 — MLB DFS Picks

Boston and New York look like the locations with the most precipitation risk, though it is unlikely that either game will be postponed. There is still rain in California, so keep tabs on seeing what transpires in Los Angeles, though the actual chance of a delay is slight.

Before you finalize your MLB DFS picks, check out today’s Stokastic MLB Live Before Lock Show at 11:00 a.m. ET, brought to you by Sleeper – new users, use this link to receive a $500 first deposit match! Full details here.

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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