MLB DFS Picks, Spotlight Pitchers & Top Stacks: Carlos Rodon + Royals Bats (May 19)

Sunday brings an earlier lock time than what we have seen for most of the season, with an outlier 1:05 p.m. ET featured on Roku. There are giant tournaments on DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo. Before we get to our MLB DFS picks, as always, we will use Stokastic’s tools to help identify today’s MLB DFS stacks, key pitchers and daily fantasy baseball lineups. Look to Brady Singer and Carlos Rodon on the main slate as the aces to build around, while Jordan Hicks looks good for the afternoon action. For bats, the Royals and Red Sox lead the way in the early action, with the Giants holding sway for the late slate.

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks | May 19

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers

Main Slate Primary Pitching Target: RHP Brady Singer (KC vs. OAK)

Royals vs. Athletics – 4.0 implied runs
First Pitch: 2:10 p.m. ET
$9,300 at DraftKings
$9,400 at FanDuel
$43 at Yahoo

The Stokastic Top Pitchers Tool is not worried about the warm weather with the mercury cresting into the upper-80s and a 9 to 12 mph breeze to left field. After a career-worst campaign in 2023, RHP Brady Singer appears to have righted the ship, with a career-best 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings and a 2.84 ERA that is just inside the top 25 for qualified starters.

Though Singer has been a little bit lucky this season, he had a strong first three seasons in The Show prior to last year’s meltdown. He has close to a 50% ground ball rate, so when he also has his strikeout stuff working, he is a threat for quality starts and at a minimum should be able to close the book on five innings, making him eligible for the win bonus if his offense is backing him up.

There is some pop in the Oakland offense, though no particularly terrifying individual bats. This is a lofty salary for Singer, so for those searching for more fantasy upside and strikeouts, take a gander at the next writeup.

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Main Slate Secondary Pitching Target: LHP Carlos Rodon (NYY vs. CHW)

Yankees vs. White Sox – 3.1 implied runs
First Pitch: 1:35 p.m. ET
$8,400 at DraftKings
$9,800 at FanDuel
$45 at Yahoo

This is a great matchup for LHP Carlos Rodon, going against the team that selected him with the third overall pick back in 2014. The 31-year-old southpaw is still electric on the mound, and he looks to be in better form than last year, when control and home runs were an issue in his limited action.

Rodon has ceded six home runs in his last four outings, but he also has 27 strikeouts in those 22.1 innings. He also has thrown 102 and 100 pitches in his last two games, so we should see a studly fantasy performance if he has command on his side this afternoon. Chicago projects to have three hitters in the lineup who strike out nearly one-third of the time against lefties. Almost the entire lineup will be filled with right-handed batsmen, which is not ideal for Rodon, but when the best opposing hitters are the oft-injured Eloy Jimenez, inconsistent Andrew Vaughn and the recently signed Tommy Pham, it is not too scary. Oh, it also looks like journeyman Paul DeJong will be batting cleanup, which bodes well for Rodon.

Late Slate Primary Pitching Target: RHP Jordan Hicks (SF vs. COL)

Giants vs. Rockies – 3.4 implied runs
First Pitch: 4:05 p.m. ET
$7,800 at DraftKings
$8,600 at FanDuel
$37 at Yahoo

For the late slate, the choices will be between LHP Jordan Montgomery as the Diamondbacks look to avoid being swept in Arizona by the Tigers. In San Francisco, RHP Jordan Hicks and the Giants are hosting the Colorado Rockies, which has the Stokastic Top Pitchers Tool recommending a Jordan as the top play, and they can be paired together on DraftKings and Yahoo.

Ultimately, Hicks gets the edge for better current form and matchup. The 27-year-old was a third-round selection out of high school in the 2015 MLB Draft, landing with St. Louis. He worked his way through the low minors as a starter for a couple of seasons before being called up as a reliever. In 2022, the team did have him try his hand at starting but ultimately kept him as a key reliever. Last year, Toronto acquired Hicks at the trade deadline to bolster their bullpen. This offseason, Hicks signed a four-year, $44 million deal with San Francisco.

Hicks has performed admirably as a starter, with a 2.44 ERA and 1.15 WHIP through nine starts. While he has just 39 strikeouts in 48 innings, he has been a little unlucky in that category. Keep in mind that, as a reliever, Hicks was clocked with a 105 mph fastball, but now that he is a starter, he needs to be more economical with his stamina so he can reach a target goal of 90 or so pitches.

The projected lineup for Colorado has a 28.6% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching since the start of last season, with a sub-5% walk rate. Ryan McMahon and Charlie Blackmon are really the only above-average bats, and Blackmon is turning 38 in July.

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MLB DFS Picks: Top Stacks

Main Slate Primary Target: Boston Red Sox

Red Sox at Cardinals – 4.5 implied runs
First Pitch: 1:05 p.m. ET
Opposing Starter: LHP Matthew Liberatore
Top Stack%: 12.2%

The Stokastic Top Stacks Tool knows that the Yankees are hosting RHP Chris Flexen in the Bronx, but the Boston Red Sox are very much in play with several discounted secondary pieces. LHP Matthew Liberatore has made two spot starts in May, and he is the listed starter today going on six days of rest after having been stretch out to 60 pitches in his last appearance.

Things have been tough for the 24-year-old, who has suffered 13 baserunners in his last 7.1 innings, leading to an 8.59 ERA. Liberatore did average a strikeout per inning in these outings, but the former 16th overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft has disappointed with just 6.83 whiffs per nine innings in his time as a starter and reliever. To his credit, he typically does not implode on the mound, but he doesn’t slam the door on opposing offenses either.

Tyler O’Neill looks great in this “Remember Me?!” matchup, having spent the first six years of his career in St. Louis. That familiarity, along with a massive .240 ISO in his last 123 plate appearances against opposite-handed pitching, has him popping in the models. Rafael Devers excels in same-handed matchups, and he almost always delivers some fantasy production. Garrett Cooper and Connor Wong are stacking candidates, and while they are far from household names, they are cheap. Rob Refsnyder will be popular as well since he should be near the top of the order and is the punt du jour today, but for those feeling frisky, skipping him in stacks would create differentiation from most of the other Boston backers. Plus, he is mostly going to get points as a baserunner and not with his bat.

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Main Slate Secondary Target: Kansas City Royals

Royals vs. Athletics – 5.2 implied runs
First Pitch: 2:10 p.m. ET
Opposing Starter: LHP JP Sears
Top Stack%: 13.2%

We will not be alone in looking to the Royals in Kansas City, so be sure to have some differentiation elsewhere in your rosters. On the bump this afternoon will be LHP JP Sears, who is a bit of a late-bloomer, with this being his age-28 season. He was an 11th-round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft by Seattle, working in the low minors for the Mariners before climbing his way up the ladder with the Yankees.

The Royals mostly disappointed their DFS backers yesterday as the core pieces of the stack combined for three doubles, three runs and three RBIs. Today is a new day, and at least the team should be feeling confident after winning 5-3. Bobby Witt Jr. is the key building block, and leadoff man Maikel Garcia is not too far behind with his surprising extra-base hit upside. Veteran catcher Salvador Perez will likely be the designated hitter to keep his bat in the lineup, and outfielder Nelson Velazquez should move up a slot or two in the order with a lefty on the bump. For the mid-afternoon slate, outfielders Dairon Blanco and Hunter Renfroe can be combined with backup catcher Freddy Fermin for a differentiation sub-stack.

Late Slate Primary Card Target: San Francisco Giants

Giants vs. Rockies – 4.5 implied runs
First Pitch: 4:05 p.m. ET
Opposing Starter: RHP Dakota Hudson
Top Stack%: 15.1%

According to the Stokastic Top Stacks Tool, it looks like the Dodgers hosting RHP Hunter Greene and the Cincy bullpen will be the most popular stack on the late slate. The Giants will not be overlooked, though they are coming in with a little less popularity than the Arizona Diamondbacks facing RHP Matt Manning at Chase Field, where the roof is expected to be closed this afternoon.

This has been a rough season for RHP Dakota Hudson, who has a paltry 5.22 strikeouts per nine innings, which is lower than his 5.67 walk rate. The slim silver lining is that the ground ball specialist has been successful in that regard with nearly 60% this season, which has offset a near 50% hard-hit rate. Hudson does not limit home runs, so much as he avoids them — but he has still allowed 1.04 per nine in his last 121 innings.

Turning our attention to the Giants, leadoff man Jung Hoo Lee will be out for the rest of the season with a torn labrum that requires surgery. Catchers Patrick Bailey (concussion) and Tom Murphy (knee) are out, as are outfielders Michael Conforto (hamstring) and Austin Slater (concussion). Last but not least, veteran shortstop Nick Ahmed (wrist) is also hurt, and Brandon Crawford is not walking through the clubhouse door. Well, he will be but in St. Louis, as he signed with the Cardinals this offseason.

There actually is some good news, as yesterday Jorge Soler was activated from the injured list and he stepped into the leadoff role, going 3-for-5 with two doubles, two RBIs and one run scored. Young outfielders Luis Matos and Hector Ramos do not even have 400 at-bats combined in The Show, but each flashed upside with multi-hit efforts, including a home run by Matos, who had six RBIs.

Veteran infielders Thairo Estrada and Wilmer Flores have improved their production against same-handed hurlers and should be near the top of the order. Then we have long-time Bay Area batsman Matt Chapman and MLB legacy Mike Yastrzemski available to provide additional flexibility. There will be many ways to stack the Giants today as a core, as duos or as one-offs.

Even if you do not land on LHP Carlos Rodon in the DFS world, you can still benefit from his matchup against the White Sox by taking the under on the 1.5 total base prop for Andrew Vaughn. This wager is currently available at -130 on bet365.

OddsShopper shows this bet has -162 “true odds,” so the -130 line brings a strong 9.3% expected ROI. We can also see how crucial it is to shop the odds, as sportsbooks tend to vary wildly with their offerings. This can be seen with Unibet and BetRivers offering -186 by way of comparison.

This will be the first time that Vaughn has faced his former teammate, and he has been mediocre at the plate over the last week. In his seven most recent games, Vaugh is hitting .269 with three extra-base hits. Keep in mind two singles or one extra-base hit is all he needs to torpedo the hopes and dreams for those of us taking the under, but the math is on our side.

Since the Padres-Braves game was postponed last night, the strikeout under for RHP Bryce Elder is still in play. See yesterday’s article for a full breakdown.

Final MLB DFS Picks & Thoughts for Sunday, May 19

Atlanta has a postponement yesterday that was semi-questionable, so there is a doubleheader on Monday with San Diego. Tonight these teams are the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball featured game, not on the main slate. There is a slight chance for precipitation, so be sure to check in with your favorite MLB Weather Report page closer to first pitch for updates.

Before you finalize your MLB DFS picks, check out today’s Stokastic MLB Live Before Lock Show, at 12:00 p.m. ET brought to you by Sleeper – new users, use this link to receive a $500 first deposit match! Full details here.

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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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