MLB DFS Picks, Spotlight Pitchers & Top Stacks: Do You Trust Luis Castillo in Coors Field? (April 20)

Saturday brings wall-to-wall baseball, with DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo each having their own interpretation of featured slates, so be sure to know the nuances for your site of choice. 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 Kutter Crawford and Luis Castillo as key arms. Atlanta and Seattle are intriguing offenses for stacking purposes, but focusing on differentiation will be key,

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks | April 20

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers

Main Slate Primary Pitching Target: RHP LHP Shota Imanaga vs. Miami Marlins — 3.4 implied runs

First Pitch: 7:40 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $9,400 | FanDuel n/a | Yahoo n/a

This is the second game of a doubleheader and not included in the featured contests on FanDuel and Yahoo. For those sites, it is a coin flip between LHP Cole Ragans and RHP Corbin Burnes, who are squaring off in Kansas City. That duo is also in play on DraftKings, but they are behind “rookie” LHP Shota Imanaga.

While this is the first season in The Show for Imanaga, he is 30 years old and began his career in 2016 by pitching for the Yokohama Bay Stars in his home country of Japan. Clearly, the 15.1-inning scoreless streak will end at some point, but he should be an above-average strikeout pitcher with good control and a manageable level of home runs.

Miami’s best hitters are Luis Arraez and Jazz Chisholm, both of whom struggle against fellow lefties and are thusly neutralized from the jump. Once upon a time, Tim Anderson was feared by southpaws, but that now feels like a legend more than a fact. That leaves Avasail Garcia, who can mash if he connects but is otherwise a wind machine, and veteran switch-hitter Josh Bell as the only “scary” bats facing Imanaga.

Main Slate Wild Card Pitching Target:  RHP Luis Castillo at Colorado Rockies — 4.3 implied runs

First Pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $7,600 | FanDuel $9,700 | Yahoo $41

It is interesting to see how the three main MLB DFS sites are handling RHP Luis Castillo’s salary. FanDuel took the approach that this is a great matchup and the bitterly cold weather and 8-to-12 mph breeze in from centerfield should neutralize the altitude-aided hits. DraftKings has not adjusted the “dynamic pricing” model for the weather, so Castillo looks like a terrific SP2. Then there is Yahoo, which lands in the “just right” category.

This season the Rockies have been in the bottom third of the league against right-handed pitching with an 88 wRC+, which indicates they are creating runs 12% less efficiently than the league average. Castillo is a complete pitcher, with a strong 27.2% strikeout rate against his last 904 hitter matchup. He does struggle with power against lefties, though his strikeouts are relatively split-neutral and he shuts down same-handed batsmen.

The only hitters to fear are Ryan McMahon, Nolan Jones and graybeard Charlie Blackmon. This trio will be swinging the stick from the left side of the plate and each has above-average pop. Of course, McMahon (30.6%) and Jones (32.1%) strike out in almost one-third of their plate appearances, which should aid Castillo from a fantasy perspective.

Early Slate Primary Pitching Target: RHP Kutter Crawford at Pittsburgh Pirates — 4.2 implied runs

First Pitch: 4:05 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $8,000 | FanDuel $9,200 | Yahoo $48

The Stokastic Top Pitchers Tool has RHP Zac Gallen projected as the “safest” pitcher in his matchup against the Giants in a one o’clock San Francisco game. Those looking for a little differentiation across the featured tournaments or salary savings on DraftKings and FanDuel can consider RHP Kutter Crawford. PNC Park is favorable to pitchers, particularly in the spring and the Pirates are far from the most terrorizing lineup in the league.  Expect to see at least four left-handed hitters in the lineup, though remember that Crawford is equally adept at striking out batters of either handedness. 

Crawford is off to a strong start this season, but he is still looking for his first victory, despite a 0.42 ERA and 10.13 strikeouts per nine innings across his first four appearances. The ERA will normalize and the strikeouts slide down closer to one per inning, but the 28-year-old looks to be on the cusp of a breakout campaign.

MLB DFS Picks: Top Stacks

Main Slate Primary Target: Atlanta Braves vs. RHP Nathan Eovaldi — 5.3 implied runs

First Pitch: 7:20 p.m. ET

The Stokastic Top Stacks Tool has the Padres and Rangers as being underrepresented in tournaments, with Atlanta and Seattle being the most popular offenses. Even with second baseman Ozzie Albies on the shelf yet again with an unusual injury, the Braves are loaded. The top five in the order are the obvious options, particularly with Michael Harris II, who has been promoted to the two-hold with Albies sidelined. Ronald Acuna Jr, Austin Riley and Matt Olson are among the best hitters in the game, with Marcell Ozuna still able to convert on RBI opportunities with runners constantly on base in front of him.

Differentiation comes from the back of the order with shortstop Orlando Arcia, who is an underrated hitter in the DFS world with limited power. Jarred Kelenic gets a clean slate after flaming out with Seattle and is at least making contact, so the power should follow. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud crushed a trio of taters yesterday, and with Sean Murphy on the injured list, he should be in the lineup tonight. The 35-year-old is just two seasons removed from an All-Star appearance and won the Silver Slugger Award for National League catchers in 2020. If he is out, backup Chadwick Tromp is a viable stacking candidate on DraftKings and Yahoo.

Not to bury the lede, but RHP Nathan Eovaldi is still a good pitcher even though he debuted back in 2011, which was basically during the invention of MLB DFS. He survives his 50% hard contact rate by keeping the bases relatively empty, which could be tricky against the seemingly endless lineup for Atlanta.

Late Slate Primary Target: Seattle Mariners at RHP Dakota Hudson — 5.9 implied runs

First Pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET

The weather is about the only thing going in the favor of RHP Dakota Hudson tonight. It will be interesting to see how he performs in Coors Field as a groundball specialist. Since the start of the 2022 season, Hudson has logged 238.1 innings, with a 52.5% ground ball rate and only 0.72 home runs per nine innings. Of course, he also barely registers any strikeouts, with a scant 5.06 per nine. His 42% hard-hit rate can cause problems if he icannot keep the bases clean.

Seattle has a 30.5% strikeout rate this season against right-handed pitching, which is the worst in the league, and the Mariners are in the bottom 10 from a power perspective. The one positive is that they have a lot of good hitters and few truly horrible bats. That means we can be creative with stacks and look to the likes of catchers Cal Raleigh or Mitch Garver, first baseman Ty France and even rookie Jonatan Clase at the bottom of the order, with his proclivity for stealing bases. Of course, he will need to get on board first, but after nabbing 89 bases in the minors in 2023 and 55 in 2022, the threat is there.

Early Slate Primary Target: Houston Astros at RHP Trevor Williams — 5.2 implied runs

First Pitch: 4:05 p.m. ET

The Stokastic Top Stacks Tool loves picking on RHP Trevor Williams, particularly with the early season success found by the soon-to-be 32-year-old. Aside from a low walk rate and the ability to take the ball every five or so days, the rest of Williams’ profile is below average at best. He allows power to hitters from both sides of the plate and last year it felt like he was just throwing batting practice, with nine multi-home run games, including one game with four round-trippers and another two with three.

Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, Jose Altuve and the slightly long-in-the-tooth Alex Bregman remain the usual suspects. Catcher Yainer Diaz has emerged as a tremendous bat and should not be skipped on FanDuel, where gamers are “not required” to roster a catcher. Chas McCormick has pop in same-handed matchups and is a fine one-off from the back of the order.

Other DFS and Sports Wagering Opportunities

Attacking RHP Trevor Williams in the DFS world is obvious, but we can also double down with the under for his 3.5 strikeouts prop. OddsShopper shows this bet has +121 “true odds,” and the +145 line currently available at Fanatics and PointsBet provides a 10.7% expected return on investment (ROI).

This season, Williams has 14 strikeouts in 15.2 innings, which is unusually high for him. He projects for closer to 7 per nine innings, which means in the tougher matchups, it will be hard for him coax opposing batters into more than a handful of whiffs.

In 30 starts last year, Williams had more than four strikeouts nine times, exactly four strikeouts 10 times and fewer than four on 11 occasions. The projected lineup for the Astros has a 18.4% strikeout rate against right-handed hurlers since the start of last season, with only Jon Singleton and Chas McCormick K-ing at an above-league-average clip.

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Final Thoughts for Saturday, April 20 — MLB DFS Picks

There should not be any issues with precipitation, though some venues could be a little cloudy on 4/20. It is going to be cold in Colorado, though the game is expected to be played with Sunday being a doubleheader to make up for Friday’s postponement. Be sure to check in with your favorite DFS meteorological resources closer to first pitch to see if there are any urgent updates.

Before you finalize your MLB DFS picks, check out today’s Stokastic MLB Live Before Lock Show at 6:00 p.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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