MLB DFS Picks, Spotlight Pitchers & Top Stacks: Dodgers and Blue Jays Bats (June 21)

Friday wraps up the work week with a 10-game featured slate and a 7:05 p.m. ET first pitch 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 George Kirby as the early-slate ace, with Dylan Cease and Chris Paddack also on the shortlist. The Coors Field Extravaganza looms large for the featured action, though the Dodgers and Blue Jays can help provide differentiation.

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks | June 21

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers

Main Slate Primary Pitching Target: RHP George Kirby (SEA at MIA)

Mariners at Marlins – 3.4 implied runs
First Pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET
$9,400 at DraftKings
$9,800 at FanDuel
$48 at Yahoo

The Stokastic Top Pitchers Tool is impressed with the number of high-end pitching options on the same slate as a Coors Field Extravaganza. There are going to be some decision points tonight that bring gamers well out of their comfort zones.

The Mariners are in Miami for a weekend series, which has RHP George Kirby checking most of the boxes to earn the top pitcher recommendation. He is far from cheap, but among the expensive options, he does have the most favorable matchup against the Marlins, who have scored the second-fewest runs in the league this season.

Tonight will be the 72nd start for the third-year hurler, who has reclaimed the top leaderboard slot for fewest walks per nine innings, a crown he also earned last year. Though he does not wow with his strikeouts, Kirby is up to 8.8 per nine innings, which is a tick above his 8.6 career rate and better than his 8.1 last season. The 26-year-old has allowed right around one home run per nine innings in each of his three campaigns, and that, along with his ability to limit baserunners, has him in the mix for the win more often than not and a quality start, which is worth a bonus on FanDuel.

Miami is best set up to face lefties, though Jazz Chisholm, Jesus Sanchez and switch-hitter Josh Bell can still make life uncomfortable for righties. Jake Burger has a decent track record of power upside against same-handed hurlers, but that plays right into the strength of Kirby. Bryan De La Cruz is worth a mention, but the back half of the lineup more than balances out these positive comments. This can be seen with the projected lineup posting a collective .129 ISO and 21.9% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching over the last season and change. Advantage Kirby.

Main Slate Secondary Pitching Target: RHP Dylan Cease (SD vs. MIL)

Padres vs. Brewers – 4.3 implied runs
First Pitch: 9:40 p.m. ET
$10,000 at DraftKings
$10,000 at FanDuel
$47 at Yahoo

This is not going to be an easy click, at least for those who have been paying attention. First of all, Milwaukee actually has scored the third-most runs in the league. Plus, for those not paying attention to the standings — which, of course, is all of us DFS gamers — the Brewers lead the National League Central by 6.5 games and have the third-best record in the NL.

RHP Dylan Cease has had some uneven performances, and he is in a bit of a swoon right now. Over his last six starts, spanning 31.2 innings, the 28-year-old has a 6.54 ERA, though a lot of that has to do with his 2.27 home runs per nine innings during this stretch, as he also has 10.8 strikeouts per nine. This is no knock against Cease, who is one of the elite pitchers in the game and who also finished second in the American League Cy Young Award race after the 2022 season.

The lengthy delay during his free agency process cost him spring training and could still be somewhat impacting him. To be clear, his season-long numbers are still solid with a 3.95 ERA, accompanied by 11.0 strikeouts and 1.1 home runs per nine innings, but he is not the clear-cut click he may appear to be from a casual gamer’s vantage point.

Since the beginning of last year, Rhys Hoskins (.214 ISO, 176 PAs), Willy Adames (.196, 724), former MVP and two-time batting champion Christian Yelich (.191, 602), and youngster Joey Ortiz (.185, 171) have all crushed right-handed hurlers. Yes, there are still holes in the Brew Crew batting order, but this synopsis should be eye-opening for some.

Main Slate Wild Card Pitching Target: RHP Chris Paddack (MIN at OAK)

Twins at Athletics – 3.9 implied runs
First Pitch: 9:40 p.m. ET
$8,700 at DraftKings
$8,600 at FanDuel
$34 at Yahoo

There are plenty of wild card options on Friday. Rookie RHP Landon Knack is being recalled from the minors as the Dodgers host the Angels in the Battle for Los Angeles. Veteran RHP Colin Rea is in the midst of a career season, facing the team that drafted him in San Diego. Plus, strikeout artists and fellow lefties Chris Sale and Carlos Rodon are squaring off in the Bronx.

Amongst all these potential options, RHP Chris Paddack looks like the best option, but he is far from secure. The 28-year-old has been chugging along this season with a 5.25 ERA, though his 4.46 xERA, 4.27 FIP and 3.91 xFIP do indicate he has been unlucky. His per-nine-innings ratios of 8.19 strikeouts, 1.59 home runs and 1.83 walks are all in line with his career rates. The only major difference from last season is that his fastball is down two ticks to 93.5 mph, which is a little below his career average, and he has moved away from his changeup and incorporated a slider.

In his last start, Paddack faced Oakland in Minnesota on Sunday, allowing five runs in 2.1 innings, including a pair of round trippers, with one walk and no strikeouts. While that is not a precursor for tonight’s results, it certainly does not feel great. Over the last month, in 36.1 innings, the former eighth-round selection of the 2015 MLB Draft has tallied a 6.19 ERA, a 4.57 FIP and 4.31 xFIP. The concerning part is that his 7.43 strikeouts per nine innings have now been down for the last 36.1 frames, and that could indicate a tired arm.

Oakland has the sixth-most home runs in the league this season but the third-fewest runs scored and the second-most strikeouts. If Paddack can neutralize JJ Bleday, Brent Rooker, Tyler Soderstrom and Shea Langeliers, he could flirt with a quality start. If he does not, well, his backers could be very sad by the end of the night. This is the penultimate matchup, so it will be a long wait to see how things play out.

Today's MLB DFS picks, top stacks and pitchers on DraftKings and FanDuel include MLB DFS predictions for key talent like Tanner Bibee...
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MLB DFS Picks: Top Stacks

Main Slate Wild Card Target: Toronto Blue Jays

Blue Jays at Guardians – 5.0 implied runs
First Pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET
Opposing Starter: RHP Carlos Carrasco
DK Top Stack %: 4.9%
FD Top Stack %: 4.6%

The Stokastic Top Stacks Tool has the Coors Field Extravaganza earmarked with the best chance to produce a top-scoring stack (25% combined probability). That is far from surprising given the pitchers slated to toe the rubber and the game total pushing 12 runs with a coinflip advantage to either team.

In his three starts since returning from the injured reserve after suffering acute neck spasms, RHP Carlos Carrasco has allowed just one home run in 13.2 innings, though the 12 “Ernies” in that timeframe tell a different story. The 37-year-old has a long and storied career and will forever be a Cleveland legend. However, that is not going to help him today. The last 353 same-handed batsmen have gotten to Carrasco for a .243 ISO, which bodes well for Davis Schneider, who has a .204 ISO in 178 same-handed matchups, while catcher Danny Jansen has a .229 ISO in 124 plate appearances. Dalton Varsho crushes opposite-handed hurlers to the tune of a .255 ISO in 203 plate appearances this season, with Carrasco suffering a .192 ISO in his last 325 such matchups.

Rookie Spencer Horwitz is likely to lead off, which will make him a prominent part of Toronto stacks. Differentiation can be found by the daring if they are willing to forgo Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who has a paltry .114 ISO against fellow righties this season after crushing with a .200 ISO last year.

The Blue Jays fit in nicely on DraftKings and FanDuel, with reduced salaries and varied positions. The Yahoo salary algorithm is not quite as forgiving, making it harder to get to this stack given the Coors Field Extravaganza and top-shelf pitchers in play.

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Late Slate Primary Target: Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers vs. Angels – 5.0 implied runs
First Pitch: 10:10 p.m. ET
Opposing Starter: LHP Patrick Sandoval
DK Top Stack %: 6.1%
FD Top Stack %: 6.7%

The Stokastic Top Stacks Tool recommends going with a “both-sideser” (h/t TMcB) in Oakland, taking a few of the key Athletics against Paddack on the late slate. Clearly the Dodgers will be popular on that docket, but they are creating barely a ripple in the DFS pond for the featured-slate action.

LHP Patrick Sandoval does have 9.23 strikeouts per nine innings in his last five appearances, spanning 26.1 frames. However, he also has 4.44 walks per nine innings walk, with five home runs and five doubles.

Losing Mookie Betts to injury does dramatically weaken the Los Angeles lineup, but the team is still among the top 7 offensive units, still boasting two other former MVPs at the top of the order. Rookie Andy Pages should be nestled into the lineup just after the core four, giving him ample RBI opportunities. The 23-year-old is the fourth-ranked prospect for the Dodgers, sliding just inside the top 75 on several industry lists. Contact is not his forte, but he does have plenty of power when he does get the bat on the ball.

Shohei Ohtani, Freddie Freeman, catcher Will Smith and outfielder Teoscar Hernandez comprise the aforementioned core four. They are incredibly expensive on DraftKings, ranging from $5,400 to $6,600, but the FanDuel and Yahoo salary algorithms missed that memo.

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This is a good time to pick on RHP Ryan Pepiot in the sports wagering world for the under on his 5.5 strikeouts prop, which is currently available on BetMGM at +125.

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OddsShopper shows this bet has +115 “true odds,” so the +125 odds bring a solid 4.6% expected ROI.




We can also see how crucial it is to shop the odds, as sportsbooks tend to vary wildly with their offerings. This is evident with Hard Rock all the way down at a punitive +100, which works out to a -7% expected ROI. Be a savvy shopper!

Today, Pepiot is projected for 5.2 strikeouts, which is below the six needed for the under on this wager to fail. We can see by the 46% expected win rate for this under that we MUST get this at plus money, and per OddsShopper‘s calculations, that needs to be at least +115 or better. The projected lineup for Pittsburgh has a 22.0% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching this season, with Pepiot boasting a 28.6% combined strikeout rate. Pepiot had a 23.9% strikeout rate last season, so his nearly 20% improvement may or may not be sticky. In his last six appearances, Pepiot has recorded six or more strikeouts three times, and he has bettered that mark in seven of his 12 total starts this year.

Other wagers are continually popping up and disappearing every few minutes as lineups are being announced, which is why it is key to get an OddsShopper Premium subscription to take advantage of all opportunities.

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Final MLB DFS Picks & Thoughts for Friday, June 21

New York is the only real pressing precipitation concern for the main slate, but 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 6:00 p.m. ET brought to you by Sleeper – new users, use this link to receive a $100 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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