MLB DFS Picks, Spotlight Pitchers & Top Stacks: RHP Luis Castillo + Mariners Bats (May 12)

Sunday winds down the weekend with a featured slate locking at 1:35 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 identify today’s MLB DFS stacks, key pitchers and daily fantasy baseball lineups. Look to Zack Wheeler on the early slate, with Luis Castillo the ace this afternoon. Cleveland, Minnesota and Seattle provide the best stacking situations on the offensive side of the equation.

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks | May 12

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers

Main Slate Primary Pitching Target: RHP Zack Wheeler — 3.3 implied runs

First Pitch: 1:40 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $11,500 | FanDuel $11,200 | Yahoo $61

The Stokastic Top Pitchers Tool loves RHP Zack Wheeler, the “k” in his name and the “K’s” in his game. Of course, the salary algorithms across the main DFS sites have taken notice of this matchup against the Marlins and sufficiently goosed his salary. Wheeler has cracked the $60 threshold on Yahoo, which has rarely occurred this season and typically was seen only when Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Jacob deGrom were at the apex of their strikeout powers. FanDuel also has been aggressive, which makes this a fun decision point on these sites, with both offering the Coors Field Extravaganza as part of their featured slates. DraftKings cuts off the slate, just before the Rockies and Rangers play, so there is not as much pressure forcing gamers into tough decisions. Plus, with this being Sunday, there will likely be a couple of sub-$3,000 utility men or fourth outfielders slotting into lineups, providing ample discount dandies.

Wheeler is currently the frontrunner for the National League Cy Young Award, and the 33-year-old ranks in the top 3 of the league with his 1.64 ERA and 63 strikeouts, allowing only 0.89 baserunners per inning. In six of his eight starts, he has ceded one or fewer runs, with only seven total allowed in the other two games. The Miami offense took a major hit when leadoff man and two-time batting champion Luis Arraez was dealt to the Padres last weekend. Avisail Garcia is on the injured list and veteran infielder Tim Anderson is dinged up as well, leaving very few above-average options in the lineup. Miami’s projected nine hitters have a 22.6% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching since the start of last season, though four players have a 25% or higher personal strikeout rate. Enjoy!

Main Slate Wild Card Pitching Target: LHP MacKenzie Gore at Boston Red Sox — 4.5 implied runs

First Pitch: 1:35 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $7,500 | FanDuel $8,500 | Yahoo $39

There is no need to go to LHP MacKenzie Gore on FanDuel, outside of being contrarian in tournaments. However, on DraftKings, and to a lesser extent Yahoo, the 25-year-old southpaw has appeal for his salary relief. He was knocked around in his last start, allowing six runs in six innings to the Toronto Blue Jays, though four of those runs were unearned. This season in seven outings, spanning 34.0 innings, the former Padre has ceded only a trio of taters, with 11 walks while striking out a robust 42 opposing batsmen.

Tyler O’Neill and Rafael Devers are a strong righty/lefty combo against all starting pitchers, but aside from veteran infielder Garrett Cooper, no other bats are particularly scary. Masataka Yoshida is on the injured list and Trevor Story is out for the season, which takes out two of the four best bats on the team. This is not a comfortable click, but it is a savvy one for DraftKings, where strikeouts are the currency of the realm and fortune favors the bold.

Late Slate Pitching Target: RHP Luis Castillo vs. Oakland Athletics — 3.0 implied runs

First Pitch: 4:10 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $9,600 | FanDuel $10,400 | Yahoo $55

Last night the Oakland Athletics bested the Mariners 8-1 in Seattle. Of course, starting pitcher RHP Bryce Miller was outstanding with a quality start and nine strikeouts in six innings. The bullpen, however, had three relievers combine to allow six runs in three innings, with each pitcher giving up one extra-base hit. That should not dissuade anyone from riding with RHP Luis Castillo as he continues to author yet another strong campaign.

This will be the eighth start of the season for the 31-year-old, and over his last four games, he has allowed a scant four earned runs while striking out 29 in 26.2 innings. Among the current A’s, only catcher Shea Langeliers has had anything representing success against Castillo, so if he can navigate the pesky and top-heavy lineup, he should be in line for at least a strikeout per inning and a quality start, with potential fantasy upside available.

MLB DFS Picks: Top Stacks

Main Slate Primary Target: Cleveland Guardians at RHP Michael Soroka — 5.1 implied runs

First Pitch: 2:10 p.m. ET

The Stokastic Top Stacks Tool likes the Guardians again, even though Cleveland disappointed as the featured stack on Saturday. Somehow RHP Mike Clevinger and of the worst bullpens in the league allowed a scant four hits and one run, striking out nine. Josh Naylor took one for a ride in the fourth inning off Clevinger for the lone Cleveland run. On tap this afternoon is a matchup against RHP Michael Soroka, who was a long-time Atlanta prospect that never quite broke through in the majors while suffering a variety of injury setbacks. Power has been an issue for the now-26-year-old, who has allowed 2.17 home runs per nine innings over his last 70.2 frames. In this stretch he has a 6.37 ERA, 6.64 FIP and 5.19 xFIP. Yikes!

Soroka has a paltry 20.0% strikeout rate across his last 145 batters faced, and that is just not going to work against a patient Cleveland crew. Jose Ramirez and the Naylor brothers are the players to build around, though there is a chance that Bo will get the day off from catching duties. Will Brennan appears to be on the cusp of a breakout season, and leadoff man Estevan Florial is finally showing signs of life. Not to bury the lede, but it is also going to be in the upper-70s in Chicago today, with a decent 10 to 15 mph breeze out to left field.

Main Slate Secondary Target: Minnesota Twins at RHP Alek Manoah — 4.6 implied runs

First Pitch: 1:37 p.m. ET

In 2022, RHP Alek Manoah was an All-Star and finished third in the American League Cy Young Award voting as a 24-year-old. The wheels have since come off the wagon, and in his next 20 starts he lasted just 91.1 innings while allowing 17 home runs, with an unfathomable 63 walks against 85 strikeouts. This resulted in a 6.21 ERA, which was supported by an identical 6.21 FIP, indicating that he in fact was not unlucky at all.

Last year Manoah was demoted to the minors for two starts to work things out, with even more spectacularly disastrous results. In 7.2 innings he allowed 12 — yes, TWELVE — earned runs, with only four extra-base hits. This season he started with Triple-A Buffalo, and the horror show continued with the anti-hero of the saga allowing 20 runs in 19.2 innings, five home runs and 11 walks. The 28 strikeouts were the only positive news, so the Blue Jays decided to throw in the towel and call up the erstwhile ace. Last Sunday in his season debut, the Washington Nationals chased him from his start after only four innings, seven runs and two home runs, along with four walks. It doesn’t really matter who is in the lineup against Manoah, as he is likely to be released if this nightmare continues.

Catcher Christian Vazquez is probably the only hitter worth avoiding from the Twins today. Everyone else in the projected lineup brings a sea of green, including 38-year-old Carlos Santana. Sorry Toronto fans, the fall from grace for Manoah has been fast and furious.

Late Slate Primary Target: Seattle Mariners vs. LHP Alex Wood — 4.7 implied runs

First Pitch: 4:10 p.m. ET

Veteran LHP Alex Wood is not a bad pitcher, but his best days are clearly behind him. This is his 12th MLB campaign, and Oakland is the fifth organization that has welcomed him into the starting rotation. The venerable veteran gets by with an above-average ground ball rate while letting his defense do the heavy lifting. That means, while he doesn’t allow a lot of home runs, he can still suffer big innings if the bases are not clear, when the inevitable line drive rocket gets through the infield gaps.

Seattle is weak on the power front, but the endless lineup of right-handed hitters who are all above average could cause problems for Wood. The strikeout issues for the Mariners should be masked by Wood pitching to contact, but there is always a risk of not having enough extra-base hits to propel this stack to the top of the leaderboards. While this may sound like an endorsement for Wood, it certainly is not, but it is just a reminder that, even with the lofty projected run total for the late slate, the stack could still fail.

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Other DFS and Sports Wagering Opportunities

Today we can back RHP Frankie Montas in the sports wagering world, for the over on his 4.5 strikeouts prop, which is currently available on BetMGM at +100. Montas is projected for a tick over five strikeouts, which means getting this line at even money is paramount for long-term success.

OddsShopper shows this bet has -106 “true odds,” so the +100 currently posted provides an acceptable 2.7 % 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 sharp book Pinnacle all the way down at -145, which is beyond punitive.

Montas missed two turns in the rotation after taking a comebacker off his right forearm, but he looked good on Tuesday, striking out seven Arizona Diamondbacks while logging 87 pitches over six innings. The projected lineup for San Francisco has a 27.5% strikeout rate against right-handed hurlers this season, and that increases to nearly 29% when reaching back to the start of last year.

While there is not much of a projected return on this investment, this even money line at BetMGM shows how they have hung an aggressive number, by comparison to the rest of the popular sportsbooks. That is the crux of the market-based betting approach that is the core of OddsShopper.

Did you know that you can get up to $1,500 in Bonus Bets paid back if your first wager does not win at BetMGM? Claim here today!

Final Thoughts for Sunday, May 12 — MLB DFS Picks

There is rain in the forecast this afternoon in Baltimore, though it will clear in the early evening. The Orioles are home tomorrow, while the Diamondbacks are heading back to Arizona to host the Cincinnati Reds. This is the final game between these two teams this season, so expect some patience and an effort to get the game in today. 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 12:30 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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