MLB DFS Picks, Spotlight Pitchers & Top Stacks: SP1 Cole Ragans + Guardians Bats = Rocky Mountain Fever Antidote (May 11)

Saturday brings split-slate action with two waves of featured tournaments. The first gets underway at 4:05 p.m. ET while the primary tournaments will lock at 7:10 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 Paul Skenes, who will make his debut on the early slate and Cole Ragans on the evening slate as key arms. Of course, the Coors Field Extravaganza will be key for the second game set, while the Baltimore Orioles stand out this afternoon.

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks | May 11

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers

Main Slate Primary Pitching Target: LHP Cole Ragans at Los Angeles Angels — 3.3 implied runs

First Pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $9,500 | FanDuel $10,300 | Yahoo $46

The Stokastic Top Pitchers Tool likes LHP Cole Ragans. He is in Anaheim to take on the Mike Trout-less Angels. The 26-year-old lefty has 17 strikeouts in his last two games and a healthy 54 in 42.2 innings. Even better, and few things are better than a pitcher with loads of strikeouts, he has allowed just two home runs and nine total extra-base hits. It would seem that his breakout last year with 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings is a realistic baseline again this year — though there is still a long season ahead.

In five of the last nine games, Los Angeles has managed to put just one baserunner across home plate while averaging just over three runs per performance in this period. Obviously, not having Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout is a detriment, but with Anthony Rendon, Brandon Drury and Luis Rengifo also hurt, this is a paper-thin lineup. Taylor Ward and catcher Logan O’Hoppe are solid players, and it looks like Jo Adell may finally be breaking through. But counting on well-traveled journeymen such as Kevin Pillar and Niko Goodrum to have prominent roles in the offense — well, that isn’t a good thing for the Halos.

Main Slate Secondary Pitching Target: RHP Bryce Miller vs. Oakland Athletics — 3.2 implied runs

First Pitch: 9:40 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $9,200 | FanDuel $10,000 | Yahoo $50

Despite posting 30 runs in a four-game series against Texas, the Oakland offense was unable to sustain anything in Seattle, managing just one run last night. Tonight will be an even tougher task as RHP Bryce Miller is on the cusp of a breakout season.  The 25-year-old has three games in which he has allowed a pair of home runs, but he has ceded just one round-tripper in his other four starts and given up only two earned runs in those 26.1 innings

Miller is a luxury play with the Coors Field Extravaganza commanding attention and salary cap from DFS gamers, which, in turn, should have him somewhat underrepresented in tournaments. LHP James Paxton ($7,400) in San Diego against the Padres or RHP Kyle Gibson ($7,300) in Milwaukee against the Brewers would be the salary-saving options. Of course, there also are a plethora of potential hitters available on DraftKings for $3,000 or less, who can facilitate spending up on pitchers while allowing us to stack Coors Field. Seth Brown, Zach Neto, Andrew Vaughn and Estevan Florial are on the short list of discount dandies tonight.

Early Slate Pitching Target: RHP Paul Skenes vs. Chicago Cubs — 3.6 implied runs

First Pitch: 9:40 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $9,000 | FanDuel $8,800 | Yahoo $25

Unless you have been hanging out in a monastery the last few days, you should know about the buzzaround RHP Paul Skenes’ MLB debut. That development clearly caught the Yahoo salary algorithm off guard, but DraftKings and FanDuel have assigned an appropriate cap hit to the rookie. Skenes was the first overall selection of the 2023 MLB Draft last spring, having set an SEC record with 203 strikeouts in his lone season with LSU. His first two years he was playing for Air Force, though he transferred to get into a league with more competition for his junior season. That clearly worked out, as in addition to being the top pick in the draft, he also got the girl (Livvy Dunne).

In 27.1 Triple-A innings this season, Skenes has a rate of 14.82 strikeouts per nine innings, ceding just one home run and issuing eight walks. The projected lineup for Chicago has a scant 19.3% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching since the beginning of last year with above-average power. However, Cody Bellinger (ribs) and Seiya Suzuki (oblique) are back in action, making the Cubs a more daunting lineup than we have seen for the last couple of weeks.

For those not willing to roll with a rookie, or if you are looking for alternatives if he gains a lot of traction — there are a trio of southpaws in favorable situations. Max Fried is in New York facing the Mets, Nester Cortes is in Tampa facing the Rays and Justin Steele will be in the dugout opposite Skenes.

MLB DFS Picks: Top Stacks

Main Slate Primary Target: Cleveland Guardians at RHP Mike Clevinger — 4.6 implied runs

First Pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

Even with a couple ne’er do wellers taking the mound in Coors Field, the Stokastic Top Stacks Tool likes the Guardians against former Cleveland pitcher RHP Mike Clevinger. Now in his age-33 season, Clevinger has seen a lot of his talent trickle away as the result of various injuries. He missed the 2021 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, and while he has doggedly done his best to hang onto a starting role, Father Time has just about caught up to him.

Lefties are the bane of Clevinger’s existence, and the Guardians lineup will proffer at least seven or eight this evening. Jose Ramirez is still one of the most complete offensive players in the game and Josh Naylor crushes when he has the platoon advantage. While Estevan Florial strikes out way too much for a leadoff hitter (33.6% in his last 134 lefty/righty matchups), he is showing signs of extra-base hit upside this season.

Will Brennan looks to be leveling up this season, and though catcher Bo Naylor has struggled, he was nearly as productive as his brother last year in lefty/righty matchups. The ChiSox have an aging bullpen with three pitchers in their early 30s and two more in their age-29 season. The currently available crew actually has been very lucky with a 3.48 ERA as their 4.55 FIP, 4.52 xFIP and 4.01 SIERA are all in the bottom five of the league. TLDR: there is no cavalry coming to the rescue for Clevinger tonight.

Main Slate Secondary Target: Los Angeles Dodgers at RHP Matt Waldron — 4.9 implied runs

First Pitch: 8:40 p.m. ET

Tonight the Dodgers are in San Diego, and they will be seeing RHP Matt Waldron for the second time this season, which is key. The 27-year-old is the only major league pitcher who consistently relies on the knuckleball, employing it nearly one-third of the time. Essentially he is a crafty-lefty of sorts, in that he tries to keep opposing hitters off balance with a mix of pitch speeds, with a 90 mph fastball that plays a little better off a 78 mph slider and 77 mph knuckler.

Patience is the key, and Ohtani was able to coax two free passes from Waldron last month in his three at-bats. It would be a surprise if he doesn’t have an extra-base hit today, which is not even that bold of a statement. Mookie Betts had two hits and one strikeout in his three plate appearances against Waldron, with James Outman the only other Dodger to record a hit. All told, while the team was 3-for-19 (.157), they struck out just four times and did collect four walks.

Waldron has allowed a home run in each of his last four starts, with just 13 strikeouts in 19.2 innings. Max Muncy and Freddie Freeman round out the core four with Ohtani and Betts, while Will Smith is a tremendous upgrade at catcher if you have the available funds.

Early Slate Primary Target: Baltimore Orioles vs. RHP Ryne Nelson — 4.9 implied runs

First Pitch: 4:05 p.m. ET

It is a cool spring day in Baltimore, with game-time temperatures expected to be in the upper 50s as the Orioles host RHP Ryne Nelson and the Arizona Diamondbacks. On a positive note, Nelson has allowed only one longball in his last three appearances, issuing just two walks. Of course in these 13 innings, he has a paltry seven strikeouts, while dancing on the edge of disaster. Across his last 741 batters faced, Nelson has allowed a .223 ISO, with lefties having the edge, but same-handed hitters right at the .200 ISO elite threshold.

Cedric Mullins is in a major slump, though he is a luxury bat for Baltimore at the bottom of the order. The focus should be on Gunnar Henderson, Adley Rutschman, Ryan O’Hearn, Anthony Santander and Colton Cowser, which ideally allows Mullins to get out of his funk.

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Other DFS and Sports Wagering Opportunities

Despite the hullabaloo surrounding rookie RHP Paul Skenes, we can definitely target the under on his 6.5 strikeouts prop, which is currently available on BetMGM at -120. Skenes is projected for just shy of six strikeouts today, which is under tonight’s milestone, and with a 59% probability of occurring, this is a great way to hedge out some of the DFS downside by leveraging a different market.

OddsShopper shows this bet has -142 “true odds,” so the -120 currently posted provides a splendiferous 7.5% 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 -198, which is just nuts by comparison. Be a savvy shopper!

Today's MLB DFS picks, top stacks and pitchers on DraftKings and FanDuel include MLB DFS predictions for key talent like...

While Skenes has a whopping 45 strikeouts in 27.1 innings at Triple-A this season, that was across seven appearances. In these outings, he is averaging just over 63 pitches, with 75 and 71 in his last two starts. Pittsburgh is not likely to push him beyond 80-to-85 pitches today, and that may not be enough for him to record seven strikeouts. Looking at how aggressively “juiced” the lines are with several books at -170 or higher, grabbing this -120 at BetMGM is crucial as it isn’t likely to last for long.

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Final Thoughts for Saturday, May 11 — MLB DFS Picks

The afternoon slate looks like there are storms that could potentially impact Pittsburgh, though it is too far out this morning to predict the voracity and actual coverage areas. For the evening action, Coors Field is going to be cold and damp, with temperatures in the mid-50s with a chance of rain, though we know that the organization is pretty patient when it comes to weather. 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, 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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