MLB DFS Picks, Spotlight Pitchers & Top Stacks: SP1 Framber Valdez + Astros Bats (June 18)

Tuesday keeps the week rolling with a 10-game featured slate, locking at 7:05 p.m. ET on DraftKings and FanDuel. Yahoo is taking a unique approach and scooping up all 15 games on the docket with their main contests locking at 6:10 p.m. ET. 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 Chris Bassitt and Framber Valdez as key arms, and Houston and Milwaukee are offenses that present the best alternatives to the Coors Field Extravaganza.

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks | June 18

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers

Main Slate Primary Pitching Target: RHP Chris Bassitt (TOR vs. BOS)

Blue Jays vs. Red Sox – 3.9 implied runs
First Pitch: 7:07 p.m. ET
$8,500 at DraftKings
$8,700 at FanDuel
$44 at Yahoo

The Stokastic Top Stacks Tool has RHP Chris Bassitt as a strong contender for being a top-4 pitcher tonight. There are several frontline starters on the hill, though most are either in poor form or have tricky matchups.


Bassitt is just below that caliber of pitcher, though not by much, as the savvy veteran continues chugging along in his age-35 season. There is still a little dog left in this venerable veteran, who is producing 8.62 strikeouts per nine innings, a 3.56 ERA and 0.80 home runs per nine. Each of those statistics are in line with or better than his career numbers.

Boston got off to a roaring start yesterday, with the Red Sox’s first four hits all being home runs off of birthday boy LHP Yusei Kikuchi. Shortstop David Hamilton left in the third inning with a sore midsection, and Masataka Yoshida missed the game with a sore hand. There is no word on their availability as of this morning. Tyler O’Neill had a pair of home runs, and Rafael Devers launched one out of the park as well. That duo is always going to make facing the BoSox tricky, but with the back half of the lineup mostly fill-ins or replacement-level hitters, there is opportunity for Bassitt to churn through that part of the order.

Take the savings with the veteran and reallocate it to some of the amazing offensive environments. Bassitt should be in the mix for a quality start, having allowed three or fewer runs in his last eight appearances while also finishing third in that category last season with 21 in his 32 starts.

Main Slate Secondary Pitching Target: LHP Framber Valdez (HOU vs. CHW)

Astros vs. White Sox – 3.4 implied runs
First Pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET
$9,300 at DraftKings
$9,400 at FanDuel
$40 at Yahoo

In his last outing, LHP Framber Valdez was pulled after just 59 pitches, allowing five runs on eight hits and one walk with only one strikeout in San Francisco. One month ago, he also had an eight-run meltdown against the Angels, though he avenged that 10 days ago with a one-run complete game in Anaheim.


The 30-year-old still has one of the most elite ground ball rates in the league at 61.9% this season, but his strikeouts are at a career-low 6.78 per nine innings. Fortunately, today is the get-right spot of all get-right spots. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Chicago White Sox have entered the arena. Chicago has plated just 229 runs this season, which is 145 fewer than the league-leading Yankees. The White Sox have been a middle of the pack team when it comes to strikeouts, though it is the haves and have nots with four hitters in the projected lineup having a 20% rate or lower against southpaws this season and four with a 30% rate or higher.

Based on his level of fantasy production this season, this is an appropriate salary for Valdez. It may seem discounted to some, but that is not the case with his strikeout ratio falling a full two per nine innings below his career average.

Main Slate Wild Card Pitching Target: RHP Alec Marsh (KC at OAK)

Royals at Athletics – 3.9 implied runs
First Pitch: 9:40 p.m. ET
$7,6900 at DraftKings
$8,800 at FanDuel
$39 at Yahoo

In his last start on Thursday, RHP Alec Marsh blanked the Yankees for seven innings with one hit, two walks and seven strikeouts. That ended a rough three-outing stretch where he ceded five home runs in 17 innings, being bogged down with a 7.41 ERA, though his 3.85 xFIP indicated he was a little unlucky.

Marsh was the second-ranked prospect in the Kansas City system, projecting as a front of the rotation arm. He does a good job with inducing weak/off contact, which allows for grounders and fly balls that die well before the warning track. Putting this together with above-average strikeouts makes him an intriguing target.

Oakland does have some sluggers in J.J. Bleday (.188 ISO), Brent Rooker (.236 ISO), Tyler Soderstrom (.228 ISO) and catcher Shea Langeliers (.265 ISO), but the projected lineup has a collective 26.7% strikeout rate against right-handed hurlers this season, with a subpar 6.2% walk rate. Despite having the fifth-most home runs in the league, the A’s have scored the third-fewest runs this year.

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 Primary Target: Houston Astros

Astros at White Sox – 5.4 implied runs
First Pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET
Opposing Starter: RHP Jonathan Cannon
DK Top Stack %: 8.6%
FD Top Stack %: 8.2%

The Stokastic Top Stacks Tool likes the Astros tonight, going against rookie RHP Jonathan Cannon, who has a great name for a pitcher. The 23-year-old is the 10th-ranked prospect in the White Sox pipeline, but he is not even mentioned on top-100 lists.

Cannon has a “heavy” fastball, which tends to ride down in the zone and, when it is working, can keep opposing hitters from getting a good launch angle. Unfortunately, most projection systems (ZiPS, Steamer, The Bat) have him between six and seven strikeouts per nine innings, with 1.2 to 1.3 home runs per nine innings. He is projected to be a full-time big leaguer next year, so he is likely to end up back in the minors when RHP Mike Clevinger completes his rehabilitation assignment.

While it is unfortunate that Kyle Tucker is out, the Astros still have a strong core at the top of the order with Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and catcher Yainer Diaz, who has been showing upside at the plate. Jose Abreu was released last week, which means a discounted Jon Singleton will be in the middle of the order. Depending on his lineup slot, Jake Meyers is another stacking candidate, though he is better against lefties.

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Main Slate Secondary Target: Milwaukee Brewers

Brewers at Angels – 5.0 implied runs
First Pitch: 9:38 p.m. ET
Opposing Starter: RHP Griffin Canning
DK Top Stack %: 6.6%
FD Top Stack %: 6.8%

The Stokastic Top Stacks Tool has assigned the Dodgers a 19% chance of being the top scoring stack tonight, though it looks like they will be slightly underrepresented in tournaments. DraftKings and Yahoo did a great job with the salaries of the core four, so decisions will need to be made.

DraftKings dynamic pricing algorithm has the Brewers picking up hefty salaries, though things are less daunting on FanDuel and Yahoo. Also less daunting, it a matchup against RHP Griffin “Tomato” Canning, who has allowed seven home runs in his last six starts, along with 13 walks. To his credit, Canning has ceded four or more runs only twice in his last 11 starts, but he has been dancing on the edge of disaster countless times.

Rhys Hoskins profiles very well against his fellow righty, with Christian Yelich and Willy Adames close behind. Catcher William Contreras is a little dinged up but expected to be in the lineup tonight. He is a secondary option, as is leadoff man Brice Turang. Joey Ortiz continues to impress, and he is a discount dandy on most DFS sites.

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RHP Jake Irvin is popping in the OddsShopper model for the under on his 4.5 strikeouts prop. The best line is the +105 currently posted on Caesars.

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OddsShopper shows this bet has -104 “true odds,” so the +105 line brings a solid 4.5% expected ROI.

We can also see how crucial it is to shop the odds, as sportsbooks tend to vary wildly with their offerings. This is evident with sharp book Pinnacle all the way down at a punitive -138, which works out to a horrible -12% expected ROI. Be a savvy shopper!

The 51% probability of Irvin falling below the five-strikeout threshold indicates that we really should only take this wager at plus money to have any sustained success.

In his 12 outings this season, Irvin has fewer than five strikeouts in half of the appearances. He projects for 4.2 today, which is under the five needed for this wager to lose. The projected lineup for Arizona has a 20.8% strikeout rate against right-handed hurlers over the last season and change, with only Eugenio Suarez striking out above a league-average rate.

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 Tuesday, June 18

There are several games to watch out for, with Cleveland the most likely risk from the 6 o’clock games and Colorado from the late games. The true trouble spot is Minnesota, which does have an actual postponement risk. Though, as always, 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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