Welcome to the dog days of August.
This time in the MLB season, even the most dedicated fans who follow their favorite teams are taking days off and going on family vacations. The MLB season is long. It’s long for the players. It’s long for the fans. And it’s long for the DFS grinders. And yet, there is still an edge to gain and we all have the opportunity to get better every day. (side note: the first few weeks in September are some of the best for MLB DFS, once NFL starts, especially between Monday-Saturday — more on that in future articles).
So what have we learned so far which we are baking into our MLB process? For any of you out there who have followed these articles weekly (thank you!), this will be a bit redundant. But as reflection is so important to DFS, I wanted to once again review some of my key tenets of building DFS rosters, which have worked some weeks and not others (thanks to my good friend variance):
10 games on tap for today’s main afternoon slate. There are weather issues in St. Louis, mostly predicting poor weather around mid-game. The Reds and Rays are both projected to score over 6 runs, with the Blue Jays not far behind at a Vegas-implied 5.7 total as of this writing (Sunday AM).
As always, let’s start with our gas-can pitchers of the day. We want hard-hits, fly balls, and lower recent HR/FB rates (stats over last 21 days):
There are a lot of fascinating numbers here. First, it’s almost obligatory to stack against Garrett Richards today with the Blue Jays. He pops up as top-3 in HH, Barrels, and Fly Balls. The only negative is some expected regression on home runs allowed. The second pitcher who is in all the wrong places is Bryse Wilson. The Reds are facing him today, they have been white-hot (10+ runs in two straight), so this is also not a good recipe for them today. The Blue Jays will be very high-owned, I’m not sure about the Reds. Wilson has a stronger reputation than he deserves, frankly. Taijuan Walker faces the Phillies today. He has not been good, but he’s been the victim of a .380 BABIP and a 57% LOB rate so he has at least some good luck coming his way.
The Reds and Blue Jays are at the top today, there’s no way around them. The Rays will be next with their high Vegas total. My two more off-the-board stacks will be the Astros (Maeda) and the Mariners (Gil).
Maeda gave up 3 home runs to the Reds in his last start. His K-rate has looked good, but I’m willing to hope it’s a trend he starts giving up more long-balls in his next few starts. His walk rate recently is also lower than it’s been for the season. Luis Gil, on the other hand, had a stellar debut for the Yankees last time out. He allowed 56% fly balls, had a 100% LOB rate, and he doesn’t have an amazing prospect profile. Gil also has the highest SIERA-ERA on the slate (smallest sample of only 6 innings, too). I’ll take the side of him giving up a few runs today vs. the Mariners under-rated offense.
:: stats below from last 10 days, minimum 20 plate appearances, sorted by Hard-Hit rates ::
OK, who had Chas McCormick leading the Astros in hard-hit and barrel rate over the past ten days? He, Alvarez, and Correa are well over 50% HH, they’ll be in my core builds. Brantley too, then I’ll rotate between Tucker and Altuve. The HR/FB rates are all on the board here, which is odd but nobody has more than three long-balls in the past ten.
Hard-hit rates are much lower here collectively for the Mariners than what we just saw with the Astros. As are the HR/FB rates. Kelenic and Seager look like the two best targets, but Toro is actually my favorite with his 13% barrel rate. Torrens always has a solid hard-hit rate, but his wOBA is only .188. The Mariners overall feel like more of a secondary stack to me.
A big week for George Springer. He was toward the bottom of the Blue Jays hard-hit rankings last Sunday. Based on recent form, I’d start with the strong barrel rates of Springer, Teoscar, Vlad, and Bichette, and then mix in Gurriel or Grichuk.
The Reds are raking right now. Even Akiyama is smacking the ball around, though he’s been very lucky (.500 BABIP). My core here would be Winker, India, Suarez, Naquin, and Votto.
I hope this helps you all get started today, good luck!!!