Thursday, Sep 5th
Monday, Sep 9th

Stack Your Stack ⚾ July 25

The hardest part about writing a DFS advice article is making recommendations and watching them fail miserably. It’s something that gave me fears early on, but that I’ve started to embrace more and more as the season has progressed. It’s one thing to say and know you are not going to be right most of the time, but it’s a deep thought exercise to understand and be at peace with being wrong.

And the irony is as I’ve embraced losing and failing, my results have improved. Maybe this was just my way of introducing and plugging the upcoming Willing to Lose series I’ll be writing for NFL season, but honestly, there’s so much more deep thinking here when you truly can set your lineups, look at them and say to yourself, “this lineup is built on my process, the results are just another variable in play.”

I wanted to bring up the concept of accepting losing days and nights in DFS because, after my biggest win of the season two weeks ago, I’ve had a pretty rough stretch since. Heck, I built and played some lineups the other night that did not crack 30 points total (Blue Jays getting three-hit vs. Tylor Megill). However, I’d still defend those lineups if I needed to, and I know exactly why I went there and would make the same play again today if I could.  

Transparency is a core tenant you’ll see repeated a whole lot on OWS in the coming months. And the transparency in DFS actually starts with you. It’s not about the results of all of the MME shark players and how much money they are winning or losing. Instead, it’s transparency with yourself around A) what is your process, B) why is that your process, and C) how are you improving your process each week. Writing these things down from time to time and having a plan will only sharpen your edge. And of course, jumping in with OWS is a great place to start.

For those who have been reading this space since April, first of all, thanks, I am not worthy, but I want to rehash why we are here and what we have learned (using this loosely, it’s more me personally but I never feel like I’m doing this alone). When it comes to MLB DFS…

  • The best hitter stacks will be against pitchers giving up a high % of fly balls, high barrels, and high hard-hit rates, with low HR/FB and BABIPs (high walk rate is nice to see too).
  • The best hitter stacks will be offenses who’ve had recently high hard-hit rates, high fly balls, high barrels, and low HR/FB rates and BABIPs.
  • Narratives are your best friend in DFS (and in betting). Take the first thought that comes to mind when you read a pitcher’s name (that’s likely the public thought too), then consider going against that thought.
  • Don’t stack bad teams (more times than not, the Pirates aren’t erupting for 12 runs)
  • Game stacking is your other really good friend
  • Embrace randomness with random players (see Who’s your Alen Hanson, May 23rd)
  • And overall try to guess less, correlate more

Let’s take those and roll right into Sunday’s slate…

Sunday, July 25th 

To kick things off, let’s find our stackable pitchers, keep in mind some probable starters have not yet been announced (data from June 30th-July 24th):

  • SIERA: John Means (only 5 IP) 7.40 // Paolo Espino 5.8 // Ross Stripling 5.61
  • Hard-hit %: Touki Toussaint 55.6 // Bailey Ober 51.1 // Domingo German 50
  • Barrel %: Stripling 20.7 // Means 15 // Yu Darvish 14.3
  • Fly-ball %: Means 70  // Caleb Smith 57.8  // Stripling 57.1
  • BB%: Stripling 15.2 // Ober 11  // Hill 10.5
  • HR/FB %: Stripling 37.5 // Ober 27.3 // Zack Greinke 25 (Toussaint, Sonny Gray at 0, Rich Hill 6.3)

To add some color, Stripling was absolutely blasted last time out and Means did not pitch well in his return from a long layoff. I’m willing to take a pass at the small sample for Means and the outrageously high HR/FB rate for Stripling. The one guy who looks attackable who hasn’t absolutely imploded is Ober. German’s third-highest hard-hit rate allowed to go along with a matchup with Boston and their MLB-leading HH% of 48% means there will be some high exit velocities in that one though I rarely stack against the Yankees with a relatively great bullpen. Rich Hill in his first start as a Met against Toronto and Toussaint against the Phillies are some other matchups I’ll like to dive into (Hill’s high walk rate and Toussaint’s high HH% are the primary reasons why).

My favorite game stack is Blue Jays-Mets, followed by Angels-Twins.

*data from July 14th-24th, minimum 20 AB’s*

Los Angeles Angels vs. Minnesota (Ober)

I’d probably start with Walsh and Ohtani, then add in the recently activated (thus not pictured) Justin Upton and roll out Fletcher, who is still hot despite the end to his big-hitting streak. Then you have to get weird and the guy who calls out for your play is Mayfield with his sky-high wOBA and FB rates.

San Diego Padres vs. Miami (TBD starter)

You know I always like the Padres because of their stolen base equity. It’s like playing Travis Kelce in season-long or Best Ball, he’s just so much better than everyone else that you’re already starting with a higher floor. It’s tough to fit Manny and Fernando, but do it if you can. Grisham’s fly ball rate has been climbing recently, he just needs to hit the ball harder. Cronenworth is my other must here with the amount of line drives he has been hitting. If the Marlins throw out a fly ball-skewing pitcher, that would be wonderful for him.

Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Mets (Hill)

The usual suspects for the Jays, though if you look at Semien, Grichuk, and Bichette, you love to see their relatively low HR/FB rates. Bichette though I may avoid as a negative launch angle and only 10% fly balls is a tough sell. The nice thing with the Jays is the consistency of the barrels for their primary guys (and make sure to check the last ⅓ of the lineup tomorrow before locking in). 

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta (Toussaint)

This play may be simple to me: the top five about are over seven hard-hit balls the last ten days, though I’ll mention McCutchen and Hoskins would be priorities with 60% fly balls and strangely the same 46.7% HH rate as well. The only Phillie with an outstanding recent HR/FB rate is Realmuto.

Good luck building those stacks today! Let’s climb those leaderboards.