MLB Plays of the Day – 5/23/17

Kershaw slates are always interesting given him astronomical price every time he takes the mound, but tonight’s is a bit more interesting in my eyes for two reasons: There are a number of viable pivots that I expect to depress Kershaw’s ownership, and the entire St. Louis Cardinals’ team is priced below $2,000 on FanDuel – offering beautiful one-offs for salary relief (Dexter Fowler).

I have decided to avoid writing up Clayton Kershaw much like I did with Russell Westbrook during NBA season because you shouldn’t need to be convinced that he’s a good play – so I will be offering my favorite pivot at the pitching position.

For a full list of the Fantasy Forecast DFS rankings for tonight’s slate, click here and check back regularly throughout the day as more of our contributors fill theirs in.

Here are my preferred plays at every position for tonight’s MLB DFS slate:

Pitcher

Lance McCullers Jr. ($9,400)

At first glance many people may be scared off of McCullers because of the Tigers tonight, but he’s actually the pitcher that I think I’m going to have the most shares of tonight. Yes, over Kershaw. 2017 has been a breakout season for McCullers, posting a 27.2% K-rate (32.1% against RHB), a 2.94 SIERA, 2.69 xFIP, 12.1% swinging strike rate and only a 26.1% hard-contact percentage. He’s solidified himself as an ace and has mowed through some impressive offenses thus far. His next task? The Detroit Tigers.

Again, at first glance, this is a tough matchup, but when you dive deeper it gets much less intimidating. The Tigers currently rank 19th in the league in wOBA (0.320) and 18th in ISO (0.166) against right-handed pitching will also sitting with the 6th highest K-rate against righties (22.9%).

Clayton Kershaw obviously possesses the highest floor and ceiling on this slate, but I believe that McCullers’ ceiling is close enough and his floor is high enough to warrant saving $3,200 and pivoting to him.

Catcher

Christian Vázquez ($2,400)

Catcher is typically a position that I punt and that’s not stopping tonight. Vazquez will likely garner less than 10% ownership (if he’s in the lineup) and I’m perfectly okay with that. He’s produced a 0.329 batting average, a 0.344 wOBA, 31.7% hard-contact percentage and a wRC+ of 113 through the first two months of the season.

The Red Sox have an implied run total of 5.3 tonight against Andrew Cashner, a pitcher that’s gotten more good luck this season than I have in my 22 years of life. While he does hold a beautiful 2.45 ERA, his 5.94 SIERA and 5.49 xFIP indicate a heaping load of regression coming his way. Fun fact – he also walks more batters per 9 innings than he strikes out. That’s right, Andrew Cashner has a -1.2 K-BB%.

The Red Sox are an offense to stack tonight and Vazquez offers some cheap exposure with a load of aces on the slate.

First Base

Jose Abreu ($3,600)

Much like Vazquez, I expect Abreu to carry extremely low ownership tonight since the White Sox usually go overlooked – people are going to regret this tonight.

The White Sox match up with Patrick Corbin in Chase Field tonight, a lefty who owns a 0.360 wOBA, 0.494 SLG, 34.1% hard-contact percentage and has surrendered 1.64 HR/9 to righties this season.

Abreu on the flip side, has crushed lefties this season to the tune of a 0.470 wOBA, a 0.263 ISO, a 41.9% hard-contact percentage and a wRC+ of 205. He’s also heating up at the plate with 7 hits over his last 4 games. Oh yeah, I’ll say it again – this game is in Chase Field.

For $3,600, you could do a whole lot worse at first base tonight and if you really want to leverage some ownership, I think Jose Abreu is the easy choice.

Second Base

Jason Kipnis ($3,300)

Fourth player of the article, fourth underpriced player of the article. Kipnis has been on an absolute tear lately, riding an 8-game hitting streak (13 hits in that span) with RBIs in 6 straight games.

He get’s to face off against the Reds’ rookie lefty Amir Garrett tonight, who has surrendered an alarming 2.84 HR/9 to left-handed hitters – something you wouldn’t expect out of a lefty pitcher.

Kipnis holds a respectable 0.302 career wOBA against same-handed pitching and while lacking the platoon advantage may not be ideal for most FanDuel players, his price for his recent production cannot be ignored.

Third Base

Jake Lamb ($4,100)

I feel like I write up Jake Lamb and Corey Seager in every article, but there’s always a great reason – they crush righties. This season, Lamb holds a 0.458 wOBA, 0.342 ISO and a 38.4% hard-contact percentage against right-handed pitching with an elite 14.8% walk rate.

What’s even better? He faces arguably the worst pitcher on the slate tonight – Dylan Covey. Covey owns a 5.40 SIERA, 5.41 xFIP, 35.7% hard-contact percentage and has allowed 4.08 walks and 2.80 home runs per 9 innings this season.

The Diamondbacks are my favorite stack tonight (even though they’re extremely expensive) and I don’t think it’s right to deploy this stack unless it’s centered around Jake Lamb.

Shortstop

Corey Seager ($3,600)

I said it above and I’ll say it again, Seager crushes righties. He holds a career 0.404 wOBA, 0.221 ISO and 42% hard contact percentage against opposite handed pitching and comes in extremely underpriced for the ceiling he offers.

He faces off with the Cardinals’ Lance Lynn tonight, who has experienced a nice start to the season but has struggled mightily with left-handed batters. He’s allowed a 0.408 wOBA, a 36.5% hard-contact percentage and has allowed 6.23 walks and 3.12 home runs per 9 innings to lefties on the season. Those are some really, REALLY bad numbers.

It’s as clear as day where to attack Lynn, and when you collide his numbers against lefties with Corey Seager’s numbers against righties, you get a must play.

Outfield

Carlos Gonzalez ($3,000)

Underpriced, disrespected and forgotten. That’s how I would feel if I was Carlos Gonzalez right now. His $3,000 price tag is flat up stupid. Yes, he struggled out of the gate this season, but the man has been on a tear of late and has seen his price rise $300. BUT, as a fantasy player, I’ll take it. Sorry, Cargo.

Over his last 5 games, Gonzalez has recorded 8 hits (3 for extra bases) and has posted double-digit FanDuel points in four consecutive games. He holds a career 0.387 wOBA, 0.249 ISO and 35.6% hard-contact percentage against right-handed pitching and takes on Zach Eflin of the Philadelphia Phillies tonight.

Eflin has struggled mightily against lefties over his brief career, allowing a 0.355 wOBA, 37.8% hard-contact percentage (42.4% this season), 2.17 HR/9 and holds a dismal 10.1% K-rate.

With the way Carlos Gonzalez is hitting right now, FanDuel is giving you the opportunity to lock in a stud outfielder who’s priced almost $1,000 less than usual, on a Kershaw slate. You can afford Carlos Gonzalez no matter who you pitch, and I suggest you play him, no matter who you pitch.


 

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