“You have to roster teams when they visit Coors Field,” they said. “They will pay off the high salaries, there are no good Rockies pitchers,” I was told. “If you fade Coors Field games, you’re shooting yourself in the foot,” is what I read. In MLB DFS, there simply is no sure thing. Over the last seven games at Coors Field this week, only once did a Colorado opponent score more than two runs. Once! If you kept running it back with Coors bats, you likely lost in cash and tournaments in six of seven days. In MLB DFS, perhaps more than any other sport, don’t follow the masses because you are “supposed to.” Find your research sweet spot and make a roster you like; not one other people tell you you should have.
This biweekly MLB DFS piece will look ahead to upcoming series with an eye towards which bats to Stack (rostering multiple players from the same lineup, a key to DFS success) and which bats to Fade (recommended spots to avoid, based on the data). I will also look at pitchers with Potential (high-upside hurlers who might save you a little salary) and arms to Avoid (perhaps pitchers who look promising on the surface but have difficult waters to navigate in the games ahead).
Just one week left before the All-Star Break for us to make some money in DFS! Let’s look at what might be signal and what might be noise as we build our rosters and try to differentiate our rosters this week.
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MLB DFS Look Ahead: June 28–July 1
Bats to Stack
Chicago White Sox (@ MIN) – Do you ever get to work on a Monday morning, coax your computer to turn on, open up your online calendar, and are reminded you have zero meetings that day? It’s the best feeling in the world. Well, I think that’s exactly how the White Sox must have felt when they opened up their schedules and saw matchups against three straight right-handers against the Twins.
It could certainly get a lot worse than Bailey Ober, Jose Berrios, and Michael Pineda, but I bet the Pale Hose are licking their chops to get this series going. We should likewise be getting our stacks ready. There is a DFS colloquialism that goes “Stack White Sox; Print Money.” Nothing could be more true as they get the opportunity to mash these righties over the next three days.
The White Sox offense ranks top eight in OBP, BB%, wOBA, wRC+, batting average, and RBI against right-handers this season. Their BB/K ratio ranks fifth in the majors against that handedness. And in one of the more amazing stats of this season, the White Sox have five of their lineup regulars with a walk rate greater than 10% against right-handers.
While we don’t like to be held captive by small sample sizes, both Ober and Berrios faced this same team last week. The results weren’t pretty. Combined, they allowed nine runs in 8.1 innings while coughing up 14 hits including four home runs between them. Good luck in the rematch, guys!
Bats to Fade
Washington Nationals (@ SDP) – I’d like to think that even if the Nationals were at full strength this week, they might still be a fade these next few days. But now that we will be without Kyle SchwarBonds for a significant period of time and Trea Turner is banged up, it’s the ghost of Juan Soto and a cast of nobodies being thrown to the lions this week.
And by lions I mean the ferocious pitching staff of the Padres, whose starters are AVERAGING 10.24 K/9 this year (fourth-best in baseball) and a 1.17 WHIP (seventh-best). But let’s say you make it past the starters unscathed, well then you get a relief corps with a 3.35% walk rate and 26.2% strikeout rate, both top-eight in the majors.
I could see a case for making a stack with Soto and Washington right-handers on Tuesday against Ryan Weathers, but in the other three games, the Nats will get Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish, and Chris Paddack. Each of these three rank top-40 among all starters for highest K/9 and lowest BB/9 this year, which should line up quite nicely against Washington, who is bottom half of the league offensively in both categories.
In a poor offensive park to boot, the Nationals bats will be a fade for me this week.
Pitchers with Potential
Oakland Athletics (@ HOU) – The answer to your first question is “yes,” I did probably consume one too many adult beverages on July 4th, but “no,” that did not impair my judgment in recommending you play Oakland pitchers in Houston against the Astros. Chris Bassitt and Sean Manaea have been absolutely dealing lately and Frankie Montas has the stuff to silence any offense if he has it working.
But you know the Astros, right? They lead the league in offensive WAR, wOBA, wRC+, OPS, and any other acronym you can invent for this season. This is a team you stack, not fade. Maybe you still think they’re doing it illegally. Whatever. They’re still doing it. But the test is very tough in the middle of this week and they could be without some very important sticks in their lineup.
Both Michael Brantley and Kyle Tucker have missed the last couple of games with minor injuries. Dusty Baker said he “hopes” they will be back by mid-week, but who knows at this point. We do know Alex Bregman is out we are likely to see some version of the Astros B-team on at least Tuesday and Wednesday.
On the strength of a league-leading 7.2% walk rate and second-ranked zone percentage on their pitchers, the Oakland starters have jumped to impressive first halves, especially Bassitt and Manaea. Both of them have ERAs in the top 25 of all starters this year, including both with ERAs under 3.50 on the road. It’s always dangerous when Oakland pitchers leave the friendly confines of Oakland Coliseum and its 27th-ranked offensive Park Factor, but Minute Maid Park is playing at or below average in every offensive category this year except triples.
I can see several 3-1 games or 4-2 contests in this series that is key for both team’s position within the division.
Arms to Avoid
Miami Marlins (vs. LAD) – There are several things in life I consider to be great luxuries: things such as reading a good book, drinking a quality scotch, and owning shares of Trevor Rogers and Pablo Lopez in my seasonal fantasy teams. On a perfect day, I can just sit back and watch the profit roll past the ADP and be proud of my place in the standings.
But despite how good pitchers like Rogers, Lopez and Sandy Alcantara have been this year, this week against the Dodgers will likely not be the time to deploy them in your daily fantasy lineups.
Despite some of their biggest bats being in and out of the lineup this year, the Dodgers still rank fourth in wRC+, seventh in wOBA, and first in walk rate this season. Their team OBP is a relentless .337 as they just keep making opposing pitchers work and work, leading to an offense that has the second-best BB/K rate in the majors.
Rogers, Lopez and Alcantara all have immense talent, of course. Here’s a bar bet you’re sure to win this week – the Miami starting staff has the lowest home-run rate in the league at 0.90 HR/9. But in this unstoppable force/immovable object matchup, the Dodgers bats seem to be a little more unstoppable to me.
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