Welcome to the Saturday edition of the DFS Primer! What an exciting start we have had to this MLB weekend! Both the Yankees and Braves popped off for 12 runs each. Zack Wheeler and Blake Snell both pitched stellar games, with Wheeler providing 7 innings of shutout baseball and Snell punching out 11 Giants batters over 6 innings. If you didn’t have some piece of that action, you probably didn’t reach the cash line. There were some astronomically high fantasy scores last night!
I don’t have the time to make my fancy table as I have done in previous articles, but there is no need if you know how to read Statcast data. Lately, I have been using the Pitch Arsenals stats at Baseball Savant. What is that, you may ask? It’s very simple: you can view how a pitcher has performed with all of the pitches he throws.
For example, Spencer Strider throws three types of pitches: 4-seamer, changeup, and slider. For each of those last two pitch types, Strider has a whiff rate of greater than 50%. If you had Strider on Thursday night, you were counting your lucky stars, but maybe you don’t need luck if you knew about Statcast. You can also look up similar stats for batters. The Cardinals’ bats have been cold lately, and they whiff at a high rate. They have especially struggled against the changeup and slider.
As I mentioned earlier, Blake Snell was superb last night, and if you used Statcast prior to rostering him in your DFS lineups, you would have found that Snell’s three best pitches are his changeup, curve, and slider, with all of them having a whiff rate of 40% or greater. The Giants looked lost last night.
So who do we go with today using the same Statcast analysis? Brandon Woodruff. He throws five types of pitches, with his two best ones being his changeup and slider. The changeup has a 58% whiff rate. WOW! The slider is also solid, with a 42.4% whiff rate. Meanwhile, the Pirates’ offense has reverted back to their losing ways after showing some signs of life about a week ago. During their last 6 games, the Pirates have gone 2-4 and managed just 13 runs, with two of those games being shutouts.
If you need further evidence that Woodruff is your guy today, the Pirates’ bats in their projected lineup whiff at a high rate against the changeup and slider. Most of them whiff at least 35% of the time against those two pitch types. Some are whiffing over 50%! And don’t be deterred that the Pirates will feature mainly lefties today. Woodruff is even better against left-handed batters. Over 103 plate appearances against lefties, Woodruff has allowed an OPS of 0.532 compared to 0.807 against righties. He also has 45 K and just 4 BBs against left-handed hitting. Clearly, Woodruff is a reverse splits pitcher.
Now that we have paid up for Woodruff, we will need to be mindful of salary when building our stacks. There are two stacks I like today: Atlanta and Tampa Bay. Clearly, the Braves are on fire, so keep riding with them until they cool down. Patrick Corbin has looked sharp lately, but that was against Miami and Pittsburgh, and we have already discussed how bad the Pittsburgh bats are. There are many ways you can build an Atlanta stack, so make sure you submit a few lineups and try to get exposure to all nine batters. This lineup looks lethal and can challenge the Yankees’ and Dodgers’ lineups.
As for Tampa Bay, I want to attack Hunter Greene. He has been incredibly inconsistent and has allowed a high barrel rate. Also, the Tampa Bay bats have come alive recently. Prior to last night, the Rays had won 5 out of 6 games and scored a total of 39 runs. I would consider the right-handed power for Tampa Bay since Greene is a reverse splits pitcher. Harold Ramirez and Isaac Paredes both look primed to go yard today at Great American Ball Park.
Two more things to consider as to why we should build Atlanta and Tampa Bay stacks.
- The weather will be warm, with temperatures in the mid-80s and wind blowing out in Atlanta.
- The Vegas sportsbooks have run totals of 9.5 for both games, and Atlanta and Tampa Bay are each heavily favored to win today. No other run totals are higher on the main slate.
Here are some sample lineups.
P: B. Woodruff
P: C. Carrasco
C: T. d’Arnaud
1B: J. Choi
2B: I. Paredes
3B: Y. Diaz
SS: W. Franco
OF: M. Ozuna
OF: M. Harris II
OF: H. Ramirez
P: B. Woodruff
C/1B: T. d’Arnaud
2B: O. Arcia
3B: I. Paredes
SS: D. Swanson
OF: M. Ozuna
OF: H. Ramirez
OF: K. Kiermaier
UTIL: W. Franco
Good luck today, and let’s finish on a high note before the All-Star Break!
Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)