MLB DFS Core Stacks: Friday, August 23rd
MLB DFS tournament play is unlike that of any other sport. Predicting outcomes with precision is difficult and player variance is near its peak, so there are special considerations when constructing MLB lineups in order for you to find success in the long term. With that in mind, our DFS analysts will examine the top stacks to help you optimize your exposures before lock each weekday.
Friday, August 23rd
The purpose of this article is to clearly define the best stacks for a variety of tournament formats, while also helping determine which pitcher(s) might work best with the different parts of the order (in terms of pricing) for that stack.
Team 1: The best stack of the night without considering ownership.
Team 2: The best stack to pivot to if ownership on Team 1 becomes too high.
Team 3: The best stack of the night for large-field GPP tournaments. You will be using this stack to try to hit the big first place payout in the largest tournaments on the slate.
THE CORE STACKS
Team 1 – Tampa Bay Rays
Ty Blach’s inability to miss bats is almost comical. Through 315 Major League innings pitched Blach is the owner of just a 12.7% strikeout rate and 6.4 SwStr%. Those numbers are the worst of Friday’s slate by a wide margin. Blach was able to mask his ineptitude a bit when he was a member of the Giants and pitching at pitcher-friendly AT&T Park but Blach is much more vulnerable now as a member of the Orioles pitching home games at hitter-friendly Camden Yards. Aside from his inability to miss bats, Blach has struggled to induce ground balls in his short Major League stint this season which has made him vulnerable to the long ball, allowing four HRs in just 15.2 innings pitched.
As always, an added benefit of stacking against an Orioles starter is the likelihood of facing the league’s worst bullpen for multiple innings. Baltimore relievers are tied for the worst xFIP in the league (5.10) and own the highest HR/9 (1.96) by a wide margin.
Perhaps the biggest appeal about a Rays stack – and why they’re likely to be the highest owned stack of the slate – is that the majority of their hitters have accessible price tags. Both Jesus Aguilar and Willy Adames rate as two of the top value plays of the entire slate at their positions and Travis d’Arnaud is also extremely cheap on FanDuel. Tommy Pham is the team’s most expensive option but still rates as a positive value due to the favorable matchup and park shift.
Potential SP Pairings
Team 2 – Houston Astros
I’m not going to lie – the Astros have let me down quite a bit lately as they were unable to take full advantage of tremendous matchups in a four-game series against the Tigers. Fast forward to Friday night and they yet again find themselves in a favorable home matchup against southpaw Jose Suarez.
Jose Suarez put up competent Minor League numbers this season but has been unable to piece everything together yet in 53 Major League innings. Most notably Suarez has continued to struggle with control (8.8 BB%) and has had a tough time keeping the ball in the yard (2.70 HR/9) already giving up 16 HRs. Suarez is allowing a ton of hard-contact (44.7%) and his inability to induce ground balls (38%) has left him susceptible to more powerful Major League hitting.
Even with Carlos Correa on the IL, the Astros have plenty of power in their lineup against left-handed pitching with seven players in their projected lineup owning ISO’s north of .198 over the last two seasons. Michael Brantley and Jake Marisnick are the only two hitters with wOBA’s south of .362. In addition to talented hitters, the Astros have some stolen base upside in their lineup with Jose Altuve and Jake Marisnick both owning Stolen Base Ratings north of 81 in RotoGrinders PlateIQ tool.
Potential SP Pairings
Team 3 – Milwaukee Brewers
I always feel like a bit of a ‘homer’ when I recommend the Milwaukee Brewers as one of the top stacks of the night but they’re tough to overlook in a posh home matchup at hitter-friendly Miller Park. The Brewers will host Merrill Kelly and the Diamondbacks and arguably have one of the highest power upsides on the slate.
I wouldn’t classify Merrill Kelly as a ‘bad’ pitcher but the Diamondbacks righty is certainly a better real-life pitcher than fantasy pitcher. Kelly not only allows a lot of contact with a strikeout rate well below league average (18.8%) but the contact he allows is typically hit well (13.1 Soft%). Kelly has done a slightly better job at inducing ground balls (41.1 GB%) than the other two pitchers we’re picking on, but similar to both Blach and Suarez, he has struggled to keep the ball inside the park (15 HR/FB%) when the opposition does lift the ball off the ground.
Milwaukee has some extremely powerful hitters in their lineup with five hitters in their projected lineup owning ISO’s north of .226 against right-handed pitching over the last two seasons. Additionally, both Ryan Bruan (.177 ISO) and Trent Grisham (.186 ISO) have flashed some pop against right-handed pitching at times this season and could find themselves hitting in favorable lineup spots on Friday.
Potential SP Pairings
OTHER STACKS TO CONSIDER
1. Minnesota Twins
2. Philadelphia Phillies
3. Cleveland Indians
4. Seattle Mariners