MLB DFS Core Stacks: Wednesday, August 21st
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.
Wednesday, August 21st
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 – Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are expected to be Wednesday’s highest owned stack as they host Drew Smyly and the Philadelphia Phillies at Fenway. Smyly had seemingly turned the page after a couple of respectable performances to start his tenure with the Phillies but has since allowed at least five runs in three straight starts.
In his first two starts with Philadelphia Smyly did a good job inducing ground balls but he hasn’t been able to replicate that success as he’s been much more in line with his career 35.5% ground ball rate over his last three starts. Fly ball pitchers are a rarity in modern MLB but they can have some success if they’re able to limit hard-contact which Smyly hasn’t been able to do this season with a 47.3% hard-hit rate. Hard-hit fly balls mean more HRs so it’s unsurprising that Smyly has struggled with the long ball this season already giving up 25 HRs in just 80 innings pitched this season. Smyly’s 22.5% HR-to-fly ball rate is especially troublesome as a fly ball pitcher.
Xander Bogaerts is considered day-to-day with an ankle injury and is a top Boston target if he’s in the lineup. If looking to differentiate your stacks focus on stacking Boston’s lower-owned left-handed hitters as Smyly has been worse against LHB this season in a limited sample (.487 wOBA).
Potential SP Pairings
Team 2 – Houston Astros
The Houston Astros are currently listed as ridiculous -510 favorites on Pinnacle which makes them not only the heaviest favorite on the slate but also one of the heaviest favorites of the entire season. Not only is Justin Verlander expected to shut down a terrible Detroit Tigers offense but the Astros offense is expected to do their part as well with an implied run total north of six.
Daniel Norris is what we thought he was – a slightly below average pitcher whose best attribute is voluntarily getting fed to the wolves every fifth day. Nothing major stands out about Norris’ 2019 season in the sense that most of his numbers aren’t good (13.7 Soft%; 16.7 HR/FB%) but that’s what we expected.
At times this season Norris has struggled with power, allowing two or more HRs in 6-of-22 starts. Even with Carlos Correa on the IL the Astros have plenty of power in their lineup with six hitters in their projected lineup owning ISO’s north of .200 against left-handed pitching over the last two seasons (Note: it’s technically seven if you include Jack Mayfield and his tiny sample. Yordan Alvarez also has a small sample but his power is expected.). Another added benefit of stacking the Astros is the accessibility of Jose Altuve and Robinson Chirinos who headline weak positions.
Potential SP Pairings
Team 3 – New York Yankees
Aaron Judge is back! Ok, maybe not, but he did finally hit a HR last night, which was his first pulled HR since 7/21/18 according to @InsideEdgeScout. Judge and the Yankees will get another excellent power matchup on Wednesday night against Mike Fiers and the Oakland Athletics.
Yankee’s hitters are likely to see extremely low-ownership given the context of the slate which makes them my favorite stack of the night. Context isn’t great for New York with this game being played at the pitcher-friendly O.co but they still arguably have the most power upside on the slate. Six hitters in the Yankee’s projected lineup own ISO’s north of .200 against right-handed pitching over the last two seasons and guys like Judge (.223 ISO) and Gary Sanchez (.246 ISO) have the power that transcends ballpark factors. Fiers has done a decent enough job at generating soft-contact this season (16.8%) but his low 39.5% ground ball rate leaves him susceptible to the long ball if he’s not hitting his spots.
Potential SP Pairings
OTHER STACKS TO CONSIDER
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. Chicago Cubs
3. Los Angeles Angels
4. Texas Rangers