MLB DFS Plays: Wednesday 5/5

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This article outlines the best daily fantasy MLB plays of the day at every position. We take a comprehensive look to uncover these core recommendations, factoring respective salaries into the analysis.

Please note, these player picks were organized early in the day. For MLB contests, always check lineups and weather closer to game time. Rain, wind, or unexpected managerial decisions could open up additional sources of value. Be sure to keep an eye on the MLB Headlines and Injuries desk.

Boston has some risk of rain today. It’s not enough to avoid the bats for planning purposes. We weren’t using the pitchers (Casey Mize and Martin Perez) anyway.

PITCHER

Top Play: Yu Darvish – Padres (vs Pirates)

The difference between Darvish and Shane Bieber in this slate is small. Darvish gets a slight nudge for a softer opponent at home. He’s more likely to win, reach eight or more strikeouts, and pitch seven or more innings – but again, the margin is small. It’s almost a coin flip. My recommendation is to go with whichever one is less popular. We’ll have a better sense of that later in the day.

Pivot: Brady Singer – Royals (vs Indians)

As with the top play, the better pivot might depend on which ace is chalkier. My early bet is Bieber wins the popularity contest. Nobody wants to be on the wrong side of an ace. However, both Singer and JT Brubaker are reliable pitchers with a strikeout per inning and a 50 percent ground ball rate. Those traits help them to post point totals well in excess of their price tags tonight.

Also Consider: Bieber, Walker Buehler, Freddy Peralta, Shohei Ohtani, Brubaker, Lewis Thorpe

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CATCHER

Top Play: Mitch Garver – Twins (vs Hyeon-jong Yang)

Yang is a soft-tossing southpaw with a three-pitch repertoire (and a show-me curve). He appears to be a ground ball pitcher with some talent for inducing soft contact. This recommendation mostly comes down to one thing – do you believe Garver’s recent and very brief hot streak is a sign he’s shaken off a year-long slump? Personally, I have doubts. He continues to strike out at a 40 percent rate which is practically Pedro Cerrano territory. During his breakout and lone good season, Garver posted a 24.2 percent strikeout rate. Perhaps facing a ground ball pitcher with Yang’s modest velocity will help.

Pivot: Yan Gomes – Nationals (vs Max Fried)

Fried is returning from the injured list and could either make a shortened appearance or else have rust to shake off. Gomes has a reputation as a lefty masher backed by career-long success. Curiously, there’s no sign in his peripherals of actual superiority (beyond the standard platoon adjustment of about five percent). Even so, he’s priced to move and rates as perhaps the only cheap catcher with a positive value.

Also Consider: Sean Murphy, J.T. Realmuto, Kyle Higashioka, Gary Sanchez, William Contreras

FIRST BASE

Top Play: Freddie Freeman – Braves (at Erick Fedde)

Despite solid results this season, Fedde is a deeply exploitable pitcher who should not be starting for a playoff contending club. His lone redeeming trait is a 50 percent ground ball rate. Saddle up any Braves with lift to their swing. Freeman isn’t exactly that, but he does punish anything low-and-in.

Pivot: Matt Olson – Athletics (vs Robbie Ray)

Olson has emerged as an early MVP candidate by slashing his strikeout rate while continuing to hit for serious power. His new approach helps him with left-on-left matchups. Ray, as we know, is a random number generator. There’s potential for a short outing. The Jays bullpen is mid-tier. Their southpaws are some of the weaker relievers on hand.

Also Consider: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Dan Vogelbach

SECOND BASE

Top Play: Jose Altuve – Astros (at Jordan Montgomery)

The right-handed components of the Astros lineup match up decently against Montgomery. Yankee Stadium adds fuel to the fire. Since returning from injury, Altuve is mired in a deep slump which hasn’t yet affected his price or lineup role. Uncharacteristically, he’s had some issues with strikeouts. He’s still making plenty of hard, line drive contact so the slump will break – possibly with a dramatic multi-hit game.

Pivot: Josh Harrison – Nationals (vs Fried)

Yesterday, I suggested we probably missed Harrison’s best performances and lamented his combination of too many fly balls and pitiful exit velocity. The fly balls could help today against Fried’s ground ball tendencies. This is mostly about multi-hit potential. A home run would count as found money.

Also Consider: Ozzie Albies, Nick Solak,

THIRD BASE

Top Play: Jose Ramirez – Indians (at Brady Singer)

This is a classic recommendation for me. Ramirez is an elite fly ball hitter. Singer is a good ground ball pitcher. The matchup favors power outcomes for Ramirez. It’s too bad the game is at stingy Kauffman Stadium. Chilly weather further hurts his home run chances.

Pivot: Travis Shaw – Brewers (at Chase Anderson)

Shaw’s batted ball profile suggests he’s recaptured some of his 2018 magic. He’s still striking out at an elevated rate, but it’s nothing that can’t be overcome. Anderson is homer prone, and the left-handed elements of the Philadelphia bullpen are thin on the ground. Only Jose Alvarado is a threat.

Also Consider: Alex Bregman, Rafael Devers, Josh Donaldson, Matt Chapman, Austin Riley,

SHORTSTOP

Top Play: Trea Turner – Nationals (vs Fried)

Like yesterday, Turner is simply underpriced relative to other top shortstops. He’s the best combination of ceiling and value. His aggressive approach and high line drive rate are useful traits for DFS purposes.

Pivot: Luis Urias – Brewers (at Anderson)

A passive hitter who looks like he could be bowled over by a strong wind, Urias has developed decent pop. He’s a ground ball hitter which should serve him well against a fly ball pitcher at tiny Citizen’s Bank Park. Nobody is looking for power from Urias, but a home run truly is on the table tonight. Urias has also crept up in the Brewers lineup lately as he finally makes good on his former prospect status.

Also Consider: Fernando Tatis Jr., Bo Bichette, Carlos Correa, Dansby Swanson, Xander Bogaerts

OUTFIELD

Top Plays: Ronald Acuna – Braves (at Fedde)
Mike Trout – Angels (vs Ryan Yarbrough)
Juan Soto – Nationals (vs Fried)

As an analyst, there really isn’t much to digest here. Soto is underpriced in part because he’s coming of injury and in part due to facing a southpaw. There’s almost no reason to shy away from Soto when he’s well-priced. Acuna is a serious multi-homer threat in this particular matchup. Trout will have to contend with a pitcher’s pitcher in Yarbrough. He’s the spiritual reincarnation of Jamie Moyer.

Pivots: Avisail Garcia – Brewers (at Anderson)
Victor Robles – Nationals (vs Fried)

Clearly, I’m strongly leaning towards Brewers and Nationals stacks. Garcia is a low-angle line drive hitter which pairs well against Anderson’s fly ball tendencies. Strikeouts are an ever-present risk for Garcia. As for Robles and the Nats stack, part of my interest relates to the potential for Fried to come out flat. However, Robles is a tantalizing target of his own accord. As a fly ball hitter against a ground ball pitcher, he has an elevated chance to pop his first homer tonight. With luck, he’ll bat towards the top of the lineup rather than his usual eighth.

Also Consider: Yordan Alvarez, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Austin Meadows, Jackie Bradley Jr., Marcell Ozuna, J.D. Martinez, Alex Verdugo, Tommy Pham

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