Saturday, Aug. 14, brings an enticing five-game afternoon slate leading into a robust main-slate at 7:05 p.m. ET. There is a nice mix of offensive environments and decent pitching, which should make for a fun tournament atmosphere. Let’s get into the top MLB DFS picks for pitchers and stacks for Yahoo, DraftKings and FanDuel daily fantasy baseball lineups.
MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks, Saturday, Aug. 14
Yahoo Stack of the Day: Los Angeles Dodgers at New York Mets — 5.0 implied runs
There are several pitchers we can target on the main slate. Jon Lester is squaring off against the Royals, who lit him up for five runs on Sunday. He has allowed four home runs across 15.1 innings with an 8.22 ERA and just eight strikeouts in his last three starts. Jordan Lyles is facing the Athletics, who hung six runs on him in his last start. Over his last two outings, he has posted a 9.82 ERA with seven walks.
The less than dynamic duo above should provide some cover for our primary stack, which will be the Dodgers. Half of the teams on this slate have a 5.0 or higher implied run total, that along with the “name recognition” of Taijuan Walker should keep their popularity in check. Walker has been abysmal allowing multi-home run games in his last four starts. Since the All-Star Break, the erstwhile ace has thrown 21.0 innings allowing 10 home runs with a 10.28 ERA.
Trea Turner will be leading off, and he is all but assured of five plate appearances in front of a loaded lineup. Mookie Betts (hip) is on the injured list, and Justin Turner is dealing with a groin injury that has kept him on the bench since Sunday. This should allow Billy McKinney to see another start, and at the $7 Yahoo minimum salary, he is a perfect complement to Trea Turner as part of a “wraparound” stack. Corey Seager ($16) is swinging a hot bat with a .282/.370/.462 triple-slash line in his last ten games. Max Muncy ($19) has been in a slump, but this is the perfect get-right spot against Walker. We can round things out with Cody Bellinger ($12), Chris Taylor ($18), and A.J. Pollock ($21). Finally, if Will Smith ($20) is behind the plate, he is a fine option at catcher who most gamers will eschew for his lofty salary.
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Boston Red Sox vs. RHP Jorge Lopez — 6.4 implied runs
Somehow Boston disappointed gamers last night despite scoring eight runs. This is because the majority of their production came from the bottom three spots in the order. Remember that runs can come from anywhere in the lineup and on the loaded offenses against mediocre pitching. This is how to gain differentiation while still taking advantage of positive matchups.
Jorge Lopez is not a bad pitcher, but he is not great either. Generally, he survives with a 50% groundball rate, but he allows nearly 80% contact along with above-average walks and below-average strikeouts. Typically he is working behind in the count, which should afford the Red Sox lefties to wait for their pitch.
Alex Verdugo is a discount dandy across the DFS sites, and if he is batting second, we absolutely want him in our lineups. Kyle Schwarber made his Beantown debut on Friday with a pair of walks and a pair of runs. J.D. Martinez received the night off, but he should be back in the heart of the order on Saturday. Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers are a solid one-two punch from each side of the plate and worthy of being tabbed core plays. Lastly, Jarren Duran and Bobby Dalbec are great differentiation plays at the bottom of the order. There is a chance that Christian Vazquez rejoins the lineup after being away from the team on bereavement leave. His availability will give manager Alex Cora a great deal of flexibility with regard to the lineup.
Houston Astros at RHP Jaime Barria — 5.7 implied runs
Last Saturday, Jaime Barria held his own against the Dodgers with a quality start accompanied by five punch-outs. On the flipside, that strikeout total is the third most that Barria has recorded in his last 14 starts. The 25-year old righty pitches to contact, which is a recipe for disaster considering his preponderance for allowing flyballs.
Even without Alex Bregman, who is on the injured list, and George Springer, who is plying his trade for the Blue Jays, Houston has been an elite offense. Everyone is well aware that they are one of the best teams in the league against southpaws. However, they are also top with a 119 wRC+ against right-handed hurlers this season. That indicates they are creating runs 19% more efficiently than league average.
Yordan Alvarez continues to be one of the best hitters in the game, and he has a .374 wOBA and .285 ISO in his last 238 lefty/righty matchups. Kyle Tucker has somehow quietly been nearly as effective with a .370 wOBA and a .242 ISO in the same timeframe. The top of the order is a gauntlet for any pitcher with Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley and Carlos Correa all boasting above-average power and walk rates against righties. Aledmys Diaz has a long history of holding his own in same-handed matchups, and he is an excellent differentiation play along with Chas McCormick in the back half of the lineup.
Top MLB DFS Picks Target: RHP Walker Buehler at New York Mets — 3.7 implied runs
Walker Buehler has been phenomenal this season with a league-leading 2.13 ERA and a top-five 0.93 WHIP. The stability is there with his league-leading 20 quality starts in 23 outings. The only knock against him is that his 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings are not quite elite. However, having the Dodgers offense behind him makes up for that as he is 12-2 on the year. The Metropolitans lost a second shortstop, with Javier Baez joining Francisco Lindor on the injured list. New York is still a good offense. However, they are better suited to face southpaws and create 10% fewer runs than the league average against righties.
Secondary MLB DFS Picks Target: RHP Joe Musgrove at Arizona Diamondbacks — 3.7 implied runs
Despite a mid-summer hiccup, Joe Musgrove has been outstanding, allowing more than two runs only three times in his last ten starts. His 2.81 ERA and 0.97 WHIP rank in the top ten, and his 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings are phenomenal. Arizona is a bottom-three team against right-handed pitching with an 81 wRC+. They also have the third-highest strikeout rate at 25.1%, and their .126 ISO is the lowest in the league. Enjoy!
Wild Card: RHP Zach Thompson vs. Chicago Cubs — 3.6 implied runs
The only real concern with Zach Thompson is that he may be on a “soft” limit of 80ish pitches. He threw only four innings in each of his August starts, and he has only completed the fifth inning in five of his 10 starts. Since 2018 the rookie has not thrown more than 75.1 innings, and he is currently at 61.2, including his time in the minors this season. While the Cubbies plated 10 runs last night in their prior six games, they had 12 total runs. After trading away all of their talent, Chicago is a bottom-five offense, and Thompson gives us additional cap flexibility to load up on hitters.
Final Thoughts for the Saturday, Aug. 14 MLB DFS Picks Slate
Keep an eye on the East Coast weather as Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington have precipitation risks. Quite a few unproven pitchers are taking the mound on Saturday, which should keep things interesting in tournaments with many crooked numbers.
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