4 Daily Fantasy Baseball Stacks for 5/30/16
Stacking can be a controversial topic in many daily fantasy sports, but you can count baseball as a glaring exception. Here, it's universal.
Using multiple players on the same team on a given day presents you with the opportunity to double dip. If one of your players hits an RBI double, there's a good chance he drove in another one of your guys. When you get the points for both the run and the RBI, you'll be climbing the leaderboards fast.
Each day here on numberFire, we'll go through four offenses ripe for the stacking. They could have a great matchup, be in a great park, or just have a lot of quality sticks in the lineup, but these are the offenses primed for big days that you may want a piece of.
Premium members can use our new stacking feature to customize their stacks within their optimal lineups for the day, choosing the team you want to stack and how many players you want to include. You can also check out our hitting heat map, which provides an illustration of which offenses have the best combination of matchup and potency.
Now, let's get to the stacks. We'll be splitting the stacks in half with the first two teams being on the early slate and the last two on the late slate. As always, we will not include today's game at Coors Field here. If you're reading this, you likely don't need me to tell you how awesome Coors Field is, so be sure to get exposure where you can afford it. Here are the other teams you should be targeting in daily fantasy baseball today.
Back in April, the Boston Red Sox designated Edwin Escobar for assignment, and things were looking pretty grim. Now, one month and one day after the Arizona Diamondbacks claimed him off of waivers, he's back in the big leagues for the first time since 2014. He probably wishes that triumphant return would come against some team other than the Houston Astros.
If you look at the numbers, it'll appear like the Astros struggle against lefties, ranknig 25th in wRC+ when facing them for the season. However, that's only a sample of 440 plate appearances, and a big part of those struggles is a 27.7% strikeout rate. In five starts at Triple-A after joining the Diamondbacks' organization, Escobar posted just a 15.9% strikeout rate, and it dropped to 12.8% over the final four. It's tough to ask a guy to face an offense like the Astros' with numbers like that.
With the Astros struggling recently, they have seen their prices drop almost across the board. The one exception there is Evan Gattis, but that bump up is for good reason, and he's still worth a higher price today. Gattis has a 33.3% hard-hit rate in the month of May, and he only has a 14.2% strikeout rate against lefties over the last two years. He's a guy who hits in the middle of the order and is eligible at a premium position, so being a little bit spendier shouldn't scare you too much.
If you can afford the Boston Red Sox, they're likely the better stack for the early slate. Their bats have almost been priced out of stacking consideration, though, so we'll instead pivot to the also-delectable Cleveland Indians.
Texas Rangers' starter Colby Lewis has been a DFS nightmare this year as his 3.38 ERA is nearly a full run below his 4.41 SIERA. He has bettered his strikeout rate by pushing it to 17.6% from 16.5% last year, but his swinging-strike rate has actually gone down slightly. That would make you think his ERA was unsustainable. One glance at his 39.1% hard-hit rate would just confirm that thought and further cement Cleveland as a quality stack.
There is one minor conundrum here. Lewis has a lower strikeout rate and a lower ground-ball rate against right-handed batters, but most of the top hitters in the Cleveland order swing from the left-hand side. You shouldn't rule out lefties, but this does make Mike Napoli an interesting option. Although he is known for his destruction of lefties, Napoli has a 42.0% hard-hit rate against righties this year, letting him launch a whole lot of these glorious beauties.
.@MikeNapoli25 keeps going yard.
Nap's on pace for 34 HR and 115 RBI — Here's his 6th of 2016: #MothersDay edition.https://t.co/QwVNOsFTdy
— #VoteTribe (@Indians) May 9, 2016
He's never safe with his strikeouts, but he's got enough upside to compensate when facing Lewis.
Last time out, Miami Marlins starter Justin Nicolino looked like a new man. He set a career high with six strikeouts (his previous high was four, and he had never had more than two this year), and he managed to walk only one batter. The issue, though, is that the strikeouts appeared a bit fluky, and that puts the Pittsburgh Pirates in a great spot tonight.
When we're trying to figure out if a one-start sample is a sign of change, the first things we should turn to are swinging-strike rate and contact rate. While Nicolino showed improvement in both, a 7.1% swinging-strike rate and 85.4% contact rate are still the marks of a starter who won't get many strikeouts. Considering that strikeouts are the one area in which the Pirates don't excel against lefties, that's going to get him in trouble quickly.
Stacking the Pirates allows you to have a little fun on your Memorial Day as you'll have some decisions to make. Both Jung Ho Kang and David Freese have destroyed left-handed pitching in their careers, but they're both eligible at third base. If you use one, you can't use the other. Kang's batted-ball stats this year are grotesque, but Freese did just do this against a lefty yesterday.
Enjoy an oppo Freese pop on a Sunday afternoon https://t.co/nPOGz5eoFv pic.twitter.com/XWypUfSr0S
— #VotePirates (@Pirates) May 29, 2016
Having to make that decision is obviously going to suck, but at least both options bring their fair share of excitement.
The sum of the strikeout rates of the two starters in this game (22.2%) is lower than the individual strikeout rates of three starters on the late slate, and it's 0.2 percentage points higher than two others. That's why it's cool to load up as the Marlins get set to face Jeff Locke.
Locke has seen both his strikeout rate and walk rate head violently in the wrong direction this year with those marks now sitting at 14.2% and 10.6%, respectively. Although he's still able to induce ground balls, his soft-hit rate has dropped to 14.9% this year from 21.7% in 2015. When the Marlins make contact against a lefty, that puppy's probably going to do some damage as they sit seventh in hard-hit rate, and that could be bad news for Locke.
If you have a good luck charm, you should be rubbing it raw in hopes that Giancarlo Stanton returns to the lineup tonight. His price on FanDuel has tumbled to $3,500, mostly due to an extreme affinity for strikeouts. That's not as much of a concern against Locke. This allows us to just bask in the 57.9% hard-hit rate Stanton has against lefties since the start of last year. If he's not in there, then we can wipe our tears with exposure to the also-Gucci Marcell Ozuna, but not many guys measure up to the silly sauce Stanton drops on southpaws.