MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Hitters & Stacks for Thursday, April 15th

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Eric MacPherson
·6 min read
MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Hitters & Stacks for Thursday, April 15th
MLB DFS Picks & Stacks from EMac for Yahoo + DraftKings + FanDuel daily fantasy baseball lineups Nationals and Rays | Thursday 4/15/21
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MLB DFS action on Thursday, April 15, features 12 games across four slates with giant contests on Yahoo, DraftKings and FanDuel. Before locking in MLB DFS picks and lineups, make sure to check out Awesemo’s daily fantasy baseball top stacks, picks, rankings and projections. Let’s dig into some MLB DFS picks and daily fantasy baseball stacks, including the Nationals, Rays, Tigers and more.

Don’t forget to head over to the Awesemo MLB DFS HOME PAGE for more great written daily fantasy baseball content, including FREE daily article series: Spotlight Pitchers, MLB DFS Tournament Strategy and MLB Cheat Sheets for all the major DFS sites.

MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Hitters and Stacks, Thursday, April 15th

Yahoo Stack of the Day: Washington Nationals vs. RHP Merrill Kelly — 4.9 implied runs

Merrill Kelly is an innings eater at best. With a fastball in the 90- to 92-mph range and mediocre breaking balls, he is susceptible to power. To be fair, he does have a nice changeup, and the 10-mph differential between that and his fastball help him survive as long as hitters are not waiting on their pitch.

Nationals regulars Trea Turner and Juan Soto are the desired MLB DFS picks. Newcomers Kyle Schwarber and Josh Bell have good power against righties. Veterans Starlin Castro and Josh Harrison have six combined All-Star appearances and 23 seasons under their belt, and they can fill out a full stack at discounted salaries depending on what positions are needed to close out.

Early Slate

Seattle Mariners at RHP Matt Harvey – 4.8 implied runs

While this is the first game of a doubleheader to make up for a rainout and will be scheduled for seven innings, the visiting Mariners will be assured of hitting in all seven innings. In a regular nine-inning game, if the home team is leading heading into the bottom of the final frame, they will not get a chance to bat. This is just for a little perspective for those gamers that are shying away from taking batters in a short game.

Matt Harvey has basically survived in his first two starts this season, both of which came against the Red Sox. In his 9.1 innings, he posted a 5.59 ERA, 1.55 WHIP with nine punchouts and one round-tripper allowed. Last year he was an unmitigated disaster for the Royals, making four starts and three appearances out of the bullpen for 11.2 total innings. He managed 10 strikeouts but allowed six home runs while facing just 65 total batters.

Look to Mitch Haniger, who should be leading off for the Mariners after missing half of the 2019 season and all of last year while recovering from a ruptured testicle. He has looked good this season, and despite a reputation for being better against lefties, he has hammered righties for extra-base hits, with a .242 ISO in his last 250 healthy plate appearances.

Jose Marmolejos has light-tower power. Seattle signed him as a free agent prior to the 2020 season, and he finally got his cup of coffee last year. While he has a 27.8% strikeout rate in his 108 plate appearances against righties, he has posted a .265 ISO.

We know what Kyle Seager offers, but he should be hitting third and he won’t break the bank. Taylor Trammell is a wild card, though he has shown flashes of talent both as a hitter and in the field.

Main Slate

Tampa Bay Rays vs. RHP Jordan Lyles and Wes Benjamin – 5.0 implied runs

There is not yet official word this morning from the Rangers, but indications are that they will use the right-handed tandem of Jordan Lyles and Wes Benjamin in some combination. In both games Lyles has started, Benjamin has replaced him.

The odd part is that typically it is the opener who pitches fewer innings before giving way to the bulk reliever after working through the toughest hitters. Lyles has gone 4.1 and 5.2 innings in these games, and Benjamin has followed with two and 2.1 directly after.

Yahoo and DraftKings have done a solid job with the salaries for the key batsmen. Over on FanDuel it is “buy one, get one,” per the norm. Randy Arozarena will come back to Earth at some point, but he continues to send rockets all over the field. Austin Meadows and Brandon Lowe both have .370+ wOBAs and .240 ISOs in their last 500-plus plate appearances against opposite-handed hurlers. That gives gamers a power trio to target, and all should be in the top four spots in the lineup.

Late Slate

Detroit Tigers at LHP Sean Manaea — 3.8 implied runs

On the late slate, gamers will be flocking towards the Dodgers once again. Rather than writing them up for the umpteenth time, let’s look at how to gain some leverage against the field with just four teams in the player pool.

Most of the field is going to rightfully look to Julio Urias as their ace and then roll with Sean Manaea as his wingman on the two-pitcher sites. A few gamers will pat themselves on the back by being contrarian for choosing talented youngster Tarik Skubal, and everyone will want to attack Austin Gomber with the boys in blue.

Manaea has more DFS name recognition than he does actual results. Injuries and last year’s abbreviated season have held him to just 94.1 innings pitched since the start of 2019. His 1.81 BB/9 rate in those 18 starts has been excellent, while his 1.14 HR/9 rate has been average and his 7.92 K/9 rate slightly above average. He allowed a dozen home runs across these starts, and they were evenly distributed between batters from both sides of the plate. Though it is too small of a sample size to infer anything actionable, it is still worth noting. Spanning his six-year career, Manaea has a 1.20 HR/9 to opposite-handed hitters and an 0.94 HR/9 to fellow lefties.

While they are not household names and are not the best at making contact, the Tigers do have a few batsmen worth targeting. Niko Goodrum tends to move around the batting order, but he has performed well with a .404 wOBA and a .207 ISO in his last 150 righty/lefty matchups.

Renato Nunez and Jonathan Schoop are the other two hitters to target. Nunez should be in the heart of the order, potentially batting in the cleanup slot. Across his last 267 righty/lefty matchups, he has a decent .343 wOBA but an elite .228 ISO. Schoop is in a similar boat, with 167 plate appearances against southpaws, a .358 wOBA and a .255 ISO. To extend the stack, Wilson Ramos has a solid career track record against lefties and knocks out our catcher requirements.

Final Thoughts for the Thursday, April 15th MLB DFS Slate

The weather looks decent outside of the early game in New York between the Phillies and Mets. Keep in mind that salaries and scoring formats differ across the various fantasy sites, and a home run play on Yahoo may be a below-average MLB DFS pick on DraftKings or FanDuel.

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