MLB DFS Plays: Friday 5/28

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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.

Rain is expected to play a large role in this 12-game slate. Postponements are likely in Washington, New York (NL), Boston, and Chicago (AL). We’ll exclude them from our analysis, reducing things to just eight games. Also keep an eye on Cleveland and Detroit. They’re due for cold and wet conditions. Teams have been very proactive about postponing games this season.

PITCHER

Top Play: Gerrit Cole – Yankees (at Tigers)

Of the rain games, Detroit seemingly has the best chance to be dry. The Tigers offense is the worst in the league by many measures – most importantly strikeout rate (28.6% K%). Cole projects for seven innings and over 10 strikeouts. He’s well worth the hefty investment.

Pivot: Randy Dobnak – Twins (vs Royals)

Both ends of this matchup feature underpriced pitchers who should return value. Neither figures to be among the contest leaders although they have the tools necessary to deliver a surprise. Dobnak is coming off a gem against a terrible Indians offense. While the Royals are decidedly superior, they collectively skew towards ground ball contact. Another six innings, four strikeouts, and 12-15 ground balls could be in the cards. Then it just comes down to “winning” the BABIP game – if those grounders mostly find gloves, he’ll be golden.

Also Consider: Walker Buehler, Sean Manaea, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Shohei Ohtani, Kris Bubic

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CATCHER

Top Play: Will Smith – Dodgers (vs Anthony DeSclafani)

Smith sat yesterday and has a valuable matchup against DeSclafani. This is one my standard fly ball hitter versus ground ball pitcher picks. The dry weather in Los Angeles helps too. Smith’s 9.6 percent HR/FB ratio is unlucky – he’s a much bigger power threat than this implies.

Pivot: Kyle Higashioka – Yankees (at Casey Mize)

Although neither a bargain nor a pivot, Higgy is as cheap as we can go at catcher without it becoming a pure punt. Mize is functioning as a pitch-to-contact ground ball pitcher this season which makes this a multi-homer opportunity for Higashioka. Around one-in-ten of his batted balls leave the yard. His issue is making contact and delivering non-homer hits.

Also Consider: Salvador Perez, Mitch Garver, Carson Kelly, Yadier Molina

FIRST BASE

Top Play: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – Blue Jays (at Eli Morgan)

Morgan is a strike-throwing, soft-tossing, right-hander with a premium changeup and little else to recommend him. In the minors, he was an extreme fly ball pitcher which makes a matchup against Vladito potentially gruesome. Progressive Field is tough on right-handed power. Even though he’s the best at the position, Guerrero is overpriced.

Pivot: Matt Olson – Athletics (vs Ohtani)

This is a deep pivot as the frontline lefty-on-lefty matchup is very unfavorable to Olson. Still, he has some modest potential to pop a home run off the Angels southpaw. The real play here is banking on a short outing. In six starts, Ohtani has pitched beyond the fifth inning just once. Three times, he failed to complete five frames. The Angels bullpen has a 5.17 ERA (estimators think they’re actually a full run better than that though).

Also Consider: Max Muncy, Paul Goldschmidt, Carlos Santana, Pavin Smith, Alex Kirilloff, Miguel Sano

SECOND BASE

Top Play: Max Muncy – Dodgers (vs DeSclafani)

Muncy is the best alternative to Guerrero as a top first baseman, and he comfortably leads the pile of second basemen. He binged for power in May, hitting a potent .351/.473/.716 with eight home runs in 91 plate appearances. His batted ball tendencies are favorable against DeSclafani. The downside for DFS purposes is that nearly half his plate appearances end without a batted ball.

Pivot: Josh Rojas – Diamondbacks (vs Johan Oviedo)

Rojas probably isn’t a pivot. However, he is one of the best bargains in this slate. He typically hits first or second in the lineup and is piling up multi-hit games. Both Rojas and Oviedo are ground ball guys so don’t bank on any power. We’re playing for hits and run production only.

Also Consider: Marcus Semien, Tommy Edman, Rougned Odor, Whit Merrifield, Nick Solak, Owen Miller

THIRD BASE

Top Play: Eduardo Escobar – Diamondbacks (vs Oviedo)

Unlike Rojas, Escobar’s extreme fly ball approach matches up well against Oviedo. He has around a one-in-five chance to homer. If he doesn’t deliver a long ball, you’ll wish you used one of the similarly-priced “also consider” choices. They all have a more diverse skill set. Escobar is very much a homer-or-bust play.

Pivot: Kelvin Gutierrez – Royals (at Dobnak)

Gutierrez is a punt with some multi-hit potential. He’s been batting fifth or sixth in the Royals lineup most days. Facing Dobnak all but ensures ground ball contact, but it’s not as if the Twins starter is immune to clunkers. There’s a chance the Royals stack pops off with Gutierrez playing a modest role in the action. He costs next to nothing but also projects to do very little.

Also Consider: Justin Turner, Nolan Arenado, Alex Bregman, Josh Donaldson

SHORTSTOP

Top Play: Fernando Tatis Jr. – Padres (at Framber Valdez)

A Padres stack features as a potential volatility play. Valdez was a revelation last season. His breakout was built upon much-improved command. With just two rehab appearances to judge, Valdez didn’t show any signs of a walk issue, but he also didn’t induce many whiffs against Triple-A competition. Even if he pitches well, he’ll probably exit after four frames leaving Tatis and Co. plenty of time to chew on a middling bullpen. There’s also a chance for a notable flop.

Pivot: Adalberto Mondesi – Royals (at Dobnak)

This is a repeat of the Gutierrez recommendation but with a higher ceiling. Strikeouts are Mondesi’s biggest weakness and Dobnak generally pitches to contact. And unlike with Gutierrez, Mondesi can leg out poorly hit ground balls. Mitch Garver has struggled to cut down base thieves this season (2-for-13 caught stealing). For his career, he’s a below average 25-for-129 caught stealing.

Also Consider: Bo Bichette, Edman, Gleyber Torres, Isiah Kiner-Falefa

OUTFIELD

Top Plays: Ketel Marte – Diamondbacks (vs Oviedo)
Kyle Tucker – Astros (vs Dinelson Lamet)

I’ll be awaiting the release of lineups before committing to any specific plans today – especially in the outfield. There will probably be a few bargains that aren’t easily predicted to start in valuable roles tonight. Tucker is the guy I’m most eager to try. Over the last 20 days, he’s batting .345/.433/.690 with more walks than strikeouts. Yordan Alvarez is banged up so he may bat second or cleanup. Lamet is a tough matchup, although he typically makes short starts. The Padres bullpen also makes for a challenging opponent. However, they’re probably a tad tired with only Mark Melancon qualifying as “well-rested.”

Marte is the rich man’s version of Rojas. The matchup isn’t ideal yet he still projects to be one of the best values in the slate. With his hefty ground ball rate, multiple hits are a likelier path to production than homers.

Pivots: Tyler O’Neill – Cardinals (at Madison Bumgarner)
Harold Ramirez – Indians (at Hyun-Jin Ryu)

O’Neill returned to the lineup yesterday and promptly homered. He’s finally making consistent hard, fly ball contact after three seasons of flailing at the plate. It helps to have the platoon advantage against Bumgarner. They’re both fly ball guys so there is elevated risk of easy fly outs and strikeouts. Ramirez is an uninspiring punt. He’s cheap and has a useful lineup role. Ryu is one of the top pitchers on the docket and induces plenty of ground balls. Ramirez might not put a single ball in the air tonight.

Also Consider: Mookie Betts, Rojas, David Peralta, Mitch Haniger, Aaron Judge, Michael Brantley, Yordan Alvarez, Tommy Pham