MLB DFS Plays: Saturday 5/29

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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.

It's a split-action Saturday with 10 games early (2:05pm ET start) and five games in the “main” slate. Weather could once again affect the action today. The Brewers and Nationals doubleheader might need a delay into the evening. Several other venues including Boston, New York, and Cleveland have uncertainty. Winds with gusts over 20-mph are blowing in from center at Wrigley Field and left from Fenway. As for the three doubleheaders, they mostly invalidate the hitters as options, although the pitchers get a boost on platforms that count complete games.

PITCHER

Top Play: Luis Castillo – Reds (at Cubs)

Castillo has been truly infuriating this season. His command just isn’t what we’re used to seeing from him. Lately, he’s adjusted by issuing more walks. All things considered, a free pass is probably better than some of the rockets he’s coughed. Despite his struggles, he projects as the best pitcher and top value in the early slate. The winds at Wrigley should help him to avoid home runs. He’s still inducing over a strikeout per inning. The Cubs have the ninth-worst strikeout rate (25.3% K%).

Also Consider: Yu Darvish (early), Freddy Peralta (early), Trevor Rogers (early), Ian Anderson (late), Julio Urias (late)

Pivot: Patrick Corbin – Nationals (vs Brewers)

Sources conflict as to whether Corbin will pitch the first or second game. He’s more valuable in the nightcap since Peralta is expected to handle the first game. Corbin is getting a little more life out of his slider lately, but his fastball is still painfully mashable. He profiles as a classic GPP play. If he can channel the seven-inning, nine-strikeout performance he delivered on May 13, he’ll brush contest-leading upside. All but three of his nine starts have been disasters.

Also Consider: Frankie Montas (early), Spencer Turnbull (early), Nathan Eovaldi (early), Zach Davies (early), Mike Foltynewicz (late), Justin Dunn (late)

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CATCHER

Top Play: Will Smith – Dodgers (vs Logan Webb)

Smith played yesterday so this might be an Austin Barnes day. If he’s in the lineup, he’s virtually the only catcher with a strongly favorable matchup, a full nine-inning game, and dry conditions. The other best options are also in the night slate. Smith is best-used against ground ball pitchers. It just so happens Webb has a 58.7 percent ground ball rate.

Also Consider: Carson Kelly (late), Buster Posey (late), Yadier Molina (late), Gary Sanchez (early)

Pivot: Zack Collins – White Sox (vs Harvey)

It’s not certain Collins will start the first game. The second game of the Orioles-White Sox doubleheader isn’t included in either slate. Collins happens to be priced cheaply enough to be usable despite a risk of receiving only two or three plate appearances. He’s an extreme fly ball hitter with considerable power. The profile is much akin to Kyle Higashioka with multiple homers (and lots of zeroes) possible.

Also Consider: Eric Haase (early), Omar Narvaez (both)

FIRST BASE

Top Play: Shohei Ohtani – Angels (at Montas)

Montas is pitching somewhat contrary to his strengths this season which has led to continued problems with home runs. Ohtani is putting on a light show, posting most of the hardest hit balls in the league – at least those not hit by Giancarlo Stanton. He leads the league in barreled contact (21.7% barrel%, a Statcast measure). As it turns out, Montas has allowed the third-most barreled contact (12.2% barrel%). Seems favorable to Ohtani, huh? We actually don’t have any research to confirm if it is! We’ll have to settle for common sense.

Also Consider: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (early), Matt Olson (Early), Jared Walsh (early), Paul Goldschmidt (late), Max Muncy (late), Freddie Freeman (late)

Pivot: Nate Lowe – Rangers (at Dunn)

Lowe has a favorable real-world matchup that might not translate for DFS purposes. He’s a patient left-handed hitter set to face a wild righty. Lowe tends to stay on top of the ball which often prevents him from fully leveraging his above average power. Dunn is an extreme fly ball pitcher – so extreme that he’s posted a .184 BABIP across 92 career innings. The danger is Dunn walks Lowe a few times and we bank just a handful of points. The upside is a home run with bonus run production.

Also Consider: Keston Hiura (both), Danny Santana (early), Pavin Smith (late)

SECOND BASE

Top Play: Jake Cronenworth –Padres (at Jake Odorizzi)

Odorizzi is making his return to the rotation today. A Padres stack should be considered one of the top plays. The Astros right-hander was fine while on rehab. He’s struggled mightily with home runs and just generally staying on the field since the start of 2020 (seven starts, 21.2 innings, seven home runs). Cronenworth isn’t much of a power threat, but he is a great connecting piece who is a daily threat to pop multiple hits with run production. He usually bats third.

Also Consider: Marcus Semien (early), Enrique Hernandez (early), Max Muncy (late), Tommy Edman (late)

Pivot: Josh Rojas – Diamondbacks (vs Adam Wainwright)

Like yesterday, Rojas is merely a multi-hit candidate. Both he and Wainwright are ground ball guys so he’s unlikely to find the right launch angle for a home run. However, since he’s a solidly above average hitter with a cheap price tag, it’s worth dusting him off anyway.

Also Consider: Owen Miller (early), Willi Castro (early), Nick Solak (late)

THIRD BASE

Top Play: Josh Donaldson – Twins (vs Ervin Santana)

Santana isn’t stretched out and will make a spot start for the Royals. We shouldn’t expect more than three or maybe four innings maximum. At this stage of his career, he’s basically a generic long reliever. He skews towards fly ball contact which should help Donaldson generate some lift today. The Twins third baseman has finally seen an uptick in his fly ball rate, but it’s yet to yield extra base hits. Given the quality of his contact, power should arrive in short order.

Also Consider: Manny Machado (early), Jose Ramirez (early), Miguel Sano (early), Anthony Rendon (early), Nolan Arenado (late), Eduardo Escobar (late)

Pivot: Kyle Seager – Mariners (vs Mike Foltynewicz)

Seager might be nearing the end of the line as a useful regular. He’s doing a passable Escobar impression this season. The post-peak lefty slugger traded plate discipline and contact rate for better hard contact rates including a career-best 111-mph max exit velocity. He’s an extreme fly ball hitter set to face a moderate fly ball pitcher with a home run problem. The matchup isn’t ideal, but neither is it one to avoid.

Also Consider: Hunter Dozier (early), Evan Longoria (late)

SHORTSTOP

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

Tatis costs the moon and stars, but he’s well worth it against Odorizzi and a merely average bullpen. With the Crawford Boxes in play, even a miss-hit could leave the yard. Tatis comfortably projects to lead the slate – at least among hitters.

Also Consider: Bo Bichette (early), Xander Bogaerts (early), Tommy Edman (late)

Pivot: Willy Adames – Brewers (at Corbin and Jon Lester)

Whether Adames starts one or both games today, they’re both positive matchups for him against homer prone opponents. It’s emerged that Adames had trouble seeing at Tropicana Field. Since joining the Brewers, he’s hitting .350/.458/.550 in 24 plate appearances. While it’s a dismissible number of games, it’s encouraging to see his walk, strikeout, plate discipline, and swinging strike rates all surge in positive directions. This could be the trigger for his long-awaited breakout.

Also Consider: Trea Turner (both), Amed Rosario (early), Owen Miller (early)

OUTFIELD

Top Plays: Cody Bellinger – Dodgers (vs Webb)
Kyle Tucker – Astros (vs Darvish)

Bellinger will return to action tonight and is presently priced like a mid-tier outfielder. For pessimists, his minor league rehab assignment yielded below average results. While he bopped two home runs in 21 plate appearances, he also showed poor plate discipline and a high whiff rate while failing to convert balls in play into hits (.143 BABIP). We call that bad luck in the Majors, but we expect a player of Bellinger’s ilk to comfortably smoke a .350 BABIP or higher. In any event, he’s a fly ball hitter set to face a ground ball pitcher – and you know how much I like that combination.

Tucker now has a prime role in the Astros lineup. Much like Bellinger, he’s mispriced. While the matchup against Darvish clearly isn’t desirable, this has the makings of a GPP upset written all over it. Tucker is locked in, hitting .349/.438/.698 over his last 20 games with more walks than strikeouts.

Also Consider: Ohtani (early), Max Kepler (early), Nelson Cruz (early), Tommy Pham (early), Giancarlo Stanton (early), Mookie Betts (late), Ketel Marte (late), Ronald Acuna (late)

Pivots: Trevor Larnach – Twins (vs Santana)
Tyler O’Neill – Cardinals (at Seth Frankoff)

Larnach and O’Neill are hard contact machines with friendly matchups. In both cases, their home run potential is elevated thanks to the starting pitcher and exploitable relief corps. The Royals and Diamondbacks will likely each need at least five innings of relief. Contact issues could sink either slugger. Larnach is patient which introduces some modest risk of wasting plate appearances on walks. O’Neill skews the other way. While I wouldn’t say he’s too aggressive, he only has three walks in 116 plate appearances.

Also Consider: Bradley Zimmer (early), Avisail Garcia (both), Wil Myers (early), Josh Rojas (late), David Peralta (late), Dylan Carlson (late), Austin Slater (late)