MLB DFS Plays: Saturday 6/19

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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.

As an Atlanta resident, I’m fairly confident the Cards-Braves game will be canned. Let’s leave them out of the analysis. We’re left with a tidy six-game slate this evening.

PITCHER

Top Play: Framber Valdez – Astros (vs White Sox)

Unfortunately, the two best pitchers in the slate – Valdez and Lance Lynn – oppose one another. They’re also backed fearsome offenses. The Astros are far and away the best in the league. They also carry the only strikeout rate under 22 percent (18.6%). It might be a day to skip Lynn.

Valdez has it slightly better. The White Sox are tied for the fifth-best offense and have a mid-tier 23.6 percent strikeout rate. Excluding his pitch-constrained season debut, Valdez has finished seven innings in all three of his outings. He’s thrived against the likes of San Diego, Boston (twice), and Minnesota so it’s not as if he’s faced pushover opponents. It appears he’s retained the improvements that led to his breakout 2020 campaign.

Pivot: Logan Gilbert – Mariners (vs Rays)

Gilbert’s early outings were plagued by too many hittable pitches in the zone. He’s done a better job of executing his repertoire in his two most recent outings. He’s also been allowed to cross the 90-pitch threshold which is fairly important for both innings pitched and strikeouts. Gilbert could turn out to be chalky – the Rays, although a challenging opponent, are strikeout prone.

Also Consider: Lance Lynn, Walker Buehler, Patrick Sandoval, Austin Gomber, Josh Fleming (if Follower)

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CATCHER

Top Play: Omar Narvaez – Brewers (at Gomber)

This pick speaks for itself. Narvaez is one of the top-hitting catchers this season and he’s visiting Coors Field. Gomber is an effective pitcher, but you can never rule out park-fueled antics or a self-immolating bullpen. The Brewers have kept to a consistent two days on, one day off pattern for Narvaez. If Manny Pina starts, he’s a great stand-in as the top play. Pina’s also much cheaper!

Pivot: Francisco Mejia – Rays (at Gilbert)

Gilbert works up in the zone. The Rays are smart enough to know Zunino simply doesn’t handle that well. Besides, they’ve been turning to Mejia more often lately. Once a prospect with a bat-first reputation, he’s a solidly below average hitter. He projects for less than one hit and about one-ninth of a home run. Not exactly inspiring huh? He’s still a solid dollar-for-dollar value out of the bargain bin, and there is a chance Gilbert completely implodes.

Also Consider: Will Smith, Max Stassi, Eric Haase

FIRST BASE

Top Play: Shohei Ohtani – Angels (at Wily Peralta)

The Angels stack, though thin, rates as one of the better plays today. Peralta, who these days is a Triple-A caliber Opener, will quickly give way to an exploitable Tigers bullpen. Most of their middle and long relief arms threw yesterday. Tyler Alexander will probably be asked to handle the bulk of the work.

Ohtani is arguably the top hitter in the slate (we’ll talk about the other tip-top play in a moment). He projects for one-third of a home run.

Pivot: Ty France – Mariners (vs Fleming)

France is locked in at the moment, hitting .444/.467/.815 over the last week. Hot streaks are well and good – they signal a player is health even if they don’t actually predict success in the next game. France happens to be affordable and has just enough lift to maybe do some damage against Fleming. The Rays bulk reliever has an extreme ground ball rate but isn’t immune to home runs (career 1.12 HR/9).

Also Consider: C.J. Cron, Jared Walsh, Jonathan Schoop, Daniel Vogelbach

SECOND BASE

Top Play: Jonathan Schoop – Tigers (vs Sandoval)

Although Sandoval is one of the better pitchers available tonight, he’s just a typical mid-tier southpaw. He combines a high ground ball rate with over 8.00 K/9 – a profile that lends itself to consistent outcomes. Schoop is having his best season since his 2017 peak.

Fun with arbitrary endpoints: since a multi-hit game on May 11, Schoop is batting .340/.401/.624 with 10 home runs in 157 plate appearances.

Pivot: Dylan Moore – Mariners (vs Fleming)

Although strikeout prone, Moore is otherwise a dynamic player capable of contest-defining stat lines. On a skills basis, I look at him as a cut-rate Trea Turner – a version who projects for a .220 batting average. One downside is he’s bouncing between fifth and sixth in the lineup which limits his run production and plate appearance totals. Fleming is a pitch-to-contact guy which should help Moore.

Also Consider: Ryan McMahon, Brandon Lowe, Kolten Wong, Garrett Hampson, Brendan Rodgers, Chris Taylor

THIRD BASE

Top Play: Ryan McMahon – Rockies (vs Adrian Houser)

Sinker ballers tend to be most negatively affected by visiting Coors Field. It takes time to adapt to the changes in pitch shape caused by altitude. Visitors tend to catch too much of the plate. At home, the Rockies hit on par with the Astros. McMahon is a fly ball hitter with serious multi-homer potential.

Pivot: Abraham Toro – Astros (vs Lynn)

While obviously a rough matchup, Toro has developed extreme contact and plate discipline skills. He hit .352/.485/.593 in Triple-A with more walks than strikeouts and a tiny 3.8 percent swinging strike rate – the kind associated with the likes of Nick Madrigal. Unlike Madrigal, Toro also hit for power – seven extra base hits in 68 plate appearances. The 24-year-old could be breaking out in a big way.

Also Consider: Anthony Rendon, Manny Machado, Justin Turner, Luis Urias, Ty France

SHORTSTOP

Top Play: Fernando Tatis Jr. – Padres (vs Vladimir Gutierrez)

In both Triple-A and the Majors this season, Gutierrez has lived on low BABIPs. There’s nothing in his profile to suggest these are sustainable, nor does he have the kind of skills typically associated with successful big league pitchers. Tatis is the alternative to Ohtani for the toppest play. He has over a one-in-three chance to homer along with myriad other ways to pile on value.

Pivot: Gavin Lux – Dodgers (at Matt Peacock)

A Dodgers stack should make for a chalky play this evening. They’re set to face a below average, pitch-to-contact ground ball guy. Lately, Lux is hitting the ball harder (including his top exit velocity on the season) and producing more lift. He’ll need to work to get under one from Peacock. The right-hander has a 60 percent ground ball rate. Even if Peacock pitches well, he won’t last more than five innings. The Arizona bullpen is a crime against humanity.

Also Consider: Trevor Story, Willy Adames, Taylor Walls, Josh Rojas, Brendan Rodgers

OUTFIELD

Top Plays: Justin Upton – Angels (at Peralta)
Randy Arozarena – Rays (at Gilbert)
Tommy Pham – Padres (vs Gutierrez)

Upton leads off for the Angels these days. They should burst out of the gate against Peralta. Upton’s batted ball profile fits well against Peralta – not that they’re likely to face each other more than once. Arozarena lost a 12-game hitting streak yesterday. He’s making consistently hard contact and matches up beautifully against an inexperienced fly ball pitcher. Pham too is scalding hot with a favorable pairing. He’s batting .329/.436/.519 over his last 94 plate appearances.

Pivots: A.J. Pollock – Dodgers (at Peacock)
Raimel Tapia – Rockies (vs Houser)

Pollock should go overlooked in a fairly busy slate. He bats in the lower half of the Dodgers lineup and has a below average batting line. Still, he has enough pop (111.2 max EV) and speed to do damage. He also generates enough lift to get to Peacock. Tapia may not be a pivot, but he is a bargain. We’re leaning into the ground balls with this pick, banking on multiple hits and run production. As such, we ideally should combo him with other Rockies.

Also Consider: Shohei Ohtani, Mookie Betts, Christian Yelich, Avisail Garcia, Jesse Winker, Nick Castellanos, Charlie Blackmon, Trent Grisham, Yordan Alvarez