MLB DFS Plays: Wednesday 5/26

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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.

PITCHER

Top Play: Tyler Glasnow – Rays (vs Royals)

Glasnow is coming off his first clunker of the season, a 4.2 inning outing in which he allowed nine hits with only two strikeouts. This wasn’t an instance like last season when he lost command of the zone. It’s probably just a regular bad outing. Glasnow projects to lead the slate with six innings and around 8.5 strikeouts. The Royals recently added Adalberto Mondesi back to the roster which should only help Glasnow’s DFS projection. Mondesi has a career 29.7 percent strikeout rate and replaces Nicky Lopez (13.9% K% in 151 PA) in the lineup.

Pivot: Alek Manoah – Blue Jays (at Yankees)

Those in the know – which by the end of the day will probably be most DFS players – have been awaiting Manoah’s debut ever since he showed up to Spring Training with clearly MLB-caliber stuff and command. In three Triple-A starts, he allowed just one run in 18 innings along with 13.50 K/9 and 1.50 BB/9. He’s averaged 84 pitches a start. Short outings should be expected, although he should be on tap for 80-90 pitches. There’s a pretty good chance we’ll get at least five innings and five strikeouts. While it doesn’t sound like much, it’s more than enough to justify his low price tag.

Also Consider: Trevor Bauer, Domingo German, Marcus Stroman, German Marquez

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CATCHER

Top Play: Christian VazquezRed Sox (vs Drew Smyly)

Although Smyly has gutted his way through several decent outings lately, he remains a highly exploitable pitcher whose stuff has receded from the high water mark he posted in 2020. Home runs have dogged him, and visiting Fenway Park is unlikely to help. Vazquez’s batted ball profile mirrors well with Smyly’s. He has an elevated shot at one of his rare home runs – a little under a one-in-five chance.

Pivot: Eric Haase – Tigers (vs Quantrill)

The Indians are going for a bullpen game led by Quantrill. As noted several times in the last couple weeks, Haase has positive batted ball qualities. He’s not quite Kyle Higashioka when it comes to discount double-dinger potential, but there’s definitely more power here than the typical low-cost backstop. Consider him an all-or-nothing target.

Also Consider: Gary Sanchez, Will Smith, Buster Posey, Yan Gomes, Omar Narvaez

FIRST BASE

Top Play: Freddie Freeman – Braves (at Nick Pivetta)

Once again, it’s a Freeman or Vladito day at the top of first base. I’m opting for a “contrary” stack of elite Braves as I figure too many DFSers will buy Pivetta’s early season success. He’s a homer prone pitcher who happens to have dodged the long ball through nine starts (6.1% HR/FB). While he’s rebounded from an abysmal 2020 season, he still has the exact same stuff and pitch usage as 2017-2019.

Pivot: Danny Santana – Red Sox (vs Smyly)

I have a feeling we’ll be frequently tabbing Santana as a bargain/pivot over these next few weeks. He was a hero in 2019 when he produced a Salvador Perez-like stat-line. In most seasons, he’s simply existed in a forgettable sort of way. In a tiny sample, Santana is punishing the ball – when he manages to connect. His seven strikeouts in 15 plate appearances are an eyesore. His usual batted ball profile pairs well against Smyly.

Also Consider: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Josh Bell, Luke Voit, Brandon Belt, Bobby Dalbec, Keston Hiura

SECOND BASE

Top Play: Enrique Hernandez – Red Sox (vs Smyly)

I prefer using Hernandez against bad right-handed pitchers as his errant reputation as a lefty-masher (really, he just has ludicrous numbers against Madison Bumgarner) tends to render him oversubscribed. Still, this is a fantastic matchup for Hernandez against a homer prone opponent. Smyly matches up terribly with most of the right-handed Sox hitters.

Pivot: Josh Harrison – Nationals (vs Jeff Hoffman)

I am frankly shocked at how often this Nationals stack – and Harrison in particular – have come up this season. This isn’t an ideal situation as both hitter and pitcher skew to fly ball contact. Harrison is liable to deliver some easy outs. Still, for his price, even a well-timed double is a worthwhile pursuit. Hoffman makes short starts – a little over four innings per appearance. The Reds bullpen struggles could open the door for a blowout. The best news of all – Tejay Antone threw 33 pitches yesterday and is likely unavailable. Antone is running a 1.73 ERA in 26 innings but Reds relievers as a whole have a 5.36 ERA 186.1 innings.

Also Consider: Marcus Semien, Ozzie Albies, Max Muncy, Cesar Hernandez, Owen Miller, Taylor Walls

THIRD BASE

Top Play: Eugenio Suarez – Reds (at Joe Ross)

Honestly, I’d go after Rafael Devers first, but we have plenty of words about Boston hitters already with more to spill. Suarez is very much an all-or-nothing target. He’s deeply discounted due in part to a .150/.228/.358 batting line. That in turn can be traced to a .160 BABIP. It’s partly earned. His extreme fly ball rate means anything that doesn’t clear the wall is an easy out. However, he regularly rates among the likeliest to homer, and tonight is no exception. As a bonus, Ross likes to work in Suarez’s nitro zone, is homer prone, and is backed by a weak bullpen.

Pivot: Austin Riley – Braves (at Pivetta)

With Marcell Ozuna day-to-day with two dislocated fingers, the hot-hitting Riley will probably bat third tonight. He’s an excellent value with a strong projection that doesn’t full capture the improvements he’s made this season. He’s not as likely to homer as Freeman or Acuna, but it’s still close to a one-in-four shot.

Also Consider: Jose Ramirez, Rafael Devers, Eugenio Suarez, Starlin Castro

SHORTSTOP

Top Play: Xander Bogaerts – Red Sox (vs Smyly)

This is a coin toss between Bogaerts and Trea Turner. My analysis of Turner in a nutshell – juicy matchup, can “fill the boxscore” in numerous ways. Bogaerts is a slightly better value than Turner. Like so many of his teammates, his pull-heavy, line drive-oriented batted ball profile matches up well against Smyly. He has better than a one-in-four chance to homer, and he’s also a threat to tear off a multi-hit, multi-run game.

Pivot: Adalberto Mondesi – Royals (at Glasnow)

This is a punt who we know can go wild under the right conditions. A zero with some brand of metallic sombrero feels likely, yet there are things to like about this matchup. Most notably, if Mondesi can get on base, he’s a huge stolen base threat. Glasnow is one of the worst pitchers in the league at holding runners. Over his career, he’s allowed a stolen base every 5.5 innings. One additional word of warning – Mondesi hit poorly during his rehab assignment.

Also Consider: Turner, Fernando Tatis, Bo Bichette, Dansby Swanson, Amed Rosario, Gleyber Torres, Walls

OUTFIELD

Top Plays: Ronald Acuna – Braves (at Pivetta)
J.D. Martinez – Red Sox (vs Smyly)
Jesse Winker – Reds (at Ross)

The outfield is stuffed with big names today. None have juicier matchups than this trio. Acuna is correctly priced as on of the most expensive players in the slate yet he’s still a decent value. Look for him to strike early against Pivetta. Martinez is yet another Sox hitter with the perfect batted ball profile to dismantle Smyly. Surely the Sox can’t hit eight home runs. Atlanta also has a reasonably talented bullpen, although many of their better pitchers are left-handed. Winker isn’t quite on the same level as his typical angle of contact will result in ground balls and liners versus Ross. With an exploitable relief corps behind Ross, I like Winker’s potential for yet another big game.

Pivots: Hunter Renfroe – Red Sox (vs Smyly)
Harold Ramirez – Indians (at Jose Urena)

If you’re skipping the Red Sox stack but want an affordable piece who won’t be in every lineup, try Renfroe. He might be one of the few true lefty mashers in the league – his walk, strikeout, and fly ball rates are all greatly improved with the platoon advantage. His swing produces lift which can lead to cheap home runs over the Green Monster. In a normal park, I’d call this “fly out risk” since Smyly also skews to fly ball contact. Ramirez is a classic punt with a solid matchup. He makes hard, low-angle contact including a 114.5 max exit velocity. The Indians, despite not receiving any other writeups, shouldn’t be overlooked against a below average starter and arguably the worst bullpen in the league.

Also Consider: Juan Soto, Aaron Judge, Enrique Hernandez, Danny Santana, Nick Castellanos, Alex Verdugo, Kyle Schwarber, Hunter Renfroe, Tommy Pham, Harold Ramirez