MLB DFS Plays: Wednesday 5/19

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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.

Keep an eye on the weather in Kansas City. The wind is blowing out 13-mph at Wrigley Field.

PITCHER

Top Play: Jack Flaherty – Cardinals (vs Pirates)

This slate is crammed to the gills with high caliber pitchers in positive matchups. My advice is to solve offense before fitting in whichever pitchers you like. Flaherty projects to match the likes of Kershaw, Scherzer, and Burnes pitch-for-pitch while checking in at a slightly cheaper rate. The Pirates feature a truly pitiful offense. Their team 82 wRC+ (read 18 percent below average) actually represents and overperformance. If they have any redeeming trait, it’s that a few of their punchless hitters are difficult to strike out. Flaherty still projects for nearly seven innings and over seven strikeouts.

Pivot: Logan Gilbert – Mariners (vs Tigers)

Gilbert didn’t exactly set the world alight with his Major League debut. He allowed four runs in a mere four innings (71 pitches), a sign he won’t be allowed to work deep into games. However, he did fan five hitters while flashing the stuff and whiff rates we expected. Tonight, he hosts a brutal Tigers offense. In addition to an 81 wRC+, they’ve mustered a 29 percent strikeout rate. Gilbert projects for just over five innings and six strikeouts – all for a near-minimum price tag.

This is more of a bargain play than a pivot.

Also Consider: Clayton Kershaw, Corbin Burnes, Max Scherzer, John Means, Ryan Yarbrough, Trevor Rogers, Zach Eflin, Corey Kluber, Shohei Ohtani, Aaron Civale, David Peterson

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CATCHER

Top Play: Yan Gomes – Nationals (at Arrieta)

This season, Arrieta has attempted to reinvent himself as a fly ball pitcher to no effect – possibly because his fastball sits at 91-mph without deception. He’s overdue for a true disasterpiece. Tonight could be the night. Gomes is an aggressive hitter with a decent rate of hard, low angle contact. We’re hoping he manages to lift a ball or two into the wind.

Pivot: Eric Haase – Tigers (at Gilbert)

Gilbert should be relatively popular for his cheap price tag. Snagging a Tiger or two could introduce some leverage to your lineup. The Mariners starter doesn’t have a long minor league track record so it’s difficult to deduce exactly what profile of pitcher he matches. Haase is a high-whiff slugger with a swing geared for pull side power. In 20 plate appearances, he’s putting his barrel on the ball with six hits (two doubles and two home runs). He also has seven strikeouts and zero walks. Aggression is fine – this is a blind stab at a home run.

Also Consider: Kyle Higashioka, Will Smith, Christian Vazquez, William Contreras, Mike Zunino, Omar Narvaez, Eric Haase

FIRST BASE

Top Play: Luke Voit – Yankees (at Hyeon-jong Yang)

Voit hasn’t quite looked like himself through six games. It’s possible we’d be overpaying for a rusty version. If he’s more or less fine, his launch angle mirrors Yang’s in a way that should maximize his home run potential. We’ll likely see a solid five innings of Rangers relievers. They’re mostly below average. Globe Life Field is a modest deterrent. It suppresses home runs by about 10 percent.

Pivot: Josh Bell – Nationals (at Arrieta)

When the column begins with recommendations for Gomes and Bell, you know I’m all in on a Nationals stack. Bell is affordable because he has a miserable .180/.245/.350 batting line. He’s an extreme ground ball hitter, and thus it makes some sense to skip over him. He does manage around a 20 percent HR/FB when he lifts the ball.

Also Consider: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Max Muncy, Matt Olson, Michael Chavis, Paul Goldschmidt, Jared Walsh

SECOND BASE

Top Play: Marcus Semien – Blue Jays (vs Garrett Richards)

A Blue Jays stack is a pricier alternative to the Nationals. Quite a few of them have a favorable matchup against Richards – none more than Semien. His frequent pulled, fly ball contact gives him a leg up for home runs. With TD Ballpark in play, he’s perhaps the best bet for multiple home runs in the entire slate.

Pivot: Josh Harrison – Nationals (at Arrieta)

The knock against Harrison is his combination of 45 percent fly balls and low-quality exit velocities. A 13-mph wind adds considerable “effective velocity” to his batted balls. He has around a one-in-five chance to homer against low quality opponents with plenty of other positive outcomes on the table too.

Also Consider: Enrique Hernandez, Chavis, Kolten Wong, Ozzie Albies, Jose Altuve, Dylan Moore, Domingo Leyba

THIRD BASE

Top Play: Justin Turner – Dodgers (vs Merrill Kelly)

The Diamondbacks bumped Kelly back a day so we can recycle yesterday’s recommendation. Turner also had a routine off day.

If you’re thinking about using the likes of Gilbert, it’s probably because you want to dust off an expensive Dodgers stack. Turner has been overpriced for much of this season but checks in at a reasonable rate tonight. His mild preference for fly ball contact pairs well against Kelly’s slight skew toward ground balls. The Diamondbacks bullpen is a smoking pit of despair.

Pivot: Starlin Castro – Nationals (at Arrieta)

Castro has reverted to a ground ball heavy approach which nukes his value if the entire stack doesn’t pop. As it stands, they’re my top pick for reaching a double-digit run total. If Arrieta is indeed a fly ball pitcher now – his numbers to date say he is, but I’m not willing to discard an entire career of ground ball tendencies – then Castro gets a modest bump in power potential. His 111.2-mph max exit velocity is above league average.

Also Consider: Jose Ramirez, Rafael Devers, Miguel Andujar, Alec Bohm

SHORTSTOP

Top Play: Trea Turner – Nationals (at Arrieta)

Did you expect anybody else? Turner is the most expensive component of the Nationals stack and arguably the top player in the slate. Unlike many of the picks that appear in this column, he’s far from a homer or bust pick. Multiple home runs, hits, steals, or run production – it’s all on the table.

Pivot: Javier Baez – Cubs (vs Scherzer)

While he’s not a value, Baez should go relatively unrostered versus one of the top pitchers available. He’s a low-angle, hard contact machine. Scherzer’s fly ball tendencies could be his undoing tonight. If any of the aces flop, I’d bet on it being Scherzer with the wind against him. Baez has a one-in-four chance to homer. The Nationals bullpen is exploitable.

Also Consider: Xander Bogaerts, Bo Bichette, Luis Urias, Willy Adames, Gavin Lux, Gleyber Torres

OUTFIELD

Top Plays: Randy Arozarena – Rays (at John Means)
Juan Soto – Nationals (at Arrieta)

Soto is in something of a ground ball slump. He’s still an intimidating threat. Any ball he hits in the air tonight is liable to leave Wrigley Field altogether. He’s also a multi-hit and run production threat. Arozarena, with his low-angle contact, matches up well against Means. He’s a fly ball pitcher whose frequently used changeup can give right-handed hitters fits. He has a history of allowing extreme home run rates, although he’s avoided the worst of it through eight starts this season. Still, I anticipate roughly 2.00 HR/9 over the remainder of the season.

Pivots: Kyle Schwarber – Nationals (at Arrieta)
Tim Locastro – Diamondbacks (vs Kershaw)
Enrique Hernandez – Red Sox (at Ross Stripling)

The Nationals cleanup hitter is an essential part of the Nationals stack. With such a deep unit of stackables in the Washington lineup, I suspect there will be a tendency to skip Schwarber. Doing so would be a mistake. He’s among the likeliest to homer tonight at around a 30 percent chance. Locastro is a deep cut for someone hunting off the beaten track. He usually bats near the top of the lineup against left-handed pitchers. His swing is well-designed to stay on Kershaw’s deceptive stuff. He doesn’t consistently make hard contact but does have some modest power potential nonetheless. A likelier path to value is via multiple hits and/or stolen bases.

The Red Sox nearly squeaked through this column without a written note which would have qualified as malpractice. They’re a first tier stack just like the Nationals, Jays, and Dodgers – they just don’t have many individuals who stand out as the top value or best pivot. Hernandez, recently returned from injury, has attractive Statcast qualities. He’s not dissimilar to a discount Semien. Stripling is poorly built for TD Ballpark. He’s a homer prone pitcher with a high fly ball rate. The Blue Jays do have a quality bullpen to help stem the bleeding.

Also Consider: Ronald Acuna, Christian Yelich, Mookie Betts, Mitch Haniger, Kyle Lewis, Jarred Kelenic, Yordan Alvarez, J.D. Martinez, Alex Verdugo, Tyrone Taylor, Aaron Judge,

Editor’s Note: Don’t forget to download the NBC Sports EDGE app to receive real-time player news and updates. Plus, it allows you to easily track your favorite players. Get it here!