MLB DFS: Breaking down the top daily fantasy baseball hitters and team stacks on FanDuel & DraftKings for May 2, 2021
Digging into today’s MLB DFS slate to highlight your best bats to stack.
In this article, we will cover two to three teams that we think are the most stackable for MLB contests. If you are newer to DFS or MLB, or just want a general refresher on the impact of stacking in MLB, check out our research done this off-season where we analyzed over 2,000,000 lineups to determine how many times a team of four or five hitters stacked from the same team won contests. In brief, 80.3% of winning lineups across 71 Main Slate tournaments (from 2020) had a stack of at least four players. 71.9% of that 80.3% had a stack of five players. It is pretty clear that stacking is the main strategy to focus on when it comes to MLB, therefore we will be approaching our hitters content from a stacking perspective.
Los Angeles Dodgers (at Brewers)
The Brewers have taken the first three from the Dodgers on the backs of strong starting pitching – but that pitching will be tested today as the Brewers are starting rookie Alec Bettinger in his first career start and first career major league appearance. Bettinger is a guy who has never pitched above Double-A, though he did hold Double-A hitters to a .223 average and posted a WHIP of just 1.07 – but again, this was back in 2019. A victim like many to no Minor League system in 2020, Bettinger hasn’t really seen the live competition besides the ATS. Now, there is a world where Bettinger competes here – he actually was hit harder in the minors by right-handed hitters, who posted about .30 points higher than lefties. So while the inexperience of Bettinger against a top MLB lineup is some pressure in itself, it’s not actually the big reason here. Bettinger likely doesn’t get out of the third here, I don’t think the leash is going to be that long. Jordan Zimmerman was the other candidate to start here and after an extra-inning game on Saturday, is likely the first guy out of the bullpen for the Brewers here. Zimmerman didn’t have a pretty Spring Training for Milwaukee and was resigned to a Minor League contract that had an opt-out day that was creeping up before the Brewers recalled him. We didn’t see much from Zimmerman in 2020, he made just three appearances – pitching 5.2 innings, allowing 11 hits, and five earned. Back in 2019, we didn’t see the best of Zimmerman either, making 23 starts but holding an ERA of 6.91 and a 1-13 record. I know W/L doesn’t matter, but it still is a pretty good picture of how the season went. While the numbers on the surface are bad, they are worse metric wise, as Zimmerman ranked in the bottom 8% of almost every single advanced category with the only upside being an elite walk rate – but when you’re in the zone with stuff that isn’t generating any swings and misses, it explains the over six ERA. The splits on Zimmerman are pretty equal over his career, and hitters have around a .260 career batting average against him. For me, there just isn’t a world where Zimmerman has advanced his game now at 34 years old after a long lay-off. Zimmerman himself said he was going to retire if he did not get called up before his opt-out of May 1st, so maybe he also knows he doesn’t have much in the tank. For the Brewers to succeed here, Bettinger is going to need the make the most of his MLB debut, and Zimmerman is going to need to tap into something extra. DraftKings also seems to have run their algorithm with Burnes as the Brewers starter, so we can get a discount on a few bats compared to their normal.
Minnesota Twins (vs Royals)
The Twins haven’t been the best offense to target, but they are getting healthy and Kiriloff is settling in a little better in the majors. The Twins today face Brad Keller who has had an up and down season so far. So the starting with the good – Keller went six innings pitched, allowing just two earned last start out, though it was against one of the weakest offenses in the Tigers. The bad – his previous start he went 1.2 innings, allowing five earned with three walks and three hits allowed. Over the first five starts in total here, Keller has an ERA of 9.00 and more importantly a WHIP of 2.28. As always, digging deeper, Keller ranks in the bottom 5% of the league in expected ERA and expected wOBA. He also ranks in the bottom 15% for Max Exit Velocity – this category can be summed up more easily in when a ball is hit, how hard is it hit? Answer here: hard. Keller is a guy who is throwing a variation of his fastball, whether four-seam or sinker, around 71% of the total time. This is important because these two pitches combined have a PutAway% of just 11.6%. These two pitches are also being slugged around .500 and have coughed up 22 hits in 58 at-bats. All-in-all, there just isn’t a ton of positive ways to spin Keller’s start to the season. Right-handed hitters are hitting him at a .424 batting average and a .606 slugging percentage. The Twins are an expensive stack to target today, but if you can swing it, they also have one of the higher overall ceilings on this slate. The Royals starters have been good to start the season, so this is really the one weakness they have going for them. There are about eight starters on this slate that I just don’t think are guys we can stack against, so while the Twins may be the easy way out on this slate, I think there is pitching value to free up enough salary to take advantage of it.