MLB DFS: Power Index – 4/20/23 – DraftKings & FanDuel Main Slates

The short Thursday evening MLB DFS main slate gets started at 6:35 ET, with five games on both sites. A very thin pitching board has several spots looking bountiful for power on this slate, with a tightly packed board that includes several heavy-hitting teams up top. The list of available arms makes this look like a slate that will be won with bats once again, utilizing some of the same-same qualities up and down the board and playing salary and popularity angles that open hitter combinations that are otherwise unavailable make for a strong approach to a small slate of this nature.

Main Slate Power Index – 4/20/23 – DraftKings & FanDuel Main Slates

The power index represents a team’s opportunity for home run upside in the matchup against the scheduled starting pitcher. This is not a direct guideline for stacking, but it can be utilized to determine the most likely sources of power-based contact, hitters who are not homering are frequently hitting doubles and driving in runs, and providing valuable MLB DFS scoring. The “Full” column is the average of our home run opportunity score for each player in the lineup from 1-9, while the “Top 6” column averages only hitters 1-6, where teams typically place their biggest bats.

The Giants make for an interesting spot for hitting in this matchup. The team is taking on one of the slate’s better pitchers, Kodai Senga, who should be highly popular with the limited options on the mound. Senga has been good over his first three starts and 16 innings in the Majors, he has a 3.64 xFIP with a 3.38 ERA and a 30% strikeout rate. He has a few blips in his ugly 14.3% walk rate and the 43.6% hard-hit rate he has allowed, leading to three home runs allowed. Senga’s best start to date came in his debut, the righty struck out eight of the 21 hitters he faced and yielded a lone run on three hits. He was sharp in his second start as well, booking six strikeouts, but he allowed a home run and walked three for the second straight game. In his most recent outing, against the lowly Athletics, Senga struck out seven but also walked four and allowed four runs on seven hits, including a pair of home runs. He will have to be better than that against the Giants in this matchup. The free-swinging San Francisco offense might boost the strikeout potential for the Mets’ hurler, but there is definite home run upside in several of the bats that Senga will face. The projected lineup includes LaMonte Wade Jr. in the leadoff role. Wade has a home run and just a .100 ISO for the season over 58 plate appearances, he hit eight homers with a .152 ISO in 251 opportunities last year but had a solid 18 in 381 tries with a .229 ISO in 2021. Wade has struggled to rediscover that form, but there is moderate potential in his bat at first base for just $3,100/$2,700, Wade has an 8.59 in the home run model tonight. Thairo Estrada had a solid breakout last year in his first chance at a full-time role. Estrada hit 14 home runs and had a .141 ISO with a 107 WRC+, adding 21 stolen bases while slashing .260/.322/.402 for the year. He has been better out of the gate this season, over 70 plate appearances Estrada is slashing .323/.371/.523 with a .200 ISO, three home runs, and three stolen bases. With eligibility at second base and in the outfield for $5,400 Estrada is a playable piece and by far the most expensive option in the Giants’ lineup on the DraftKings slate, he costs $3,600 at second base and shortstop and is an easy click on the blue site tonight. Michael Conforto missed all of last season, but the left-handed outfielder has a good bat at the plate when he is right. Over 53 plate appearances in 2023, Conforto has hit four home runs and he has a significant .279 ISO while creating runs 42% better than average. That is impressive production from a player who costs just $3,900/$3,200, Conforto is an under-appreciated asset. J.D. Davis has been mentioned in glowing terms in this space since the start of the season, nothing changes about that tonight. The right-handed masher should be in the lineup no matter what from here out for the Giants, his bat is too good. Davis is slashing .333/.373/.593 with a .259 ISO and a 157 WRC+ over his 59 plate appearances this season, and that is with his typically excellent contact profile actually slightly down so far. Lefty Mike Yastrzemski has an 8.79 in the home run model, sitting just slightly behind David Villar who is second on the team at 8.88. Conforto’s 8.98 leads the way for the Giants in this one. The top six hitters are all pulling in excellent marks and can be stacked with one another inexpensively and probably at lower ownership than they should be. This is a play for power and home run upside, it is important to remember that Senga’s talent and strikeout ability could keep this offense in check, so set expectations accordingly. The Giants may be a great source of one-off talent this evening. The bottom third of the Giants lineup includes lefty shortstop Brandon Crawford who has two home runs this year, catcher Joey Bart, and Blake Sabol. Of the three, Crawford is still the most interesting at the plate, he hit just nine home runs in 458 plate appearances last year but he had 24 the season before. The talent has diminished as Crawford ages, but the lefty could still get into one against Senga for a low-owned shocker.

The Cubs were a featured team in this space yesterday in their matchup against high-end rookie starter Mason Miller, who electrified with his 102mph fastball. Miller kept the Cubs in check for his portion of the game, but the team lit up the Athletics bullpen in the later innings, leading to a 12-run score but just one home run by the less-than-likely Eric Hosmer. Chicago returns to the top of the board in today’s matchup with Dodgers’ righty Michael Grove, who has been good at limiting power over his first three outings of 2023 but struggled more with premium contact in his 29.1 innings in six starts last year. Grove gave up six home runs to 133 hitters in those outings, posting a 4.51% home run rate with a 43.4% hard-hit and a 91.6 mph average exit velocity allowed. More concerningly, Grove was also not great at keeping power in check in the minors last year, he allowed 10 home runs in 59.2 innings, facing 255 hitters. Grove pitched to a 26.7% strikeout rate but had a 4.79 xFIP in those outings, he is not a premium prospect either, Grove is simply filling a spot for the Dodgers at the moment. The 26-year-old righty is probably past his prospect expiration date, and he was ranked in the twenties organizationally coming into the season. Grove is targetable with the solid bats offered by the Cubs projected lineup. The focus hitters who land above the 10-mark in our home run model are Dansby SwansonSeiya Suzuki, and Patrick Wisdom, at 10.08, 11.77, and 11.82 respectively. They are joined by Ian Happ at 9.75 and Cody Bellinger at a 9.54 as the most likely power core for Chicago. This team could be useful for stacking as they have been creating runs at a solid clip this season beyond their power-hitting. Chicago’s projected top-six has an average current-year WRC+ of 147 and they are getting on base at exactly a .400 rate as a unit, this is an underrated ball club both on the real-life diamond and for MLB DFS. The bottom of the projected lineup has veteran quality as well, Hosmer is projected to hit eighth, while he is unlikely to hit another one out of the yard he is carrying a 6.47 in our model and he has always had a well-thought-of hit tool. Trey Mancini is another grizzled veteran, the righty has scuffled to just a .196/.220/.250 triple-slash with a .054 ISO this season, but he has a long track record and should get plenty of leash with the team playing well, Mancini is still a good bet to come around eventually and he is cheap for now at $2,700/$2,600. Catcher Yan Gomes rounds out the projected batting order, he has three surprising home runs on the board with a .214 ISO to start the season, putting him nearly halfway to last year’s total of eight home runs. Gomes did hit 14 long balls with a .169 ISO in 375 opportunities in 2021, so a bit of the early power is believable, as is his 11.1% barrel rate to this point. The Cubs are a worthwhile and affordable stack on this slate, but they could pull popularity, depending what the field chooses to think of Grove at the price.

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