MLB DFS: Power Index – 4/24/23 – DraftKings & FanDuel Main Slates

The Monday main slate on DraftKings and FanDuel gets going at 7:05 with seven games on both sites. The slate is filled with opportunities for offense as several of the games will have back-of-the-rotation starters on the mound. The board is topped by Detroit’s lousy offense, which is a good time to remind everyone again that this tool averages individual home run upside, and is not a direct guideline for stacking, but even the Tigers can come through against the pitcher they will be facing. More comfortable plays like the Twins, Royals, and certainly the Braves have roughly equal opportunities for home run hitting upside in their matchups as well, this will be a slate on which to spread out options at the plate and concentrate shares on a few quality arms on the mound.

Main Slate Power Index – 4/24/23 – 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 Tigers are bad, but Milwaukee starter Colin Rea is not overly talented in his own right, making this a potentially ugly spot on both sides. The season so far has seen lower-end pitchers overcome the lousy Tigers lineup several times, but with the appealing power upside they may be worthy of consideration as a value play and potentially a source of cheap one-off options. Rea is a veteran right-hander who has bounced around the Majors and Japan’s NPB for the past few years, he does not offer much upside or intimidating stuff on the mound. The righty has made two starts in his return to the Brewers, posting a 19% strikeout rate with a 5.03 xFIP and a 50% hard-hit rate. Rea has allowed a 10% barrel rate with 93 mph of average exit velocity in his very small sample this season. Rea surprised in his first start against the Padres, pitching 5.2 innings of one-run ball while striking out six and walking one, allowing a solo home run. The second start did not go as well, but Rea was not awful, he threw five innings and yielded four runs on five hits but had just a pair of strikeouts. There is a thin window of opportunity for production from the very bad Tigers lineup tonight, but expectations should be well-tempered going into this play. Nick Maton hits from the left side and can drive the ball, he has a 13.6% barrel rate with a 40.9% hard-hit this season in just 71 plate appearances, hitting three home runs with a .177 ISO so far in the short sample. Maton has just a .177 ISO and a 52 WRC+, which is indicative of the quality we will find up and down the Tigers’ lineup. Riley Greene is slashing .235/.287/.358 with two home runs and two stolen bases while creating runs 18% worse than average over his first 87 plate appearances. The highly-regarded young player has a 10.2% barrel rate and a 44.9% hard-hit rate, last year he posted a 9.3% barrel rate with a 45.2% hard-hit in his 418 opportunities, though he struggled to translate that to home run power with just five long balls for the year. Greene is in play against this pitcher, he correlates with Maton and Javier Baez hitting behind him, as well as the team’s best bat, Kerry Carpenter. Baez is slashing .203/253/.246 and has no home runs with a .043 ISO and a 42 WRC+, and the former star is yet to barrel a ball this season over 76 plate appearances. There is “any given slate” upside in Baez, who is the first player in the projected lineup over the “magic number” in our home run model, sitting at 12.94, second-best on the team. The lead spot is, naturally, occupied by Carpenter, who has hit three home runs this year with a .236 ISO and an actually productive 110 WRC+. He is carrying a 13.70 in tonight’s home run model. Carpenter hits the ball solidly from the left side, he has a 20% barrel rate with a 45% hard-hit mark this year, his 11.1% barrel rate over 113 opportunities last year gives hope for consistent quality. Carpenter is cheap for his power potential, he costs just $3,100/$2,700 in the outfield on both sites. Infielder Zach McKinstry projects to hit fifth, McKinstry is the second of four players currently sporting a positive WRC+ for the season, though he has made just 43 plate appearances to this point. The lefty is slashing .256/.310/.487 with a 122 WRC+, two home runs, a pair of stolen bases, and a .231 ISO. Last season, McKinstry made 185 plate appearances and hit five home runs with seven steals, but slashed .199/.273/.361 with a .163 ISO. The personification of the concept of ongoing disappointment that is Spencer Torkelson hits sixth in the projected lineup. The right-handed first baseman is slashing .216/.256/.351 with a .135 ISO this year, and he is sitting on two home runs with a 62 WRC+. Torkelson does have an encouraging 10.2% barrel rate and a 44.1% hard-hit mark, and he strikes out at around the league-average pace, so there is hope for a turnaround for the 23-year-old former first-overall pick. Torkelson is carrying an 11.64 in tonight’s home run model, while Akil Baddoo drops to just 6.94 ahead of Miguel Cabrera who has made 39 plate appearances and is yet to hit a home run or do anything overly productive at the plate. The bottom of the lineup is occupied by Eric Haase in the projected afternoon form, Haase comes cheap at $2,800/$2,300 with catcher and outfield eligibility on both sites. The slugger has made 51 plate appearances this year and he has no home runs with a .042 ISO and a 2.9% barrel rate but still sits at a 10.08 in our home run model, which has a long memory for quality. Haase hit 14 home runs in 351 plate appearances last year, though his contact profile was only average, he had 22 long balls in 381 opportunities in 2021. Haase is in play, particularly where catchers are required, in small doses for individual home run upside. He is not a great wraparound consideration as getting on base and creating runs is not his primary skillset, but he could be a semi-useful one-off play on a slate of this nature.

The Angels are somewhat lower-ranked than one may expect against lefty Ken Waldichuk, who has had a rough start to his career. This is not because the Angels are showing no power, their obvious bats are all at or above the 10-mark in our home run model tonight, but there are several hitters who dramatically drag down the lineup average. The bottom of the projected batting order includes Chad Wallach and rookie Zach Neto who are pulling in a 3.39 and 3.44 respectively. Neto is a highly-regarded rookie shortstop who was the first player from the 2022 draft class to reach the Show, mostly on the back of an excellent hit tool. Neto has scuffled since arriving and may need more time before he is fully baked, but he will get an extended look before anything changes. Wallach has six plate appearances with a home run on the board already this season, but the 31-year-old backstop has just a .108 ISO over 277 career plate appearances in the Majors and is a career backup. Brandon Drury has been swinging more and making premium contact less often, not a good recipe at the plate, but he had a great breakout year last season riding swing-plane changes to 28 home runs for the season, Drury is cheap at $3,600/$2,400 with eligibility at first and second base on DraftKings and at second and third base on FanDuel. This is a playable name from the bottom of the lineup for power upside, despite the early struggles he has a serviceable 6.83 in today’s home run model. Drury is projected to hit behind fellow infielder Gio Urshela, who has a knack for getting involved at the right time, which inflates the public perception of his skills at the plate. Urshela is decidedly average as a hitter, he had 13 home runs in 551 opportunities last year and is slashing .280/.308/.347 with a .067 ISO, one home run, and an 83 WRC+ over his first 78 opportunities this year. Urshela is a detriment to power marks with just a 4.84 in the home run model. A player who has no such problem is Hunter Renfroe who is projected to hit in his typical fifth spot in the lineup. Renfroe is the last man in the Angels’ true power core, he has a 10.38 mark on the board today, putting him ahead of cleanup hitter Anthony Rendon, who is at a 6.59. Renfroe has hit six home runs and is slashing .274/.351/.560 with a .286 ISO and a terrific 152 WRC+ in the heart of the lineup, but Rendon has struggled to find his quality coming back from missing parts of multiple seasons and after serving an early-season suspension this year. The former star third baseman has just a 2.3% barrel rate and a 34.9% hard-hit rate in 59 plate appearances, but there is good reason to believe, and he is a cheap part of the top of this lineup. Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani can be played for power and run creation against anyone in baseball. The duo has 10 combined home runs in 183 combined plate appearances, hitting five each, and they are creating runs 98% and 27% better than average respectively. Trout is at a 12.56 to lead the team with Ohtani on his heels at 11.87 in today’s home run numbers. Taylor Ward is a strong correlation piece with his ability to get on base and create runs and he has individual power that was on display last year. Ward is priced down to $4,900/$2,900 which makes the righty masher a very interesting play against this lefty. Waldichuk is a well-regarded prospect for strikeouts, but his big knocks are finding his command and control, and allowing too much power, both of which have been on display in his four early starts this season. The southpaw has just a 16.7% strikeout rate but a 10.4% walk rate, he has pitched to a 5.52 xFIP with a 1.85 WHIP and a 7.65 ERA so far this year. Opposing hitters have generated just 87.5 mph of average exit velocity against Waldichuk, with an 8.7% barrel rate, but a 7.29% home run rate so far this year. It is worth noting that, while the starter allowed three home runs in his first outing – against these same Angels on 4/2 – and a whopping four home runs to the excellent Rays in his second outing, Waldichuk was markedly better against the Orioles and Cubs in his next two starts. He struck out four Orioles and walked three while yielding three earned runs on five hits and pitching a nice 6.1 innings. Against the Cubs’ upstart lineup he posted a clean start covering five innings with five hits and three walks, but allowing no runs while striking out five. Still, the odds seem firm with the Angels in this contest, the team’s stars, and obvious names are stackable and can be used as one-off options on tonight’s MLB DFS slate on both DraftKings and FanDuel.

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