MLB DFS: Power Index – 4/26/23 – DraftKings & FanDuel Main Slates

Tuesday evening’s main slates get an early start at 6:35 ET, with eight games on both DraftKings and FanDuel. The slate features a few interesting spots for power, with the star-studded Angels, Dodgers, and Astros lineups creeping to the top of the board in premium matchups against lower-end starters, with the Astros slated to face a multi-inning opener. The Braves are kept in check by the talents of the struggling opposing ace, while the surprisingly good Cubs lineup sneaks up toward the upper tier. There are a few interesting wrinkles visible in the Top-6 column, with the Seattle lineup landing fourth overall when sorted for just those players, putting the top end firmly in play for home run upside in a good matchup.

Main Slate Power Index – 4/26/23 – 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 Angels ascend to the top of the power board once again on the back of their tremendous home run hitters combined with a rookie hurler making his MLB debut. The Angels aggressively pounded prized prospect Mason Miller last night, and tonight’s starter Luis Medina is in no way as good as Mason Miller. Medina is a middling non-prospect with major control problems, which renders his plus fastball and plus-plus breaking ball largely ineffectual. At the Major League level, it seems very unlikely that Medina is going to provide much in the way of value or upside for real baseball or MLB DFS. The starter had a 4.39 xFIP over 72 innings in the Yankees AA system then posted a 5.51 in 20.2 innings on arrival with Oakland’s AA club after coming over in last year’s Frankie Montas trade. Medina was the least of the prospects the Athletics acquired near last year’s deadline, he had an effective strikeout rate of 26.4% but an absurd 13% walk rate in the innings in New York’s system and a 22.8% strikeout rate with a 19.3% walk rate in the smaller Oakland AA sample. Medina has made three AAA starts this season, lasting 9.1 innings and allowing four earned runs while striking out 11 but walking eight and pitching to a 5.72 xFIP. At this level, Medina seems completely overmatched, the Angels lineup should be able to exploit the pitching weakness on this slate. The names atop the Angels lineup need little introduction, though here is yet another reminder that Taylor Ward is good and will come around for correlated scoring as well as an individual upside. Ward is at a 90 WRC+ with just a .120 ISO and three home runs over 106 plate appearances. In 564 last year he had 23 home runs and created runs 37% better than average, he is cheap at $4,500/$2,900 and makes a great starting point for stacking Angels. Mike Trout has a 13.6% barrel rate and a 57.6% hard-hit rate over his first 101 plate appearances and he is slashing .326/.426/.605 with a .279 ISO, five home runs, and a 186 WRC+. Trout is a strong buy at $5,900/$4,200, he should basically never be below $6,000 on DraftKings. Shohei Ohtani checks in at $6,400/$3,700, the two sites clearly see these players somewhat differently, and FanDuel likely has the apportionments correct, Ohtani has not been bad by any means in the early going, but he has not been as productive as Trout so far this season and he did not outperform his teammate last year at the plate. Ohtani is slashing .253/.327/.460 with a .207 ISO and a 114 WRC+ and he has five home runs and three steals to his credit. The superstar has first base eligibility on DraftKings, enhancing his value somewhat for the price, he is very very good and is always worth rostering. Anthony Rendon has not found hit power, but he keeps the ball in play and gets on base at a healthy .353 clip so far this year, though his WRC+ is sitting at a lowly 83 over his first 68 plate appearances. Rendon should eventually find his form, he has missed time with injuries in recent seasons, totaling just 193 plate appearances last year and 249 the season before, so it makes a degree of sense that he has been slow to come around, there is good reason for faith in the third baseman. Hunter Renfroe has six home runs on the season, posting an excellent .281 ISO to cover for the power outage by Rendon so far, Renfroe costs $5,000/$3,700 in the outfield on both sites. Luis Rengifo hit 17 quiet home runs and had a 103 WRC+ in 511 plate appearances last year, he has multi-position eligibility in the outfield and at second base for $3,200 on DraftKings and he is a three-position player, adding shortstop to the mix, for just $2,600 on FanDuel. Rengifo is an underrated piece of Angels stacks, he adds dynamic flexibility and cost savings while not destroying the upside of a lineup like some of the lesser options we have seen in this role for Los Angeles. Brandon Drury has three homers on the board and is also a cheap multi-position asset on both sites, though he has not found the form from last year’s breakout so far this season. Matt Thaiss is an afterthought if he is catching in the eighth spot as projected, Zach Neto needs to prove he can be relevant at this level, but he is very cheap at shortstop and a viable wraparound with a highly regarded prospect hit tool.

The Cubs will be facing Michael Wacha this evening, a spot that should benefit their bats at good prices in a game at Wrigley Field. Chicago’s lineup has been surprisingly good this year, they are well-equipped for power and speed and have a strong lefty-righty mix up and down the batting order. Wacha is a veteran righty who has been good in stretches of his career but is overall decidedly average, still, we have all rostered Cubs bats in seemingly good spots and come away empty-handed in situations just like this in the past, which is both a buyer-beware note and potentially one that could lead to lower public ownership. Wacha has made four starts this season, throwing 20.1 innings and pitching to a 4.70 xFIP and a 7.08 ERA. He has allowed three early home runs, amounting to a 3.23% home run rate, he was at a 3.50% mark over 127.1 innings last year. Wacha is allowing more barrels and more hard hits with an average exit velocity up from 88.2 to 89.2 mph, hard hits jumping from 35.4% to 39.1%, and barrels exploding from 9.6% to 13% in the tiny sample. So far this season Wacha has been targetable, which is a step down from average, even if he finds form the Cubs will have a shot to get to him for run creation and power upside. Nico Hoerner costs $4,200/$3,700, he is clearly another player viewed differently from site to site tonight. The second baseman is slashing .347/.390/.480 with a .133 ISO and a 140 WRC+, hitting two home runs and stealing nine bases in 105 plate appearances this season. He hit 10 homers and stole 20 bags in 517 opportunities last year. It seems like FanDuel has the correct relative price tier on the excellent correlated scoring and speed option in the leadoff role. Dansby Swanson hit 25 home runs last year and 27 the year before, he has zero over 97 plate appearances this season and has just an 8.8% barrel rate and a 36.8% hard-hit percentage for the small sample, bother numbers are down from his typical production but can improve in a hurry. Swanson is still well above average for run creation at a 117 WRC+ and he is slashing .288/.412/.325 with an 8.90 in our home run model today, he is very much in play for $5,000/$3,100. Ian Happ has a 10.5% barrel rate and two home runs in 95 plate appearances over which he has posted a .192 ISO and a 148 WRC+. Happ is a very good player, he hit 17 home runs and created runs 20% better than average over 641 tries last year and has a rock-solid bat with an 8.60 in our home run model tonight. Seiya Suzuki and Patrick Wisdom are the two players in the projected Cubs lineup who land over our “magic number” sitting at 10.37 and 10.39 in the home run model respectively. Both sluggers hit from the right side of the plate, but they should be able to generate power against Wacha, Wisdom is particularly interesting, he has nine home runs and a massive .413 ISO so far this year, posting a 22% barrel rate and a 58% hard-hit percentage over his 88 plate appearances, yet he is priced at just $4,400 on DraftKings. Wisdom is a $4,300 FanDuel player, putting him several hundred above his highest-priced teammates on the sharper of the two MLB DFS sites. Eric Hosmer is projected to hit between Suzuki and Wisdom. Hosmer is slashing .224/.286/.328 and not doing much for power in his part-time role, he is a playable piece in stacks in small doses but he is not an overly interesting one-off or a priority play. Edwin Rios and Trey Mancini offer pop from the bottom of the lineup, the left-handed Rios has made just 20 plate appearances this year, last year he hit seven home runs in just 92 opportunities, he has one to go with his 11.1% barrel rate in the microscopic current-year sample. Mancini has scuffled but maintains his track-record-based value of $2,600/$2,700. Tucker Barnhart slots in as a moderately playable catcher but the output has not been there for several seasons. In 308 opportunities last year, Barnhart hit one home run and created runs 37% below average.

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