MLB DFS: Power Index – 5/11/23 – DraftKings & FanDuel Main Slates

Three-game Thursday brings a weird small slate that gets started at 7:05 ET on both sites with a game that will be ending when the next two start at 9:40 ET. The early matchup between the Rays and Yankees in the Bronx should be a great battle of AL East rivals, with Tampa Bay standing out significantly more for power against righty Domingo German in a contest between two of the three lowest-totaled teams on the board in Vegas. The top and bottom spots for power come from the two late games and are somewhat obvious, with the Giants facing Tommy Henry and the Rangers taking on Luis Medina, while veteran Nathan Eovaldi should be expected to hold down the low-end Athletics in Oakland and Alex Cobb’s ability to check opposing fly balls has a limiting impact on Arizona’s ratings in our home run model.

Main Slate Power Index – 5/11/23 – 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 most significant bats.

The Giants are in the desert to face lefty Tommy Henry in what should be a good matchup for the team’s right-handed power hitters. Over three starts and 15.2 innings this season, Henry has only allowed one home run with a 32.1% hard-hit rate and 86.3 mph of average exit velocity, but he has struck out just 10.4% of opposing hitters and has yielded a 7.5% barrel rate and 14.1-degree average launch angle. It is not necessarily skill so much as it is happenstance that has some of the contact numbers so low in a small sample, last year Henry made nine starts and threw 47 innings, he struck out more at a still-lousy 17.6% but gave up a 4.88% home run rate on 90 mph of average exit velocity and a nine percent barrel rate with 39.3% hard hits. At best, this is a low-end 25-year-old lefty who has a 6.40 xFIP and 5.17 ERA this year and had a 4.97 xFIP and 5.36 ERA last year, Henry also sports a laughably low CSW% to this point at just 21.5% for the season. He will be facing a long list of capable right-handed bats tonight, the projected starting lineup should be able to find plenty of contact and run creation with the upside for power shining through in four separate players rating above the 10-mark in our home run model. Thairo Estrada leads off for $5,700/$3,400 with second base and shortstop eligibility on the small three-game slate enhancing his value. The infielder is having a terrific start to his season, he is slashing .338/.388/.522 with a .184 ISO, six home runs, and has created runs 51% better than average in 147 plate appearances. Wilmer Flores slots in second and carries multi-position eligibility at first and third base on both sites, giving gamers the ability to flex the two hitters between all four infield positions in a variety of combinations both in and out of stacks on the small slate. Flores has six home runs in just 99 plate appearances this season and sports a .239 ISO for the year despite just 6.6% barrels and a 34.2% hard-hit rate. The righty has been a regular with San Francisco, but he will always be the kid who was sneaky because he hit lefties really well for some of us, Flores has a .218 ISO against southpaws and has created runs 18% better than average in the split for his career. Mitch Haniger has two home runs in his 47 opportunities this year, he hit 11 in 247 chances last season and blasted 39 in 691 in a healthy 2021. Haniger has a 6.3% barrel rate with a 53.1% hard-hit percentage so far this season, last year those numbers were 11.8% and 47.2%, the outfielder has the bat of a star power hitter when he is in full form but he costs just $3,700/$3,000 on this slate. Haniger has a .220 ISO while slashing .278/.355/.498 with a 132 WRC+ in 708 career plate appearances against lefties, he is in an excellent spot tonight on both sites. JD Davis has been a fixture in this space throughout the early part of the season. Davis has seven home runs with a .213 ISO in 123 plate appearances so far in 2023 and he has created runs 38% better than average to this point. The right-handed slugger slots in for just $4,100/$3,100 at third base, he has a 9.2% barrel rate with a 51.3% hard-hit so far this season which is down somewhat from the 16.2% and 55.6% he posted in 365 opportunities last season, but that can be seen as a sign of power to come for the corner infielder. Casey Schmitt is projected in the sixth slot in the lineup. The rookie has made eight plate appearances and has a home run on the board already but he is regarded in general as having just mid-range power. Schmitt did hit 17 home runs in 383 AA plate appearances with another three in 127 opportunities at AA and one in 16 tries in AAA last year however, so there could be an upside beyond the original scouting for the cheap shortstop. Michael Conforto checks in for $3,300/$2,800 but is slashing just .171/.298/.324 for the season. Conforto does have five home runs but just a .152 ISO and a 79 WRC+ to this point, the outfielder is struggling in his return but encouragement can be taken from a 10.3% barrel rate and 50% hard-hit rate. For his career, Conforto is not very good against same-handed pitching, he is slashing just .225/.312/.380 with a .155 ISO while creating runs seven percent below average in 824 plate appearances. Catcher Joey Bart and Brett Wisely round out the projected lineup, Bart is slashing .259/317/.328 with no home runs and a .069 ISO this year but did have 11 homers in 291 opportunities last season; Wisely has one home run but a .091 ISO in 47 plate appearances this season but he comes cheap at $2,500/$2,400 with multi-position eligibility on a small slate.

The high-scoring soaring Rangers lineup is facing rookie Luis Medina in his second start. The righty’s first outing lasted 5.0 innings, he allowed two home runs while striking out six and walking three, ultimately getting charged with seven earned runs on eight hits. Medina is most likely headed for a high-leverage bullpen role in his career, but he has the stuff to find strikeouts at the Major League level. Medina has had major control issues throughout his minor league career, posting double-digit walk rates at every stop in the minors, with mid-20% to 30% strikeout rates. Medina Update: the Athletics will be starting 34-year-old quad-A pitcher Zach Neal who is ^ even more ^ targetable for power and premium contact than Medina was. Neal has made six starts and 31 total appearances in the Majors in his career, he has a 4.52 xFIP and 4.94 ERA with a 10.5% strikeout rate and he has allowed 15 home runs to 351 hitters (4.27%). The Rangers seem likely to be extremely popular in their matchup and the top of their lineup includes several obvious names. Potentially lower-owned options from Texas that rate well on our home run board are catcher Jonah Heim, who costs $4,200/$3,700 and has six home runs with a .236 ISO so far this season and Ezequiel Duran who is a $3,100 shortstop on DraftKings and adds eligibility at second base and in the outfield for just $3,000 on the blue site. Duran has four home runs with a .167 ISO and a 127 WRC+ in 100 plate appearances this year. Heim is carrying a 7.32 in our home run model, and Duran lands at a 7.10, they would both be strong considerations for lineup shares in and out of stacks.

The Rays are in home run haven Yankee Stadium for a matchup against righty Domingo German, who has been effective to start the season but who has also given up premium contact and home run power with regularity so far in 2023. German has made seven starts and he has overperformed our expectations with a 28.2% strikeout rate and a 0.94 WHIP while inducing a fantastic 16.1% swinging-strike rate and pitching to a 4.35 ERA with a 3.80 xFIP. However, German has been lousy for power in his starts, coughing up a 4.49% home run rate on 38.8% hard hits and an ugly 11.2% barrel rate allowed. The righty gave up a 40.6% hard-hit rate last year with a 3.69% home run rate but just a 6.9% barrel rate, he is a flyball-oriented pitcher however, his average launch angle allowed in 2022 was 16.7 degrees, this year it is 16 degrees, when German has made mistakes this year they have tended to travel. The Rays have been outrageous to start the season, hitting for power and sequencing from top to bottom in the lineup. The obvious names like Franco, Arozarena, and Lowe will all be highly owned, as should Yandy Diaz, but there is a chance that lefty Luke Raley is a bit lower-owned than he should be on a slate of this size. Raley has a massive 24.1% barrel rate and 55.6% hard-hit rate in 93 plate appearances this year and he posted a 13.2% barrel rate in 72 opportunities in the Show last year. He has nine Major League home runs across the two small samples, eight of them have come this year and the cheap slugger has a .345 ISO while checking in with eligibility at first base and in the outfield. Isaac Paredes has four home runs and a .167 ISO this season, he hit 20 in 381 opportunities last year and he comes cheap at $3,400/$3,100. Paredes has a 10.46 in our home run model, Raley is at 9.05, they should not be complete afterthoughts when stacking Rays tonight.

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