MLB DFS: Power Index – 5/13/23 – DraftKings & FanDuel Main Slates

A six-game Saturday evening main slate gets rolling at 7:05 ET on both sites and includes a largely Western swing through the league, with several spots standing out strongly for power. The two obvious targets on the board come from the second and third-highest-ranked teams, on either side of the game at Coors Field. Unlike last night’s Fenway Park expectations, there is no game rivaling Coors in Vegas today, the contest between the Phillies and Rockies has a run total that sits three full runs higher than almost every other game. With that much action and targetable pitching, that game will be a layup for roster shares, the only decision points will be about projected player popularity. The top option on deck is a top-heavy lineup with several stars creating a rising tide effect against a flyball-oriented lefty who has had early home run issues this season. The Padres look like a strong bet against quality the quality Dodgers southpaw, but that is a game that could go in either direction, Urias could have a very good start even if he gives up a home run or two. The Brewers’ ranking is surprisingly middling, considering the matchup in play, but the team has not been great for power this season.

Main Slate Power Index – 5/13/23 – 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 Padres are in Los Angeles to face the Dodgers once again, this time with Julio Urias on the bump for the home team. Urias is an effective lefty flyball pitcher who typically lands a touch above league average across the board, but who is by no means unhittable. The southpaw has a 25.9% strikeout rate with just a 4.9% walk rate in his 45.1 innings over eight starts this season, pitching to a 3.77 ERA and a 3.63 xFIP in a good start to the year. Urias has induced an 11.4% swinging-strike rate and has a 29.9% CSW%, all of his primary statistics align well with years past as well. In 2022, the lefty made 31 starts and threw 175 innings with a 2.16 ERA, a 3.81 xFIP, and a 24.1% strikeout rate, but he did yield a 3.34% home run rate despite limiting barrels to 6.7% and hard-hits to a terrific 30.2%. Urias does not give up much premium contact, but his mistakes tend to travel, this season he has allowed a higher level of hard-hit balls, sitting at 36.2% with a barrel rate that, accordingly, climbs as well to 8.7%, leading to a 4.32% home run rate so far. Urias is a good pitcher but he will have to navigate the top of the Padres lineup three times while ducking the long ball from some premium right-handed home run hitters. Fernando Tatis Jr. leads the slate and nearly doubles the magic number for home run upside today. Tatis has light tower power against anyone, but he is pulling a particularly high mark in this matchup. The superstar has five home runs and is slashing .290/.322/.512 with a .221 ISO over his first 90 plate appearances. Tatis missed all of last season first with an injury then for a suspension, but he is outrageously talented. In 2021 he hit 42 home runs with a .328 ISO and added 25 stolen bases of MLB DFS excellence just because he could. Manny Machado hits from the right side and also has tremendous power when all is going well. So far this season, Machado has managed five home runs but he has just a .149 ISO and has been below average for run creation – and far below his typical standards – with a WRC+ stuck at just 87. Machado has a 40% hard-hit rate with a seven percent barrel rate in his 160 plate appearances, but last year that was a 9.8% barrel rate and 49% hard-hit that led to a .234 ISO and 32 home runs. Machado will bounce back as the season rolls along, the extended slump has his price reduced to just $5,000/$3,000, which is a plus for gamers looking to stack Padres hitters tonight. Juan Soto has a career .260/.371/.449 triple-slash with a .188 ISO and 121 WRC+ against same-handed pitching, he loses quality from his excellent overall numbers but still retains a fair amount of upside against fellow lefties and should not be skipped for matchup reasons. Soto has six home runs with a .219 ISO so far this year, he has a terrific 16% barrel rate and 59% hard-hit rate for the season as well, indicating that there is more MLB DFS scoring to come. Xander Bogaerts is slated to hit cleanup with Nelson Cruz following him in the fifth spot against a lefty starter. Bogaerts is slashing .266/.361/.434 and has six home runs on the season, but has cooled somewhat after carrying the team early. The shortstop costs just $4,600/$3,100, which is too cheap even for a cooled version of this player, Bogaerts belongs in Padres stacks. Cruz has hit three home runs this season and has a .185 ISO with a 101 WRC+ in 84 curated plate appearances. The Padres are deploying the aged power hitter in spots in which he is most likely to succeed and they have seen good results so far, Cruz has a 10.7% barrel rate and 48.2% hard-hit rate for the season, primarily hitting against lefties. Cruz has a 9.24 in our home run model, outpacing Bogaert’s 8.61 mark, but falling behind the double-digit numbers carried by the stars above them in the lineup. Jake Cronenworth dips further in power expectations with a 6.68, he has three home runs and a .160 ISO over 158 plate appearances, which is slightly off the expected pace for a hitter who hit 17 home runs in 684 opportunities last year. Ha-Seong Kim has three home runs and a .129 ISO while creating runs eight percent below average this year, he has just a 4.8% barrel rate and a 19% hard-hit rate this year and has not been much of a power option or a run creator. Austin Nola and Adam Engel wind up the projected Padres batting order. Nola has one home run in 93 plate appearances, he had four in 397 last year so expectations are low. Engel hit two home runs in 260 tries last year but did steal 12 bases.

With apologies to Coors Field teams and the White Sox, we are going to hop down the board and look into the Brewers due to a matchup against Zack Greinke, who allows a fair amount of power and premium contact. The veteran righty has been getting by with a limited arsenal for the past few seasons, he has a 5.18 ERA this year with a 4.30 xFIP in 41.2 innings and eight starts, last season he had a 3.68 ERA and 4.54 xFIP in 137 innings and 26 starts. Greinke rarely strikes hitters out, he has just a 15.3% strikeout rate this year and was worse with just a 12.5% mark last season, but he also rarely walks hitters or gets himself into major jams, he has a four percent walk rate so far in 2023 and was at just 4.6% last year. Greinke is targetable for contact, however, and the Brewers lineup has several hitters who have been putting bat-on-ball well this season. So far in 2023, Greinke has allowed a 7.7% barrel rate with a 40.8% hard-hit and 90.8 mph of average exit velocity, amounting to a 4.55% home run rate. Last season he limited power well, with just a 2.39% home run rate but was still close to 40% hard hits, the year before he was better for contact but allowed a higher home run rate in a larger sample. The Brewers’ lineup is imperfect, their star player can’t get out of his own way and hits the ball on the ground far too frequently, and they have a weak bottom third, but there are sturdy bats through the middle and some interesting power hitters. Christian Yelich has just a 6.7% barrel rate but a 56.7% hard-hit rate so far this year, resulting in four home runs with just a .113 ISO. Yelich is slashing .248/.333/.362 with a 93 WRC+ over his 159 plate appearances this year, with 53.8% of his batted balls on the ground. The outfielder hit 36 home runs in 2018 and 44 in 2019 with a high of just 14 since then, but in an “any given slate” sense, he has upside in this matchup and is pulling in a 7.02 in our home run model. Jesse Winker is mired in a deep slump over 90 plate appearances. The outfielder was expected to be a mostly full-time player, perhaps sitting against the most premium lefties, but he has fallen into a platoon situation and has been very limited. Winker has zero home runs and is slashing .230/.356/.270 with a .041 ISO. His 84 WRC+ would be far lower if he wasn’t walking at a 13.3% clip but Winker’s contact profile has been weak this season as well, he has just a 3.6% barrel rate and 35.7% hard-hit for the year. Willy Adames has a 13.3% barrel rate but has somehow managed just a 31.4% hard-hit for the season. The shortstop has hit seven home runs but he has slipped below average to just 99 WRC+ and he has a .225/.321/.406 triple-slash. Adames hit 31 home runs last year and 25 the year before, he is a premium power bat at a key position and he costs just $4,300/$3,000. First baseman Rowdy Tellez leads the Brewers with 10 home runs and a .293 ISO, he is the team’s key power hitter and he hits from the left side against the weak righty tonight. Tellez has a team-leading 10.68 home run rate in our model tonight, he looks like a sturdy power bet. Brian Anderson has five home runs to start his season, but he has been stuck at that mark for a while now. Anderson still has an 11.1% barrel rate but, like Adames, his hard-hit rate is just at 30% for the year in 148 plate appearances. At just $3,400/$2,800 with eligibility at third base and in the outfield on both sites, Anderson is easily playable in a good spot, he still has a 102 WRC+ and is pulling in a 5.47 in our home run model. Victor Caratini got us a cheap low-owned home run the last time he was mentioned in this space, the catcher costs just $2,500 on both sites and has a 4.23 in our home run model. Caratini has hit two homers in 48 plate appearances and has a .150 ISO with a 144 WRC+ in the small sample, he hit nine home runs in 314 plate appearances last season and is a somewhat interesting source of power at his position on this slate. Brice Turang has a 4.3% barrel rate and a 29% hard-hit mark in 108 plate appearances this year, with two home runs and a .090 ISO, he is not a major power threat. Tyrone Taylor does have power upside, he is sitting at 6.30 in our home run model and has hit one longball with a .091 ISO this year, but he has made only 34 plate appearances. In 405 opportunities last season, the outfielder managed 17 home runs, there is potential for a cheap low-owned home run from late in the lineup, Taylor costs just $2,200/$2,500. Joey Weimer has three home runs this season with a 7.2% barrel rate and 37.3% hard-hit in 124 plate appearances, he has not been much for MLB DFS scoring upside.

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