MLB DFS: Power Index – Saturday 4/8/23 – DraftKings & FanDuel Main Slates

Saturday’s MLB DFS slates reflect yesterday’s configuration, with a split set of games between the afternoon and evening. DraftKings and FanDuel are opting for evening Main Slates again, with both sites unified on a 7:05 start time this evening. The board does not feature a team or a top-6 with a home run mark above 10 on average, but there are several interesting spots for power and a number of standout individual hitting options from which to draw power.

Main Slate Power Index – 4/8/23 – 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 seeming layup of tonight’s slate for both power and run creation seems to be the Los Angeles Angels in their matchup against “formerly somewhat good but always overrated and now just bad” Blue Jays starter Jose Berrios. The righty managed just a 19.8% strikeout rate last season while yielding a 3.85% home run rate on a 43.4% hard-hit percentage. Berrios was far better in 2021, striking out 26.1% and pitching to a 3.59 xFIP with far less power, but something has changed for the veteran right-hander. In his first start in 2023, Berrios covered 5.2 innings and was charged with eight earned runs on nine hits. He did strike out seven and walk two while allowing no home runs, but the expectation between offense and home run upside cannot be ignored until Berrios demonstrates an ability to get past whatever ails him. The Angels’ offense packs a wallop, in addition to the obvious star power provided at the top by Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, two expensive superstars who need no recommendation here to be played widely, the team also features solid veteran bats throughout. Taylor Ward leads off in the projected lineup, Ward hit 23 home runs in a breakout in 2022, slashing .281/.360/.473 along the way. Hitting in front of the two stars makes Ward both a strong individual play and an excellent correlation option for MLB DFS scoring. Veteran Anthony Rendon returns to the lineup after serving his suspension, Rendon has struggled with injury the past two seasons, but he can still drive the ball when given the opportunity. Hunter Renfroe has the third-highest home run mark in our model today, sitting at 12.69. The outfielder costs just $4,800 on DraftKings and $2,800 on FanDuel, he is a strong play for power on this slate. Lefty Jake Lamb should see another start and yet another 2022 breakout hitter is at the bottom of the projected lineup in the form of infielder Brandon Drury. Drury was mentioned recently in this space for the 28 home runs he hit last season after specifically redesigning his swing to approach a more home-run-oriented plane. Drury succeeded tremendously, though he was in part aided by the band-box in Cincinnati. Still, there is plenty of upside for a player who is likely to be under-owned late in the lineup in a late game.

When it comes to young unheralded starting pitching, this column is very much “from Missouri,” as in we need the pitcher to show us their ability. In the case of young Yankees right-hander Jhony Brito, we are going to need to see it a few more times before there is any trust gained. The middling righty prospect had a strong first outing last week, pitching five clean innings against the free-swinging Giants, while yielding no runs on just two hits and striking out six. The strikeouts were unexpected, as was the general quality of Brito’s game. The starter is not a premium prospect, but the Yankees have a habit of turning scrap into gems when it comes to cheap pitching. Unfortunately for New York, the reverse tends to be true when it comes to pricey arms. All of this is to say that Brito is not yet fully trusted, and we are seeing a reasonable expectation for power in the Baltimore lineup against a limited young pitcher who has two offerings. Brito’s solid but not spectacular fastball was complemented by a plus-looking changeup that dove off the table in his start last week. While that was pitching exactly to the book on him, the Giants were not able to wait out the starter and he benefitted greatly, this Orioles team may not fall into the same trap. Expectations for home run upside reside from top to bottom in the Baltimore lineup. Leadoff man Cedric Mullins hit 16 home runs last year and 30 the year before, he adds excellent stolen base potential as well. Adley Rutschman is rapidly becoming one of the top offensive catchers in baseball, and switch-hitting outfielder Anthony Santander had 33 home runs last season as well. Ryan Mountcastle has been featured regularly in this space and in our game-by-game reviews, big things are expected, the slugger is second today behind Santander with a 10.42 mark in our home run model. Rookie Gunnar Henderson is an interesting option as he comes relatively inexpensively and with multi-position eligibility from site to site. The bottom of the lineup loses a bit of power upside, but the 7.13 mark carried by Austin Hays is a reasonably good mark for a hitter who had 16 long balls last year and 22 the season before. Even speed demon Jorge Mateo has some unheralded pop in his bat. Mateo hit 13 home runs in addition to his 35 stolen bases last season, he is already off and running for MLB DFS scoring this year with five steals and two home runs in his seven games.

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