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MLB DFS Picks Today (5/11/22): Spotlight Pitchers & Top Stacks Wednesday

Eric MacPherson

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Wednesday, May 11 brings wall-to-wall baseball with frontloaded early and afternoon game-sets as many teams are preparing to travel to their next series location after today’s on-field action. Use MLB DFS & Fantasy Baseball home page to find Awesemo’s FREE MLB cheat sheets, Terry McBride’s tournament strategy article, home run predictions and the daily fantasy industry leading MLB DFS projections.

MLB DFS Picks Today: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks | Wednesday, May 11

Yahoo Stack of the Day: New York Mets at RHP Aaron Sanchez — 4.7 implied runs

Yesterday, it looked like Patrick Corbin was going to somehow lead the Nationals to a rare victory over the Mets by turning over a 2-0 lead to the bullpen after the fifth inning. Alas, for Washington fans, journeyman reliever Carl Edwards Jr. immediately gave up three runs, along with the lead.

Tonight, Aaron Sanchez will be toeing the rubber, and he is the disastrous right-handed carbon copy of Corbin. Injuries curtailed what was once a promising career trajectory for Sanchez in the mid-2010s, and he has mostly been an innings eater over the last half decade, when he is healthy. Over his last 200 batters faced, Sanchez does have an elite 57.7% ground ball rate, though his 16.3% strikeout and 8.3% walk rates do not do him any favors unless batters are grounding into double plays before they hit line drives and gappers.

New York is flush with power from both sides of the plate, and the top targets for tonight’s action include Brandon Nimmo ($21), Pete Alonso ($23) and Francisco Lindor ($20) with lefty Jeff McNeil ($18) or switch-hitter Eduardo Escobar ($16) rounding out full stacks depending on their position in the batting order. Dominic Smith ($10) is a discount power option who can be utilized with a stack or as a one-off first baseman.

Late Slate: St. Louis Cardinals vs. RHP Spenser Watkins — 4.9 implied runs

Yes, we are going after Spenser Watkins once again, even with his solid results this year. We have to keep in mind that we are talking about a pitcher who had all but retired after two college seasons and another seven in the minors with the Detroit Tigers. He was looking for a high school coaching job back in his home state of Arizona when Baltimore came calling last year and gave him his first chance at The Show. There is a reason it is rare to see 28-year-old rookies, particularly right-handers who have toiled away in the minors for so long. It was no surprise that Watkins was roughed up last season with an 8.07 ERA and 1.701 WHIP across 54.2 innings while ceding 14 home runs with a paltry 35 strikeouts.

This season has been a dramatic shift in the positive direction with the venerable pitcher posting a 3.22 ERA and 1.388 WHIP, though that comes with a miniscule 10 strikeouts. So what changed? Well, he has introduced a slider and upped the usage of his changeup while cutting back on his fastballs. This mix will induce ground balls but also a lot of hard-hit ones that could easily get through the infield for extra bases as hitters start waiting for their pitch after studying his new tendencies.

Tyler O’Neill, Dylan Carlson, Nolan Arenado, Tommy Edman and Harrison Bader all have decent results against sliders over the last three seasons and have above-average power. They should be the core players to target, and while it can be tricky to see maximum upside from a full stack against a ground ball pitcher, this is something of a “prove-it” stretch coming up for Watkins to see if he will find any success at the highest level. One other note in favor of the Cardinals, it will be almost 90 degrees at first pitch with above-average humidity, which could help turn some warning-track outs into home runs.

Early Slate: Toronto Blue Jays at RHP Jameson Taillon — 3.5 implied runs

The low implied run total and the lofty salaries for the key Toronto batsmen should keep The Masses away from the Blue Jays on the early slate. Most gamers will easily pivot to the Yankees, White Sox or Dodgers first, which will keep the popularity in check for the Jays. Jameson Taillon is off to a solid start this season, but despite flashes of upside, he has never been able to put everything together. This is his age 30-season, and we know what we are getting from the erstwhile ace. Focus on the top of the order first with George Springer, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Lourdes Gurriel and Teoscar Hernandez leading the way along with Bo Bichette. On the off chance any of these hitters becomes too popular, Matt Chapman, Santiago Espinal and Alejandro Kirk can be worked into stacks for added differentiation.

Spotlight Pitchers

Top MLB DFS Target: RHP Shohei Ohtani vs. Tampa Bay Rays — 3.4 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $46 | FanDuel $10,800 | DraftKings $8,800

Last night, Tampa Bay was on the wrong side of a no-hitter courtesy of lefty Reid Detmers. Anytime a team is held hitless it is impressive, though considering Detmers managed to log his no-no on 106 pitches with one walk and just two strikeouts indicates that he owes his defense one heck of a steak dinner.

The Rays are a good team and a well-run organization that has been the cream of the American League East the last couple seasons despite being incredibly cost conscious, particularly when compared to the Yankees and Red Sox. They will be putting out their very best lineup tonight, like they do most games. However, going against hard-throwing right-hander Shohei Ohtani is going to be quite the departure from the young southpaw they saw last night.

Currently, Ohtani has a 14.01 strikeout rate per nine innings, which would be tops in the league if he had just four more innings under his belt to qualify for that leaderboard. The projected lineup for the Rays has a 28.2% strikeout rate and only a 0.148 ISO against right-handed hurlers since the beginning of last year. Look to the Japanese dual-threat player as a top pitching option tonight in all formats.

Ohtani is also someone who may be worth targeting in the MLB player props market. Tonight, the Angels superstar has a 7.5 over/under for his strikeout prop and the Awesemo projections have him for 8.1, and while that is a slim margin of success, keep in mind that is a median projection. In his five pitching starts this season, beginning with his most recent and ending with his debut, he has notched 11, 4, 12, 5 and 9 whiffs. Tampa Bay has a 24.7% strikeout rate against righties this season, which is just below the league-worst 25.7% of the Cincinnati Reds.

Secondary MLB DFS Target: RHP Miles Mikolas vs. Baltimore Orioles — 3.1 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $42 | FanDuel $9,600 | DraftKings $9,100

There is no salary relief for Miles Mikolas, as the DFS sites are all too aware of just how shallow the Baltimore offensive talent pool is this season. The top half of the order is quite serviceable and worthy of stacking in the appropriate matchup. However, the back half of the lineup is filled with players that would be hard-pressed to find work as regular starters for most of the teams in the league.

Miles Mikolas is no spring chicken, as he will be celebrating his 34th birthday in August. However, he typically does a solid job on the mound and he has been quite effective since resurfacing with the St. Louis in 2018. After washing out of MLB in 2014, Mikolas spent three seasons honing his craft in Japan before catching the eye of the Cardinals front office. Currently, the right-handed journeyman is sixth in the league with a 1.53 ERA and 19th with his 0.99 WHIP, and while that is not going to be a sustainable rate throughout the season, he certainly can provide fantasy points tonight against the Batters of Birdland.

Early MLB DFS Target: RHP Adrian Houser at Cincinnati Reds — 3.8 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $37 | FanDuel $9,300 | DraftKings $9,600

DraftKings and FanDuel are certainly charging full freight to employ the services of Adrian Houser against the worst offense in the league. Cincinnati leads the league in strikeouts against right-handed pitching, and that is exacerbated even more when it does not see an uptick in power as a tradeoff. Houser should be a near lock for a quality start and half a dozen strikeouts with the upside potential of leading the early-slate pitchers in fantasy production. The Dodgers are calling up rookie Ryan Pepiot for a spot start against a pathetic Pittsburgh offense, and the right-hander is in the player pools on both Yahoo and DraftKings, where he is a perfect SP2 to pair with Houser.

Final MLB DFS Thoughts & Weather Notes for the Wednesday, May 11 Fantasy Baseball Slate

The early baseball action should not have any precipitation issues, while the main slate only has a mild trouble spot in Minnesota. Temperatures are warming up with several venues hosting games reaching the low- to mid-80s, which should at least incrementally help offenses.

Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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