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MLB DFS Tournament Strategy: Stacks, Home Runs & Weather Today 4/10/22

Terry McBride



MLB home run predictions Best MLB DFS Picks today DraftKings FanDuel

Sunday’s 1:05 ET start time for the Main Slate, the forgotten wrinkle of MLB DFS, is truly one of the few things that can cut into the length of this article. With games starting in only a few hours and many lineups confirmed already there is a lot to work with and little time to dally in the introduction. The slate is loaded with quality pitching options and several potential targets for standout power bats to be stacked together, finding the right value bats within each stack can help create unique lineup combinations with premium pitching, Aledmys Diaz with three-position eligibility at the minimum price hitting fifth for the Astros on FanDuel yesterday was a great example of the type of flexible inexpensive player who can do amazing things for a lineup on any site in the MLB DFS industry.

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Top Home Run Options

Home runs are the holy grail when making MLB DFS picks. Finding the right combination of sluggers who will knock one, or better two, out of the park to drive in the teammates you stack with them is critical to winning GPPs. Identifying the likely home run hitters is trickier than just looking at the big names. Using a model of my design, based on a blend of several predictive statistics for the batter-pitcher matchup, I will give each team one of the top choices. However, it will not always be the absolute top-ranked player, particularly when there is an obvious star in that spot every day.

Home Run Ratings

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Scale: 5-10 Average; 10-20 Good; 20-25 Very Good; 25+ Great

Atlanta Braves: Marcell Ozuna — 11.29

Baltimore Orioles: Anthony Santander — 11.90

Chicago Cubs: Seiya Suzuki — 5.87

Chicago White Sox: Eloy Jimenez — 17.94

Cincinnati Reds: Colin Moran — 4.78

Cleveland Indians: Franmil Reyes — 13.56

Detroit Tigers: Austin Meadows — 8.30

Kansas City Royals: Bobby Witt Jr. — 6.33

Milwaukee Brewers: Rowdy Tellez — 6.38

Minnesota Twins: Carlos Correa — 11.03

New York Mets: Pete Alonso — 15.55

Oakland Athletics: Kevin Smith — 7.39

Philadelphia Phillies: Nick Castellanos — 11.04

Pittsburgh Pirates: Dan Vogelbach — 10.60

Seattle Mariners: Mitch Haniger — 13.55

St. Louis Cardinals: Nolan Arenado — 11.17

Tampa Bay Rays: Randy Arozarena — 9.28

Texas Rangers: Marcus Semien — 11.84

Toronto Blue Jays: Teoscar Hernandez — 11.01

Washington Nationals: Lane Thomas — 6.95

Power Index

This is intended to capture the full range of home run upside for each team. It is not meant as a stack ranking and does not account for pricing or popularity — only home run potential. The first column is the average rating for the full projected lineup and the second is for the top six hitters in the projected lineup.

MLB DFS Weather Update: Postponements & Risk Assessment

There are no serious weather scenarios for the afternoon slate.

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MLB DFS Picks Today: Pitchers, Best Stacks & Low-Owned Plays

This section will feature a few standout MLB DFS spots and teams to look at for potential plays on DraftKings and FanDuel. Ensure to check out the Awesemo Ownership Projections for critical updates and monitor the top stacks tool throughout the day for changes.

On the Hill

The Sunday slate features several quality arms, but lacks a true apex ace, depending on what one thinks of Freddy Peralta from the Brewers that is. Peralta joins a list of pitchers including Steven Matz, making his debut for a new team with big expectations, Corey Kluber doing the same in Tampa Bay, Tarik Skubal bringing his dazzling arsenal to the mound for Detroit and Atlanta’s Ian Anderson toeing the rubber against the depleted Reds. Minnesota’s Bailey Ober could prove to be an off-the-radar wildcard, Ober is a fantastic control and command pitcher with strikeout upside, but he struggled with the long ball last season, something he could easily overcome to be a sneaky fantasy darling this season.

At the top of the pitching board on both sites, Freddy Peralta is the standout option for MLB DFS lineups this afternoon. Peralta had a terrific season last year, joining several Brewers starters with a high-end strikeout rate and excellent peripheral numbers. Peralta struck out 33.6% of opposing hitters and had a 3.66 xFIP. The righty managed a 0.97 WHIP despite a 9.7% walk rate, meaning it was extremely difficult to get a hit against him. Peralta induced a huge 14.5% swinging-strike rate with a 31.3% CSW, and he was terrific at limiting premium contact, allowing just a 31.1% hard-hit rate and a 6.0% barrel rate last year. Peralta is the top projected pitcher, and he is worth any question marks about leverage against a Cubs lineup whose active roster was 19th with a .165 ISO and 27th with a 24.6% strikeout rate against righties last season. Chicago did hit home runs at a 3.36% clip in the split, good enough for 13th overall, but they are a relatively non-threatening lineup in which Peralta should find plenty of opportunities for strikeouts.

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Steven Matz, a former top prospect in the Mets organization, has never truly found the anticipated form at the Major League level, but he is not a bad pitcher overall. In 150.2 innings last season, Matz struck out 22.3% of hitters and walked just 6.6% while pitching to a 3.94 xFIP. He did have a bumpy 1.33 WHIP, allowing too many runners on base via hits, but some of that is attributable to defense. Matz generated a 9.4% swinging-strike rate and had a 27.8% CSW. He could stand to throw more strikes overall. The southpaw is taking on a Pirates active roster that was 26th with a .153 collective ISO and 21st with a 22.9% strikeout rate against lefties last season. Pittsburgh lacked power upside; their 2.29% home run rate ranked 29th among baseball’s 30 teams. Matz is inexpensive but he is dramatically over-owned on both sites, pulling in a popularity projection far beyond his probability of being a top starter on FanDuel or top-two on DraftKings. Matz can be rostered for the good situation, he just should not be used in conjunction with the most popular hitters from the most popular stacks.

Detroit’s Tarik Skubal is a young pitcher poised to make a leap this season, but that may not begin with a difficult matchup against the White Sox this afternoon. Chicago’s active roster was elite last season, they had just a 21% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching and created runs 12% better than average, ranking second in the split against righties. Skubal, on the other hand, posted a 25.9% strikeout rate with a 7.4% walk rate and 4.06 xFIP in his first full season. The dynamic righty generated an 11.4% swinging-strike rate but had just a 27.4% CSW. He needs to pound the zone with more regularity, which will come as part of his development. The swing-and-miss stuff is already a part of his arsenal, but Skubal needs to avoid the mistakes of inexperience. The righty allowed a 13.9% barrel rate and a massive 45.1% hard-hit percentage with a 90.5 mph average exit velocity on a 14.1-degree average launch angle, home run trajectories and contact marks to be sure. Skubal is affordable and has upside, but this is a very difficult spot for him.

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Right-handed Bailey Ober threw 92.1 innings in 20 starts last season, racking up a 25.3% strikeout rate with a 5.0% walk rate and pitching to a 4.01 xFIP. Ober has development to do; he allowed too much premium contact and too many home runs, but his 41.8% hard-hit percentage and 9.5% barrel rate are both below the marks that Skubal posted in his season, and Ober had a similar strikeout rate and peripheral marks. He generated an 11.4% swinging-strike rate and had a 28.2% CSW while pitching to a 1.20 WHIP. Ober has significant upside for the season as he develops and learns to pitch to major league hitting, his advanced arsenal and demonstrable control advantages should lead to success. At $7,200 on FanDuel and $8,400 on DraftKings, Ober is projected for ownership at a fraction of his probability of success on either MLB DFS site. He looks like a top option against the Mariners this afternoon despite the power numbers they are generating based on his history, but the public is not getting to him with enough frequency.

Chicago White Sox

With Skubal on the hill for the Tigers, the loaded White Sox lineup will have its work cut out today, but they have more than enough talent to overcome the erratic pitcher, Chicago looks like a premium option for power and run-scoring today and they will be getting their All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson back from his two-game suspension. The White Sox are not drawing enough popularity for their probability of success on this slate, they are landing as a positively leveraged option on both sites despite the monumental talent available in the lineup. Anderson leads off ahead of Luis Robert, Jose Abreu and Eloy Jimenez, a trio of outstanding dangerous hitters who feature power, hit tools and speed. The top four of this lineup rivals any in baseball. They should be rostered aggressively where they can be afforded as a unit. Mixing in players like Andrew Vaughn, Josh Harrison (who typically has multi-position eligibility for a cheap price) and back-end options like Adam Engel or Danny Mendick can help offset cost and popularity. The top of the lineup is the premium stack with this team, they will be under-owned and should be targeted.

Pittsburgh Pirates

There was a warning in the National League preview that the Pirates would be a frisky MLB DFS team this season that we might see more often than expected. Featuring them in this space on the fourth slate of the year was a bit unexpected, but Pittsburgh is interesting for tournaments on a slate with 20 options, and they are not drawing popularity against the most popular pitcher on both sites. This is an intriguing situation when the team’s bats come so inexpensively, including the talented options.

Ke’Bryan Hayes is taking the leadoff role for the Pirates today. The Pirates’ third baseman just inked a long-term deal to keep his talents in Pittsburgh as he grows. In his first real season last year, Hayes posted a .257/.316/.373 triple-slash with six home runs and nine stolen bases in 396 plate appearances. The young hitter needs to focus on more premium contact this year. He had just a 5.1% barrel rate but still managed an impressive 45.1% hard-hit percentage, when he starts putting the better part of the bat on the ball power will be impressive. Hayes is a strong option who is mispriced for his talent.

Outfielder Bryan Reynolds returned to his All-Star form last season, but he is priced like a mediocre player at just $3,300 on FanDuel and $4,200 on DraftKings. Reynolds hit 24 home runs and stole five bases while posting a .302/.390/.522 triple-slash with a .220 ISO last season. Those numbers added up to run creation 42% better than average by WRC+. Reynolds struck out just 18.4% of the time and walked at an 11.6% clip, making premium contact with a 10.4% barrel rate and 40.8% hard-hit. The difference in hard-hit from Hayes to Reynolds, when viewed through the prism of their home run tallies, can help show the upside that Hayes possesses. The pair should be a major part of anyone’s plans when stacking Pirates.

Michael Chavis is hitting third for this team today. Chavis failed to win a starting job in Spring Training, but he should hit his way to a fairly relevant utility role or eventually find regular work. Chavis has a strong bat, but he has yet to fully regain the form that he flashed early on with the Red Sox. In 382 plate appearances in 2019, Chavis hit 18 home runs and had a .190 ISO, in a similar number of plate appearances since, over 2020 and 2021, Chavis has managed just eight home runs. With more regular work, the highly regarded stroke should come through and the former first-round pick could have sneaky fantasy value. Chavis costs just $2,200 on FanDuel and $2,700 on DraftKings, cheaper than any three-hitter should be, particularly one with his skills.

Yoshi Tsutsugo brings power to the plate as well, though he has struggled to translate it to the Major League level in full. Tsutsugo hit eight home runs in 262 plate appearances with a .165 ISO last season. He struggled with premium contact as well, generating just a 37.5% hard-hit rate and a 6.9% barrel rate, but he did add 10 home runs in 180 AAA plate appearances in the same season, and he hit eight home runs with a .197 ISO in 185 plate appearances his rookie season in Tampa Bay. The 30-year-old slugger has 60-grade raw power in traditional scouting, he just needs to put things together.

Diego Castillo is one of the reasons that Chavis did not win the second base job in the Spring. Castillo was the darling of Pirates camp, hitting six home runs in a limited number of opportunities. He comes in as a cheap option across the industry, slotting into the infield easily. Castillo is not an extreme high-end prospect, but he has made some strides since the start of last year when he was in AA with the Yankees organization. Castillo managed 19 home runs across that stint and two stops in the minors after coming to Pittsburgh’s organization in a trade. If he is able to keep the hot hand going at the plate, Castillo could be an easy option for Pirates stacks.

Shortstop Kevin Newman is not an impressive hitter. Newman managed a .226/.265/.309 in 554 plate appearances. He does not drive the ball or get on base well enough to be an interesting asset for MLB DFS lineups. Newman hit just five home runs and stole only six bases last year. His high point in 2019, when he hit 12 home runs and stole 16 bases seems like a career year with the slip in production ever since.

Outfielder Jake Marisnick hit five home runs and had a 36.5% hard-hit rate in 198 plate appearances last season. Catcher Roberto Perez managed seven in 161 plate appearances but had a 41.4% hard-hit rate and a 12.6% barrel rate. Ben Gamel made 400 plate appearances and hit eight home runs but had a 36.1% hard-hit rate and a 7.9% barrel rate. None of the final three options in the lineup are dynamite, this is a stack that plays much better at the top-end, but Gamel is a player who has hit 11 home runs in 550 plate appearances in a season, and Marisnick has reached a 16-home-run year and has three seasons of more than 10 while adding similar stolen base totals. The three players are undesirable but not entirely unusable in a pinch.

Home Run Prediction Today: Eloy Jimenez — Chicago White Sox

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Terry used to do other things, now he writes words on the internet. He hopes his more than 20 years’ experience in season-long and daily fantasy sports and his custom models for MLB, NBA, and NFL don't steer you too wrong when he writes columns and makes picks on A lifetime of experience keeping odd hours make Terry ideal to cover KBO baseball overnight until the world returns to normal. Most of those late night hours have been spent on the couch watching sports, T.V., and movies; just try to shut him up about any of the above. You can find his pop-culture ramblings and more on Sideaction.

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