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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Hitters & Stacks for Saturday, May 1st

Eric MacPherson



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Saturday, May 1, brings us wall to wall baseball with every team in action spread across four slates. That will bring  a couple of aces to the mound, but as always, it also means a lot of targetable bats getting targetable pitching matchups. Today, stacks like the Braves and Mariners look like quality MLB DFS picks. Let’s break down the hitters to roster on DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo.

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Hitters and Stacks, Saturday, May 1st

Yahoo Stack of the Day: Atlanta Braves at RHP Trent Thorton and LHP Tommy Milone — TBD implied runs

Toronto has not yet announced its starting pitcher, though signs are pointing to Trent Thorton serving as the “opener” before giving way to southpaw Tommy Milone. Thornton should be good for around 40-45 pitches, which should get him through two innings. This role may actually serve Thornton well, as he generally gets in trouble the second and third time through the order with his limited arsenal of pitches and mediocre strikeout stuff. Milone gives up power in bunches. However, he limits baserunners, which keeps the damage to a dull roar most of the time.

The wildcard is, of course, the location of this game, which will be played in TD Ballpark – the Blue Jays’ spring training facility and the park that is used by their low Class-A affiliate, as well as the Dunedin High School Falcons. Through 11 tilts in this park, the Jays and their opponents are combining for nearly 12 runs. Basically those are Coors Field type numbers.

Marcell Ozuna ($12) and Travis d’Arnaud ($9) allow us to average down the cost of the Atlanta stack. This way, Ronald Acuna ($27), Freddie Freeman ($20) and Ozzie Albies ($18) will not break the bank. The other wrinkle, of course, is that the Braves will get to employ the designated hitter since an American League team is hosting this game, which means that Freeman and d’Arnaud are all but assured of being in the lineup even if they are not fielding a position.


Early Slate

Chicago White Sox vs. RHP Triston McKenzie — 4.8 implied runs

In his last three starts Trist0n McKenzie has allowed four home runs and he has made it beyond the fourth inning just once. The strikeout ability is there with 23 in 16.2 innings, however, he is living on the edge with a with nearly a 50% flyball rate over his the 200 batters he has faced in The Show. While the White Sox do have two-thirds of their projected lineup striking out above league average, their current collection of hitters ranks in the top five of most offensive categories against right-handed hurlers over the last two seasons.

DraftKings and Yahoo did a good job with the salaries, however as per the norm, everyone on FanDuel is at a BOGO (buy one, get one free) discount. Jose Abreu is the priority target along with the underrated Tim Anderson, who can do more than just hit lefties. Yoan Moncada is taking another step forward and when healthy Adam Eaton is a very pesky hitter and baserunner. Yasmani Grandal is in a mega-slump, though at $11 on Yahoo, I am willing to take that risk in full stacks. Yermin Mercedes is on an absolute tear, though it is hard to pay the premium. Finally, Luis Robert is interesting, even if it seems like he strikes out every at-bat.

Late Slate

Seattle Mariners vs. RHP Griffin Canning — 3.9 implied runs

It is going to be in the low-50s at first pitch in T-Mobile Park on Saturday as the Mariners take on Griffin Canning. Their low 3.9 implied run total is likely to keep most gamers at bay, however, we need to take a deeper look. Though Canning is fully stretched out having thrown 92 pitches in his second start, he has failed to complete the third inning in his last two appearances.

Last year, Canning allowed eight home runs in 11 starts, this year he has already ceded six in his four appearances. The velocity seems to be the same, but the one major difference is that he is utilizing his curveball 48% of the time will basically ignoring his slider. At the same time his fastball and changeup have remained similar when compared across his first two seasons. Is this a small sample size or is he working through a new strategy of pitch mixes, time will tell. He has a 15.2% swinging strike rate which is above his very solid 13.3% career rate, so there is a chance this is just a blip on the radar.

Seattle has been a middle-of-the-pack squad against right handed pitching so far this season and their offense generally gets a bum rap because it is not particularly deep and there are not many household names. Mitch Haniger is back after missing half of 2019 and all of last season with a groin injury. Kyle Lewis was quietly the 2020 American League Rookie of the Year and he is back after missing part of the early season with a knee injury. This duo along with veteran Kyle Seager and youngster Jose Marmolejos form a solid core that does not give up easily. The Mariners are definitely in play on the late-slate and they deserve consideration on the six game main-slate Saturday.

Final Thoughts for the Saturday, May 1st MLB DFS Slate

This should be a fun one after Thursday’s short four-game main slate. Keep in mind that salaries and scoring formats differ across the various fantasy sites, and a home run play on Yahoo may be a below-average MLB DFS pick on DraftKings or FanDuel.

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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