MLB DFS: DraftKings Plays and Strategy for Sunday, April 14

MLB DFS: DraftKings Plays and Strategy for Sunday, April 14

This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.

Baseball is always a dance when it comes to looking for substance in this season's numbers. While teams have given us more-or-less a full NFL season's worth of data, that makes us roughly one-tenth of the MLB campaign. That probably means the past will be able to tell us more, but the present is starting to reveal something. There are 11 games on docket for DFS purposes. First pitch is at 1:35 p.m. EDT. Here are my lineup recommendations.

Pitching

Blake Snell, SF at TAM ($9,500): Snell, the reigning NL Cy Young winner, scuffled in his first start as a Giant. Of course, a 9.00 ERA paired with an 1.90 FIP is a reminder that one appearance isn't revealing. While Snell is free with walks, he's also been a strikeout pitcher who suppresses homers with a career 3.22 ERA. That last mark goes back to his time with the Rays. Tampa is flirting with the bottom-10 in runs scored. With Josh Lowe and Brandon Lowe both on the IL and Wander Franco gone, it's possible they could struggle offensively for a while.

Charlie Morton, ATL at MIA ($9,000): Last year, in his age-39 season, Morton posted a 3.64 ERA. That's pretty much what a team looks for in a mid-rotation starter. He also allowed fewer than one homer per nine innings for the 12th time in 13 seasons. Not that the Marlins are a power-hitting squad as they finished bottom five in runs scored last year and sit last in slugging percentage to start the current campaign.

Graham Ashcraft, CIN at CWS ($7,700): Heading into the season, the question was whether the Athletics or White Sox would finish last in runs. Chicago is out to the early "lead" while Oakland plays outside the DFS timeframe, so I couldn't target them. Ashcraft completed a solid start on the road followed by a poor home appearance to begin 2024. Last year, he managed a 5.60 ERA at home, but a 3.68 in away games. So I'd roster Ashcraft on the road against a punchless offense.

Top Targets

When Bryce Harper ($5,900) gets to face a righty in Philadelphia, it tends to go well with a .906 OPS and .968 at home since 2022. Mitch Keller just posted one of his starts that perpetually keep some people believing. But for all his ups and downs, he's consistently struggled on the road with a 4.95 ERA the last three seasons.

Last year, Bo Bichette ($4,900) picked his average up to .306 while also displaying more reliance on facing lefties. His .797 OPS against right-handed pitching was solid, yet his .893 against southpaws is what stoked his offensive output. Kyle Freeland is a lefty who's struggled to a 16.03 ERA through three starts, even though two of those weren't at Coors Field.

Bargain Bats

Every once in a while, Jorge Soler ($4,700) pops his head in and asks: "Would it be OK if I hit a bunch of homers this year?". Most of his career, he's failed to even produce 15, but went off for 36 with the Marlins last season, his third campaign with at least 27. Lefties played a key role, and Soler has slugged .617 against them since 2022. Tyler Alexander is left-handed and he's given up 1.62 homers per nine innings during his career.

It was only 85 games, but one-time first-overall pick Mickey Moniak ($2,800) hit .280 with 14 homers and six steals for the Angels. Though it would appear he's going to end up a platoon bat, he registered an .866 OPS versus righties in 2023. Brayan Bello does have a 3.82 home ERA over his career compared to an overall 4.88 mark. But lefties have also gone .300 against.

Stacks to Consider

Reds at White Sox (Michael Soroka): Elly De La Cruz ($5,600), Spencer Steer ($5,500), Jake Fraley ($4,400)

When all is said and done and Soroka hangs up his cleats, he'll be able to point to that 2019 season in Atlanta before the injuries when he pitched like a future frontline starter. That's more than 99.99 percent of people who ever throw a baseball can say. Having said that, it seems Soroka is done as a viable MLB pitcher. After all, he posted a 6.56 FIP last year in his return with a 6.51 in three starts with Chicago this season. Soroka has literally walked as many batters as he's struck out and has allowed a homer every time he's taken the mound. The Reds certainly have a lineup that can take advantage of that.

While De La Cruz isn't likely to take a walk and may help bolster Soroka's strikeout total, it doesn't really matter for DFS players because his counting stats are so remarkable. The shortstop racked up 13 homers and 35 stolen bases in only 98 games last season and has already notched four and six of each to start 2024. Steer has also come out of the gates scorching hot after an impressive rookie campaign where he hit .271 with 23 home runs and 15 swipes. While he posted a .928 OPS against lefties that drove his numbers last season, Soroka has allowed righties to bat .314 against. Fraley's track record is more established, and it tells us he'll be ready to attack when a righty is on the mound as he's slashed .278/.355/.482 against with 26 homers and 22 stolen bases in the last 580 plate appearances.

Orioles vs. Brewers (Colin Rea): Gunnar Henderson ($5,400), Adley Rutschman ($5,000), Colton Cowser ($3,500)

Rea's 1.64 ERA is one of those numbers that reminds you we're still early in the year. He's struck out 4.09 batters per nine innings and allowed righties to post a .389 average against, so that ERA is going to rise. There's a reason why Rea produced a 4.55 ERA in 2023, and why that season was his first as an MLB starter since 2016. Even with his numbers against righties, I went lefty-heavy in this stack.

After winning Rookie of the Year in 2023, I've heard some MVP buzz for Henderson. He'll need to pick it up against lefties, though he's hitting righties again with a career .879 OPS. Rutschman is a switch-hitter, so he could step up as a righty against Rea if he wanted to. While he hasn't yet shown a clear preference for pitching handedness, he has enjoyed playing at home with an .873 OPS. Cowser saw a bit of MLB action last year, but eventually returned to the minors. That maintained his rookie eligibility, which meant he started this year as the Orioles' fourth-ranked prospect in one of baseball's top two-or-three systems. So far, Cowser has appeared ready for primetime by slashing .452/.471/935. Not sustainable, but still encouraging.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Chris Morgan plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: cmorgan3, DraftKings: cmorgan3.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Morgan
Chris Morgan is a writer of sports, pop culture, and humor articles, a book author, a podcaster, and a fan of all Detroit sports teams.
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