Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftStreet, and DraftKings 5/20/14

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Justin Verlander FanDuel 8900 DraftKings 10400 DraftStreet 17408
He's not the Verlander he was, and that much is plain. The reduced Ks and increased walks are absolutely troubling. But follow me for a second. Cleveland is already in the basement of the AL Central, and they are tossing the bedraggled Trevor Bauer. Furthermore, they had an OPS 40 points higher against left handed pitching, and Verlander's right handed stylings don't mesh well with that. It's kind of weird to think of the future Cy Young winner as a match up play, but that's what you're looking at here. Bauer has looked good in AAA and his 1 start this year, but he's a season away from a season in which he walked almost 9 guys per 9 in the majors and 5.5 per 9 in the minors.

Josh Beckett FanDuel 6700 DraftKings 8800 DraftStreet 17249
Beckett has been absolutely fantastic this year, and the Mets have been Metslike. Rafael Montero pitching for the Home team isn't helping matters. Do you really need a lot of advanced stats, here? You can make a great case for Beckett as the #1 overall pitcher today, but a lot of people will prefer to invest more salary at favorable multipliers.

A.J. Burnett FanDuel 7100 DraftKings 8100 DraftStreet 15290
The Marlins look renewed this season, without any doubt. But a lot of their renewal comes from crushing the souls of left handers. Their park still plays well for pitchers, and Burnett is still capable of racking up the Ks. He's not looked himself in the last couple of games, but if you want a cheaper option today, Burnett couple pay off quite handsomely. He's also facing off against someone named Anthony DeSclafani, who only .01% of people in Anthony DeSclafani's family have ever heard of.

Masahiro Tanaka FanDuel 10500 DraftKings 12200 DraftStreet 24067
The price is SUPER steep, and the system isn't totally buying the hype on Tanaka just yet, but I am. The lowly Cubs have a tough time scoring runs, and have won only 35.7% of their games this season (!). A lot of that is bad luck, and they actually have a better run differential than the Yankees this year, but I just think Tanaka is going to leave the Cubs shaking their collective heads on the way to another monster outing.

Also considered: Tyler Skaggs



Buster Posey FanDuel 3900 DraftKings 4900 DraftStreet 7839
You can probably stop reading the catcher section here. Posey dominated lefties, and now he faces a lefty with 33 Ks and 20 walks in 46 innings this year. In Colorado. Oh, boy.

Brian McCann FanDuel 3400 DraftKings 3800 DraftStreet 6870
If you must look for separation at catcher today, McCann is absolutely worth a look. He's running terribly this year in terms of BABIP (.227 this season vs. .286 career), and owns a 123 wRC+ against righties. Jason Hammel has been tough this year, but Wrigely remains a nice place to hit, and I think McCann could have a big game.

Salvador Perez FanDuel 2900 DraftKings 3800 DraftStreet 6088
While Perez is a lot better against left handed pitching, few people ever get the chance to face a pitcher of Rienzo's caliber. The Sox righty sports a horrendous 17K:14BB strikeout-to-walk ratio in his 30 innings this year, and I think he gets chased in 3 innings or less in this one. (UPDATE: Perez injured his thumb last night. He's out. Thanks to Larry for the catch)

Don't bother with anyone else. Play Posey, and if you have to get cute, play one of the other guys.


First Basemen

Joey Votto FanDuel 3400 DraftKings 4200 DraftStreet 6928
a BABIP .67 points below his career levels?! The guy is an absolute monster. Fister is fine and everything, but Votto mauls right handers for a 163 wRC+. I'm all over Votto in this one.

Mark Teixeira FanDuel 3700 DraftKings 4700 DraftStreet 8065
Teixeira continues to do his thing: knocking guys in and hitting for power. The switch hitter is better against lefties, but he still owns a career 126 wRC+ against right handers, and a lot of his Yankee pals prefer north-paws. I think Mark has a lot of opportunity to drive in runs in this contest, and that he'll make the most of it.

Ryan Howard FanDuel 2900 DraftKings 3800 DraftStreet 6693
DeSclafani actually does have a decent minor league track record, but Ryan Howard, even this old and tired version, can put a hurting on some right handed pitching. The 150 wRC+ against right handers should be more than the young Italian (I think?) can handle.

Also considered: Joe Mauer, Eric Hosmer (but only if you buy this year as a total fluke so far)


Second Basemen

Robinson Cano FanDuel 3700 DraftKings 5100 DraftStreet 7681
Second base is a real stomach turner today. That said, I like how Cano should match up against Colby Lewis in Texas. Seattle far prefers right handed pitching, and Cano should be in the center of any damage dealt to Lewis.

Kolten Wong FanDuel 3000 DraftKings 3300 DraftStreet 4696
Wong has been tearing it up recently, and gets a pretty dreamy match-up against the right handed batting practice pitcher Bronson Arroyo. Great park, too. This is actually a pretty solid play.

Brian Roberts FanDuel 2600 DraftKings 3400 DraftStreet 5365
I told you it was ugly today. While Roberts is a shell of the guy he used to be, his righty/lefty splits have actually gotten more pronounced as he's aged, and he should benefit from facing the right handed Hammel. He's certainly still capable of a nice game, and at bargain prices, he's definitely worth a look - especially if you want to stack some Yankees.

Jose Altuve FanDuel 3600 DraftKings 4500 DraftStreet 7729
The price is climbing on Altuve, and for good reason. When he gets on base recently, he's been running, and pairing his platoon preferences with Tyler Skaggs mediocrity could make for another few chances for Altuve to cause some havoc tonight.



Xander Bogaerts FanDuel 2900 DraftKings 3600 DraftStreet 4417
Bogaerts is coming off of back to back multi hit games, and the lefty crusher pulls JA Happ, and his 14 Ks and 12 walks in 17 innings pitched this year. Bogaerts' platoon splits are just insane so far in his career, as his 178 wRC+ against lefties is better than Miguel Cabrera's, while his 76 wRC+ against righties is worse than Miguel Olivo. Nice place to hit, and the perfect match-up for Bogaerts.

Everth Cabrera FanDuel 2700 DraftKings 3800 DraftStreet 4054
I keep recommending Cabrera, and he keeps doing exactly what I predict: getting on base, and stealing a base. That's all you need from the diminutive short-stop to produce value and then some. Kevin Correia doesn't have any usable major league pitches, which should also help Cabrera's teammates drive him home.

Jed Lowrie FanDuel 3200 DraftKings 3900 DraftStreet 6798
If the two guys above are your upside plays, Lowrie is your steady-Eddie. Oakland's shortstop is very tough to strike out, which mitigates Odorizzi's largest strength, and seems to produce a few fantasy points each day. He's unlikely to absolutely go off, but he's unlikely to kill you, too.

Also considered: Hanley Ramirez, Brad Miller


Third Basemen

Pablo Sandoval FanDuel 2800 DraftKings 4200 DraftStreet 5047
All aboard the Giants' right-handed-hitting train! Okay, I need a catchier name for that Train. Still. Everything I wrote about Posey, just turned down a little. Pablo's my favorite play at 3b today and it isn't close - I'm pretty ready to just say, "Screw going against the grain," and playing these two everywhere.

Kyle Seager FanDuel 3000 DraftKings 4100 DraftStreet 5867
Do yourself a favor and don't close the book on Kyle Seager. He's running .30 BABIP points below his career norms, and has still managed a 122 wRC+ against right handed pitching this season. Texas is a fantastic place to hit, and Seager's woes against lefties shouldn't effect him in this game.

Brett Lawrie FanDuel 3000 DraftKings 3700 DraftStreet 5819
Doubrount and his 29K:16BB K/BB ratio is sure looking pretty pumpkin-ish, and Lawrie has been hitting the ball hard recently, netting several extra base hits in the last week or so. It's easy to be impatient with young hitters, but with Lawrie's BABIP for the season sitting at 40+ points below his career norms, I'm certainly not writing the 24 year old off. I think he could have a great game in Fenway.

Also considered: Evan Longoria, Matt Carpenter



Hunter Pence FanDuel 3500 DraftKings 4900 DraftStreet 8860
The three Giants' righties top their respective positions today, and with good reason. Pence will be a huge start on a day that features some speculative outfield options - and he will be a part of almost all of my lineups.

Shane Victorino FanDuel 3100 DraftKings 4300 DraftStreet 7933
It's easy to underestimate Victorino, what with his small size and Hawaiian heritage. But the fact is: Victorino has posted an incredibly solid 134 wRC+ against left handers for his career, and his speed plays a lot better in fantasy than it does in real life. JA Happ has been hopeless this year, and Victorino should be all over what will very likely be an orgy of run-scoring.

Jacoby Ellsbury FanDuel 3800 DraftKings 4600 DraftStreet 7780
Ellsbury hasn't produced what you may have hoped in what should be a strong lineup in a great stadium, but the system and I are sticking with him. Like a lot of Yankees, Ellsbury prefers right handers, and I think he'll break out of his fantasy drought with a big game against the North-siders.

Coco Crisp FanDuel 3100 DraftKings 3800 DraftStreet 7924
The As seem to find all the guys who are solid, if unspectacular. Crisp has displayed a terrific eye this year, walking more than he's struck out. Odorizzi may ring him up once in this game, but Crisp is a favorite to reach base. From there? A SB and a run or two are in play as well. I don't believe Crisp is a big upside play, but the walk rate makes him very dependable.

Melky Cabrera FanDuel 3300 DraftKings 4700 DraftStreet 7040
Hey, the Melk-man is delivering almost 3 fantasy points per game, and while I'm as scarred as the next guy by John Sterling's old Melky love, I have to say this feels like a terrific game to play him in. While he prefers righties, Doubrount is simply lousy, and Fenway is a great place to hit. I love Melky to be on base and cracking skulls to the tune of 5+ points.

Austin Jackson FanDuel 2900 DraftKings 4100 DraftStreet 6793
Jackson is one of the biggest reverse-platoon split guys in the game, and facing the right handed Bauer should be right in his wheelhouse. Again - Bauer has looked better this year and everything, but the disciplined Tigers' lineup is not the place to go on your comeback trail. I think Jackson is on base, and crossing home plate, more than once.

Carl Crawford FanDuel 3000 DraftKings 3900 DraftStreet 7585
You can make a terrific case for a Dodgers stack today, and at the center of any Dodgers stack should be Carl Crawford. While many of the Dodgers can have a nice case made for them against the young Montero, Crawford is the only one among them who really prefers right handed pitching. His 114 wRC+ against righties is 33 points higher than his number against lefties, and I think the older Dodgers lineup makes quick work of the Mets rookie.

Also considered: Christian Yelich, George Springer, Domonic Brown, Angel Pagan (if he plays), Chris Carter, Matt Kemp

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