Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Doug Norrie

Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings, DraftDay and StarStreet 7/31/14

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Today is the kind of day that I don’t think you’ll see one pitcher at more that 18% owned in any format. Kind of making that number up, but it’s meant to illustrate that the pitching decisions today are real tough, and real close. Our system is having trouble picking out a clear cut favorite. There a good plays, but no one ringing it a fantastic multiplier considering price and opponent.

Johnny Cueto - FD 10300 DK 9300 DD 19000 SS 30400
Going to be real tough fitting Kershaw into any team you make today unless you want to punt offense nearly across the board. I’m willing to spend on Cueto though even if his ERA is a full run lower than the xFIP (2.08 to 3.08). Our system doesn’t recognize this kind of difference, but it does pick up on the idea that Cueto is a little higher priced because of the run-hot ERA. We aren’t getting him at any kind of discount. That being said, he’s putting together a great season striking out more than a batter an inning, keeping the walks down and continuing to rock the dreads. The Marlins have power, but with that comes a ton of K’s. If Cueto can keep the ball in the ballpark (easier in Miami than in most places) he could rack up a ton of points on strikeouts.

Yordano Ventura - FD 7000 DK 6400 DD 13700 SS 17700
We are dabbling around the margins of value for sure today. Like I said, the pitching will be spread out today as everyone works to find those little pieces of info that will help inform decisions about who to start on the mound. Yordano makes a cheaper play who doesn’t necessarily have a ton of upside, but can earn you enough points for a cash. His xFIP is in the mid 3’s and he strikes out about eight batters per nine. He can limit the walks and the Twins are a middle-of-the-road wOBA team against righties. They strike out 21% of the time and Kaufman Stadium depresses power all the way around. Tough day pitching.

Gio Gonzalez - FD 9000 DK 10100 DD 16200 SS 27400
I’ve been a fan of him at other points in the season, especially last game when he pitched fantastically against the Reds. Today’s matchup against the Phillies isn’t as advantageous, but Philly ranks in the bottom of the third of the league against lefties. Gio, if he can keep the ball around the plate, has nice K upside. He’s more a GPP play as when he breaks, he breaks real bad.



Salvador Perez - FD 2600 DK 3900 DD 7150 SS 5500
I’d prefer him against a lefty, but then again I prefer most hitters that face Kevin Correia. Correia never saw a batter he wanted to strike out. Preferring to let his fielders (or the fans in the bleachers) get in on the action. Catcher is a little rough today so I’m taking Perez on the wrong side of his split (though he’s not completely extreme in that regard) because the matchup is pretty choice.

Welington Castillo - FD 2500 DK 3900 DD 6300 SS 4100
Been having a fairly miserable season for sure in large part because he strikes out like he had his agent put some K incentive in his contract or something. But facing Pedro Hernandez is a good way to cure the swing and miss blues. Castillo is better against righties for his career and he’s coming at such low punt prices that I think you can take a shot at him today.


First Basemen

First base is the new shortstop. There is now like one good first baseman and he’s crazy expensive. The rest of the guys? Punt plays galore. I’d go one of two ways at this position today. I’d either pay up for

Miguel Cabrera - FD 5000 DK 5700 DD 11900 SS 9700
Paul Goldschmidt - FD 4400 DK 5600 DD 11850 SS 9500
Each going against a crappy lefty. Both make super solid, yet expensive plays who have enormous power upside especially considering the opponent.

Or, punt this thing completely with guys like

Nick Swisher - FD 2300 DK 3800 DD 6850 SS 4200
Kendrys Morales - FD 2200 DK 3600 DD 6400 SS 3700
Logan Morrison - FD 2200 DK 3500 DD 5650 SS 3500


Second Basemen

Ian Kinsler - FD 3400 DK 4500 DD 8900 SS 7300
Love me some John Danks. In that I love playing guys against John Danks. He sucks. He’s bad against both hands, but especially righties. Kinsler is a guy to target against lefties because for his career he’s significantly better on that side of the split. Think I’ve written some approximation of that sentence for Kinsler 1,000 times* this season.
*rough estimate

Gordon Beckham - FD 2300 DK 3600 DD 6750 SS 4400
Don’t think I’ve talked about him at all this season, but he’s put together a nice little split against lefties and I’d really only ever considering him in that platoon based on his career numbers. This season the .831 OPS and 125 wRC+ are encouraging and facing Drew Smyly has its benefits. Smyly can generate some K’s, but the xFIP is near four and he loses control at times. Beckham is coming in at punt-ish prices and could be nice salary relief.

Consider Emilio Bonifacio


Starlin Castro - FD 3000 DK 4400 DD 7700 SS 5800
Pedro Hernandez is the next guy to come off the conveyor belt of crappy lefties that the Rockies have in production underneath Coors Field. This factory machinery has it’s output set to “gets rocked” and “sucks”. Though in Hernandez they may have outdone themselves. A dude whose minor league numbers are atrocious should be in real trouble because, and this you might not have known, the minors are worse than the majors. Starlin Castro is better against lefties and this always happens with the Rockies, I spend 3-4 straight days recommending the righties from the opposing team.

Erick Aybar - FD 2900 DK 4200 DD 7550 SS 6000
Aybar is pretty platoon neutral which works in his favor against Bud “don’t call me Buddy” Norris. Aybar has a pretty insane contact rate against righties as he spends about 88% of his at bats putting the ball in play. He’s tough to K and also tough to walk. Norris should have issues with the Halos in general today and Aybar is coming in at a value play considering the opposition.

Consider Asdrubal Cabrera


Third Basemen

Lonnie Chisenhall - FD 2600 DK 3700 DD 6850 SS 6200
I’d never consider him at all against a lefty. But against a righty like Chris Young? Oh yes please. Young, to my immense dismay, hasn’t been regressed down to a pulp yet. I don’t get it and refuse to believe his numbers are any kind of “outlier” when it comes to advanced pitching metrics. Because just about every number says he should suck. Less than six K’s per nine. Three walks per nine. xFIP over five which is two runs above his ERA. Chisenhall has hammered righties this season with a high .800’s OPS and I’m back to picking on Young.

Kyle Seager - FD 3300 DK 4200 DD 9200 SS 7400
Same game, different side of the ball. Seager and Chisenhall have had remarkably similar years against righties this season and both face off against mediocre/bad pitchers. Seager’s wRC+ against right-handed pitching is over 150 and that only confirms what we knew from his historical averages. Zack McAllister is just kind of a dude. Not as bad as his 5-plus ERA, but not good either.

Consider Martin Prado and Nick Castellanos



Nelson Cruz - FD 3700 DK 4900 DD 10000 SS 8400
One of the great lefty killers in all of baseball. Literally, he kills lefties. Like murders them. This isn’t baseball jargon. I think he’s an actual murderer that also happens to hit pretty well against lefties (when he’s not killing them). This year only solidifies his career splits with a recent run over 1K OPS and a bunch of other numbers that will only solidify my point. Take my word for it. Cruz is an amazing play against Tyler Skaggs, especially on FanDuel.

Mike Trout - FD 4800 DK 5800 DD 13200 SS 10400
Ever heard of him? Trout’s price has actually dipped in some spots which is amazing considering he’s some kind of dude I used to make in Baseball Simulator 3000 on NES. 100 speed. 100 power. Cheat code stuff. I don’t always advocate paying the big bucks for a guy but Bud Norris sucks and Trout’s prices have come down a little.

Justin Ruggiano - FD 3100 DK 4300 DD 7400 SS 4700
Did I mention before the Pedro Hernandez situation going on for Colorado? Ruggiano isn’t a guy I’ve talked much about this season as I didn’t have a ton of faith when or system was touting him against lefties early and then he quickly became overpriced. But now I think he’s in a sweet spot against the lefty. Ruggiano strikes out a ton (close to 30% of the time) but that expectation is reduced against a guy like Hernandez. And the Babip has carried him a bit this season. But he’s inexpensive and faces a bum southpaw in a decent hitter’s park.

Dayan Viciedo - FD 2600 DK 3600 DD 7550 SS 5600
Coming in high in our system against Smyly primarily because we work more with some historical averages in terms of platoon splits as well as projections moving outward. Those two factors, plus Viciedo’s pricing across the industry make him a great punt play against Smyly. It hasn’t been all that great for the guy this season, but Dayan could be a sneaky play today.

Mark Trumbo - FD 2800 DK 4100 DD 7800 SS 5600
Jeff Locke is a reverse splits dude, but Trumbo hasn’t had many cracks against lefties since returning from the DL. And that side of the platoon is where he makes his bones. The price is so low because he’s sucked bad since coming back, but remember most of those PA’s were against righties. Get to buying low on the guy.

Alex Gordon - FD 3300 DK 4200 DD 8300 SS 6300
Took me all the way until now to mention Kevin Correia again. What a bummer the Royals are. But Gordon should be on base and getting the ball in play against this No-K machine.


Give a follow on Twitter @dailyfantasysr and @dougnorrie.

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