Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and Draftster 4/19/15

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Note: It's kind of splitting hairs to choose a pitcher
Stephen Strasburg - FD 9800 DK 10100 DFSTR 3100
It's been a pretty lousy start to the season for Strasburg, but have hope! In this contest he gets the double dip of facing a bad offense and a bad pitcher, and I think this will be his much awaited turnaround. The Phillies were the 4th worst team in the majors against right handed pitching last season (a meager .294 wOBA) and are a year older with no fresh faces to make things better. It's odd to say of a guy who's kinda sucked so far this year, but Stras looks among the safest plays available today.

Adam Wainwright - FD 9400 DK 9500 DFSTR 3100
Wainwright has flashed his characteristic fantastic command of the zone this year in a small sample size - putting up 10 Ks against just the 1 BB. And for their supposedly great left handed bats, the Reds were just behind the Phillies when it came to producing against right handed pitching last season. If you're spooked by Stras' first two starts, I could totally see a case for putting Wainwright in the #1 overall slot, but I gave the nod to Strasburg because while Wainwright's opposing pitcher (Mike Leake) is real bad, Dave Buchanan is a transcendent fantasy match-up.

Also considered: Matt Harvey. He's been the best of these three this season, but I'll take the other two on the basis of match-up.

Random upside play: Brandon McCarthy. It'd be easy to miss what he's done from a peripheral standpoint this season because the ERA is a mess, but homey has 19 Ks against 1 BB in just 12 innings. Now, the Rockies are a damned bad match-up, but LA was the 5th hardest place to hit in the league last year (compared to Coors, which was the easiest). Some chance for a big game here, and I doubt many will play him.



Brian McCann - FD 3100 DK 3800 DFSTR 5900
McCann has been roughly .25 wOBA points better against right handed pitching over the course of his career, and Matt Andriese posted a 4.24 FIP in the minors last season. I'm sure he's a better pitcher than, say, I am, but our projection system isn't sure he'll be able to hold up against the lefty-heavy Yankee lineup. Could be a beat-down brewing here.

Kurt Suzuki - FD 2400 DK 3100 DFSTR 4500
One time where we have to take a hard look at random dudes like Suzuki is when our projection system likes him and he's also been running good recently. And recently, Suzuki has accumulated homers in back to back games. In this contest, he'll have a platoon advantage against TJ House, who incidentally has a 40.50 ERA this season. OK - small sample size. You got me. House is not a horrendous pitcher necessarily, but this is still a fine spot to get a guy who should be putting a lot of balls in play.

Also considered: Wilson Ramos.

If he starts... Christian Bethancourt is utterly useless against righties, but he was really tough on lefties in a very small sample size last season. Could be a way to get away from catcher for super cheap.

First Base

David Ortiz - FD 3600 DK 4600 DFSTR 6700
Miguel Gonzalez was one of the biggest beneficiaries of luck from a pitching perspective last season - outkicking his 4.46 xFIP for a 3.23 ERA. Ortiz, for his part, has been 70 wOBA points better against righties for the course of his career. While Papi is as about as old as it gets, he's still showing long-ball power, and Gonzalez's fly-ball tendencies (only a 37% career GB rate) should play well to that strength. This is essentially a perfect storm.

Albert Pujols - FD 3900 DK 4600 DFSTR 7100
Scott Feldman gave up 10 hits and a walk without striking out a single batter in his last outing. That's not good. If he's going to be around the plate, it should Pujols a tremendous opportunity to get his season further on track. Big Al's really not been that bad this season - he's walked more than he's struck out, and knocked two homers. His pesky .137 BABIP is the cause of most of his bad triple slash line. And I'd imagine we can expect quite a bit higher BABIP against the batting practice offerings he'll see from Feldman.

Carlos Santana - FD 3300 DK 4600 DFSTR 6100
Trevor May built upon his 7.88 ERA 2014 campaign with an 8.44 ERA in his first season this year. I get the prospect pedigree and all, but most of that prospect hype came from big K totals (and still awful walk rates) in A ball in 2011. May sure looks like he's not going to be a major league pitcher, and he's the exact kind of guy Santana feasts on. He's wild. Santana's patient eye should get him into some fine hitting counts, and from there? Who knows.

Also considered: Adam LaRoche.


Second Base

Brian Dozier - FD 3100 DK 4300 DFSTR 6800
The Doze put up a 20/20 season out of second base last season, and recent run bad has him at very affordable prices right now. If you're new to daily fantasy baseball, Dozier is a guy you can always grab against lefties, but who you need to sit against righties - his wOBA is .75 points better against southpaws for his career. But getting a 20/20 threat is an incredible amount of upside to get for these prices, that are largely brought to you by stats he's put up in games that have no relevance to this one (games where he's faced a righty).

Jason Kipnis - FD 3300 DK 3800 DFSTR 6000
There's some part of me that just can't believe the Kipnis we saw in 2013 was a fluke, and I guess our projection system agrees. While it's clearly grabbing him largely because of Trevor May, it's also pointing to two other factors. First, Kipnis is about 50 wOBA points better against right handed pitching. Next, the potential for power/speed upside puts him somewhat in line with Dozier.

Going cheaply is Alberto Callaspo. He's piling up at-bats out of the two hole, and that just can't help but turn into production in a reasonably competent Braves lineup. If he's there again, it's going to be tough to find a better value play at the minimum salary at the position.

Also considered: Dustin Pedroia.



Yunel Escobar - FD 3100 DK 3500 DFSTR 4800
Batting atop the lineup against David Buchanan? Why the hell not. Escobar has been seeing the ball fantastically this year, as evidenced by his walks outstripping his Ks. I've mentioned Buchanan's struggles so far in this article already, so I won't belabor the point - I'll just say that getting a mid-tier priced SS that bats atop a potent lineup against a lousy pitcher is a nice way to get away from SS today.

Jose Reyes - FD 3700 DK 4400 DFSTR 3100
I think it's safe to point out by now that Shelby Miller appears to be heading in the wrong direction. After putting up 6.5 K/9 again 3.5 BB/9 (and nothing reassuring so far this season), I'm treating him like a league average pitcher. And against league average pitchers, the Blue Jays can put up serious numbers. Reyes' price is fairly affordable at the moment, and he could be in for a solid counting stat day against Miller here.

Also considered: Jimmy Rollins.

Third Base

Adrian Beltre - FD 3400 DK 4400 DFSTR 6800
Taking Beltre against a left handed pitcher has been one of the safest bets of the last few seasons - he put up a .421 wOBA against them last season, including walking more than he struck out. Paxton shows a lot of promise, but the more than polished Beltre should be in a position of serious advantage here. On a day where I can get some cheap options at other positions, I'll take a hard look at the Rangers' 3B.

Trevor Plouffe - FD 2500 DK 3800 DFSTR 5700
Plouffe was put on Earth to crush lefties. Well, at least be really good at hitting them compared to how awful he is against right handed pitching. Still! He's got an .811 OPS against them for his career, and a short sample size this season shouldn't dissuade you. This is a great spot to grab him cheap and spend up elsewhere (like 1B, or P, or wherever).

Pablo Sandoval - FD 3500 DK 4700 DFSTR 6100
Sandoval is .60 wOBA points better against right handed pitching than left for his career, and I've detailed my concerns about Gonzalez above. I think Gonzalez is going to get run out of the building in this game, at that the Panda could be front and center.

If he plays, our system like Yangervis Solarte. But the Padres are so erratic with him that it's tough to give a definitive recommendation. Still, when he's played, he's batted second amid a bunch of guys that can crush left handed pitching. Lester's tough and all, but there's a really high floor built into this minimum price.


Michael Brantley - FD 4000 DK 4400 DFSTR 7300
Brantley has his fantasy break-out in 2014, and is finally back to playing full time. He looks to build upon last year's 20/20 season this year - and this game is a fine opportunity to. He mustered a .401 wOBA against righties last year, and many of those were likely better than one of the league's worst in Trevor May. A high-upside way to invest $4,000 on FanDuel in what should be a brow-beating.

Mookie Betts - FD 3000 DK 4700 DFSTR 7200
It's early in young Mookie's career to make any declarations about exactly what kind of player he is, but it speaks volumes that our projection system will take him in a bad platoon spot here. What's it seeing? Well, all of the hate I've poured on Gonzalez already, and also that Betts has only K'd 27 times against 21 BBs against righties in his career. The pop is clearly legit. Could be another nice game, especially since the guys around him are in a favorable platoon spot for them.

Jason Heyward - FD 3400 DK 4200 DFSTR 6600
Heyward's hasn't realized his superstar status, but it isn't because of how he's handled right-handed pitching. His .364 wOBA against northpaws is more than ample, and the speed he showed last season was also a nice fantasy plus. He got off the homer schneid on Saturday, and looks to add to that total on Sunday against Cincinnati's Mike Leake. Leake's primary weakness is the long-ball. His 13.6% homer/flyball ratio means he's giving up really hard contact to balls up in the zone, and his inability to strike batters out mitigates Heyward's biggest weakness. Great spot here.

Melky Cabrera - FD 2500 DK 3900 DFSTR 6500
Our projection system has been down right insistent that Cabrera was due for a bounce back, and that finally became a reality on Friday, as Cabrera broke out with a 4/5 night with a double, a run, and an RBI. It also thinks the Shane Greene bubble is going to burst any second. The walks are great, but the Ks are pretty darned bad. A high-contact approach is perfectly suited for Cabrera to spray line drives around. I love him at cheap prices.

Carl Crawford - FD 2800 DK 4300 DFSTR 6100
Speaking of pitchers about to go pumpkin, slide Eddie Butler to the top of the list. His 10 BBs against 6 Ks is a mess, and he's due for a super terrible game. Crawford has been pretty lousy in his own right, but if Crawford is back in the starting lineup on Sunday, I love him here.

Also considered: Adam Eaton, Jose Bautista, Jacoby Ellsbury.

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