Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

04/21/2015
James Davis

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and Draftster 4/21/15

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Pitcher

Francisco Liriano - FD 8400 DK 8700 DFSTR 3100 SpTradeX A
Liriano is the top bigger money pitcher in our projection system tonight, and is looking like generally a terrific play. The Cubs topped all teams with a staggering 25.2% K rate against southpaws last season, and Liriano's ridiculous 9.7 K/9 rate both this season and last meshes very well with that. Travis Wood is a decent pitcher in the other dug-out, so it won't be a slam-dunk to a win, but I think the ceiling is huge here in what could be a double digit strike out game.

Big Gap
Collin McHugh - FD 8900 DK 8100 DFSTR 3100 SpTradeX A
Chris Archer - FD 9000 DK 8200 DFSTR 7900 SpTradeX A
Listen - I like Liriano leaps and bounds above these guys today, but there are significantly slim pickings, so these guys at least deserve a write-up. My issue with both is basically the same. Neither has a particularly great match-up. Seattle is pretty darned good against righties - even at home - and Boston is similarly good against them. Boston has also been the third toughest team to strike out in the league vs. right handers. But both of these guys do have their advantages as well. Both Wade Miley and Taijuan Walker have been awful, and they're both pitching in excellent pitchers' parks. While I'll take my chances with Liriano, I wouldn't kill you if you took either of these guys. Just be aware that the risks are significant.

Dan Haren - FD 7600 DK 7000 DFSTR 6700 SpTradeX A
If you want to go a little bit off board today, Dan Haren makes a modestly interesting option. The Phils were the 4th worst team in the majors in terms of wOBA against right handers last year, and they're a year older and are presently dead last against them. Jerome Williams shouldn't pose too much of a threat against Miami, and I'd say Haren is a healthy favorite for the win. He doesn't have the K upside of the guys above to be sure, but with some question marks for each of them, it wouldn't shock me to see Haren outperform them all from a points per dollar perspective even with his soft-tossin' sensibilities.

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First Base

 

Catcher

Derek Norris - FD 3000 DK 3900 DFSTR 5900
Norris was a part of the Padres' hitting bonanza in Coors last night, and our projection system thinks we're all systems go for round two tonight. Norris posted a ridiculous .379 wOBA against left handers last season, and Coors is the most favorable hitting environment north of Mexico City. For the price and the potential upside, Norris can't be beaten tonight.

Big Gap
Yadier Molina - FD 3000 DK 3600 DFSTR
While there's considerably less upside with Molina, I'd say there's a significantly higher floor. Molina is back to his line-drive spraying ways, and while most of those drop for singles, it's a lot more than you can say for most catchers. And while he's relatively platoon neutral over the course of his career, the .20 wOBA bump against lefties is somewhat significant. Gio's no slouch, but he's looked pretty erratic early in the year, and he's not scaring me away from a match-up like this if I decide to fade Norris for whatever reason (though I won't).

A ton of cheap dudes: There's a cluster of cheap guys that could put up high floor low ceiling games that you could choose from if you love how the money shakes out elsewhere. Choose between Carlos Ruiz, Christian Bethancourt, or Dioner Navarro, and go on your merry way.

 

First Base

Adam Lind - FD 3300 DK 4500 DFSTR 6300
Righty killer Lind (career wOBA vs righties .369) has had a nice start to the season and looks to continue that with a ripe matchup with the Reds' Jason Marquis. Marquis doesn't perform well against anyone, but lefties tattoo him to the tune of a career xFIP of 4.96 boosted by a staggering walk rate over 11%. Great spot to continue to ride Lind's hot hand.

Albert Pujols - FD 3800 DK 4300 DFSTR 6900 SpTradeX C
Pujols actually hit worse versus lefties last year but the future Hall of Famer has a career OPS over 1.000 versus them. In this game he draws the inexperienced lefty Drew Pomeranz, who has posted a career WHIP of 1.51 against [righties]. The Angels have a pile of righties that should make things hard on him, and I think Pujols will be right in the middle of it.

Also considered: Edwin Encarnacion. The late blooming star slugged an eye-popping .647 at home facing righties last season. Bud Norris, while better against righties than lefties, is no reason not to play Encarnacion at the Rogers Centre.

 

Second Base

Rougned Odor - FD 2800 DK 4600 DFSTR 5900 SpTradeX D
The young second baseman cant touch lefties yet, but has shown some decent pop for a keystoner when facing righties to the tune of a .427 SLG. Facing Chase Anderson in dry Arizona looks like a nice matchup. Anderson's only plus pitch, his changeup, is somewhat less of a weapon versus left handers. If Odor bats at the top of the lineup, line he often does against right handed pitchers, this recommendation looks even better.

Alberto Callaspo - FD 2200 DK 2700 DFSTR 3100
Callaspo is like Odor with a little bit less upside. He's batting 2nd regularly for the Braves, and has been slightly better against left handed pitching over the course of his career. What you really like here, though, is the price. Getting a solid contact hitter batting in the two hole in a platoon advantage is very safe way to escape a rough position cheaply.

Chase Utley - FD 3200 DK 4100 DFSTR 6500 SpTradeX B
The triple-slash line for Utley just looks awful, but it's fueled by a pitcher-esque .083 BABIP. That's .220 points below his career levels. Otherwise, his ISO is the same, his K rate is the same, and he even managed to swipe a bag even though he really hasn't been on them. Dan Haren will also be around the plate, is prone to giving up the long ball, and Philly is a heck of a tough place to pitch. Utley is probably the biggest upside on a points per dollar basis at the position.

 

Shortstop

Asdrubal Cabrera - FD 2500 DK 3600 DFSTR 5200
I mean, Cabrera has been pretty bad so far this season. Let's get that out of the way. But! He still bats at the top of or in the middle of the Rays' lineup, and he's nearing true minimums. Cabrera's basically platoon neutral over the course of his career, but the guys batting around him (line Jennings & Longoria) will get a nice bump against the left handed Miley. Also, Miley is pretty awful (as his 7 Ks to 5 BBs and 10.57 ERA this year suggest), which benefits everyone.

Erick Aybar - FD 2700 DK 3400 DFSTR 5300
While Aybar was dropped in the lineup down to 6th, and has generally been just disgustingly awful, that's the state of shortstop as we know it these days. And it's really not all bad, with Aybar. He was about .50 wOBA points better against right handed pitchers last year, and did swipe 16 bags while hitting 7 homers. Nothing to write home about, of course, but you're really not paying anything to get him here, which could help you spend up elsewhere. Our projection system also has a particular distaste for one Hector Noesi, who has sucked again so far this year after posting a 4.94 FIP last year.

Jean Segura - FD 3000 DK 4300 DFSTR 5400 SpTradeX D
If you want to spent just a little bit more (or if you're considering stacking the Brew Crew against Marquis), Segura makes for an interesting option. He's smoking his typical line drives while also reducing his strike out rate, and he's actually been better against righties over the course of his career (and significantly so last season). Marquis was horrible in his last major league stint in 2013 - managing just 5.5 strike outs per 9 against 5.20 walks per 9 in 117 innings pitched.

Third Base

Adrian Beltre - FD 3400 DK 4800 DFSTR 7000 SpTradeX C
Typically like to play him against primarily lefties (or at least that's the main target) but there are times when we can go reverse and take Beltre against righties. This is one of those days. Chase Field plays well for righty hitters and Chase Anderson has struggled against righties (and everyone else) for his career. Beltre had an acceptable mid .800's OPS and 131 wRC+ against righties last season and the price is lower across the board.

Aramis Ramirez - FD 2800 DK 3800 DFSTR 6000 SpTradeX C
Like we said yesterday, the price is getting stupid on Aramis. He is starting to trend very near a punt play! He was dropped in the order some yesterday, which will hurt him some. And the Brewers as a whole aren't doing much with the bat lately. But's that's just driven down their prices. Aramis is Babip'ing .176 and hasn't taken a walk yet this season. Those numbers simply won't continue. Great spot against Marquis.

Trevor Plouffe - FD 2600 DK 4000 DFSTR 5800
Coming near the minimums against the soft tossing and soft living (presumably) Jason Vargas. Plouffe won't light the world on fire (figuratively, don't know what his actual life plans are) but he got the job done against lefties last season with a .343 wOBA in that split. Helps work in some salary plays from the Pads/Rockies if need be.

Outfield

David Peralta - FD 3000 DK 4400 DFSTR 5500
The rest of the industry has come around on Peralta to some degree, but he still remains very reasonably priced for what he can provide for you. His .376 wOBA against right handers is simply fantastic in an absolute sense, and his price remains depressed by his inability to hit left handers. And he's actually running bad in terms of BABIP this season, making his .850 OPS look all the more impressive. Nick Mart hasn't allowed a run this season, but his 6 Ks against 5 BBs tell the real story. Great spot in a great park - I'm all in.

Carlos Gonzalez - FD 3800 DK 4600 DFSTR 7400 SpTradeX B
Cargo's overall line looks bad so far this year, but the underlying stats look pretty good, to me. The Ks are down, the slugging percentage is only off by a little, and most of his poor overall line is due to a BABIP that's more than .100 points off his career norms. Most of the edge in the early season comes from grabbing bargains based on bad luck, and Cargo utterly fits that bill. You know the story by now - Gonzalez has made his living hitting right handed pitchers at home, and Morrow's erratic approach suits him perfectly. The tide will turn for Cargo at some point, and there's no reason it couldn't be today.

Khris Davis - FD 2600 DK 4400 DFSTR 6000
Unlike most sluggers, Davis is basically platoon neutral - posting a wOBA just .07 points worse against right handers. That's why, when we're looking at games where we can slide him in, we're mostly considering the opposing pitcher. Jason Marquis is basically a dead horse in this column by now, so I won't drag it on - just grab Davis for the incredible upside here.

Melky Cabrera - FD 2700 DK 4000 DFSTR 6600
Cabrera required a steady hand to stick with him after his slow start, but he's shown why our projection system wanted to stick with him recently, putting together back to back multi-hit games against the Tigers. Cabrera is still really, really cheap for the at bats and counting stats you could conceivably bank here.

Also considered: Ryan Braun. It still feels cheap for the potential upside, even if Braun is better against lefties, and has been bad this year. Also, Dustin Ackley, Cameron Maybin, and Michael Brantley.

Unpopular opinion alert: I'll likely pass on Justin Upton and Matt Kemp today, in spite of what happened last night. The prices there are just super, super high, even facing a lefty in Coors. If I had to choose one to play I'd grab Kemp based on the savings and the fact that he's looked very sharp this year, but I'll probably go against the grain on this one.
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