Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and Draftster 5/2/15

Wow! Massive day of baseball, to say nothing of the Kentucky Derby, Spurs/Clips game 7, and Floyd/Manny! Oy. With all these games going, you might as well have some action going. Let's get to the picks!

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Early Slate
Cole Hamels - FD 9700 DK 10000 DFSTR 9300
Hamels is my favorite play of all of the big money pitchers in the early slate, but I can't say it makes me feel fantastic. What I really like here is the combination of ballpark and skills. Hamels (for all of his weird location problems this season) is still a strike out an inning guy, and the Marlins have their fair share of guys who can strike out. Now, Hamels may struggle to get wins due to the Phillies awful offense (more on that in a minute), but I think he'll put up nice peripheral stats, and a win is absolutely in play.

Francisco Liriano - FD 8700 DK 9000 DFSTR 8200
If you want the highest upside guy of the slate, look no further than Sr. Liriano. Francisco has put up a sterling 30 Ks in 24 IP, though the 12 walks are certainly troubling. That's why we'll call this an "upside play." There is a lot to like here, though. The Cardinals have struck out the 5th most against left handers this season, while putting up the league's 8th worst wOBA and 3rd worst ISO. What does this mean? Well, Liriano could escape his mistakes relatively unscathed while putting up a huge strikeout total. On the same token, I'd say Lackey makes a reasonable upside play as well.

Off board: Dan Haren. The Phils have put up a straight up sad 63 runs this season (good for league worst), and that means their opposing pitcher should always get consideration, ESPECIALLY away from the Phillies home park.

Also considered: Corey Kluber.

Late slate
Brandon Morrow
So Morrow was bad against the Rockies in Coors, but everyone is bad against the Rockies in Coors, so I won't hold it against him. Besides that start, he has three solid starts under his belt this season, and reasonable peripherals to back them up. Petco is truly the greatest pitcher's park known to man, and it really couldn't be any different than where the Rocks are used to hitting. To give you a little clarity on the subject - the Rockies go from a fantastic .359 wOBA at home to a league average .311 wOBA on the road. Make that the league's toughest park, and you've got a plus match-up overall. I also love the match-up with De La Rosa. He was actually worse on the road last season. The Padres' new found righties should eat him for lunch.

Chris Archer
So, this one is somewhat against the wishes of our projection system (it prefers Gio Gonzalez, listed below), but I think I might look at Archer. I'll start with the case against him. The O's have managed the 2nd highest wOBA in the league against right handed pitching this season, and Baltimore is a significantly tougher place to hit than Tampa Bay. Then, there's the case for. The Orioles wOBA is fueled by a .328 BABIP (unsustaintable). Archer is also a man possessed this year - he's been straight up dominant with his slider - throwing it in 40% of his pitches, and throwing it faster than ever. The case against Archer was always his control, but he's cut his walk-rate nearly in half. He's still priced like a #2 - but if he's emerging as a number 1, this could still be a buying opportunity.

Also considered: Gio Gonzalez.




Early Slate
Buster Posey
This is a straight up platoon play. Posey hasn't quite been himself this season, but he's coming on recently, and his track record against left handed pitching is undeniable. Santiago's control problems play right into Posey's patient and professional approach, and this lines up nicely for a big day for Posey.

Also considered: Brian McCann

Late Slate
Stephen Vogt
Stephen Vogt has put up an 1.100+ OPS against right handed pitching this year, and while I don't think he's the new Barry Bonds, he shouldn't need to be to hit Nick Martinez. In spite of what our Twitter trolls would have you believe, and in spite of Martinez's .35 ERA this season, the man is not a good major league pitcher. HE IS NOT A GOOD MAJOR LEAGUE PITCHER. The luck Gods will come calling for Martinez soon. So why not now? The A's have the league's 6th highest wOBA against righties, and Texas is a great place to hit. One time, luck Gods!

Wilson Ramos
Ramos has punished left handed pitching to the tune of an .824 OPS for his career, and is generally pretty bad against righties, which makes him a frequent darling of our projection system when he's facing southpaws. And while Niese has been a good pitcher in the past, he's not really showing the same stuff he has. His 14 Ks against 9 BBs in 23 innings is another bubble waiting to burst, and Ramos should be in an advantageous position here.

Also considered: Derek Norris.

First Base

Early Slate
David Ortiz
While Papi hasn't put up a monster triple-slash line this season, there's still a lot to like about what he can do for you from a fantasy perspective. First, his BABIP is almost 60 points off his career levels (though we need to be a little cautious there, because he had similar luck last season too). Next, he's still hitting for plenty of power, and showing big platoon splits favoring hitting against righties. And then there's Eovaldi. He's fine and all, but his league average stuff in an extreme hitters' park shouldn't hold up here.

Albert Pujols
It's old first baseman day! Tim Hudson's peripherals are all headed in the wrong direction, and things can go badly quick for aging sinker-ballers. Enter Pujols. His BABIP has been drifting downward for years, but he won't be a .200 BABIP guy for the rest of his career. He's priced to buy, and this is a high floor (if not high ceiling) play.

Upside play: Jose Abreu.

Punt possibility: Adam LaRoche. Great spot against the now stuff-less Nolasco.

Late slate
Freddie Freeman
I wrote this about Freeman last night: "Freeman is a professional hitter who eats right handers for lunch. His already good career line is actually 145 OPS points better against north-paws, and he's actually got a .967 OPS against them this season. On a day where a lot of the other good 1Bs have tougher match-ups, Freeman's a great buy in the upper-mid tier." Marquis is past whatever prime he had, and this is a great spot to grab Freddie.

Adrian Gonzalez
It's not the greatest play from a points per dollar perspective, but hear me out. You can likely save up considerably at pitcher or really anywhere on such a large slate, so if you want to grab the very highest upside play going at the moment, Gonzalez makes a fine play. Hellickson's lousy peripherals have caught up with him recently, and his tendency to leave balls up in the zone spells trouble against the red hot Dodgers.


Second Base

Early Slate
Dustin Pedroia
Pedroia is certainly better against left handed pitching at this stage in his career, but our projection system likes him just fine against the mediocre Eovaldi in a nice hitters' park. What I really like here is how facing a right hander impacts the guys around him. Pedroia should have more run scoring and RBI opportunities than usual if he can get on base, and his patient approach should serve him well here.

Joe Panik
Panik has cooled off a bit as of late, but he'll be batting second against the league average Santiago, and that's a pretty nice spot to be in at prices these low. Panik is a zero ceiling guy, but he's a great high-floor way to escape a typically bad position at very little expense.

Late Slate
Robinson Cano
Cano makes for an interesting, albeit potentially risky play here. On one hand, he's about as steady as they come against right handed pitching, and the Astros' ballpark is a much better place to hit than Safeco, where Cano takes most of his cuts. McHugh is also a good pitcher, but there's just one problem: Cano is one of the best hitters in the game against right handed sliders. I actually kind of love this spot, and would be happy to pay up for what I imagine may be a contrarian play.

Brandon Phillips
While no one was looking, Phillips has sort of been tearing it up again. He's hitting for power, and even stole two bases in Friday's contest. I absolutely love him against Stults here. Phillips biggest weakness (the strike out) is mitigated by Stults' complete inability to strike anyone out. If he stays around the plate, Phillips could continue with his yard work.

Interesting punt: Danny Espinosa. He's a more than competent hitter against left handed pitching, and the power upside is legit. He'd be a higher rec, but the 7th spot in the order holds him down some.



Early Slate
Danny Santana
Santana has looked downright horrendous this year, but the early slate isn't looking great when it comes to shortstop options. What our projection system is seeing here is Santana's great speed, sure, but it's mostly seeing Hector Noesi. It's a testament to the Twins that more of their guys haven't shown up in the picks today, but here we are. Noesi and his career 5.16 ERA with awful peripherals should put him nicely in the line of fire here, and this could be a high-upside spot for Santana.

Jhonny Peralta
Peralta's resurgence is largely BABIP fueled, but his price is still far too low for the upside he can provide for the position. Few shortstops have 20+ home run power these days, and Peralta has that. Liriano could certainly strike him out 4 times here, but Peralta's a pretty tough K in his own right. I love the upside here, though, because Liriano is still mistake prone - and a mistake in the wrong spot could go over the fence.

Also considered: Freddy Galvis - he bats at the bottom of the lineup, but he's got an .800 OPS this season. Could be something.

Late Slate
Ian Desmond
Desmond will be a huge play in the late slate today, based on his platoon splits, Niese's relative struggles, and Desmond's price. Desmond's not been hitting the ball crisply this year, but I'm still willing to roll with it until we get injury news or something.

Jimmy Rollins
I've covered this here before, but I personally think Rollins looks terrific this year. His ISO is slightly up, his walks are up, and he's batting atop the league's toughest offense. His BABIP has been .80 points off of its career norms, and the way he's striking the ball, that will almost surely turn. Why not against Hellickson, of the no-strike-out stuff?

Also considered: Asdrubal Cabrera.

Third Base

Early Slate
Pablo Sandoval
Pablo has an OPS .160 points higher against right handed pitching than left over the course of his career, and that trend is continuing this season. Sandoval's BABIP is unsustainably high, but it bodes well that he's spraying the ball all over the place. I've already written enough about the Eovaldi situation - so, needless to say, Sandoval will be in basically all of my early slate lineups.

An interesting play: Alex Rodriguez. Miley has more walks than Ks this year, and A-Rod's having a nice little resurgence. He should be featured prominently against the LHP.

Also considered: Josh Harrison, because the price is right, Lackey's underwhelming, and he's platoon neutral over the course of his career. Like him a million times less than the Panda, though.

Late Slate
Adrian Beltre
I wrote this about Beltre last night:
You'll wait around all season trying to get platoon spots like this. Beltre put up nearly a 1k OPS against left handers last season, and did even better than that at home. Now, Kazmir is a cut above the average left handed pitcher that Beltre faced last season, but the combination of park and skills still makes Beltre a must play for me today, especially if you save up at pitcher.
And here we are again! Except Pomeranz is a less qualified version of Kazmir. Beltre was great against Kaz & Co. on Friday, and he should repeat that again today.

Todd Frazier
So, Frazier is kind of a worse version of Adrian Beltre - but he's been completely on fire recently, and he's a lefty-killer. His K/BB look great this year (16%/12%), and his ISO is up to (a probably unsustainable) .313. A ridiculous .206 BABIP is killing what would otherwise be a fantastic season like for Frazier, and he'll get a fantastic match-up here with Stults. Great upside play.

An interesting punt could be Will Middlebrooks. He's 0 for the last bunch of weeks, but he can still put balls in the air. Interesting part of a stack, if he plays against the lefty.



Early Slate
Kole Calhoun
Like I wrote with Pujols earlier. I don't think Hudson has the stuff to deal with the Angels, and Calhoun is one of the only other Angels who is priced to buy. Calhoun's been pretty much platoon neutral over the course of his career, but that looks like BABIP noise to me, and I'll still take him against righties any day. I like him quite a bit against Hudson here.

Carlos Beltran
He's been pretty awful this season to be sure, but a minimum price? Batting 5th in that lineup? Against Wade Miley?? In Fenway?? If he's playing, I'm keeping a steady hand here. He showed some pop his last time out, and this would be a terrific spot for him to build upon that.

Torii Hunter
Hector Noesi. Near minimum Salary. Hunter's just a hair worse against righties over the course of his career, but not materially so.

Also considered: Melky Cabrera, Gregory Polanco.

Late Slate
Joc Pederson
We gave you Pederson last night, predicting he would hit a grand slam. Okay, we didn't predict that - but what we wrote then still holds true. A guy who went 30/30 in the minors last year should never be overlooked in any case, and he's shown plenty of power to handle LA's spacious park. He should get plenty of pitches to hit against Hellickson, which gives him a ton of upside and a nice floor today as well.

Justin Upton
Wil Myers
Both of these guys are decided platoon split guys, and as I wrote above - De La Rosa was actually worse on the road than he was in Coors last year. The Padres' righties should be well situated to have another nice run at things here. I could have included Kemp as well, but the price there slightly pushes it for me.

Yoenis Cespedes
When Cespedes came up, it looked like he'd be a lefty killer - but he's actually turned out to be somewhat platoon neutral. Volquez managed a nice ERA last season, but it was largely smoke and mirrors, as evidenced by his 4.20 xFIP. He's not the elite K guy he was earlier in his career, and if he makes a mistake in the zone, no other OF on this slate has the upside Cespedes could have.

Jayson Werth
I like him as part of a Nats stack against Niese. He's been .150 wOBA points better against left handed pitchers over the course of his career. The troubling thing here is the utter power outage, but the rest of the peripherals look solid, and I won't give up on Werth based on a month of light hitting after a fine performance from him last year.

Also considered: Michael Cuddyer.

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