Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and Draftster 5/13/15
There are so many baseball players that it's impossible to give you all of the reasonable plays on a given day, so I'll do my best in highlighting whom I believe to be the elite plays. If you want the rest? Go ahead and get access to the exclusive projection system that produces these picks. Sign up now and get a free 3 day trial to our lineup construction tool for FanDuel, DraftKings and Draftster.
An awkward edit: FanDuel didn't post their early slate until late, and I wrote the whole picks without even realizing there were early games. I don't have it in me to do a full write-up for each of the positions, but I'll highlight a good play at each position on the slate below the main section.
Cole Hamels - FD 9400 DK 10100
Hamels' control has become sort of a problem this season, but there is a LOT to love in this match-up. First, Hamels. He's still a K per inning guy, even if he's been wild. But the real kicker? I'm not sure I've seen a better match-up for a left handed pitcher since I started writing about daily fantasy baseball. They've struck out in a staggering 29% of their at bats against left handed pitching this season. 29%! Couple that with the 3rd lowest wOBA against left handed pitching, and you have an ideal spot for any pitcher. Now, there's modest risk here, because Francisco Liriano could just as easily cut the Phillies to bits, and at a maximum, only one of them can get a win here. But frankly, I'll take either of them, with the nod going to Hamels just because of how bad the Pirates have been.
James Shields - FD 8700 DK 9500
Shields has had some tough BABIP luck this year, but the 55 Ks to 12 BBs are enough to make me think that the ERA will come around shortly. The Mariners, for all of their left handed bats, have managed the 10th worst wOBA vs. right handed pitching this season, and have posted a K rate north of 20%. And unlike the above guys, Shields has a pretty nice match-up against the clearly "not there yet" Taijuan Walker. Should be a great spot to get a win, and Safeco's pitcher's park reputation is well deserved. I suspect he'll be quite a large play tomorrow, even if I'll be grabbing Hamels.
Matt Harvey - FD 10300 DK 10400
There's a nice case to be made for Harvey tonight if you want to spend up for safety. The Cubs have posted the league's highest K rate against right handed pitchers (25.8%), and they're in the bottom half of the league in wOBA as well. The two issues here are the opposing park, and Jason Hammel. Wrigley is a tough place to pitch, and Hammel's been pretty sharp this year as well, making a win potentially difficult to come by. Still, though, it's tough to imagine Harvey not racking up a nice K total in a solid number of innings, making him a pretty nice play if you see cheap hitting options that you like today.
The cheap guy: Jose Quintana. The Brewers have been the 4th worst team in the league when it comes to wOBA against left handed pitching, and Jimmy Nelson is a nice guy to face. The Brewers are also the fifth easiest teams for LHP to strike out. Now, I'm a little worried that some of the Brewers' big right handed bats might wake up here, but it's an interesting play if you want to spend up some more on hitting.
Early Slate Special: Nobody. I hate every pitcher. I guess I'd just play Sonny Gray and hope for the best.
Buster Posey - FD 3500 DK 4300
Posey hasn't lived up to his lefty-slaughtering ways this season, which leaves him very affordable on FanDuel. But I'm not convinced that the 28 year old is that much different from the guy who's posted a .960 OPS against southpaws over the course of his career. And that's against all lefties. In this game, he'll face Brett Oberholzer, whose sub 6 K/9 from last year isn't going to strike fear in the hearts of anyone. Great spot to buy lowish on Posey and ride the wave back up.
Wilin Rosario - FD 3000 DK 3600
It's tempting to only play Rockies when they're at home, but Rosario is a special kind of Rocky(ie?) - the kind that can hit both at home and on the road. Now, Rosario is totally unplayable when he's facing right handers. But against left handers? He's freaking amazing. Even on the road vs. LHP, he's managed an .884 OPS and a .383 wOBA. While Hector Santiago has managed a decent ERA this season, it's coming on the back of smoke and mirrors peripherals - 31 Ks against 18 BBs coming off of last season's 4.55 xFIP mean he just isn't an effective pitcher. Huge upside for Rosario here.
Victor Martinez - FD 3500 DK 4800
While Martinez isn't the wild upside play he once was (the sub .100 ISO is a little spooky), his incredible BB/K rate of 12.4%/8.5% is about as good as it gets, and it gives him a great floor for your cash game purposes. Combine this with Ricky Nolsaco's batting practice offerings, and you have a guy that, unlike the above guys, is a virtual lock to end the day with a positive total.
If he plays, Devin Mesoraco was the bane of left handed pitching all of last season, posting a .925 OPS against left handers. Eric Stults isn't much to worry about out there on the mound, and it could be a great spot to bag lots of upside cheap.
Early Slate Special: Wilson Ramos.
Freddie Freeman - FD 3900 DK 4900
Freeman's having a career year in basically every measurable away - OPS, ISO, wOBA - and taking him against someone called "Raisel Iglesias" is going to be something not a lot of people pass up on. In Cincinnati, too? Yeah. This isn't a spot you should miss out on.
Jose Abreu - FD 3500 DK 5000
At the risk of sounding repetitive, the price remains too low on Jose Abreu. The stupid thing about daily fantasy baseball is that we can wait for weeks for great players to return to their proper form, losing all the way. The great thing about DFB, though, is that we often get to continue to make good bets until prices correct themselves. Our projection system simply denies that Jose Abreu is a $3,500 player, and it's going to recommend you play him against league average pitchers from either side of the rubber every single time. Abreu was basically platoon neutral last season, and it stands to reason he'll remain that way this year. I'll keep grabbing him until I find out he's hurt, or the price climbs too much.
Albert Pujols - FD 2900 DK 4100
There are plenty of reasons to NOT play Albert Pujols these days, but as the price continues to drift downward, our projection system is staying tantalized. The real sell here is Jordan Lyles. While some might argue that Colorado pitchers generally get underrated because of their tough home environment, Lyles has actually been worse on the road over the course of his career. His 21 Ks against 17 BBs in 36 IP this year are simply horrid, and he is a good bet to get run off the field by a hard hitting Angels team.
You know who leads the league in line drive percentage? Lucas Duda, baby. He's pummeling the ball this year. It could be a nice grab to play him against a righty in a nice hitters' park, but there's obviously risk involved since Hammel can really pitch.
Brian Dozier - FD 3500 DK 4800
Hopefully you're a subscriber to our projection system, and had a steady enough hand to ride Dozier through the tough times. But if you weren't - here's the case for him. Dozier is one of the more dramatic platoon guys at his position, and he also has some of the highest upside. His 20/20 ability means he can put up big numbers in a bunch of different ways that no one else at the position can really manage. He's facing someone whose honest to goodness name is Kyle Lobstein, and if the name weren't enough, that same gentleman has only managed 15 Ks against 11 BBs in 33 innings pitched this year. Expect the hot streak to continue.
Joe Panik - FD 2600 DK 3400
Panik has established himself as a nice high-floor low-ceiling guy at 2nd base this year for a couple of reasons: he walks almost as much as he strikes out, he bats near the top of the order, and he's not especially subject to platoon splits. He also happens to be very affordably priced, often allowing us to escape a pretty crappy offensive position cheaply so we can focus our energies elsewhere. I like him fine against Oberholzer here.
Brandon Phillips - FD 3000 DK 4300
Our projection system actually isn't a huge fan, but I don't mind grabbing Phillips as part of a righty stack against resident fish-out-of-Petco Eric Stults. Stults' low K rate mitigates Phillips' biggest weakness, and Phillips has stung LHP for a .367 wOBA this season. The ISO is continuing to trend down to pitcher levels, but I think there's still a little pop left in the 33 year old's bat, and I don't mind sticking my neck out here if I'm going to go against the grain. For real, just play Dozier, though.
Early Slate Special: Jason Kipnis, though I don't feel great about it. I could also just find some cheap guy, and play him.
At shortstop tonight, our projection system would have you believe you have two options.
A bunch of cheap guys: You can pick one of Brad Miller (just batted 2nd against a righty), Erick Aybar (Jordan Lyles Sweepstakes, bats 5th), or Brandon Crawford - who's having a nice season and is actually a reverse platoon guy over the course of his career.
Or, you can go with
Troy Tulowitzki - FD 4400 DK 4500
You may be surprised to know that Tulowitzki's best overall performances of any permutation over the course of his career have been against left handers - his 1.075 OPS is downright Ruthian, and his 23.5% walk rate to 8.5% K rate is basically unheard of. I besmirched Santiago in Rosario's write-up, so I won't do it again - but needless to say, I think this is a phenomenal play.
Todd Frazier - FD 3600 DK 4500
If you save up elsewhere, this is where you can spend to get some ridiculous upside. Frazier has smacked 10 home runs this season, and 4 of those have come in 36 PA against left handed pitching. 1 homer per 9 PAs would be the all time record if he did it for his career, so that's pretty good. While he won't sustain figures like that - the power is legit, and grabbing him against a mediocre lefty like Stults is a dream scenario.
Mike Moustakas - FD 2700 DK 4000
Moose is batting second in a Royals lineup that never strikes out, and he has somehow restructured his swing so that he’s not striking out, either. His 8.4% K rate almost certainly somewhat of a fluke, but it seems to be indicative of a new approach that should serve his fantasy totals well. Moustakas' career OPS is .81 points higher against right handers over the course of his career, and Yovani Gallardo is past whatever prime he had. Throw in a phenomenal hitters' park and this could be a recipe for a high-ceiling, high-floor situation.
Josh Harrison - FD 2200 DK 3400
When you never, ever walk, you're going to have some terrible stretches. And Josh Harrison was in the middle of one of those, until last night. The young Pirates infielder remains more than .100 points off his career BABIP, and it's wreaked havoc on his fantasy performance. Still, Harrison is a guy with a 10/20 skill set - plenty of production for a minimum salary guy. If he's in there again, taking him against Hamels is a risk that could pay off.
Khris Davis - FD 3000 DK 4100
A rash of fantastic games has turned the daily fantasy community back on the Davis, and Braun's recent hotstreak has his prices climbing as well. But our projection system still thinks you can grab both against Quintana. Both can knock left handed pitching around, and it's quite a nice park to hit in.
J.D. Martinez - FD 3000 DK 4300
Martinez is following up last season's .900+ OPS season with something of a disappointment, but I have a feeling little of that will come into play here. The biggest struggle for Martinez has been the strike-outs. His 31% K rate is downright embarrassing. But against Nolasco, that shouldn't be an issue. Could be a great day for all Tigers' hitters, so I'll grab Martinez while the price is down.
Andrew McCutchen - FD 3800 DK 4500
I love Hamels today, but McCutchen still looks like an excellent play. Doug gave you McCutchen as the headlining outfield play yesterday for much the same reasons our projection system loves him today. The man has a .983 OPS against left handers for his career, and a .419 wOBA. He also has the luxury of hitting in Philly - friendly confines for any hitter.
The cheap/low ceiling guys: Just a pile of them. Melky Cabrera, Kole Calhoun, Travis Snider, Marlon Byrd, Curtis Granderson. The list goes on. You'll just have to grab a free three day trial of our projection system if you want the whole list.
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- Freddie Freeman: AP Images