Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Brent Holloway
Via Keith Allison

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and Draftster 5/14/15

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Anibal Sanchez - FD 8800 DK 9200
I know. You see that 5.44 ERA, and it’s tough to get on board with Anibal. Understandable. But while he hasn’t been the same guy who spun sub-3.00 FIPs over the last two seasons, he hasn’t been as terrible as the first glance might suggest. The K-to-BB ratio is in line with his career averages and he’s gone six-plus innings in all but one start this season. What’s killing him is a drop in ground ball rate and a stunning inability to keep fly balls in the park. If that spooks you, I get it. But before you running for cover with the likes of Aaron Harang, consider: the Twins rank 25th in the league in homers, 22th in slugging percentage and have the fourth-highest K% in the majors against right-handed pitching. I don’t see them burning Sancez too badly here.

Vance Worley - FD 6600 DK 6600
Vance Worley, ladies and gents. What does that tell you about the slate of arms we’re working with on the early slate? Ok. Not a cash game play, but if you want to go cheap at pitcher in tourney play, here’s the pitch for VW: the Phillies suck, objectively speaking. They’re last in the league in runs scored (by a significant margin), wOBA, and pretty much any other metric you care to dig up. Nothing wrong with betting against that.

Tyson Ross - FD 8300 DK 9200
Ross, with his 10.62 Ks per 9 innings this season, is probably you’re safest per-dollar play tonight. Cueto’s surely gonna get plenty of run, but the price tag is just feeling a little too steep for our projection system. Meanwhile, Ross is significantly cheaper and hasn’t had a truly bad start in terms of fantasy scoring in over a month – but he also hasn’t had a really good one. What’s holding him back is the walk rate. It’s at over 5 per 9 now, which kinda makes you appreciate the 3.98 ERA. Ross has never been a dude who can live on the black, but he’s been better over his last few starts – much closer to the 3 walks/9 he’s worked around for his entire career. I’m a little nervous that the Nats are coming in stroking, but their high K-rate and Petco soothe that concern enough.

Roenis Elias - FD 7000 DK 7100
You’re not gonna feel great doing it, but here’s why you might want to consider starting Elias tonight. He’s not really that bad. He’s probably not a strikeout per inning guy like he has been this year, but he’s at least average in that respect. He’s also been hurt by some bad HR luck in his brief stint so far in 2015, one reason his xFIP (3.45) surpasses his ERA (3.86) right now. That shouldn’t be as much of an issue at SafeCo, and the Red Sox are among the bottom dwellers against lefties this year.



Salvador Perez - FD 2400 DK 3900
The price is just getting too low for a hitter of Perez’s talent. We’d like to see him take a few more walks, but the dude hardly strikes out, so the approach is working well enough. In this matchup he’s on the plus-side of the platoon against Ross Detwiler and his laughable 5.49 xFIP. I like everything about this play in all leagues.

Welington Castillo - FD 2200 DK 3300
I’m riding or dying with Sal P. on this slate, but if Castillo’s in the lineup, he’s worth considering due to the fact that he mauls lefties.

Brian McCann - FD 3100 DK 3700
Not a great park, but everything else looks very nice for BMac, chiefly, the fact that he’s facing Erasmo Ramirez. If you need further reasoning, it looks like the putrid BABIP luck that plagued McCann all of last season is finally starting to lift and his offensive production is on the rise. The shift is probably going to prevent him from ever being the guy who had a.375 OBP in 2010, but there’s room for improvement still.

Consider: Jason Castro/Hank Conger.


First base

Prince Fielder - FD 3100 DK 4500
Could see a whole lot of offense going down in Arlington today. It’s a great place to hit in any circumstance, and with Detwiler and Jeremy Guthrie taking the bump, it could get silly. Fielder’s had some good BABIP luck this year, but he’s also just plain locked in – especially at home, where he’s flirting with a 1.000 OPS. He’s also striking out less than ever, and against Guthrie (3.47 K/9) that’s especially appetizing.

Matt Adams - FD 2400 DK 3700
Not the safest play, but you’re getting him dirt cheap. And while he’s a walking tragedy against lefties, but has put up an .850 OPS against righties since 2012. How you feel about this play likely comes down to how you feel about the polar nature of Trevor Bauer.
Consider: Pedro Alvarez and other Pirate lefties against Aaron Harang in Philly.

Mike Napoli - FD 2500 DK 3900
Not a lot to like at first base tonight. Maybe a good time to get out cheap and keep moving. And if you thought that Roenis Elias pick was lunacy, well, here’s the counter balance. Napoli’s numbers are pretty bad this year, but that’s mostly due to a .195 BABIP that’s just dumb. He’s still drawing plenty of walks and his K numbers are down significantly. Also, he still crushes lefties, and despite the arguments above made in favor of Roenis Elias, he’s still Roenis Elias. Let’s not get carried away.


Second base

Chase Utley - FD 2500 DK 4000
His best days are a rapidly fading memory at this point, but he’s got a heck of a positive BABIP correction coming his way soon. I don’t even know how .118 is possible. He’s hit safely in four straight entering last night’s game so maybe it’s beginning. If it is, Vance Worley isn’t going to do much to stop it.
Consider: Neil Walker. I love the park and I’ll probably stack Pirates in at least one lineup, but this whole Aaron-Harang-is-a-decent-pitcher charade has gone on long enough to make me a little skittish.

Robinson Cano - FD 3400 DK 4300
It’s looking more and more likely that SafeCo and the cruel passage of time have conspired to take the power out of Cano’s game, but the good news is you’re not paying for it at these prices. He’s still a pretty steady, high-floor producer, and among his colleagues on the night shift, that makes him a rock star.

Logan Forsythe - FD 2500 DK 3200
He’s probably not a .300 hitter, and he’s definitely not gonna rock a .858 OPS for 162 games, but those numbers aren’t entirely mirage either. Forsythe’s striking out much, much less this season and his walk rate is up. Chase Whitley has been solid through three starts for the Yanks, but his mediocre track record, plus Forsythe’s low price make this a decent opportunity if you want to go cheap.

Consider: Dustin Pedroia. Especially if you’re hedging against Elias.



Alcides Escobar - FD 2700 DK 4500
Not an amazing offensive ballplayer or anything, and the price is starting to rise due to a pretty excellent run since coming back from his concussion-induced layoff. Still, I think you can easily afford him on this slate and the matchup/ballpark are right. Hasn’t run much, but he’s got the wheels to do it and like seemingly every player on the KC roster, the dude just doesn’t strike out.

Freddy Galvis - FD 2300 DK 3200
There’s just an awful lot of angst and sadness happening at shortstop in the early games, so you get what we have here: two Phillie recommendations in one column. Things are bleak. Here’s what you can like about Galvis: low K-rate, decent matchup and a good hitter’s park. His strong batting average and OBP and the product of an inflated BABIP, but at this price you could do a lot worse.

Consider: Starlin Castro

Brad Miller - FD 2300 DK 3200
It’s so bad at SS tonight, Brad Miller is the CLEAR choice if you don’t want to pay up for Tulo. Much of the system’s enthusiasm is related to Miller’s price, but there’s also the fact that he’s been hitting near the top of the order lately, which would greatly increase his worth, as the M’s should stand a decent chance of knocking Joe Kelly around a little bit.

Consider: Tulowitzki. The projection system doesn’t love the price, but all the other options are pretty uninspiring.


Third base

Kris Bryant - FD 4000 DK 4600
Looks like the power’s coming around and the price is rising with it. Bordering on too rich for my blood here, but you’ve gotta like the upside against a middle-of-the-road lefty with home run issues like Jon Niese.

Consider: Josh Harrison. Because Harang’s not really any good. Right? Right?

Luis Valbuena - FD 2800 DK 3700
Hitter’s park and a hitter’s pitcher make Valbuena an enticing play tonight. His terrible batting average is stunted by an equally terrible BABIP that’s bound to rise soon. Meanwhile, the plus-.200 ISO shows he’s still got some decent pop in his swing. That’s something worth paying attention to with Drew Hutchinson on the mound; he’s shown glimpses of decent stuff going back to his first MLB stint in 2012, but he’s always had trouble with the long ball and all his numbers are pretty bad this year.

Consider: Kyle Seager. The projection system is thoroughly unimpressed with Joe Kelly.


Shin-Soo Choo - FD 3100 DK 4200
It’s usually not smart to get swept up in a hot streak, but Choo’s mashing right now and that’s just one thing to like about him. The price is still fine, the pitcher can be had, the park inflates offense, and … yeah, Choo is playing like he’s five years younger all of the sudden and hitting at the top of the order. Hard to imagine a lineup on this slate where I won’t be playing him.

Michael Cuddyer - FD 2500 DK 4500
He’s not the same guy he was in Colorado (who is?) and the dramatic rise in K-rate is pretty alarming. Still, Cuddyer is a guy I feel fine about trotting out there at a discount against lefties – whom he destroys. That’s one skill that hasn’t deserted him: It’s only 89 at-bats, but in the last two years against southpaws he’s got a .479 wOBA and 1.112 OPS.

Mitch Moreland - FD 2200 DK 3300
Hate to just load you up with bargain guys, but these are all really good buying opportunities. The only downside with Moreland is that he’s fresh off the DL, but the price accounts for that. He hit fifth in last night’s lineup and in that spot he should he his chances at RBIs against Guthrie.

Hanley Ramirez - FD 3700 DK 4300
Pretty sad state of affairs in the outfield tonight. I mean, Hanley's great, but the price/park make this feel like a bit of a stretch from a value standpoint. You're just not gonna be able to do much better anywhere else, and Ramirez is flirting with a .900 OPS against lefties over the last three years, so I think you can play him with some confidence.

Jay Bruce - FD 2500 DK 4100
At these prices, it’s almost, like, why not? Right now Bruce appears headed for a second straight disappointing season, but this year’s numbers – much more than last year’s – appear to be the kind that can be attributed to poor luck. He’s still gonna strike out a bunch, but the power potential is there, especially in Cincinnati. Also, we’re not fully back on board with Lincecum yet. His solid numbers through six starts aren’t all smoke and mirrors, but he has benefitted from unsustainable improvements in walk rate and home run-to-fly ball ratio.

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