Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and Draftster 5/24/15

Full disclaimer - this is a massive slate, and there's no way I could ever possibly list every decent play today. 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.

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Sonny Gray - FD 10200 DK 9700
After a dud last time around, some will have soured on Gray. But these things happen. The A's 25 year old stud was due for a little regression after out-performing his xFIP so dramatically early in the season. He's still been more than solid, though, and he's been performing for fantasy owners consistently all season. Gray had 5 starts in a row with 14 or more fantasy points before his last game, and his combination of swing and miss stuff and great control make him a decent bet on any given night. But tonight he's a particularly great play. First of all, Tampa Bay is one of the more underrated pitcher's parks in the majors. Second, Erasmo Ramirez is essentially not a major league caliber pitcher. Last, the righty-heavy Rays' .302 wOBA is good for just 19th in the majors. Taken together, this makes Gray easily the safest play of the day.

Trevor Bauer - FD 8400 DK 8500
Bauer enters this game on the heels of two fantastic starts, and our projection system thinks that trend should continue. Bauer's posted his highest K rate since 2011 in the minors, and while his command hasn't been perfect, he's been able to wriggle out of jams with his elite stuff. While the Reds had developed a reputation as righty killers over the last few seasons, that hasn't been the case this season - they've put together just the 20th best wOBA against right handed pitching this season. Raisel Iglesias, the starter for the Reds on Sunday, is similarly un-intimidating. He's K'd fewer than 6 batters per 9 innings across AAA and the majors this season, and better than 3.2 walks per 9. Should be a great opportunity to snag a win and potentially a pile of Ks.

Francisco Liriano - FD 8700 DK 8000
If you like living dangerously and trying to catch lightning in a bottle, or really if you like any cliches at all, Francisco Liriano might be for you today. The Bucs' lefty has been unlucky this season. His 3.38 xFIP trails his ERA by about .7 of a run. This (and 3 bad starts in a row) have made Liriano very affordably priced for the potential upside he could bring today. The Mets have struck out at the 10th highest rate against left handed pitching this season, and it's Dillon Gee's first game back after injuring his groin. Now there's some chance Liriano will get chased in the 2nd inning of this one - no doubt about it. But our projection system also argues that his upside is as high as anyone's at an affordable price that will led you spend up a little more elsewhere than if you play Gray.


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Brian McCann - FD 2800 DK 4300
Wrote McCann up yesterday, and he wound up sitting. All holds true today as well, though Gallardo is a better pitcher than Nick Martinez. Upside is still there, though, given that Gallardo's best stuff was left in the aughts. McCann has an OPS nearly .190 points better against right handed pitching this season, and has shown similar (albeit less dramatic) splits over the course of his career. In a great hitters' park against a guy striking out a hair over 6 guys per 9 innings, I like McCann in all formats.

Buster Posey - FD 4600 DK 5500
Now it feels semi-crazy to recommend Posey at this price against a right handed pitcher, but there are some seriously nice things working in his favor here. Coors, obviously. And then there's Bettis. The poor guy struck out less than 5 guys per 9 innings as a reliever last season en route to a 9+ ERA. And Posey has actually kinda buried righties this season. He's walked more than he's struck out against them, and he's actually been better against them than lefties. This will happen to hitters as they mature. If you save up on pitching, Posey makes a very interesting play at a position without many of them.

Also considered, but way down the list: Steven Vogt.


First base

Albert Pujols - FD 3000 DK 4200
Wrote this about Pujols yesterday: Hopefully you kept a steadier hand than I did with Pujols. With 2 homers in the past week, he's shown why our projection system has been insisting that he's a play at these ridiculous prices. And I tend to agree. As of this writing, he's doubled and scored against Steven Wright, and showing why he probably shouldn't be a sub $3,000 player on FanDuel. And for Pujols enthusiasts, the situation only gets better on Sunday. While Wade Miley is probably a better pitcher than Steven Wright, he has the displeasure of being left handed, which plays right into Pujols' lefty-mashing ways. Miley's also not going to harken anyone back to the days of Walter Johnson - his 29 Ks against 17 BBs in 42 innings pitched mean that he'll have a hard time cutting it against a tough Angels lineup.

Joey Votto - FD 3300 DK 4200
I like Bauer today, but that doesn't mean I can't like Votto, too! Votto's managed a near .900 OPS against right handed pitching this season in spite of running almost .60 points off his career BABIP numbers against them. This recommendation is just a combination of very affordable price for the potential upside in play in a great platoon situation, and Votto could may off handsomely even if Bauer has a nice game as well. In particular? Votto's patient approach should be kryptonite for Bauer's wild style, and I like him quite a bit here.

Freddie Freeman - FD 3400 DK 4400
Freeman's put together an .870 OPS against right handed pitching this season, and his high-contact approach against righties makes him a high-floor play any time he's facing a right handed pitcher. When you look up "league average pitcher" in the dictionary, you'll likely see Jimmy Nelson's face. He's basically just a dude. And Freeman should be able to hit "just a dude" Nelson without a whole heck of a lot of difficulty.

I'd say you could take a flier on Jose Abreu. He still bats in the heart of the order, he still has bell-tower power, and he's facing a guy in Kyle Gibson who has simply awful peripherals. He hasn't looked like the same guy this year without a doubt, but either last season was the biggest fluke of all time or he's going to bounce back. Our projection system says "bounce back," and it's likely that this will be among his lowest prices of the season.


Second base

Robinson Cano - FD 2800 DK 4400
Okay, I've written up Cano every time he's faced a right hander all season, and it really hasn't worked out. And there's some chance we're seeing the end of a super-star career. As a Mets fan, I remember the Alomar all too well. And it's not just bad luck for Cano - his ISO, K rate, and BB rate are all headed in the wrong direction. But I'm holding on to him for this one last competition. Why, you ask? How polite of you. It's Aaron Sanchez. Poor guy has a simply incredible 32 walks in 45 innings pitched this season, and he'll have to face Cano away from the deathly confines of Safeco. If it doesn't work out in this game I might take a breather on recommending him, but I'm holding firm for now.

Dustin Pedroia - FD 3000 DK 4100
Pedroia had a hard time after he was our top recommendation last night, but all that data still holds true today. He's still got a 900+ OPS against left handed pitching this season, and Fenway is still a great place for right handers to hit. And, once again, he'll be up against a left handed pitcher. Hector Santiago has put together a respectable K rate this season, but his high walk rate and low GB % (30%!) might not get him killed in pitcher friendly Anaheim, but could spell trouble at Fenway. I don't mind doubling down on Pedroia at all, here.

Brian Dozier - FD 3700 DK 4500
The highest upside play at the position today, in my estimation. Dozier's OPS has actually improved from last year's 20/20 campaign, and the only thing that's held him back from being a fantasy stud once again is the relative lack of steals. Still, he's mashing left handed pitching to the tune of an .867 OPS, and in this one he'll be up against lefty Jose Quintana in hitter-friendly US Cellular Field. Quintana is not a horrible pitcher or anything, but he's basically league average, and he wouldn't stand in the way of me taking a shot on Dozier today.



Brad Miller - FD 2700 DK 4000
I've written it before this season, but Brad Miller is a break-out player that no one has ever heard of. Why? He's just so damned terrible against left handed pitching, and it's seriously depressing an otherwise great line. Against right handers, Miller has put together 5 homers, 3 steals, and an .889 OPS. Shortstops have been MVP candidates with lines not a whole lot better than that. And now we have the chance to grab him against Aaron Sanchez and his 32 walks in 45 innings in a fine hitter's park. I'm as enthusiastic for this as I am about the next season of Orange is the New Black - which is to say - I am pretty freaking excited.

Erick Aybar - FD 2600 DK 3700
We've given you Aybar the last couple of nights, and he's been completely fantastic. Now, you aren't going to be able to count on him for huge power numbers or even huge speed at this point in his career, but that's not why our projection system would have you play him anyway. It's simply a case of price not matching the performance and opportunity. He's batting at or near the top of the lineup every night, and the Angels have some bats around him. He's basically platoon neutral, but has a few righties around him that should benefit from this match-up with Miley. A nice high-floor play, to me.

Brandon Crawford - FD 3400 DK 4900
It's hard to believe we live in a world where Brandon Crawford can draw serious consideration at a $3,400 salary on FanDuel, but here we are. Crawford's put together nearly a .900 OPS this season with an awful home hitter's park, so he's going to be a natural consideration any time he's against a righty on the road. In this game, he'll get a lousy righty (Bettis) in the world's greatest hitter's park - Coors Field. You're obviously paying a premium here, but he has a different upside profile than the guys listed above him, and is definitely an interesting part of a Coors Giants stack.

Third base

Adrian Beltre - FD 2900 DK 4500
From last night's write up:

Beltre is having a bad season, there's no doubt about it. But like a lot of guys with less than stellar year to date numbers, this is largely BABIP driven. The man who posted a .330 BABIP over his last three seasons in Texas is down to a .260 figure this season. Now it stands to reason that his BABIP will decline over time, but this is way too fast a decline to be legit. He's come on a bit recently, hitting a pair of homers in the last 10 days, and my guess is a lot of this normalizes over the course of the season. We really like him here though because of the match-up. CC is no longer CC, and Beltre STILL has a .927 OPS against left handed pitching this season. Great park, great platoon spot.

Well, Beltre went 2/4 with a couple of runs scored, and you were happy if you played him. Today, the only thing that changes is that Beltre gets a worse left hander than CC Sabathia. He's a play in all formats.

Trevor Plouffe - FD 2700 DK 3900
Plouffe has gone from a sneaky guy you can play against a lefty here or there into an absolute stud against left handed pitching. He's put together a ridiculous .961 OPS against left handed pitching this season, and it's only slightly BABIP induced. Again, like Dozier - great park, fine match-up with Quintana, and a more than affordable price to play him at. If it weren't for a fantastic match-up and price for Beltre, Plouffe would be a must start for me. As it stands, I'll still play him plenty.

Kyle Seager - FD 2900 DK 4500
Like Cano and Miller above, Seager is a different player when he faces right handed pitching. The 27 year old Seager has posted an OPS .128 points higher against right handed pitching over the course of his career, and obviously gets a bounce from playing away from home here. I already wrote about poor Sanchez - the guy isn't a major league talent at the moment, and the lefty-heavy Ms should put the beat down on here.



Hanley Ramirez - FD 3400 DK 4500
For all the same reasons we liked him last night, just like Pedroia listed above. He's got a 1k+ OPS against left handed pitching at home this year, and this is a more than ample opportunity for him to put up a monster. High floor, super-high ceiling play to me.

Brandon Moss - FD 3600 DK 3900
Another repeat from last night's writeup, and another instance where little has changed. That will happen in baseball when teams play each other a few times in a row in the same parks. Here's last night's tale:

Brandon Moss is a guy that our projection system has been absolutely insisting that you play against right handed pitching so far this season, and hopefully you were able to sneak him in there during the last week. He's smacked two homers in that time, including 1 just last night. Moss has a fairly wide platoon split over the course of his career, favoring right handed pitching by about .60 points.

No luck for Moss last night against Desclafani, but he had plenty of opportunity and didn't look bad at the plate, not striking out at all. I like rolling it back here.

Adam Jones - FD 3200 DK 4500
By the time we get to this point in the writeup, you've read most of what you need to know. With Jones, though, there is a little nuance. First of all, he's just very affordably priced for the potential upside he can bring, so he'll hover around the top recs quite a bit on any given night. But unlike most players, Jones is a reverse platoon guy - he prefers hitting against like handed pitchers, which is pretty unusual. So our projection system basically just likes him here because he's facing a league-average-ish right handed pitcher, and because he's too cheap.

Mike Trout - FD 5400 DK 5300
He's the easy big money play at the outfield position today. While Trout's a reverse-platoon guy like Jones, he still doesn't mind the pleasures of facing a left handed pitcher. Watching the lousy Wade Miley pitch against him tomorrow will either be delightful or terrifying, depending on whether or not you can save up for him.

Also considered: Matt Kemp, Jay Bruce, Angel Pagan, Carlos Beltran.


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