Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and Draftster 5/30/15
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 and DraftKings.
Dallas Keuchel - FD 9400 DK 8700
Keuchel makes for an interesting big money play today, because he's not a guy we normally recommend. His ERA is dramatically outperforming his peripherals, and it looks like his price bubble is fit to bursting. So what gives? The White Sox of Chicago, that's what. They've put together an utterly pathetic .246 wOBA against left handed pitching this season. If you're not big into wOBA, let me give you a frame of reference. Yovani Gallardo has a career .241 wOBA as a batter. CC Sabathia has a .246 wOBA. They are horrible against lefties. In light of this, I think Keuchel makes a fine play in any format, but I'll really play him a ton in cash games.
Also considered Jon Niese.
Tyson Ross - FD 9000 DK 9400
Ross has a sparkling 2.74 xFIP at home this year, and a ridiculous 12+ K/9. He's priced as less than an ace, but can absolutely put up ace level performances in the right circumstances. The Pirates have been almost exactly league average against right handers this season, so there's nothing to fear there. And while Charlie Morton escaped his first start with a win, his 3 Ks in 7 innings pitched are more indicative of his true talent level than his 2.57 ERA. I like Ross in all formats here, as playing him still allows you to pay up a bit for good hitting elsewhere.
Yordano Ventura - FD 8300 DK 7500
If you want a cheaper home run play, consider Yordano Ventura. His ERA is a full run worse than his xFIP, and while his xFIP (3.73) isn't anything to write home about, that's not while he's getting recommended here. That would be the Chicago Cubs. The North-Siders have a .303 wOBA, good for the 12th worst in the majors. "But James," you begin, "that really doesn't sound too terrible." Well, hypothetical objector - what about this? The Cubs are striking out in more than a quarter of their plate appearances against RHP this season. Their 25.9% figure is good for worst in the league. Lots of upside here, even if you wouldn't call it especially safe.
Carlos Ruiz - FD 2400 DK 3200
Chances are fairly good I'll just go cheap at catcher today, and spend up elsewhere in juicy spots against lousy pitching. Jorge De La Rosa, who Ruiz will be facing, has only made it past the 5th inning once this season. He just got whipped by these same Phillies last week. Now Ruiz is fairly unlikely to light anyone's world on fire, but he has scored 2.25 FanDuel fantasy points or more in 7 of his 10 starts, making him one of the tip top high floor guys at the position. In a nice platoon match-up in a favorable park, I'll happily take Chooch and my apply my savings elsewhere.
Also considered: Wilson Ramos.
Salvador Perez - FD 2300 DK 3900
I remain puzzled as to why Sal Perez is so affordable, but it doesn't mean I won't just keep throwing him in there. The 25 year old has an .850 OPS against left handed pitching for his career, and he's a catcher! Tsuyoshi Wada is an interesting pitcher, but the 34 year old south paw will have a tough time keeping up his high-strikeout ways against one of the league's stingiest teams at giving up strike outs. I think there's a big floor, and supreme upside for Perez here.
Adam Lind - FD 2400 DK 4100
If you're looking for a cheap option with huge upside, Lind is your man. A bit of a dry spell has him very affordable, and he finally broke out of it last night with a home run. He's popped right handed pitching for an .877 OPS this season, and gets a very favorable match-up with pitch-to-contact Jeremy Hellickson. Hellickson hasn't managed an xFIP below 4 since his rookie season, and everything continues to go in the wrong direction. I suspect that Lind will contribute to that trend, and on a very affordable price tag.
Jose Abreu - FD 3500 DK 5000
If you're one of the people who fades Keuchel in the early slate, then playing Jose Abreu might just be a must. As our projection system predicted, Abreu is finally getting back on track - popping 2 homers in the last week. Against a lefty (even a pretty good one) in a good hitter's park, my guess is that the right handed Abreu will continue to get his season back on track.
Also considered: Chris Davis.
Freddie Freeman - FD 3100 DK 4100
Lincecum is getting it done from an ERA perspective this season, but with 12 Ks against 10 BBs in his last 3 starts, it looks like a correction is coming soon. It might just come in the shape of the Braves' first baseman. Freeman is up to his reliable (if predictable ways) this season, putting up an .860 OPS against right handed pitching. AT&T Park is no peach to hit in for left handers, but I think Freeman will put a lot of hard hit balls in play, making him a great cash game play.
Albert Pujols - FD 3000 DK 4500
Pujols is another guy who rewarded those who were patient with him with some big games on reasonable prices recently. His 3 homers in his last 10 games show that he's still got upside to hang with most. In this game he'll go up against Shane Greene, just another below average pitcher in a long line of questionable pitching today. His 5.80 Ks/9 IP mean there will be a lot of balls in play in this game. Against a lineup with Pujols, Trout, & Co., that could make for a tough outing.
Jose Altuve - FD 3800 DK 4700
He might be the only option in the early slate, and that's not really an exaggeration. While our projection system doesn't love him from the perspective of absolute points per dollar, I'm not sure you'll find a safer big money play today. Altuve has peppered left handed pitching for a 1k+ OPS this season, and coming off the heels of last season's 1k+ OPS against lefties, I'm inclined to call it legit. Quintana actually hasn't been terrible this season, but this is just a case of a batter's skill against a certain handed pitcher being too overwhelming to ignore. I love Altuve in all formats.
Also considered: Logan Forsythe. Nice righty/lefty spot against Wei-Yin Chen.
Robinson Cano - FD 2600 DK 4100
In spite of the huge slate, second base is truly awful today. As for Cano, he still bats in the middle of a tough lineup against right handed pitching, and the price has just gotten ridiculous. I don't expect huge upside here, but I'll continue to roll with him in cash games until the price corrects or we learn about an injury. Throw in a more than rusty Shaun Marcum, and I'm convinced that he could have a fantastic game here.
Ben Zobrist - FD 3100 DK 4000
Zobrist is no longer a guy with 20/20 upside, but what he lacks in upside, he makes up for in floor. He's striking out a miniscule 6% this season, and walking 8.4% of the time. If his BABIP were closer to his career levels, he'd have a nearly .800 OPS. That really isn't so bad for the position. Nathan Eovaldi is basically a league average pitcher and doesn't have elite K stuff, so I suspect Zobrist will do what he does best - put a bunch of balls in play, and pray.
Also considered: Dustin Pedroia.
Troy Tulowitzki - FD 3900 DK 5100
Welp, I wrote this yesterday, and unsurprisingly wound up playing Hamels instead of Tulo:
I like Hamels but don't be surprised if Troy Tulowitzki puts a beat down on in Philly. Citizen's Bank is no Coors, but it can give up the long ball as well. Some chance Tulo puts a hurting on one. I was wrong, of course. Tulo went ahead and knocked 2 out of the park in quintessential "oh, right, this is Tulowitzki's upside" fashion. Now Hamels wasn't terrible, but obviously I didn't play them against each other.
Tulowitzki will try his luck against the apparently resurgent Aaron Harang in this one, but I'm not spooked. The price is affordable, and Harang's xFIP is actually worse than it was last season, sitting at 4.31. With a 33% groundball rate, we could see some more high flying Tulo action in this one.
After Tulo, there are a pile of cheap guys you could consider. Just grab a free three day trial of the projection system and see them for yourself.
Alcides Escobar - FD 2300 DK 3800
Our projection system has the uncanny ability to pick guys for the following day that have been great the day of. Escobar is no exception to that delightful trend! But we're not grabbing Escobar for his power, here. We're grabbing him for his speed, and the match-up. His high contact approach should lead to some on base opportunities, where he can capitalize on his 30+ steal potential. But really, this is a way you can get away from a terrible position with a high floor and some upside as well.
Erick Aybar - FD 2700 DK 3900
Aybar is one of the great high-floor players in the league, posting nearly 3 FanDuel fantasy points per game in his last 10 games, and only posting a negative total once in that time. He's getting extra at bats out of the lead off spot against right handed pitching, and should have plenty of opportunity to rack up some nice counting stats with the big bats behind him against Shane Greene.
Also considered: Marcus Semien.
Evan Longoria - FD 3300 DK 4300
Longoria's been downright cruel to left handed pitching this year, posting a 1.071 OPS against southpaws when he's has the pleasure of facing them. Now that figure is largely BABIP fueled, but the trend has been there his whole career, as his .925 lifetime OPS against left handers will attest. In the other corner is Wei-Yin Chen. Chen's outperformed his 4.3 xFIP by more than a run this season, and I wouldn't be so optimistic that you're looking at anything other than a beat down for him in this match-up with Longoria today.
Aramis Ramirez - FD 2900 DK 3900
With 3 homers in his last 10 games, Aramis has pulled his season triple slash right to where it ought to be, given his bad BABIP luck. From a peripheral standpoint, Ramirez has actually been better than he was last season. And he's still super affordable. I'll take his max effort swing against no Ks Hellickson and be happy about it.
Pablo Sandoval - FD 2500 DK 4300
It's easy to look at Sandoval's lousy triple-slash line and declare him done, but like many players early in a season, his line warrants further investigation. Sandoval's been more than satisfactory against right handed pitching, putting together a .900 OPS against northpaws in 124 plate appearances. In this game he'll go up against "Chi-Chi Gonzalez," who evidently is a real player. After looking into his minor league numbers, I'm not impressed. I love Sandoval as a guy you can get on the cheap who might have huge upside.
You think Matt the Bat might be back from his down season? Jeez. The guy has better than a 1K OPS against right handed pitching this season, and it doesn't appear to be letting up any time soon. His BABIP is only .14 points ahead of his career levels, and his batted ball data is fantastic. His line drive rate is up near 27%, and he's making more hard contact than ever, with a 40% hard% per FanDuel.
Also considered: Chase Headley.
Giancarlo Stanton - FD 4400 DK 4600
Can you believe Stanton is just 25 and a half years old? Just crazy. I point out his age to help you understand that his early season woes are not any sort of "decline" to be worried about. No, the man who's posted a .970 OPS and insane home run rates against left handed pitching for his career will be prominently displayed in this contest, and will have Mets fans cringing when he squares off against Jon Niese's sub 6 K/9 stuff. Even at these high prices, I'm prepared to call Stanton a near must-play in all formats.
Carlos Gonzalez - FD 2900 DK 4100
Gonzalez is having a truly bizarre season if injuries aren't playing any role. He's transformed from a high BABIP, high upside monster into a guy who is making his way by hitting singles and getting on base. Frankly, I find it odd. But the truth is, at these prices, we don't need him to be a whole lot more than that. And call me a sucker, but I think there's still a lot of pop and upside left in that bat. The man's less than 30 years old, and a season removed from a .968 OPS season in which he eviscerated right handed pitching. I'll take my chances against Harang, here.
Adam Jones - FD 2900 DK 5000
Batman is one of the rare reverse-platoon split players in the majors, putting up an OPS .42 points higher against pitchers of a similar handedness over the course of his career. In this game he'll face the comical offerings of Erasmo Ramirez. Ramirez can't seen to maintain a walk rate below 4 per 9, and this is a pretty major problem against big league hitting. Away from the friendly confines of Tropicana field, Ramirez could be in line for a serious beating at the hands of Jones and the Os.
Hanley Ramirez - FD 3200 DK 5200
Hanley headlined the outfield position in this article last night. Here's what I wrote, since it still applies:
Our system is just really, really down on Gallardo. Hanley's been damned terrible against right handed pitching, but this dramatic platoon split is largely a new thing - he's only been about .60 OPS points better against left handed pitching for his career. We're basically seeing a good buying opportunity for a guy who's underpriced based on some early season luck, and a good hitter's park against a so-so over-the-hill pitcher.
And, of course, Hanley went out and hit a home run en route to a monster game. All that's changed for this contest is he's gone from facing a has-been to a likely never-will-be. Okay, that's not totally fair. To some, Gonzalez profiles as a future middle of the rotation starter. But he ain't there yet, and I think Hanley takes advantage.
Kole Calhoun - FD 2800 DK 4400
Mike Trout - FD 5100 DK 5500
Calhoun's the better points per dollar value here, but it's hard to argue against playing Trout if you're going to be stacking Angels, which is why he gets the nod here. Not much to see here, except to reiterate that our system just doesn't believe that Shane Greene can get the job done.
Jason Heyward - FD 3100 DK 4600
Welp, the luster is officially off of Carlos Frias. After giving up 10 runs in less than 3 innings his last time out, people are rightfully wondering if Frias should have a place on a major league roster. And it wasn't bad luck, either. He didn't strike out a single one of the 30 batters he faced, bringing his K/9 down to less than 6. We gave you Heyward last night for the same reason we'll give you tonight - his lack of major league success hasn't been because of his track record against right handed pitching. His .824 OPS is more than serviceable, and his power/speed repertoire should provide plenty of upside here.
Like other positions, there are just too many guys in the outfield to name them all. But I like the above guys fine, and will make an effort to get them in where I can.
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- Troy Tulowitzki: AP Images