Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Doug Norrie

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and Draftster 6/4/15

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Dallas Keuchel - FD 9800 DK 10000
Our system doesn't really love Keuchel on a points per dollar basis in this early slate, but I think you can consider playing him because he does stand to have the highest raw points of any pitcher on the slate. Granted, you are going to pay a premium to get those points, and understand that if any other above average arms were going here I don't think I'd consider Dallas. But it's a short slate and you take what you're given. The Orioles are below average this season against lefty pitching and Keuchel is working with a 3.00 xFIP. He isn't the sub 2.00 ERA guy you see so beware. Again, this is mostly a pick against the field rather than actually liking Keuchel.

Consider Wei-Yin Chen against the Astros mostly because they strike out a ton against lefties. Pitching on this slate is gross.

Jake Arrieta - FD 9600 DK 9600
To me, the debate will be between Arrieta and Harvey on this later slate. Who to spend the big money on? It's close, but I'm taking Jake. The two main considerations are price and ballpark. Arrieta and Harvey have nearly identical numbers this season. It's eerie. They are both striking out more than a batter an inning, walking no one, and have xFIPs right around 3.00. The slight discount you get on Arrietae makes a difference and he's pitching in Washington rather than Arizona. That second piece is a big difference. Both the Nats and D-Backs rate around the same this season against righties so there isn't a huge opponent difference. Save just a little and go Jake.

Gio Gonzalez - FD 8700 DK 8500
My man Gio can be tough to watch. You can typically tell very early if he has it or is about to get absolutely shelled. There doesn’t seem to be much in between with the guy. I see him as a tournament play in his next start. No understand, the Cubs are one of the best teams in the league at hitting lefty pitching. But they also strike out more than 23% of the time in that platoon. Gio has one of the worst Babips against among qualified starters (only his teammate Strasburg is worse). Some of that is defense-related as the Nats aren’t great with the gloves. But I’m looking to bust out the K’s here in an upside play. Not safe by any means, but his price is cheaper for the ceiling he can provide.

Just killing time until fantasy football season? Fantasy Pros has a pretty cool mock drafting software you can check out!



Evan Gattis - FD 4200 DK 4800
He will for sure cost you, but there's a chance that pitching won't. If you save on the arms then consider playing Gattis even at these huge tags. It's an overpay for sure, but he does slaughter lefty pitching. He's struggling with the BABIP in that split this season, but is coming off a year (luck fueled for sure) in which he had a .900 OPS against lefties. The truth is lower, but it's still good. I am liking some Astros right stacks on this slate.

Salvador Perez - FD 2200 DK 3800
Yadier Molina - FD 2200 DK 3400
Catchers' f-ugly on this slate so let's just take two super cheap guys and be done with it. Both Molina and Perez are high contact, low walk hitters who don't get going for a ton of power. But they don't hit last in their lineups like most catchers and have some RBI potential hitting in and around the 6th slot. Not a whole lot to get excited about though neither is facing an above average arm. Go cheap and think about the other positions.

Consider Yan Gomes


First base

David Ortiz - FD 2500 DK 4500
It's a log jam at this position on the early slate. I could make the case for a couple of guys. Tommy Milone is actually a reverse splits pitcher for his career in that he's been worse against lefties. That's a rare thing but works out well for Big Papi who's better against righties for sure, but has had success against lefties. He is above average in that split for his career and the patience should play well against Milone who issues a ton of walks.

Joey Votto - FD 3600 DK 4700
Don't even for a second get fooled by Aaron Harang's 2.02 ERA. Don't you do it. Here's a guy with an xFIP over 4, who's striking out less than seven batters per nine. Sure he limits the walks, but he's been real fortunate with BABIP. Votto is a patient hitter who's having a nice year at the plate. He is also going in a hitter's ballpark against a flyball pitcher. Will be a staple in my cash games on this slate.

Jose Abreu - FD 3500 DK 5300
For me, he's neck in neck with Votto on FanDuel (not on DraftKings). Abreu is back in the lineup and face Yovano Gallardo who struggles to strike any batters out. The Ballpark in Arlington boosts power to all sides of the plate and Abreu has shown the ability to hit righty pitching. He's coming cheaper on FD where you can mix and match him with Votto. The power is down a little this season as compared to last, but I'm still considering him an elite bat.


Second base

Ben Zobrist - FD 3000 DK 4200
Dustin Pedroia - FD 3000 DK 4300
Will be mixing and matching these two on this slate and one of the two will be in every one of my lineups. They are nearly identical in our system from a points per dollar standpoint and that their salaries are basically the same makes it easy to work each into a variety of lineups. Don't think too much about this position. These are the clear plays as I don't think you need to spend up for Altuve unless you spend nothing on pitching.

Robinson Cano - FD 2600 DK 4000
Man, what are we going to do with this guy? $2600 on FanDuel? Even the $4000 tag on DraftKings is completely acceptable. But he is just having a rotten season all around. BABIP is a little low and the strikeouts are up. Those two things are contributing to his .600-ish OPS. But they don't tell the whole story. Look, until he goes on the DL or something, I'm playing him at these prices when he isn't facing an elite arm. Erasmo Ramirez isn't elite by any stretch. He's not even really that good. Total price play here on the past performance.

Chase Utley - FD 2800 DK 4000
Still buying low on Utley thanks to his early season bad luck. With him back firmly in the three spot you have some nice upside facing Anthony DeSclafani in Citizen's Bank Park. The latter walks a ton of guys and owns an xFIP in the mid 4's. Utley and Cano are priced in the same range on both sites and I see the merit in both.



Xander Bogaerts - FD 2400 DK 3900
He's hitting just below the heart of the order and is significantly better for his career against lefty pitching. In fact, Xander's well above average in that split. He owns a career 119 wRC+ and .785 OPS in that platoon. That's solid for just about anyone at these prices. For a shortstop? Ooh, we'll take it. I'm not looking too many other places on this slate for shortstop.

Consider whatever loser starts for the Twins.

Alcides Escobar - FD 2300 DK 3700
What Alcides brings to the table on this slate is he's a shortstop who hits leadoff. And the superlatives basically stop there. More an indictment on the position rather than Alcides himself, you are paying very little to get a guy who might see an extra plate appearance. He never walks, but barely strikes out either. He just kind of gets out. Trevor Bauer is a bit wild and struggles to go late in games. Escobar would be a bit more of a threat if he was still stealing bases, but that's dried up some. Buy him on the batting order placement.

Wilmer Flores - FD 2400 DK 4000
Has traces of pop in his bat with eight home runs already this season. The Mets will hit in and around the top half of the lineup and he's going in a great park for power. More of an upside play because of the power and Jeremy Hellickson doesn't dial up a lot of K's. Shortstop is pretty terrible all around and you can do much worse than this guy. How's that for some praise?


Third base

Depends on the site here:
Pablo Sandoval - FD 2200 DK 4700
He's the FanDuel play as Big Fat Panda is now coming at the minimum on that site. Don't worry about how bad he's been. He's as cheap as it gets and is still hitting around the middle of the order when he plays. That's all the explanation you need I think even with all of the struggles.

Manny Machado - FD 3400 DK 3700
The clear DraftKings play even if you roster Keuchel. Just coming so cheap out of the leadoff spot that, like Jones below, you can probably consider playing him against the pitching opponent.

Evan Longoria - FD 3200 DK 3800
Facing lefties is still Longoria's bread and butter. He's been much, much better for his career in this split and even this season owns 163 wRC+ and .919 OPS against southpaws. I'm buying him against Roenis Elias whose xFIP is more than a run worse than his low three's ERA. Sure, the ballpark doesn't do any favors here, but few other hitters are in as good a spot relative to their price. He's a near must for me on DraftKings.

Mike Moustakas - FD 2600 DK 3800
Moustakas is having a nice year thanks to reducing his K's some and running a little luckier in BABIP. He's hitting near the top of the order, though like many of his Royal teammates, just loathes ever taking a walk. That could change some with Bauer on the mound as dude gets wild. But Moustakas is coming real cheap on FanDuel considering his slot in the order and is in play on DraftKings as well. He's tagging righty pitching this season with a 155 wRC+ and OPS over .900. It's BABIP-fueled for sure, but even some regression would have him on the positive side of this split.


Hanley Ramirez - FD 3600 DK 5100
The Red Sox offense has looked anemic at times this year for sure. But there is a lot to like about Hanley in this one. He is tagging lefties this season with a 175 wRC+ and has a better split against them for his career. He's been struggling with BABIP keeping his overall numbers down. Facing a weaker Tommy Milone could get him going again and I very much think you are buying low on FanDuel. And because pitching won't cost you, getting him at a bigger tag on DraftKings isn't a deal breaker.

Adam Jones - FD 2700 DK 4500
I know I mentioned Keuchel in the pitcher's section, but this FanDuel price is very silly for Jones. He's actually cut down on the K's this season and is just missing out on some of the power he'd shown in previous seasons. Jones is coming so cheap on FD that it would be one of those rare situations I'd consider playing him and Keuchel in the same lineup. Don't advocate that strategy normally, but this short slate is an odd one.

Strongly consider George Springer and Steve Pearce

Matt Holliday - FD 3000 DK 4100
Dude's getting on base like a mad man with a 15% walk rate on the season. That is great. What isn't so great is the lack of power to go along with it. His OBP and SLG are nearly identical. Not exactly what you want to see out of the "power" bats in your lineup though he still have an OPS in the .800s because he's on base literally every game. Hitting plenty of line drives but has seen a dip int he flyballs this season which would explain the lack of home runs. He's facing Carlos Frias who is striking out less than six batters per nine. Holliday is the righy kind of non-sexy, mid range play you can use to fill out lineups.

Jay Bruce - FD 3100 DK 4500
Really like the power upside for him in this game and would strongly consider playing him in tournaments. He's facing a fly ball pitcher in a great power park. He's taking way more walks this season as the BB rate is up to over 14%. That's by far the highest of his career. He's even reduced the K's some. The only thing missing is the big power. Look for it today. This is just the right kind of matchup as Bruce is hitting more flyballs this season. Look for one of them to carry over the fence.

Brandon Guyer - FD 2200 DK 3400
Three straight lefties for the Rays so you get three straight days of Brandon Guyer. In his short career Guyer has a 118 wRC+ against lefties and is typically in the leadoff slot for the Rays when a southpaw is on the mound. Coming at or near the minimums makes him a safe play with these numbers and lineup placement even if the park isn't great.

Strongly consider Melky Cabrera and Curtis Granderson (Update: No Granderson with the lefty on the mound now)

Update: With Robbie Ray starting for Hellickson, Michael Cuddyer is a great play


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