Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and Draftster 6/9/15
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Corey Kluber - FD 11100 DK 10900
How good has Kluber been lately? An eight-inning, one-walk, nine-K outing against the Royals last time out was his worst start (by far) in about a month. And it was still good enough for 13 points on FanDuel. He’s the very image of cash-game greatness/consistency. Of course, he’s gonna cost you, but’s it’s a worthwhile expenditure. His Ks are actually up from last year’s already-lofty rates, and the walks are down, resulting in an xFIP (2.36) that far outpaces his current ERA and last year’s xFIP, as well. Also, the Mariners aren’t very good. This seems likewise significant. Only the Cubs and Astros strike out more against right-handed pitching, and their wOBA is 27th in the majors. Invest with confidence.
James Shields - FD 9500 DK 9500
Shields hasn’t put up Kluber’s rock-star lines, but he represents a significant cost savings, and the dude has been solid. Pretty much out of nowhere he’s striking out 11 per nine innings, and he’s thrown fewer than six innings just once this year. Shields’ numbers are benefitting from a pretty significant home/road split this season, but digging a little deeper, it’s easy to see why. And it’s not Petco. At least not entirely. His worst outings of the season have come at Chase Field and Coors Field, and such are the hazards of life as a starting pitcher in the NL West. Fortunately for Shields, Turner Field is an altogether different kind of venue. Whereas the two former are renowned for their hitter-friendliness, Turner Field is on the pitcher side of neutral in overall park factors. That said, the Braves don’t strike out much at all this year and actually aren’t a terrible offensive team, so don’t think you’re getting that discount for no reason. That’s why my money (and many, many others’, I assume) will be on Kluber. But if you want some separation, Shields is a safe place to get it.
Noah Syndergaard - FD 8000 DK 8700
But maybe safety’s not really your thing. The good and bad of Syndergaard was on full display in his last start when he got chased after four innings, giving up 10 hits and seven runs. Still, his start wasn’t a total disaster from a DFS perspective because he had 10 Ks. Through four innings. That ability to miss bats coupled with the offense-stifling environs of Citi Field make him a solid tournament option, even though the Giants are not a great matchup.
Consider: Franciso Liriano, Chris Heston
Stephen Vogt - FD 3200 DK 3900
If you’re a big fan of Nick Martinez, you should probably stop reading here and direct your angry tweets to @OurProjectionSystemDoesntCare. Sorry. Don’t mean to be antagonistic. Just saying, there’s not a lot to believe in beyond Martinez’s superficial numbers, and we’re still not buying that sub-3.00 ERA. Meanwhile, Vogt is hitting like an All-Star. Despite a recent dry spell, he’s sitting just over a .400 wOBA against right-handed pitching and walking nearly as much as he Ks. If you’re gonna pay for a backstop, this is probably your guy.
Yan Gomes - FD 2200 DK 3100
But if you’re paying for pitching, you might need to go the budget route. In that case, consider the safety of Kluber’s batterymate. Gomes’ power has been missing since he returned from injury, but he’s gathering steam offensively over the last week or so, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the extra-base hits followed. Frankly, at these prices, it doesn’t even matter. You’re getting him for nothing and on the positive side of the platoon in a not-bad matchup.
Consider: Michael McKenry
David Ortiz - FD 2500 DK 4000
I know we give you Ortiz a lot, but there’s just no getting around this one. As we’ve said before, it might go unnoticed, but Papi is still producing against right-handed pitching, and Camden Yard trails only Coors Field and Yankee Stadium in yielding lefty homers. Equally tempting is the matchup with Miguel Gonzalez – it’s not that he’s bad, he’s just really HR prone. I’m liking the chances of an Ortiz dinger tonight.
Jose Abreu - FD 3400 DK 4900
Abreu, Papi, cheap shots at Nick Martinez. Who doesn’t love it when the projection system gets the band back together? I’m not crazy about the matchup here with Keuchel: he’s not as good as his current ERA (1.85) but he’s looking pretty legit. #ProjectionSystemDoesntCare. Seriously. It’s calling for a big night for Abreu, and here’s why: Keuchel isn’t a strikeout guy, Abreu abuses lefties, and U.S. Cellular Field is a stellar park for all right-handed power numbers. If I’m playing Kluber (and I am), then I’m probably going cheaper here just because I can. But given some money to play around with, Abreu looks like a sneaky-good GPP play.
Consider: Mark Reynolds.
Ben Zobrist - FD 2600 DK 3800
It hasn’t been a great season for Zobrist. His 26 games played have been interrupted by injury, and now that he’s easing into his mid-30s, his power and speed are naturally on the wane. On the bright side, he’s making contact and walking significantly more than he Ks. It’s not entirely the product of sample size, either. Zobrist’s walks have been inching upward while his strikeouts trended down for a few seasons now. He won’t be threatening 20-20 anymore, so the upside he once offered is long gone. But he still brings a high ceiling for cash games, and with a BABIP sitting about .80 below his career averages, some positive offensive regression is a reasonable expectation.
Neil Walker - FD 2800 DK 3700
Walker will be getting Taylor Jungmann making his major league debut. And while it’s sometimes difficult to know what to make of minor league numbers (especially from the hitter-friend Pacific Coast League), it would appear that Jungmann is only nominally familiar with the strike zone. The 25-year-old former first-round pick has been walking 4-plus per nine innings since leaving Class-A ball. The thing here is that Walker doesn’t have a ton of interest in drawing walks, but he does know what to do with a mistake in the zone from a right-handed pitcher. Though Walker’s power numbers aren’t all the way back to his career averages, they are trending in the right direction. And from his perch in the heart of the Pirates’ lineup, he should be well-positioned to rudely initiate the rookie tonight.
What can we say? Shortstop is a seller’s market. There are only a couple of bankable assets, and the price on them is over-inflated, especially with two of them (Tulo and Peralta) playing in Coors Field. Maybe you wanna pay for that. In some tourney lineups, you probably need that exposure. But elsewhere…
Erick Aybar - FD 2400 DK 3400
He’s cheap and he’s at the top of the lineup and Nate Karns walks a lot of guys and Mike Trout. It’d be super if the rest of Angels weren't so bad against right-handed pitching this year and if this matchup were coming in a park more conducive to offense. But this is DFS shortstop and life isn’t fair. Aybar at least makes good contact, still has OK speed (sort of) and is due for an uptick in power numbers. For near minimum prices, it could be worse.
Alexei Ramirez - FD 2300 DK 3600
Ramirez's value is similarly tied to spot in the order. He’s hit second in three of the last four games, and if he’s there again tonight, that provides a big boost -- maybe enough to make him the top play at the position. As we said in the Abreu write-up, Keuchel isn’t necessarily a great guy to pick on, but you can choose your spots. Ramirez makes a solid option because he rarely strikes out and is still willing to swipe a bag from time to time. He’s also running bad on BABIP, so while his reluctance to walk lowers his floor, he is due for an offensive uptick.
Consider: Mike Aviles (if he holds his spot over the two recent call-ups)
Justin Turner - FD 2800 DK 3400
Turner’s been holding down a middle-of-the-order spot in one of baseball’s most prolific offenses recently, despite the unassailable fact that he is indeed Justin Turner. But while a 30-year-old journeyman might seem like an unlikely candidate for the Dodgers’ cleanup hitter, Turner has hit really well since relocating to Los Angeles prior to the 2014 season. This year, he’s showing a solid approach and respectable pop, resulting in a .383 wOBA. Tonight he gets Robbie Ray, the one-time Nats prospect who got lit up in Detroit last year. Ray has been solid in two starts with Arizona, but he’s not somebody to fear.
Mike Moustakas - FD 2400 DK 3900
Perhaps the only thing more surprising than Moustakas’ apparent breakout is his declining DFS price. His change in approach (going oppo nearly a third of the time, up from 21 percent last year), has made him a legitimately tough out and helped translate a strong contact rate into a plus-.300 batting average. He may not be the bopper he looked destined to be when he crushed 36 minor-league bombs in 2010, but there’s plenty of value to be had from this type of hitter batting out of the two-hole in Kansas City’s order.
Consider: Martin Prado
Yasiel Puig - FD 4000 DK 5000
Got a day off last night, but should be back in there for a favorable matchup tonight. He’s shown no rust after a six-week injury hiatus, and the projection system likes his odds to be in the middle of the action against Robbie Ray tonight. Puig’s been an equal-opportunity masher through two seasonsand change, but he strikes out significantly less against lefties. That makes him a high-floor/high-ceiling play at a cost that isn’t prohibitive.
Giancarlo Stanton - FD 4700 DK 5200
If you’re not spending up for pitching, this is a good spot to invest some of your excess. Stanton is obviously a prodigious slugger and the Rogers Centre is a top-five park for power numbers. Mark Buerhle isn’t especially susceptible to the home run ball, but in this park against this hitter, he doesn’t have to be. He’s striking out fewer than four per nine, and if you can’t get Stanton out on strikes, you’re basically asking for the carnage that ensues.
Josh Reddick - FD 3200 DK 4400
Speaking of not striking out, who saw this coming? Josh Reddick, safety play. Continuing a trend we saw last year, Reddick is now striking out nearly half as often as he did two seasons ago and has morphed into a .300 hitter. I’m not certain he can be the kind of guy who walks and whiffs in equal measure (or stays healthy) for a full season, but the party’s not likely to end under the watch of soft-tossing Nick Martinez, so enjoy the fun while it lasts.
Will Venable - FD 2400 DK 3400
Upside on a budget here. Venable’s been getting regular ABs since Wil Myer went down, and has been elevated to the leadoff spot for the last week or so. During that time he’s had four multi-hit games, including last night. The production isn’t coming completely out of nowhere either; Venable is just a year removed from a 20-20 season, and even at age 32, he’s still flashing similar power/speed ability. He comes with a K risk, especially against a pitcher with Foltynewicz’s stuff, but the high ceiling makes him worth the gamble.