Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings 7/2/15

It's a double slate day! That means that I'll give you a full run of picks for the late slate, and highlight a few key guys in the early slate. You want to know the rest? No problem. Sign up now and get a free 3 day trial to our lineup construction tool for FanDuel, DraftKings and Draftster.



Early Slate
There's pitching to spare in the early slate. You can make an argument for either DeGrom or Arrieta, but since they're playing each other, I don't love the win potential necessarily. That leaves us with one man to rule them all.

Corey Kluber - FD 11000 DK 10900
Kluber hasn't had a win since May, but this still feels like an easy one for me. The Rays own the 6th lowest wOBA in the majors vs. right handed pitching, and have struck out at the 6th highest rate. As for Kluber? He's been ridiculously unlucky this season. His 3.66 ERA is considerably worse than his 2.74 xFIP, and his 10.33 K/9 means that he'll carry elite upside in nearly every match-up he's in. Tropicana Field is a great place to pitch as well. I like Kluber in all formats.

Late Slate
Tyson Ross - FD 8900 DK 9700
Pitching isn't nearly so bountiful in the late slate today, so I'm going to give you a guy that I feel is safe, and a guy I think has big upside. Ross seems to me to be the safe guy. I'll explain. While Ross' walk rate is downright bad, he pairs a highly unusual combination of big swing and miss stuff with Brandon Webb-esque ground-ball tendencies. The result is a sparkling 3.18 xFIP and elite K upside for a fraction of the price of the "true aces" out there. While St. Louis isn't a fantastic match-up for right handers, Ross should be a solid favorite to snag a win over young lefty Tim Cooney. Ross' groundball stuff means he isn't that much worse on the road and in Petco, and I think he's a pretty safe play for any format.

Scott Kazmir - FD 9000 DK 9200
If you're looking to shoot the moon with a guy that should be played somewhat less frequently than Ross, consider Scott Kazmir. He still has K per IP stuff, and he's facing a Mariners team that is in the bottom third of the league in terms of OPS against left handed pitching. They're also starting Roenis Elias, who is generally terrible. While I think Kazmir is more likely than Ross to have a blow-up, I could also see him gutting the lefty-heavy Ms in a high impact outing.

I'll go against the grain and stay away from Max Scherzer. He's clearly the best pitcher going, but the Braves have the third lowest K rate against right handed pitching in the major leagues.


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Early Slate
No one

But for real, it's a really tough slate to play a catcher. Our system likes Victor Martinez (whose power seems to be coming back in doubles form) and Jonathan Lucroy (if you are playing a slate that acknowledges the 6:35 game), but otherwise, your best bet is probably to grab a cheap guy in a positive platoon situation.

Late Slate
Derek Norris - FD 3000 DK 3400
Derek Norris has a career .863 OPS against left handed pitching, and is basically in the major leagues because of what he can do to left handed pitching. In this game he'll face Tim Cooney, who hasn't posted a K/9 higher than 7 or an xFIP below 4 since AA ball in 2013. I triple-love him because he's away from Petco, and his power should play a lot better in Busch Stadium. I'll take him in all formats, and particularly love the upside.

Wilson Ramos - FD 2800 DK 3900
A little Manny Banuelos sweepstakes? Don't mind if I do! With some true scrubs going on the mound today, picking which guy to stack again might seem burdensome. We're here to help. Banuelos actually isn't a pitcher without a future, but he also has walked nearly 5 guys per 9 innings in AAA in the last two years. That is... something less than good. While Ramos is having a pretty damned bad year himself, he still has a nearly .800 OPS against left handed pitching for his career - and he makes awfully hard contact against left handed pitching. A pretty nice play, all things considered.

Consider: Russell Martin.


First base

Early Slate
Carlos Santana - FD 3100 DK 3600
With so many tough pitchers going in the early slate, you'll probably have to play some hitters against some of them. So, I'll go ahead and choose Matt Moore. He's obviously a huge talent, but coming off of injury, I'll take my chances. Santana has walked more than he's struck out against left handed pitching over the course of his career, and he's looking like the highest floor play at the position for the slate.

Also considered: Duda.

Late Slate
Edwin Encarnacion - FD 4000 DK 4400
3 homers in the last week has E5's daily fantasy baseball stock on the rise, and while we generally don't like to buy high on guys, this might be the spot to do so. Encarnacion has been about .060 OPS points better against left handed pitching over the course of his career, and Miley has allowed better than an .800 OPS to right handers this season. If you go cheaper on pitching, Encarnacion has a different level of upside than you can find in other high dollar guys at the slate (this side of Bautista).

Mike Napoli - FD 2700 DK 4200
I gave you Napoli as the play of the day at his position yesterday against Buehrle... and he totally sucked. That's Baseball! Ugh. Even with some bad BABIP luck, though, Napoli still has an .855 OPS against left handed pitching this season. Matt Boyd is a fine young pitcher, but he wasn't facing batters with Napoli's power and ability to crush a mistake in the minors. In a good hitter's park, Napoli could wind up being the highest upside play at his position on the day.

Consider: Eric Hosmer.


Second base

Early Slate
Ian Kinsler - FD 3400 DK 3900
Again, it's tough to find a lot of weak spots in the early slate. Liriano isn't a terrible pitcher by any means, but you'll take what you can get. Kinsler seems to be shaking his early season power outage. Kinsler is a pretty dramatic platoon guy as well. He's been about .120 OPS points better against southpaws over the course of his career, and I like his chances batting among a bunch of other righties that know how to bruise a lefty.

Consider: Dee Gordon.

Late Slate
Rougned Odor - FD 2700 DK 3800
Odor has been a system favorite for the last 2 years for his ability to hit right handed pitching, and he's shown why recently. With a couple of 10 point fantasy games on FanDuel, he is the defacto owner of some of the best upside at the position. Gausman hasn't quite delivered on his minor league prowess just yet, and I suspect the Odor train to keep merrily chugging along. On these prices, he doesn't have to do much to make it feel like a good decision.

Ben Zobrist - FD 3300 DK 4200
Zobrist seems like a nightly feature in these picks recently. I've recommended him for three nights in a row, and he delivered a great game on Wednesday. He's creeping north of an .800 OPS on the season, and if it weren't for a BABIP .035 points lower than his career levels, he'd be having a hell of a season. It's finally turning for him, and the price will likely continue to rise as he churns out good games. He's been about .030 OPS points better against left handers over his career, and Roenis Elias and his 4.34 xFIP shouldn't scare you at all.



Early Slate
Jordy Mercer - FD 2600 DK 3500
If you've got the early slate blues, Jordy Mercer looks a lot like a breath of fresh air. He's got 13 hits in his last 6 games, and the 28 year old has an .862 OPS against left handed pitching for his career. That's a damn fine number for any shorstop, and with the amount of top tier pitching going early, you simply won't find better. Play Mercer everywhere.

Late Slate
Xander Bogaerts - FD 2700 DK 4300
I wrote this last night:
The 22 year old Bogaerts has walked almost as much as he's struck out vs. lefties this season, and has an .801 OPS against them. And that's all lefties! Not just scrap heap guys like Buehrle. Great play for safety and upside.

Boyd might be better than Buehrle, but Bogaerts is a legitimate offensive threat from the shortstop position. Those basically don't exist. Relatively cheap, and upside to spare.

Troy Tulowitzki - FD 3800 DK 5400
The price is creeping down on Tulowitzki, and it's gotten to the point where I'm a buyer. Even on the road, even against a righty. To be fair, it's the perfect righty and the perfect away park. Hellickson's got his typical terrible xFIP and the worst ERA of his career, and he's allowing the highest home run rate of his career. If you save up on pitching, Tulo makes for a very interesting upside play.

Also considered: Ian Desmond.

Third base

Early Slate
Josh Harrison - FD 2900 DK 3800
This is a seriously terrible slate for third basemen, and Harrison stands head and shoulders above the group here. He's got a .845 OPS against left handed pitching this season, and Kyle Ryan could be the very worst pitcher in the majors at the moment. 11 Ks against 8 BBs in 23 IP? Yeesh.

Late Slate
Josh Donaldson - FD 3900 DK 5200
I may have oversold Encarnacion as a must play, considering you can get Donaldson for roughly the same price. You're looking at the play of the day, here. Donaldson's 1.141 OPS against left handed pitching paints a pretty sharp picture of what you can expect against the below league average Miley. He's like a godlike version of Encarnacion. A fantastic play in all formats.

Mike Moustakas - FD 2700 DK 4000
If you want a guy with considerably less upside but plenty of floor, Moustakas might be your guy. He's got a better than .900 OPS against right handed pitching this season, and is spraying hard contact all over the field. Today he'll be facing Kyle Gibson, whose 5.63 K/9 tells a much better story than his luck-driven ERA. Really, all of the Royals make reasonable plays today - but with Moustakas batting in the 2 hole, he should have as high a floor as any guy going today.

Will Middlebrooks is a great punt option against Cooney, assuming he plays.



Early Slate
Andrew McCutchen - FD 4300 DK 4800
Starling Marte - FD 3500 DK 4400
My favorite pay-up option for the early slate. McCutchen has a near 1K OPS for his career against left handed pitching. Kyle Ryan is one of the least qualified left handed pitchers in the majors. Big game is absolutely in play here, and I'd guess he has the highest floor of any player in the slate, period. As for Starling Marte, he's putting together a 25/30 season. And he's a lefty crusher as well. Love him.

Rajai Davis - FD 2900 DK 3700
Davis is known for his speed, and that's certainly his calling card, but he's been crushing left handed pitching this season to the tune of a .929 OPS. His career number is solid, too - .811. What our projection system loves in addition to his ability to hit lefties is where he bats in the order. There are some big bats behind him, he should be able to get on base, and his speed goes without saying. Love him here.

Consider: Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson.

Late Slate
Nelson Cruz - FD 3000 DK 4500
The price has dipped down to wildly affordable levels for Cruz. Frankly, I find it confusing. His season line is still fine, but his line against lefties is downright Bondsian. A 1.394 OPS against left handers? Come on. It's a complete joke. Kazmir is a fine pitcher and all, but Cruz has just been unfair this season. I don't mind him in any format.

Justin Upton - FD 3100 DK 4200
Matt Kemp - FD 2900 DK 4100
Getting the big righties away from Petco should make a big difference, but the biggest difference of all should come from the previously mentioned Tim Cooney. Tim Cooney is just not a prospect, he's not a major leaguer, he's not a guy who can get out beast righties like Kemp and Upton. In case you haven't figured it out by now, Cooney is left handed. And bad. I'll take Upton and Kemp everywhere, for huge upside.

Hanley Ramirez - FD 3700 DK 4900
A.J. Pollock - FD 3700 DK 4500
The expensive guys, if you can afford them. Lefty crusher Ramirez has Matt Boyd, and Pollock should have no trouble plying his power/speed combo against Chris Rusin. Pollock's an underrated platoon guy as well - he's .100 OPS points better against lefties for his career. I like both of these guys for safety and upside.

Also considered: Carlos Gonzalez, Adam Jones.


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image sources

  • andrewmccutchen: AP Images

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