Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings 7/3/15
Huge slate on this Friday with some really solid arms taking the mound. I think one stands out above the rest, but there are some cases to be made all around. Let's take a look at Friday's plays.
Clayton Kershaw - FD 12300 DK 13100
It hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows for Clayton this year (at least on the baseball field, no idea what his personal life is like). He has a losing record on the season and an ERA north of 3.00. But as we've been saying all season, the xFIP is at a superior 2.09 and he's striking out more than 11 batters per nine. Where he's struggling is the strand rate. He's getting killed when guys get on base. Today he faces a Mets' squad that while ranking in the middle of the pack against lefties, still strikes out more than 23% of the time in that split. Kershaw is the top option today and it's not particularly close. You should pay up.
Julio Teheran - FD 8000 DK 8000
This one is more about the opponent than Teheran as an actual pitcher this season. The Phillies are dead last in the league against righty pitching this season and there's a lot to hate about their squad. The lineup is pretty abysmal and really falls off a cliff pretty much right away honestly. Teheran's been just mediocre this season as he's walking too many batters. He isn't as bad as the 4.94 ERA suggests, but he isn't amazing either. I'm taking this on the matchup and his lower price tag.
Masahiro Tanaka - FD 9400 DK 10200
This one's going to require a moderate leap of faith. Tanaka hasn't been good the last couple of outings and hasn't gone more than two innings in the last two starts. His big issue is pitch count. He doesn't walk many batters on the whole (the peripherals are awesome) but he runs the pitch count so high because eh doesn't dispatch batters quickly. He faces a light hitting Rays team that won't offer much power and strikes out 21% of the time. Facing Archer doesn't do a lot for the win expectation, but I still like Tanaka here.
Consider Justin Masterson strictly for cheap upside
Jonathan Lucroy - FD 3000 DK 3800
Also coming on the cheaper side and entrenched in the number two hole for the Brewers. Lucroy's been essentially platoon neutral over the last two seasons with a 122-123 wRC+ in both splits. That puts him in play against the righty Lorenzen on this slate. Lorenzen walks nearly five batters per nine and strikes out just about as many. Lucroy's price is still down thanks to some BABIP issues and is coming real cheap for his skillset.
Salvador Perez - FD 2400 DK 3800
Going cheap here for sure. There are a bunch of very good arms going on this slate which will make finding good, cheap hitting somewhat difficult. Perez is no great shakes as a hitter, but has been a little unlucky this season. Dude loathes taking walks, but is better against lefty pitching with an average wRC+ and .725 OPS over the last two seasons. Those won't wow you, but he does face a garbage-y arm in Tommy Milone.
Consider Matt Wieters
Early Slate Special
Miguel Montero - FD 2200 DK 3200
If you are rostering Kershaw today then you are going to need some cheap upside bats to fill in the margins. I'm not always an advocate of taking the most expensive arm, but today I am so many of hitter picks are with that in mind. Montero's just above average over the last two seasons against righties with a 104 wRC+. That in and of itself isn't amazing, but he's basically free and hitting just below the middle of the Cubs' lineup.
David Ortiz - FD 2900 DK 4300
Dan Straily's been all right in the minors for his career, but has never been able to fully translate those skills to the major league level where he owns a career 4.66 xFIP. Don't expect it to happen today. Papi's still affordable and has shown a big uptick in power with five home runs over the last two weeks. I don't buy on recent performance but mention those long ball numbers just as a way to show he isn't a dead man walking as the early season could have indicated.
Joe Mauer - FD 2600 DK 3600
He's basically just a guy now, but he's a cheap guy in a great matchup. Jeremy Guthrie is one of the worst starting pitchers around who consistently has a gig. Dude strikes out less than five batters per nine and has an xFIP creeping toward five. Mauer's no great shakes, but can still take a walk against righties and is about league average in that split. He's also very cheap and hitting in the middle of the Twins' order. Cash game play because the power isn't really there but he should be in line for contact today.
Consider spending up a little on Joey Votto or
Robinson Cano - FD 2800 DK 3700
He's leaving the land of Embarrassing Bad and now entering just plain Acceptable territory. Cano had a super rough go of it for much of the season with the power a non-existent piece of his game and just overall looking like a terrible player. But he's coming out of it over the last two weeks with three home runs and some solid performances. The price still hasn't caught up and we've been getting him at a discount finally. Total price play here against Jess Chavez.
Ben Zobrist - FD 3400 DK 4100
Understand that I like Cano as the far and away play at second base today so these next couple of guys come in a distant second. Zobrist is an above average hitter against lefties, his dominant split and has a 112 wRC+ over the last two seasons in that platoon even with a lower BABIP. He faces J.A. Happ who's actually platoon neutral and not completely terrible. This is a middle of the road play all things considered.
Jace Peterson - FD 3000 DK 3400
Can take a walk (10.3% BB rate) and steal a base (8 so far). He hits leadoff which will always keep the floor higher and faces a
groundball pitcher in Charlie Morton Adam Morgan. That lines up for a cash game play from Jace who's been downright acceptable this season.
Troy Tulowitzki - FD 3800 DK 4800
He'll cost you on this slate and rostering both he and Kershaw will be tough (though not impossible). But Tulo's in a fantastic spot today as the price continues to drop. He's hitting in one of the best hitter's parks in baseball outside of Coors against a weaker arm in Chase Anderson. Anderson's actually much worse against righty bats over a fairly large sample size. This is Tulo's worse split, but he can of course hit right handed pitching and has been rolling in the Rockies' second spot in the lineup.
Francisco Lindor - FD 2400 DK 3100
As we often talk about with shortstops, it's usually about getting the cheapest guy who stands to see the most plate appearances. That's true for all the positions really, but especially so with shortstop where hits or really anything positive at the plate is hard to come by. Lindor is just kind of whatever but he's running super bad in BABIP since getting called up (.256) and is still hitting second for the Indians. I don't see them moving him really and he's coming at punt prices.
Consider Alcides Escobar
Early Slate Special
Starlin Castro - FD 2300 DK 3600
Much the same as Lindor. Castro fits this need against Tom Koehler. Starlin hits in the top five of an order that can put up runs. He's worse against righties for sure, but these prices and the positional scarcity are what I'm after.
I really hate third base today. Like completely hate it.
Kyle Seager - FD 2600 DK 3300
Over the last couple of seasons, Seager's been very solid against right-handed pitching. His 131 xFIP and .813 OPS are well above average for these prices. He's been bitten by the BABIP a little and has actually cut down on the K's this season. Jesse Chavez is a solid pitcher, but I just hate third base so much today that I'm willing to take a guy in a not-so-great matchup on the price.
Luis Valbuena - FD 3400 DK 4200
Justin Masterson's fatal flaw is he can't get lefty hitters out. He's elite at getting righties to go down, but lefties give him real issues. The Astros are a righty heavy lineup which favors Masterson, but Valbuena's vastly better split is against righties and this matchup lines up nicely for him. My concern is Masterson stymies the other pieces around Valbuena and this is a slight overpay.
Consider Pablo Sandoval
Michael Brantley - FD 3200 DK 4500
He's coming very cheap, especially on FanDuel against Charlie Morton who's allowed an OPS over .800 to opposing lefty batters this season. Though Brantley's ISO is down this season, the walks are way up as he's taking more free passes than going down on strikes. He's been one of top hitters in baseball against righties over the the last two seasons with an OPS close .900 in that split while almost never K-ing. Really like the cash game safety on his today.
Kole Calhoun - FD 2300 DK 4400
The price is just too low on FanDuel. I know he hasn't been great that last two months. Some of that is thanks to a slightly lower BABIP, but all in all it hasn't been great. That being said, there's simply too much opportunity with the guy with him consistently hitting in the top four of the lineup. That almost alone justifies his FD price. He's also facing soft tossing Chi-Chi Gonzalez. I love this spot and price for Kole.
Mike Trout - FD 5100 DK 5900
Usually I pair teammates together because the considerations are much the same. But I separated these two guys today because Trout is basically only in play if you aren't rostering Kershaw. Fitting both of them is near impossible and I'm favoring Kershaw on the whole. But Trout is against a pitcher in Gonzalez who's walked more than he's struck out this season and has an xFIP over five. Chi-Chi stinks and has been super lucky. I love Trout if I'm not paying top dollar at pitcher.
Adam Jones - FD 3200 DK 4400
He's been a platoon neutral guy over the last two seasons and pretty average at that. But today he's going in U.S. Cellular Field, a fantastic hitter's park, against a below average John Danks. Danks strikes out only about six batters per nine while carrying an xFIP in the mid 4's. Nice spot for Jones and some other Orioles today.