Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Doug Norrie
Via Keith Allison

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and Draftster 7/4/15

Happy 4th of July everyone! Enjoy the fireworks, BBQs and some solid DFS MLB picks coming your way.

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Early Slate
Carlos Martinez - FD 10000 DK 9000
He's been excellent this season as a starter, striking out more than a batter an inning and sporting a low 3's xFIP. Martinez isn't an ace exactly (he's priced like one), though he's turned in some very solid performances of late. The walk rate is what bites him the most as it sits close to four free passes per nine. That numbers keeps him from going real long in games and does open him up to a little downside. He isn't a runaway favorite for the best pitcher on the slate (our system actually doesn't love him here) but he does have a good matchup against the Padres who rate in the bottom third of the league against righties.

Clay Buchholz - FD 8600 DK 8500
Wouldn't feel amazing putting him in cash games considering the opponent. The Astros rank 8th in the league against righties this season and can definitely hit. But there is some to like about Clay here. Houston strikes out a TON, 26% of the time in this split which is the worst in the league. And Buchholz is putting together a decent enough season with a low 3's xFIP and solid peripherals. More a price play for me as I'm troubled by the opponent.

Consider Jeff Samardzija


Late Slate
Zack Greinke - FD 11200 DK 11100
Admittedly, our system doesn't love him against Matt Harvey and the Mets today mostly because the price is borderline, but there's no doubt Greinke's been putting up the numbers lately. The biggest reason why it's hard to pay up for his services is the strikeout rate just doesn't match these kinds of tags, usually reserved for the best of the best. Greinke's been good, but when you only strike out about eight batters per nine, the margin for error is very thin. That being said, the Mets rank second to last in the league against righties and it isn't like this slate is chocked full of high quality arms.

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Early Slate
Brian McCann - FD 3600 DK 4000
When the Yankees are at home and McCann's moderately priced then he's most definitely in the mix. Don't exactly love the matchup against Karns who puts up strike out numbers, but McCann's broken out of the BABIP issues that plagued him last season and has an OPS over .800 this year. He's a much better hitter against righty pitching for his career, this season included where he has a 130 wRC+ and .360 wOBA in that split. Will cost some, but there aren't a lot of high priced arms on this slate to worry about salary caps.

Yan Gomes - FD 2300 DK 3300
Not a sexy play by any means, but cheap and in the right side of his platoon. Gomes faces Jeff Locke, a soft-tossing lefty. Gomes' primary issue this season is the strikeout as he's K-ing way more than his career average and walking much less. Locke's a nice guy to face when you want to turn those trends around as dude strikes out less than seven per nine and walks close to four.


Late Slate
Jonathan Lucroy - FD 3100 DK 4000
Taken a glance at what Josh Smith's done since getting called up to the majors? How about 11 innings of 7 xFIP ball thanks to walking 12 batters per nine? That's a lot of big numbers a pitcher doesn't really want to see on the back of his baseball card (assuming they still make those). Lucroy, hitting in the two hole, has been solid against righty pitching over the last couple of seasons with a .352 wOBA and .800 OPS. His price is still climbing after we were buying at bargain rates for quite some time. He's still in the value zone though and this is a good matchup against a wild pitcher.

Consider Salvador Perez



First base

Early Slate
Jose Abreu - FD 3600 DK 4600
Adam LaRoche - FD 2600 DK 4100
I seem to always package these guys together when the timing is right. Today it is. They are at home hitting in one of the best power parks in baseball, U.S. Cellular Field. Both hit righties well, Abreu with a .900 OPS and Laroche an .852 over the last two years in that split. Chris Tillman's been pretty close to garbage this year rocking an xFIP close to five with terrible peripherals. Like both of these White Sox at different price points. Both have upside considering the salaries.


Consider Carlos Santana

Late Slate
Joey Votto - FD 3400 DK 4400
He's been one of the best hitters in baseball over the last couple of years against righty pitching. He walks as much as he strikes out (17% for both) and has a .380 wOBA in that time period. Jimmy Nelson's about as average as pitchers come. He strikes out about seven batters per nine and walks more than three. Great American Ballpark is a big boost to lefty power (one of the best hitter's parks in the league) and Votto is affordable across the board today.

Consider C.J. Cron if he plays against the lefty or Anthony Rizzo if you want to spend up some


Second base

Early Slate
Robinson Cano - FD 2700 DK 4200
I'm playing him until the price fully corrects and it hasn't come close yet, at least not on FanDuel. Here's what I wrote yesterday and the same applies today:
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.

Kolten Wong - FD 3100 DK 4100
Written way more about Kolten Wong this season than I ever thought possible. But that's DFS for you. He's taking advantage of the Cardinal leadoff role with an OPS close to .800, throwing in moderate power and speed. He's basically just a fantasy dude and the extra plate appearance expectation for him puts him in the upper tier of the position most days. Odrisamer Despaigne strikes out less than five batters per nine and has survived mostly on a low strand rate. I'm higher on Cano for around the same money, but Wong is right in the mix.


Late Slate
Johnny Giavotella - FD 2200 DK 3000
The Angels were tired of a leadoff hitter in Erick Aybar so they replaced him with another guy who really can't hit in Giavotella. This one is all about the batting order placement. Johnny G, hitting in front of Trout and Pujols gets a major boost in counting stat expectation as well as just the amount of times he stands to see the plate. On a slate in which you might need to save to pay up for a big pitcher, he's the perfect kind of punt play. The DraftKings price is especially enticing.

Jeff Baker - FD 2200 DK 2800
Even though the last couple of years haven't been kind, this guy is about as extreme a splits guy as they come for his career. His career .862 OPS against lefties is about .250 points higher than what he's done against righties. Doesn't have the batting order boost of Giavotella but makes up for it with the career success in this platoon. Faces the newly called up (but career *meh) Clayton Richard.



Early Slate
Xander Bogaerts - FD 2900 DK 3600
He's moved up in the order and as you know with shortstops (or really anyone, but shortstops most of all) when that happens we need to seriously consider the guy. Because this position is known mostly for the glove, often times shortstops will suck at hitting and bat last (pro analysis there). Xander moving into the top three (but usually hovering in the top five) means more plate expectation than many of his cohorts. That, almost alone, bumps him into the value zone based on his pricing. Don't love the matchup against McHugh considering some of the other weak arms out there on this slate, but I love where Bogearts is batting.

Francisco Lindor - FD 2400 DK 3200
Getting crushed by the BABIP and still hitting second. These are bargains considering those two pieces. Look, I don't have a big case to make for the guy, but outward projections like his chance for a bounce back and the Indians appear committed to keeping his slot in the order.


Late Slate
Starlin Castro - FD 2300 DK 3600
Another guy I had in the picks yesterday and much remains the same. He hits in the top five of the Cubs order and that kind of placement is just what we've been preaching all season long (as well as with the guys above). He's about an average hitter against righties over the last couple of seasons so he won't completely brutalize you with the split. Jared Cosart doesn't strike many batters out (5.24/9 this season) and the Cubs could be set to put up some runs here.

Alcides Escobar - FD 2300 DK 3900
Like always, just kind of a guy who plays shortstop and hits leadoff. Doesn't do anything worth writing about except that the Royals want him at the top of the order for some reason.


Third base

Early Slate
Kyle Seager - FD 2500 DK 4000
Seager's another guy I wrote about yesterday that is again in play today.

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.

Thos thoughts still stand true except I like him even more because the matchup against Kendall Graveman is choice. Kendall's a mid 4's xFIP guy with a low strikeout rate. Don't love the ballpark for Seager, but the price is tough to pass up at a weaker position on this slate.

Matt Carpenter - FD 3200 DK 4100
Much the same thought process as Wong. I don't think you will need to save on hitting too much on this slate considering it's a pretty dicey situation with some of the more expensive arms. Loading up on bats may be the way to go. Carpenter has a .367 wOBA against righties over the last two seasons and walks (14%) as much as he strikes out (you guessed it, 14%). Facing Despaigne means a high on-base expectation considering Carpenter's profile.


Late Slate
Adrian Beltre - FD 2600 DK 4200
I don't want to say I get aroused when Beltre faces a lefty because that would be over the line for sure. But let's just say that I start getting that warm and fuzzy feeling all over. (That's okay right? Not weird, right?) The last couple of seasons haven't been completely in line with his career numbers where he has an .874 OPS and .372 wOBA. The thing about Beltre today though is the price. His FanDuel tag has him nearly as a must play against Hector Santiago who is much worse than his mid 2's ERA would suggest. The xFIP is in the mid 4's and he's been buoyed by a .242 BABIP against. I'm all over Beltre today as well as some other righty Rangers in stacks.

Consider David Freese and Trevor Plouffe



Early Slate
Outfield is tougher on this slate for sure. Don't love many of the bigger bats as they are locked up in tougher pitching matchups, overpriced, or both.

Andrew McCutchen - FD 4300 DK 5100
Though I will make a case for the more expensive McCutchen. Don't for a second get fooled by Cody Anderson's 0.57 ERA. It's only been two very lucky games and his xFIP is very close to four. Dude hasn't had much strikeout success at any level and you really can't get away with that profile in the majors. McCutchen's been among the best hitters in the league against righties over the last two seasons with a .924 OPS And .398 wOBA. He can crush both sides of the split and I can very much see paying up for him here.

Nelson Cruz - FD 3100 DK 4600
Known more for his annihilation of lefties, don't sleep on Cruz against righties. His price has dropped to silly levels on FanDuel for a guy who's still put up a 130 wRC+ and .357 wOBA in this platoon over the last two seasons. As I said for Seager and Cano, Kendall Graveman isn't an overpowering pitcher and we can target Cruz even in the reverse platoon. Do think he's a little steep on DK though.

If he's hitting leadoff consider Gregory Polanco. Otherwise consider Anthony Gose and Ryan Raburn (especially on DraftKings).


Late Slate

Carlos Gonzalez - FD 3200 DK 4500
Not hitting in Coors, but Chase Field will have to do. CarGo's been dogged by BABIP struggles this season as that number is about seventy points below his career average. It's accounted for a fair amount of his OPS issues this season. He's actually striking out less and hitting more line drives. I think we are still buying at a discount here. He is far from the superstar in the making we had going a few years ago. But hitting in the middle of the Rockies' order and priced low thanks to some bad luck has him in play against Collmenter.

Marcell Ozuna - FD 2200 DK 3700
Ozuna's the kind of player who really should only hit against lefty pitching, but his price is kept in the cellar because the Marlins insist on running him out there against everyone. He's an extreme splits guy with an .800 OPS and 120 wRC+ in that platoon against numbers much, much worse against righties. That's where this play comes in. He is priced because he stinks in a majority of his plate appearances (v rhp) and we can buy heavily when there's a southpaw on the mound.

Mike Trout - FD 5100 DK 5700
He's expensive but I think there's plenty of other bargain value hunting around the rest of the offensive positions that getting his salary in can work even with a high cost pitcher. Trout's gonna Trout and he's in a good matchup againt Wandy Rodriguez in a fantastic hitter's park.

Consider Carlos Gomez and Jay Bruce as well as cheaper options like Gerardo Parra and Ryan Rua
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