Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings 7/9/15
Two baby slates on this Thursday. Going to run through the considerations pretty quick on a mini day for MLB DFS.
Pitching on this early slate is almost enough to make me not want to play this early slate. But alas, we forge ahead.
Yordano Ventura - FD 8200 DK 8200
When you are seriously considering a guy in his first start back from the DL then you pretty much know all you need to about this slate. Before going on the DL Ventura was having a fine enough season. The 3.72 xFIP was about right at the borderline of someone I'd consider throwing out as a "top" option. And if this wasn't such a small slate we wouldn't even be talking about the guy. But the Rays are one of the worst teams in the league at hitting right-handed pitching on the season while striking out about 22% of the time in that split. Ventura strikes out a little more than seven batters per nine. Again, these are aren't great numbers but he's coming on the cheaper side and you'll load up on bats through the rest of the lineup.
Consider Masahiro Tanaka
There are some real stud pitchers going on this evening slate. For as bad as the early slate was with arms, this one makes up for it though that doesn't mean it's necessarily easy. Going to highlight some of the better plays, but I have a feeling the usage rates on these guys will be all over the map.
Jose Fernandez - FD 9900 DK 9800
The thing with Fernandez is he's coming at a major discount compared to some of the higher priced arms on this slate. Pound for pound he's as good as any pitcher in baseball when healthy. Coming back from injury is always tough when prognosticating pitching. My only real concern with him today is the pitch count. He only threw 89 pitches in his first start back, but was effective going six innings while striking out six and allowing three runs. If the pitch count ticks up toward 100 in this one he is a solid bargain against the Reds. He should be in line for a win with David Holmberg opposing him and the ballpark helps depress power for a middling against the righties team like the Reds.
There are some upper tier pitchers going on this slate. Honestly, I'm having trouble distinguishing among them. They all seem a bit too expensive considering their peripherals, underlying numbers or matchups. I wrung my hands over these guys for quite some time. Here are the cases for and against a couple of these guys.
Zack Greinke - FD 11200 DK 11200
Know this, I don't love the price. He just doesn't strike out enough batters to fully or confidently justify paying these prices. He isn't even K-ing more than eight batters an inning this season. That being said he has the best chance at a win today as a monster favorite against a garbage Phillies team. The win expectation is what keeps him in the mix at these gross salaries but keep in mind his 3.28 xFIP is much higher than the ERA and he's been big time lifted by a low BABIP against.
Garrett Richards - FD 9000 DK 9300
The case for him is the Mariners have been real rough against righty pitching this season and rank in the bottom third of the league in team wOBA in that split. The case against is Richards has struggled this season and has a depressed K rate and higher xFIP. This one is more on matchup than Richards' actual numbers.
Brian McCann - FD 3700 DK 4000
He'll be the highest owned catcher on this slate and I don't suspect it will be close. Jesse Chavez isn't a huge strikeout guy (though he's a decent pitcher all in all). The thing with McCann today is his salary isn't too much to squeeze on this slate and has the boost of hitting a righty in Yankee Stadium. The rest of the catching pool here is gross to say the least. I like his DraftKings price more than FanDuel, but I'll play him on both sites almost for sure.
Consider Salvador Perez
Yasmani Grandal - FD 3600 DK 4300
I'm going to have some Dodgers in these picks but I'm not completely sold on them against Severino Gonzalez. While Gonzalez's ERA looks ghastly, the xFIP is really in the ow 3's. He's had outstanding peripherals in his six starts, striking out more than a batter an inning and walking only a little more than one. That being said, Grandal and some of his teammates are better against righty pitching and won't totally break the bank. Again, this is right at the value breaking point for me so don't consider him a tippy top option. But he's in the mix.
Jose Abreu - FD 3500 DK 4500
Jose Abreu Fan Club is in full session and the meetings have been a blast. I've been in charge of the drinks and desserts with the rest of the DFSR crew bringing chips and recruiting new members. He's been under-priced on FanDuel almost all season and if I were to go back and look (which I won't), I suspect he's the guy who's shown up in the picks more than any other player this year. The ISO isn't quite what it was last season, but a .203 number is nothing to sniff at. He's handled righty pitching well in his short career with a close to .900 OPS in that split over the last two seasons. Faces R.A. Dickey in a U.S. Cellular Field, a great hitter's park. Doesn't cost much but the power upside is there for the tag.
Consider Adam Laroche
Carlos Santana - FD 3000 DK 3700
Brett Oberholtzer is actually better against righties for his career, but he's not exactly good against either hand. Carlos Santana has been a platoon neutral hitter over the last two seasons and his price has been on the decline of late. I'm buying on him today in this matchup. Santana actually walks more than he strikes out against lefties over the last two years and that's a good number against Oberholtzer who's been walking more than four batters per nine this season. The DraftKings price on Santana is great.
Adrian Gonzalez - FD 3600 DK 4700
Much of the same story as Grandal. The system likes Dodgers today but I'm wary it is factoring in Severino's bad luck a little too much. That being said, Gonzalez is a fair price even if you bring Gonzalez's numbers into the league average or slightly better zone. This is all to say, I'm willing to play some of these Dodgers especially with so many ace arms going elsewhere. But I'm not over the moon about it.
Consider Mark Reynolds on the cheap
Ben Zobrist - FD 3200 DK 3700
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Hate that he's facing Tanaka, but having a tough time finding another viable play at second base who doesn't make me want to puke (and Zobrist almost makes me want to puke). Tanaka has great peripherals, but struggles to hang around long in games because of the elevated per at bat pitch counts. Zobrist is slightly above average against righties over the last couple of years. But the real thing to look at here is the list of other second basemen playing. Eesh.
Kolten Wong - FD 2900 DK 3800
Don't often like to throw out lefty on lefty crime here but there's an exception to be made for Wong here. Jeff Locke is just about platoon neutral for his career (a bit better against lefties) and Wong has actually put up above average numbers against lefty pitching over the last couple of seasons. Don't get me wrong, he isn't great against lefties, but these two guys' profiles meet right around the middle with the price and leadoff spot for Wong coming into play.
Ian Kinsler - FD 3100 DK 4400
Another guy in the wrong side of his split, but in a nice matchup against Mike Pelfrey. Big Pelf doesn't strike anyone out at all though he does induce his fair share of groundballs. Pelfrey's another platoon neutral pitcher all things considered and Kinsler, hitting in the two hole is right in the zone of value at a position that's not the easiest to fill on this slate.
Jose Reyes - FD 3400 DK 4300
Really don't love the matchup against Samardzija here, but again we are talking about shortstop and there's a solid (if not heartwarming) lineup to made by middling some salaries and not breaking the bank on some pitching. Reyes, setting the table this season has the advantage of hitting in front of really good hitters even if his numbers to date aren't much to write home (or the picks) about. His value add is getting penciled in at the top of a potent lineup and having the extra plate appearance expectation over some of his cohorts.
Very strongly consider somewhat newly minted All-Star starter Alcides Escobar
Troy Tulowitzki - FD 4400 DK 4500
Price won't totally kill you though if you are rostering one of the bigger pitchers it becomes somewhat of a rough shout. But the thing about Tulo is that he just embarrasses and decimates lefty pitching. Over the past two seasons he's among the best in all of baseball at manhandling this platoon with an OPS over 1.200 and wOBA over .500 (you read that number correctly). He just tags southpaws and his prices today are completely reasonable against Alex Wood. The DraftKings price is especially juicy. Alex Wood doesn't strike out more than seven batters per nine and could be in trouble today in Coors. Love Tulo here.
Jhonny Peralta - FD 3000 DK 3700
Will cost you less of course, but is in a nice matchup against Locke. Peralta has done a solid job against lefties over the last couple of seasons. His .864 OPS and .375 wOBA are fantastic for these prices. He offers a nice pricing hedge if you don't go for Tulo today as Peralta fits in a little better with some of the bigger arms on the slate.
Consider Andrelton Simmons
Evan Longoria - FD 2800 DK 3800
It's not as dire at third base, but it's damn close. At least at this position there are other guys who can, like, hit. Though Longoria is pushing it some on that front. The thing with Longoria is he's very much just a guy at this point. Nothing he does wows you, but he's a price play plain and simple. I'm fully aware I recommended Yordano Ventura earlier in the post. On these short slates sometimes we see overlap. And I could see playing an Alex Rodriguez or Chase Headley. But Longo's hitting in the middle of the order (albeit a weak one) and coming very cheap. Price play plain and simple.
Kyle Seager - FD 2300 DK 3700
Third base is a zone of death on this evening slate. Just about anyone who's anyone is facing a really tough arm. The Braves' guys are way too expensive for how bad they are in real life (even with Coors) and there's very little to work with here. Even Seager against Garrett Richards isn't something to go nuts for, but if he sticks in the two hole against righties then these prices are looking real good unless he's facing a totally elite righty (which Richards is not). Seager is a well above average hitter against righties and that spot in the batting order does wonders for his plate appearance expectation. This is really the only direction I'm looking today at third.
Consider Matt Carpenter I suppose
Jacoby Ellsbury - FD 4100 DK 4700
Brett Gardner - FD 4200 DK 5100
Both a little overpriced for what they offer, but you have to spend somewhere on this slate. Most of the Blue Jays' righties are expensive for who there are facing in the Shark. It's a tough call. Again, for the fiftieth time, I don't love what's going on here today. But I'll take a couple of lefties going in Yankee Stadium against a pitcher who is far from an elite K guy. Hitting 1-2 in the Yankee order places them in prime position to score some runs here. I do think Gardner is a bit too pricey on DraftKings where I'd probably play Jose Bautista for less money.
Yasiel Puig - FD 3200 DK 4300
Joc Pederson - FD 3500 DK 3900
It's not so much that I love either of these guys as there's a major problem finding quality bats in the outfield today at reasonable prices who aren't facing total aces. And like I've said many times already, don't sleep on Severino. But both Yasiel and Joc, though frustrating at times, are coming at discounts considering their skills an slots in the order.
Preston Tucker - FD 3000 DK 3500
Tucker hasn't been around long though in his short time in the majors he's shown himself to be more than capable of hitting right handed pitching. In a small sampe size he has a 145 wRC+ and .878 OPS in that split. Again this is a small sample but there's a lot to like. Today he's facing Cody Anderson who's 0.76 ERA isn't anything to reality though he isn't exactly horrible. Tucker's been hitting second against righties and should be there again today.
Anthony Gose - FD 2400 DK 3500
If he's in the leadoff slot against Pelfrey then the skill set plays real well for the matchup and the price. His speed keeps the floor higher considering he isn't the best hitter in the world. His big issue over the last couple of seasons against righties has been the K. But that isn't as big a problem when Pelfrey is on the mound. The leadoff slot at near punt prices is the real key here for Gose.
- Troy Tulowitzki: AP Images