Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Brent Holloway

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 6/23/16

Pitching is in short supply today with a short slate split virtually down the middle.


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Ricky NolascoRicky Nolasco FD 6900 DK 7400
Opponent - PHI (Eickhoff) Park - @MIN
FD - 30.93 DK - 16.19

Yeah, buddy. See, here's the thing about the pitching available on the early slate: It's not good. Unfortunately, no site I know of allows us to go AL and drop a DH into the pitcher's slot, so we're gonna have to choose (at least) one of these guys. Consider Nolasco the lesser of eight evils. He'll be facing a Phillies lineup that's worse than he is, ranking dead last in baseball in wRC+ against RHP while striking out in a healthy 22.1% of plate appearances. And there's a chance Nolasco isn't that bad. Most of his underlying numbers say he continues to be the mediocre dude he's always been, but his command has actually been pretty sharp this season, helping him post a 3.91 xFIP that's exactly one run lower than his ERA. The disconcerting news is that he's got a long history of posting actual results that are significantly worse than the advanced stats say they should be, so do with that what you will. Also, he's really cheap—Hooray!—and that's all I've got on this one. We're not really touting Nolasco, just recommending that you to stay away from everybody else.

Consider: Rick Porcello. I guess. The projection system has him as the "best" pitcher in the day games on a raw points basis, but he hardly seems worth the cost unless you've just got extra salary laying around and feel compelled to spend it. He's slightly more appealing on FanDuel because the Red Sox should be teeing off on James Shields and putting him in good shape to get a win.


Jon LesterJon Lester FD 11400 DK 11700
Opponent - MIA (Chen) Park - @MIA
FD - 37.5 DK - 20.47

The pitching's not really that much better tonight, but after the harrowing experience of writing up Ricky Nolasco, Jon Lester might as well be Sandy Koufax. With Matt Harvey languishing with whatever's going on there, Zack Greinke is the only other ace-caliber arm on the menu, and he's throwing in Coors Field. So, the Lester is the obvious choice here, and the only real drawback with is that everybody (maybe literally in cash games) will be on him tonight. He's pounding the strike zone this season, striking out better than a batter per inning, and he's backed up by the highest-scoring offense in the National League. On the negative side, his strand rate is unsustainably high, and he's probably been the beneficiary of some good BABIP luck, so we doubt that he'll hold that ERA in the low 2s over the course of the season. That said, we're not we're not overly concerned with the Marlins and their middling offense against lefties.

Matt HarveyMatt Harvey FD 9500 DK 8100
Opponent - ATL (Wisler) Park - @ATL
FD - 36.16 DK - 19.99

The projection system still can't quite wrap it's algorithm around Harvey's struggles this year, but this pick isn't just a matter of blind adherence to the track record of previous seasons. Mostly it's the Braves. They're really bad and only marginally better against righties than lefties, so we like pretty much anybody going against them. But as for Harvey, it's kinda tough to figure out exactly what's going wrong. Sure there are indicators that raise concerns that he might not be good anymore, but none that fully explain that 4.76 ERA or 4.06 xFIP. His velocity is down a tick, but he's still averaging nearly 95 mph on his two-seamer. His hard-contact rate is up a little, but so is the amount of soft contact he's inducing, which makes a .50-point jump in BABIP difficult to explain. And he's missing fewer bats, but not so much as to explain his decline into an average K/9 guy. Like I said, tough to figure, and there's a non-zero chance he never fully figures it out. But he was looking a lot better until the last time out when he surrendered seven hits and four runs in six innings. In his three starts before that, he'd allowed just eight hits and two runs. The bad news here is that it was the lowly Braves who touched him up in his last start, but on a slim slate, we're taking our chances on a bounce-back start, at least on two-pitcher sites.


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Victor MartinezVictor Martinez FD 3100 DK 4300
Opponent - SEA (Sampson) Park - @DET
FD - 11.7 DK - 9.01

Martinez has suffered a bit of a power outage since last week's three-homer game, but don't be dissuaded. You're not going to find better upside from the catcher position at this price, especially not today when he's just a hundred bucks more than some dude named Jacob Stallings on FanDuel. Martinez will be facing off with a similarly anonymous rookie, Adrian Sampson, today. Scouting reports say Sampson is a pitch-to-contact guy of average pedigree, and he's likely to be in over his head against a Tigers lineup stocked with Professional Hitters. Martinez should be right in the middle of the action hitting from the cleanup spot, and in case you're just tuning in to 2016, he's come back in a big way after a down season last year. In fact, if he's able to sustain his current .378 wOBA, it would be the second-highest mark of his career.


Willson ContrerasWillson Contreras FD 2500 DK 3200
Opponent - MIA (Chen) Park - @MIA
FD - 8.41 DK - 6.79

This one comes with an asterisk, because David Ross typically catches when Lester is on the mound. We don't have a feel for how Joe Maddon intends to incorporate Contreras quite yet, but it wouldn't be surprising if he opts for the veteran, as Contreras isn't known for his glovework and Lester is notoriously bad/unable to hold runners on. But if the Cubs feel like they need a little more offense, Contreras is their guy. The 24-year-old has been mashing in the minors since last season and had nine bombs with a .353 batting average and .450 wOBA through 55 Triple-A games before getting called up. Since then, he's homered twice in his first 10 plate appearances, including a pinch-hit shot on Wednesday. Marlins Park isn't a great spot for home run upside, but the presence of Wei-Yin Chen on the mound mitigates that to some degree. He's giving up 1.7 HR/9 this season and sports a 4.32 xFIP, so the Cubs should be able to get to him, and that makes whoever ends up behind the plate a fine play at these prices.

Consider: David Ross. If he gets the call, he's a solid punt option.




Hanley RamirezHanley Ramirez FD 3000 DK 4500
Opponent - CHW (Shields) Park - @BOS
FD - 12.65 DK - 9.96

Hope you guys like reading about the Red Sox, because the projection system is on them today with a fervor typically reserved for Coors Field. Fenway isn't quite that favorable to hitters, but a matchup with James Shields is pretty much the next best thing. The change of scenery hasn't done a thing to help Shields' slide into becoming the new Alfredo Simon, as he's given up at least seven runs in all three of his starts since coming over from the Padres. Let's take stock of the carnage. Including his last start with San Diego, he's given up 32 hits, seven home runs and 31 earned runs in his last four appearances, spanning just 11.1 innings. He can't really be this bad, but until he proves it, you're gonna need some stacks against him. At first base today, you'll have options, and really, we don't think you can go wrong with either. Hanley gets the edge over David Ortiz (and everybody else on the slate) from a value perspective, but if you've got the flexibility to pay up for Papi, go for it.

Consider: John Jaso


C.J. CronC.J. Cron FD 2700 DK 3700
Opponent - OAK (Graveman) Park - @LAA
FD - 9.41 DK - 7.33

Angel Stadium is a really bad park for offense, but what the venue takes away, Kendall Graveman gives right back. He's going on two years now with an xFIP hovering over 4.30, and there's little reason to believe it's going to get any better. His strikeouts are up a bit this year, but he's so are his walks and homers allowed, and he's still below-average when it comes to coaxing whiffs. Cron's not a very exciting guy, but that's baked into his price, and he does come with decent upside. Dating back to the beginning of 2015, he's got 22 homers over what amounts to one full season's worth of at-bats, and he's hitting in the middle of the lineup, which is nice. Of course, the Angels don't put up a ton of crooked numbers, but it's never a bad thing to follow Mike Trout in the batting order.

Consider: Albert Pujols. He's been resting a sore hamstring for the last two nights, but if he's back in the lineup, he's in play.

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Dustin PedroiaDustin Pedroia FD 3700 DK 4500
Opponent - CHW (Shields) Park - @BOS
FD - 11.92 DK - 9.43

Remember all those terrible James Shields numbers we were talking about a earlier? None of them came against the Red Sox, the best offense in baseball this season by most meaningful metrics. They lead MLB in wRC+, wOBA and OPS, both overall and against RHP, and in some of those categories, it's not especially close. Pedroia's been a big part of that success, posting a .352 wOBA, a mark he hasn't matched over the course of a full season since 2011. He doesn't usually have the massive upside we might look for at these prices in tournament lineups, but if you're stacking Red Sox (and you definitely should) he's a great play in all formats.


Ben ZobristBen Zobrist FD 3200 DK 4700
Opponent - MIA (Chen) Park - @MIA
FD - 9.81 DK - 7.63

Speaking of 30-somethings aging beautifully, there's a lot to like about Ben Zobrist right now. He's walking more than he strikes out in 2016, his wOBA is the highest it's been since his breakout season in 2009, and he's been equally dangerous from both sides of the plate. The 20-steal speed he once possessed is long gone, but he's shown a resurgence in power this year while hitting in the heart of the Cubs potent order. We're not necessarily looking for a home run here, but it's nice to know the possibility exists, along with ample opportunities for run production.



Xander BogaertsXander Bogaerts FD 3700 DK 5400
Opponent - CHW (Shields) Park - @BOS
FD - 12.63 DK - 10.13

Ok, we've established that James Shields has been historically awful, so let's just jump ahead to how great Boegarts has been, because shortstops pacing toward a 20/20 season while hitting .350 are more fun. The 23-year-old had a nice year in 2015, and he's topping it in every way so far this season. He's striking out less, walking more, running more and hitting for more power. And while he's been especially monstrous against lefties, his .380 wOBA and .494 slugging percentage against RHP will do just fine in all formats tonight.

Consider: Tim Anderson


Javier BaezJavier Baez FD 3000 DK 3800
Opponent - MIA (Chen) Park - @MIA
FD - 9.5 DK - 7.65

You guys see the pattern here? As far as the projection system is concerned, Wei-Yin Chen is basically Shields Light, and where you can find affordable Cubs bats to pair with Lester, we think it would be smart to do so. Baez typically hits in the bottom half of the order, but we're OK with that tonight because the free-swinging shortstop has done massive damage against southpaws this season. Sure, the sample size is small, but it's hard not to get excited about a .421 wOBA and an OPS north of 1.000, especially when it's coupled with the development Baez has shown this season and his history of lefty mashing.



Jung-ho KangJung-ho Kang FD 2800 DK 4100
Opponent - SF (Suarez) Park - @PIT
FD - 10.27 DK - 8.01

No, he hasn't been traded to the Red Sox, but we're still high on the Pirates 3B today. If only Clint Hurdle felt the same way. Despite Kang's excellent production this season, the Pirates continue to give him frequent days off six weeks after his return from the DL. But if Kang is in there, we like his upside, especially on FanDuel, where he's way too cheap. He's homered 10 times and owns a .383 wOBA in 39 games this year, and while PNC Park is a pitcher's haven, it hasn't slowed Kang, who has a .310/.388/.469 triple slash in 84 games there dating back to last season. We also like the matchup with Albert Suarez, a 26-year-old rookie who doesn't strike people out and owns a 4.32 xFIP in 31.2 big-league innings.

Jacob LambJacob Lamb FD 4600 DK 5300
Opponent - COL (Butler) Park - @COL
FD - 12.69 DK - 9.92
I'm not going to spend too much time on Coors Field here. The Diamondbacks have the highest over of the day and it isn't close on this evening slate. That being said, they are priced as such and you need to make some real decisions on their bats. If Lamb is second in the order against the righty, then go for it but he isn't exactly cheap.

Yangervis SolarteYangervis Solarte FD 2700 DK 3400
Opponent - CIN (Lamb) Park - @CIN
FD - 9.56 DK - 7.48

Hey, if you wanna go with Kris Bryant or either of the guys at Coors tonight, we've got no issue with that. They're slated for the three highest totals on the board according to the projection system, but we're not quite sure they're worth what you'll have to pay. Meanwhile, we get Solarte coming in at near-punt prices in the Great American Smallpark. Reds starter John Lamb has shown glimmers of competency lately, yielding just one run in three of his last four starts, but we're gonna need to see more than that before we start ducking a dude with home run tendencies and an xFIP north of 5.00. Meanwhile, Solarte also shows a preference for LHP, and he gets a big bump as the cleanup hitter in a lineup that's tied for third (not a typo) in the league in wRC+ against southpaws this season.



Mookie BettsMookie Betts FD 4100 DK 5300
Opponent - CHW (Shields) Park - @BOS
FD - 14.74 DK - 12.26

Y'all had to know this was coming, right? No way we're missing out on one of the best power/speed threats in the game after we've already recommending half of his team. Betts, of course, will be hitting leadoff today as the BoSox enjoy a spirited round of BP with James Shields, and should have a chance to make some noise. He's shown dramatic reverse splits so far this season, and has an OPS of .888 against RHP in 2016. He'll cost you a little bit more on DraftKings, but with cheap pitching on the early slate it shouldn't be a problem. Besides, there's a decent chance he'll outscore your SP2, anyway, so don't shy away from the price tag.

Nelson CruzNelson Cruz FD 3600 DK 4500
Opponent - DET (Norris) Park - @DET
FD - 12.69 DK - 9.59

Cruz is one of those guys who's nearly automatic anytime their facing a lefty. And if his price is depressed and that lefty is Daniel Norris, all the better. To be fair, we haven't really seen enough out of Norris to know what he's going to be. He's a solid prospect, but that hasn't quite translated to big-league success through the first 67 innings of his career. But even if he's bound for big things, this is a nice matchup for Cruz, as Norris isn't a big strikeout guy and gives up tons of fly balls. Tiger Stadium isn't one of baseball's best places to hit, but Cruz has the kind of power than transcends the park, and we think he's a good bet to put one in the seats today.


Mike TroutMike Trout FD 4200 DK 4800
Opponent - OAK (Graveman) Park - @LAA
FD - 14.71 DK - 11.47

What we've got here is an elite hitter facing a Quad-A pitcher in a bad park. Two out of three is good enough to make it worth it at these prices. Trout's value is always undercut by the overall ineptitude of the Angels offense, but as mentioned earlier, we think that's less of an issue against Graveman. We should probably mention that Graveman had his best start of the season last time out against the Angels, so maybe that's proof that he's figuring something out. Or maybe he just benefited from a 100 percent strand rate and a .100 BABIP. Your call.

Peter O'BrienPeter O'Brien FD 3100 DK 4000
Opponent - COL (Butler) Park - @COL
FD - 10.63 DK - 8.11

It's a combination of Coors Field and O'Brien's high ownership rates that have his prices where there are, because otherwise it's doubtful a rookie with a six hits and 16 Ks to his credit would cost as much as he does. That said, the Arizona youngster has massive power, as evidenced by his 17 HRs in 51 games in Triple-A this year, and by the fact that four of his six hits have been homers. This one is the epitome of boom or bust, but the potential for multiple home runs is very real in Coors Field.

Consider: Matt Kemp

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image sources

  • Dustin Pedroia: (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

26 Visitor Comments

  1. @cody sparks
    Where was the cashline at in your 50/50’s? It was 113pts in my 100 person contests.

      • DK. Evening slate. Trying to track the difference in cashline between 20 person and 100 person 50/50’s.

  2. Great job again of course Alvarez had no production but those Red Sox came through nicely pitching picks were on point! Hit first one of my tournaments so so 50/50’s thanks again! Site has solid picks daily since just reading this site up over a g in two weeks!!!! Awesome. Shields is in for a long afternoon

    • Yeah Alvarez was a disappointment considering he had some opportunities with runners in scoring position as well. I was skeptical of system rec-ing Sox v Quintana, but that appeared correct in the end.

  3. What do you think about a double stack white sox Red Sox? Porcelain although not a bad year is pretty bad against 3-4 white sox hitters Red Sox park reminds me of a slightly bigger coors. Maybe potential for another repeat from last night runs wise??? Thoughts? Thanks again

    • Sox actually projected for more runs than either team at Coors today, so in that way the comparison is apt I think.

      Sox are the must-stack on the early slate and actually their bats are the reason to consider not playing Porcello on FD so you can fit 4 of them.

  4. Please excuse the typos porcello

    • Ha it’s all good. I like Porcelain better anyway.

  5. @Joshua, I was in 4 all day 50/50s. Here were the money lines:
    Like I said, luck of the draw. That 105.1 money line is a joke!

    • @Joshua, I see earlier you stated DK. May not be on same page as I am playing FanDuel.

      • oh shoot, yeah thats like apples and oranges.

  6. i had a 137 on FD in double ups and didn’t cash. All i needed was Trumbo and of course he homers. everytime i roster him he blows. i figured the matchup was elite but he was batting 5th and his salary was 3800. more of a gpp play to me.

  7. Cash all FD double ups last night thanks to optimal line up and Choo HR! Great call. The $5 227 person $ line 147.9, the $2 568 person $ line 147.7. Good luck today!

  8. Willing to bet, Shields pitches the game of his life today!

    • Might be right, and I hope you found somebody to take the bet. Moneyline was -220. Would be a nice payout if he keeps it up, not to mention what you’ll get for fading Boston.

  9. Phillies are impossible to strike out, just ask Ricky Nolasco. Thank god for Cruz

  10. Boston bats sleeping.

  11. and early lineup Porcello and Nolasco, abysmal. hope i can get it back with the evening slate

    • DraftKings rough though it wasn’t really the pitching as those two were heavy chalk. Just missed a bat or two. FD set for easy cash

  12. Do you like Ozunanor Stanton for the late slate?

  13. Ozuna or Stanton

  14. Ozuna

  15. I win in DK and having a hard time in FD. I dont undersrtand why

  16. Should we be concerned about the weather in cincy?

  17. FD easy cash… Nice work with optimizer. Rough on DK …making up for it with PGA so far though….thanks for the article!
    Any thoughts on Cincinnati? Might exclude due to weather.

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