Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 5/4/17
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When Scherzer is on the mound, you can expect him to be right at the top of this article. While Clayton Kershaw is in his own tier, Scherzer may be at the head of 1A right next to Chris Sale. In 2016, he held hitters to a combined .261 wOBA and absolutely shut down righties. He also held an elite K/9 of 11.19, which was backed up by a phenomenal 15.3% SwStrk rate. He has one of the best match-ups in baseball, that actually goes very under-looked. The Diamondbacks on the road against righties are bad. They ranked 2nd to last in terms of wOBA in 2016 and made no significant changes to the lineup. They get a lot of the offensive production from the friendly confines of Chase Field and struggle to drive the ball when they get to places like Nationals Park. Scherzer does a really good job against righties (.206 wOBA) and considering 3 of the D-Backs top 4 bats are right-handed, I like his chances. Towards the bottom of the order, you will see guys like Nick Ahmed, Daniel Descalso, and Chris Iannetta. He's very safe tonight and there is no other pitcher you can say that about. His price is high, though this is a slate where you can definitely make it work. Scherzer will be very highly-owned and rightfully so. In cash games, don't get too cute.
On this early slate, you don't have much to like after Scherzer. On DraftKings, you have to play 2 pitchers. Freeland gets the honor of taking on the Padres and as a lefty, you have to love the match-up. The Padres ranked dead last against lefties in 2016 and lost their 2nd best bat in Matt Kemp. They struck out at a 23% clip and in Petco Park, held an 86 wRC+. While we don't have too many MLB numbers on Kyle Freeland, he's been very good so far. In 27 innings, he's held a .311 combined wOBA and a 3.84 FIP. Oh ya, 17 of those innings were at Coors Field. This kid definitely has some talent and he's shown the upside, working into the 7th in 3 of his 5 starts. Freeland is far from safe, but moves from the best ballpark in the league for hitting to the worst. He also sees one of the worst offenses in the league, who tend to struggle even more against guys they lack tape on. In cash games, you definitely can just go Scherzer + Lackey and move on. He's safe enough against the Phillies and I may go that route myself. In tournaments, you have to like what Freeland does for you. He lets you pay up at a few positions while also comfortably fitting in Scherzer.
Wow, pitching on this late slate is awful. If you go the all-day slate, you should probably take a guy from the early games. Looking towards the night, Zack Wheeler is one of the only guys that somewhat stands out. He obviously has the "Stuff" to strikeout 8 in any start and the Mets have pushed him over 100 pitches this season. He faces a Braves team that doesn't do too much against righties. Sure, Freddie Freeman is a really big bat to avoid. He's one of the best bats in the league against righties and does have the potential to single-handedly ruin Wheelers' night. On the other hand, they also throw out guys like Tyler Flowers, Adonis Garcia, and Brandon Phillips. They all sported sub .300 wOBA's against righties and strikeout over 22% of the time. The Mets are a lethal offense and they should get to Jaime Garcia with ease, giving Wheeler a good shot at the win. Looking elsewhere on this late slate, you can argue Adam Wainwright and Dan Straily. Both are somewhat similar to Wheeler and I don't think anyone is safe, by any means. All in all, this late slate isn't one to go overboard in cash games. In fact, I would recommend staying away. Take a few shots in tournaments with pitchers who will be low-owned and have a lot of upside.
Brian McCann FD 3100 DK 3400
Opponent - TEX (Griffin) Park - @HOU
FD - 9.66 DK - 7.31
Catcher is absolutely horrible on both of these states. We have to take what we can get and I'm happy with Brian McCann here. The Astros draw a friendly match-up with A.J. Griffin, a right-hander without much to offer. In 2016, he held a putrid .406 wOBA against lefties. They also hit the ball hard 44% of the time and he struggled to strike them out. Brian McCann, while not the same hitter he was a few years ago, still has the power against right-handers. Sporting a .340 wOBA against righties in 3 straight years, he definitely holds his own. While I typically don't look at recent performance at all, I do with McCann. He is a very streaky bat and just plays a lot better when swinging the bat well. This Astros team is one I have a lot of interest in and I love to target the catcher from my favorite offense. McCann has the perfect amount of upside for his price and should be one of the higher owned guys at the position. In cash games, I see no reason to go elsewhere.
Jacob Realmuto FD 2500 DK 3700
Opponent - TB (Andriese) Park - @TB
FD - 7.32 DK - 5.97
Catcher is even worse on this late slate. While Welington Castillo would be an easy play against Kendrick, he was just placed on the DL. That leaves us with J.T. Realmuto. While you might not really have any other viable options, Realmuto isn't in a horrible spot. He's actually much better against righties, sporting a .348 wOBA against them in 2016. He hits the fastball well has a low K rate against off-speed pitches. Realmuto is a solid hitter and does a good job of making a pitcher work through the at-bat. He faces off with Matt Andriese, who is a reverse splits righty. He allowed a worse wOBA against righties in each of his seasons so far and has started 2017 pretty poorly. Righties are currently holding a .366 wOBA and have already hit 4 homers to start the season. All in all, this could end up being your only choice. Catcher is THAT BAD on this late slate and I don't mind a pure punt play if you want to go that route. Personally, I will be plugging Realmuto into everything of mine.
Yonder Alonso FD 2800 DK 3000
Opponent - MIN (Gibson) Park - @MIN
FD - 7.53 DK - 5.9
With Scherzer on the early slate, I wanted to give a few cheaper options. While Anthony Rizzo and Joey Votto are pretty safe, expensive options, I prefer Yonder Alonso on the cheap. A few guys smarter than me over on FanGraphs did an article on Alonso this spring, highlighting his swing and approach change. Well, it looks like they were on to something. While we can't be certain of anything through just 60 at-bats, he looks like a completely different hitter. He has already hit 4 HR's, which is just 2 less than his 2016 number. He's driving the ball to right field and looks to be turning himself into more of a prototypical first-baseman, holding a .400 wOBA and 49% pull rate against righties. Fortunately, he shouldn't have too tough of a time at the plate in this one. Kyle Gibson is one of the easier pitchers to pick on, as you know exactly what you're getting when he gets on the rubber. He's atrocious against lefties and pretty good against righties. In 2016, he held a .380 wOBA in over 150 innings against left-handers. Alonso is very cheap around the industry and I love paying down for him as a contrarian play in both cash games and tournaments.
Chris Davis FD 3300 DK 4200
Opponent - BOS (Kendrick) Park - @BOS
FD - 11.5 DK - 8.56
You're going to see a lot of Baltimore Orioles here. Honestly, I don't what to say. Kyle Kendrick is absolutely HORRIBLE. He hasn't pitched since 2015 and rightfully so. He was by far one of the worst pitchers in baseball and somehow maintained his starting role for almost 3 months. Against lefties, he allowed 15 homers and a .413 wOBA in 64 innings. He had 0 + pitches and struck out less than 5 batters per 9 innings. Unless Kendrick made some drastic changes to his game at 33 years old, he's going to continue getting destroyed. Chris Davis is still one of the more dangerous bats in baseball and not a guy you want to avoid here. He's a guy who often gets shut down due to strikeouts. Against Kendrick, that shouldn't be a problem. If you can guarantee me Chris Davis hitting the ball fair 3 times, I love my chances. He's held a .380+ wOBA against righties for 3 years now and will continue to as long as he keeps hitting the homers. On an early slate without too much else going on, you have to look at the O's. Davis is fairly priced on both sites and I'm a fan in all formats.
Albert Pujols FD 2800 DK 4100
Opponent - SEA (Miranda) Park - @SEA
FD - 9.96 DK - 7.64
Albert Pujols is obviously no longer a guy we will target for safety. He strikes out a ton and will go 0-for-4 quite often. However, he still has a lot of power, especially against lefties. In 2016, he held a .350 wOBA against lefties and hit 10 homers in just 150 plate appearances. He hits the ball hard and has already started this season extremely nicely. He draws match-u against Ariel Mirando tonight, who is bad against righties. Looking at his 2016 stats, they are very deceiving. Due to his .183 BABIP against righties, his wOBA was way down. You can target as many righties as you want against Miranda and the Pujols + Trout combo is one I love in tournaments. Miranda has trouble hitting his spots and while he doesn't groove pitches, his mistakes seem to be just that, mistakes. If he makes one of those against Pujols, he will send it to the moon. Just to reiterate, don't play Pujols in cash games. This is a tournament only pick with a lot of upside.
Ben Zobrist FD 3100 DK 4200
Opponent - PHI (Eflin) Park - @CHC
FD - 10.29 DK - 7.96
Zobrist is another guy we were high on last night. Unlike the Astros, he didn't go crazy. He had a very "Ben Zobrist" type of night, going an easy 1-for 3 with a walk and a run scored. He's one of the more consistent bats in the league and usually finds a way to get it done. The Cubs face off with Zach Eflin, who is not good against lefties. In 2016, he sported a .388 wOBA against them and allowed 9 homers in less than 30 innings. Moving into Wrigley Field, things could get ugly. Zobrist, a switch-hitter, prefers to hit from the left side. In 2016, he hit righties for .353 wOBA and hit 14 of his 17 homers against them. He should be hitting clean-up, which will almost surely give him multiple RBI opportunities. Zobrist os one of the safest options on this entire slate and is fairly priced on both FanDuel and DraftKings. If you must go elsewhere, there is definitely a solid option on the low-end.
Jed Lowrie FD 2300 DK 2900
Opponent - MIN (Gibson) Park - @MIN
FD - 8.74 DK - 6.84
Lowrie is simply too cheap for where he sits in the lineup. Hitting 3rd against Kyle Gibson, I will take Jed Lowrie 100% of the time at this price. While the power we saw a few years ago is mostly gone, he can still drive the ball to the gaps pretty nicely. We touched on Kyle Gibson earlier, who is just awful against left-handers. He held a .390 wOBA in 2016 and has shown no signs of improvement. The Athletics are in a good spot here and are a team that goes under-owned on every slate. They don't have any huge names and tend to struggle at home. Lowrie, a switch-hitter, prefers hitting from the left side. He held a .341 wOBA over the last 3 years against righties and doesn't look to be slowing down. Both Yonder Alonso and Jed Lowrie are extremely cheap around the industry and have one of the bets match-ups on the entire day. With Scherzer being close to a must-play, you have to pay down somewhere. Lowrie is a great way to go.
Dustin Pedroia FD 2900 DK 4300
Opponent - BAL (Jimenez) Park - @BOS
FD - 9.86 DK - 7.79
While the Orioles are the offense we will be focusing on in this game, the Red Sox are very much in play. Ubaldo Jimenez may not be as bad as Kyle Kendrick, but he's still not very good. He sported a combined .341 wOBA in 2016 and gave up a 34% hard contact rate. He has seen a slight velocity decrease since 2014 and his off-speed pitches have also fallen off quite harshly. Pedroia had a breakout season in 2016 and ended up hitting righties for a .358 wOBA. He struck out less than ever and didn't hit nearly as many balls to right field. He seems to be pulling the ball more at home now and playing into the green monster. This entire Red Sox offense has unlimited upside and I love them in tournaments. Pedroia in particular, is too cheap on FanDuel and just a bit overpriced on DraftKings, though not enough to scare me off. If you do want to look elsewhere, Dee Gordon and Robinson Cano are my 2 next favorites.
Carlos Correa FD 3500 DK 4800
Opponent - TEX (Griffin) Park - @HOU
FD - 11.49 DK - 9.12
We touched on Correa last night and he ended up going 4-for-5 with a double and homer. While Nick Martinez was a phenomenal match-up, this one is just as good on paper. A.J. Griffin has allowed a .304 wOBA against righties since 2016, which initially looks good. However, upon further look, a .253 BABIP, and 4/8% HR/FB rate had a lot to do with that. Righties will start having more success against Griffin and this is certainly the ballpark to help. Minute Maid Park ranked 9th for right-handed power in 2016 and is always a big plus for a guy like Correa. Correa actually has reverse splits, hitting righties for a .360 wOBA in 2016. He hits the ball harder against righties as well and doesn't whiff nearly as much. He is one of the best shortstops in baseball and will start reminding people of that as the season goes on. On this slate, nobody else stands out at shortstop. If you must pay down, I would look towards Tim Anderson or Addison Russell. All in all, Correa is easily the top option in all formats at shortstop.
Aledmys Diaz FD 3000 DK 4100
Opponent - MIL (Anderson) Park - @STL
FD - 9.75 DK - 7.72
Diaz is a guy who has always beat up righties since entering the league (.391 wOBA in 2016) and has shown no signs of slowing. He will be facing off with Chase Anderson, who like Diaz, has extreme reverse splits. In 2016, he allowed a .394 wOBA to righties and allowed 17 homers in just 80 innings. This seems to be a perfect match-up for Diaz and I see him as a very safe option for his price. He should be hitting 2nd between Fowler and Carpenter, so expect the RBI opportunities to be there. If you are paying up at pitcher, shortstop is one of the first places I'm willing to pay down. With Diaz being so good against righties and not being nearly expensive enough, he will be the only SS I have interest in here. If you are playing the all-day slate, you have a real problem between Correa and Diaz. Personally, I lean Correa.
Miguel Sano FD 3900 DK 4400
Opponent - OAK (Cotton) Park - @MIN
FD - 11.26 DK - 8.46
Sano is probably the only other hitter in baseball who hits the baseball as hard as Giancarlo Stanton. While guys like Nelson Cruz and Harper can hit it just as far, there is something about the bat speed of guys like Stanton and Sano that stands out. Sano has been insane to start the year and he's hitting the ball at unrealistic(?) 60% rate against righties. He's teeing up pitchers from both sides of the plate and has been a great hitter against righties for his entire career. In 2016, he sported a .330 wOBA against them and hit 19 homers in less than half of the season. The Twins face-off with the A's and Jharel Cotton, a young righty with a good future. He has some sauce on his off-speed pitches and can get is fastball close to 96. With that being said, he's been horrible to start this season. He hasn't been able to keep the ball in the zone (4.89 BB/9) and ends up grooving pitches in an attempt to get back in the at-bat. Sano will take advantage of any mistake Cotton makes and send it at least 350 feet. At a position without many options, Sano is a great option in all formats.
Manny Machado FD 3800 DK 5100
Opponent - BOS (Kendrick) Park - @BOS
FD - 12.49 DK - 9.68
Why Kyle Kendrick is making a return to the majors, I don't know. Looking at his 2015 starts, it's truly amazing how he stayed in the majors so long. He was allowing a .410 BABIP to both righties and lefties at one point while also getting lucky with a .238 BABIP. Yes, that actually happened about 70 innings into his 2015 season. This entire orioles team is in play and we all know where the offense starts. Manny Machado is the heartbeat of this order and I love him in this match-up. Kyle Kendrick doesn't strikeout any righties, which is where Machado usually meets his doom. Against righties, Machado was very good in 2015 with a .359 wOBA backed up by very nice peripherals. Fenway Park is a slight upgrade for Machado, who pulled all but 1 of his 2016 home runs. Machado is easily the top option at 3B and I will make sure to have him in 100% of my cash games. On a night like this, I'm willing to ride or die with Manny Machado against Kyle Kendrick. With that being said, this is baseball and there are a few other solid tournament options. Let's take a look at one.
Kyle Seager FD 3700 DK 4300
Opponent - LAA (Meyer) Park - @SEA
FD - 10.3 DK - 7.91
While Manny Machado is clearly the top option at 3B, Kyle Seager can hold his own. As a guy who sported a .390 wOBA against righties in 2016, he deserves the attention. He hits the ball hard and is protected in the order by Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano. Seager is hitting the ball well right now and will look to keep it up in this very friendly match-up. The Mariners will face-off with Alex Meyer, who is one of the more underwhelming pitchers in baseball. He's only pitched just over 30 innings in the majors and has been absolutely horrible in them, allowing a .432 wOBA to left-handers. All of these Mariners lefties are in play in tournaments and Seager should be very low-owned. With Machado and others on the slate, I could see him coming in around 5-10% owned, which is just crazy for Seager at home against a bad righty. Feel free to target him in any format. Personally, he is a GPP-only play for me with Machado on the slate.
This duo is one we looked at last night. They both had big games and find themselves in another great match-up just a day later. A.J. Griffin has been a bad pitcher since 2013 and there have been no signs of change. On the road in Minute Maid Park, it's going to be tough to get away from a hot Astros lineup. Both Springer and Redick have held .360+ wOBA's against righties for years now and have also sported 30%+ hard contact rates. Griffin is worse against lefties and with Redick being cheaper, he is a bit safer in cash games. That's not to say I don't like Springer in cash games. Both of these guys are at the top of the list and see their prices somewhat depressed. On FanDuel, these guys are almost lock and loads in cash. This entire Astros lineup is in play in tournaments and both of these guys should play a key piece in the production. Looking elsewhere, you can definitely target Harper. I didn't put him here as he makes it tough to pay up for Scherzer, which is something I'm not willing to consider today.
Kyle Schwarber FD 3300 DK 4500
Opponent - PHI (Eflin) Park - @CHC
FD - 12.44 DK - 9.58
Like we touched on, Zach Eflin is very bad against lefties. He allowed a .388 wOBA in 2016 and an astonishing 9 homers to them in less than 30 innings of work. As well all know, this Cubs offense is very dangerous and one that can score 10 runs with ease. With Kyle Schwarber in the leadoff spot, he's one of the better plays on this slate. He's dominant against righties (.390 wOBA) and has always hit the cutter well, which is what Eflin primarily throws. Schwarber brings 30 HR upside to the lead-off spot and in result changes the dynamic of the entire lineup. He will get on-base in this match-up and I'm pretty confident in Rizzo/Bryant/Zobrist driving him in. Jason Heyward and Jon Jay could also be considered here, though they are certainly GPP options. Schwarber is great for all formats and has a fair price around the industry.
Are you surprised? As you know by now, Kyle Kendrick is pitching. He's not good and the Orioles are a very high-upside lineup. While Trumbo may be a little more power-centric than Jones, they are both guys with .170+ ISO's. With Kyle Kendrick not being able to strike anyone out, expect these guys to make contact in each of their AB's. When the Orioles are able to make consistent contact, expect good things. They also see a ballpark bump for righties, with the green monster in short left field. Trumbo is actually a reverse-splits hitter who held a .391 wOBA against righties in 2016. Oh, and hit 37 home runs against them. Jones was also better against righties over the last 2 years, holding a .341 wOBA since 2015. We've touched on Kyle Kendrick enough and you know how much he should struggle here. On the late slate, I don't see myself getting away from the O's in Fenway. Hyun Soo Him could have also been here and he's a good option if he finds the top of the order. If you make me choose between the 3, Trumbo is my favorite in both cash games and tournaments.
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- Max Scherzer: AP Photo - Eric Risberg