Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 7/5/17
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After a few days of some weird slates, we get a bit back to "normal" here, or at least however normal MLB DFS can be. We have 12 games on the main slate with another 3 earlier in the day, which we'll ignore completely. Out of the 12 main games, just 1 holds an over/under below 8.5. That happens to be the Diamondbacks @ Dodgers game, where our favorite pitcher takes the mound. You may have mistaken his 2017 stats for Clayton Kershaw, but he goes by Alex Wood. Wood is 26 years old and has been in the majors for 3 years, but hasn't shown this type of consistency and production. He's striking out over 10 batters per 9 innings and walking 2.4. Both of those numbers are huge improvements from the last 2 years and speak to his improvement in controlling his fastball. He's holding a .220 wOBA against righties and a .217 against lefties. There is no reason to dislike this kid as a pitcher and I will argue that he is top 10 right now in the league. The match-up tonight with the Diamondbacks tonight is good, but not great. The D-backs hit lefties better, but also lose Peralta and Lamb, who are a big reason for their success. Dodger Stadium is also much bigger than Chase Field and it'll take a bit more muscle to get it out in L.A. Wood is inherently risky to a degree, but sees a solid match-up that you can chalk up 7 K's with. He's my top option in both formats and I don't see myself pivoting to DeGrom or Vargas anywhere.
Trevor Bauer is not a pitcher you go out and look for. He's not going to manhandle a good team and he's never going to strikeout 10 in an unexpected game. He is what he is and you know what you're getting when you click on his name. He strikes out close to 10 batters per 9, but also walks nearly 4. Bauer does struggle with control and it's the 1 thing that has consistently held him back. He's been pretty average against both lefties and righties, though a 2.96 xFIP against righties suggests some positive regression going forward. We all know how horrible the Padres are and it's backed up by every number in the book. As a team, they hold a .301 wOBA against righties and strikeout at an astronomical 25.6% rate. Vegas only projects 2 teams to score under 4 tonight and that's the Padres and Diamondbacks. Let's at least hope that's how it turns out as these 2 opposing pitchers are easily my favorite. We also have a lot of offenses to pay up for tonight, so Bauer can give you some much-needed savings. All in all, he's risky because his name is Trevor Bauer. I wouldn't go there in cash games, but couldn't blame you due to the savings and match-up.
A lot of people stayed off of the Astros last night facing off with Sean Newcomb, which proved to be very wrong. The 'Stros went out and put up 16 runs. Gattis got the day off, however, so he'll be super fresh tonight. The move onto another lefty tonight in Jaime Garcia, who is probably about even right now with Newcomb. Garcia has posted a .334 wOBA against righties over the last 2 seasons and has allowed 10 homers in just 60 innings this season. Garcia has always had an issue with the HR ball and it has only gotten worse with age. SunTrust Park has played as a hitters park to start the season and doesn't look to be a fluke. Gattis smashes lefties (.351 wOBA) and has as much HR upside as anyone at the position. His price is up on DK and I would rather go with Grandal, who we'll get to. On FanDuel, Gattis is just $2900 and a great play in both cash games and tournaments.
Yasmani Grandal FD 3100 DK 3500
Opponent - ARI (Godley) Park - @LAD
FD - 9.74 DK - 7.35
We touched on this game with Alex Wood and mentioned how it held the lowest over/under on the entire day. That;s mostly because the Diamondbacks are projected to score just 3.16 runs.The Dodgers are still expected to put up some runs and you can certainly target them. Catcher is always going to be a bit weaker than the others and tonight is no different. Grandal is one of the 5 best hitting catchers in baseball and when push comes to shove, I tend to look his way. Even though he is a switch-hitter, he's far better from the left side in terms of both power and contact. He'll face Zack Goldey, who has been one of the luckier pitchers in the game so far with a .224 wOBA. He posted a .376 wOBA against lefties in 2016 and is a guy you can definitely target. The Dodgers aren't one of the top offenses on the slate, but they are pretty safe and Grandal as a 1-off is very solid in both formats.
Per usual, there are a lot of different ways to go at first base. Speaking to that, we'll look at two different guys from the same team. The Indians are one of the top teams on the day and are likely going to be highly-owned. That won't be the case at 1st, where ownership will be spread plenty. Carlos Santana and Edwin Encarnacion are both elite options and I truly lean right down the middle. Encarnacion is more expensive, so I'll go with Santana if I'm able to upgrade elsewhere. If not, I'll take Encarnacion and hope for lower ownership with the higher tag. They face Luis Perdomo, who is not good and also moving into a tougher ballpark than what he's used to. Perdomo has been much worse (.380 wOBA) against lefties this year, but flipped that in '16 with a .355 against righties. He is still figuring things out and is still struggling with his control at over 3.5 BB/9. Both Santana and Encarnacion can hit 2 homers in this game without blinking. Who you go with really just comes down to the rest of you roster and what you're looking for. Santana has a much higher walk rate and in cash games, I'll go there. In tourneys, I'm split.
Mitch Moreland FD 3200 DK 3900
Opponent - TEX (Cashner) Park - @TEX
FD - 11.4 DK - 8.61
With first base being first base, Moreland is obviously not the 2nd or 3rd, or even the 7th safest option. He is very boom or bust and no matter the match-up, there will always be inherent risk. I don't think I need to tell you to play Joey Votto in Coors Field against a righty or Miggy vs a lefty (if in the lineup). They are obviously very safe and the price tag alone should let you know that. If you want to go there and have the funds to do so, by tall means do it. If you're looking to save a little bit and need some HR upside, let's go with Mitch Moreland. Moreland, who used to call Globe Life Park home, has been phenomenal in 2017 against righties. He's posted a .355 wOBA, a 44.9% hard contact rate and has already hit 12 homers. Remember, Fenway Park is not friendly to lefty bats. He'll move into Globe Life, which has ranked in the top 5 for lefties in each of the last 2 seasons. We'll touch on Andrew Cashner more as we move on, but just know he's a lackluster righty with a whole lot of nothing to offer. The Red Sox are a great option as a whole and Moreland is a fantastic GPP 1B.
Jason Kipnis FD 3000 DK 3700
Opponent - SD (Perdomo) Park - @CLE
FD - 12.09 DK - 9.65
We just looked at this match-up between the Indians and Luis Perdomo. It's clear who holds the advantage and Vegas currently have the Indians slated at 5.75 runs, sitting 2nd on the slate. Perdomo has been atrocious against lefties this year with a .380 wOBA and has already allowed 13 XBH in under 30 innings. He's simply not good and now moves from Petco Park to Progressive Field, which is a big bump for hitting. Kipnis typically flies under the radar, but is one of the best 2nd basemen around when healthy. He hit 23 homers and stole 15 bags in limited time in 16, showing what type of upside he has. He's struggled a bit this year, but already has 8 homers and his peripherals say he will turn it around. The Indians will have him slotted into the leadoff hole, ahead of about 6 guys who can drive in runs with efficiency. Kipnis is extremely safe and at a price where I won't hesitate.
Brian Dozier FD 3200 DK 4100
Opponent - LAA (Bridwell) Park - @MIN
FD - 12.97 DK - 10.35
We haven't touched on the Twins just yet, but they are one of the best offenses on the slate and it's not too close. They face an arm in Parker Bridwell that has been absolutely ATROCIOUS so far. While he has just pitched 24 innings and that's far too short to judge anything off of, his minor league numbers didn't suggest anything different would happen.He held a 4.53 xFIP in AA last year and struck out 6 while walking 4. I have no idea why he is now getting an MLB opportunity, but he is and we have to take advantage. We're going to start with Brian Dozier, who hit righties to the tune of a .362 wOBA and is one of the more powerful 2nd basemen around. He hit 42 home runs in 2016 and has far too much upside for his price. He is a bit more expensive than Kipnis, which is why I have him slightly below him. With that being said, Dozier could very well end up in my cash games.
Trevor Story FD 3600 DK 4100
Opponent - CIN (Feldman) Park - @COL
FD - 12.21 DK - 9.6
I could have flooded this article with Rockies. They hold the highest implied team total on the day and obviously make for some fantastic plays against Scott Feldman in Coors Field. Vegas currently has the Rockies at 6.33 runs, which is one of the higher numbers you will see. It's the type of number you only see in the summertime in Coors Field, outside of crazy exceptions like wind in Wrigley. That should give the Rockies some very high ownership, though I could see a dip if an expensive pitcher is highly-owned. Trevor Story in particular, is a power swinging right-hander who hit 27 homers in his rookie season. Story is one of the most powerful SS's in baseball and in Coors Field, he's undeniable. To give you an idea, he posted a .445 wOBA there in 2016. If you're looking for any other Rockies, Blackmon and Arenado are super safe and have plenty of upside. Scott Feldman is the very definition of average and will have some serious issues in Coors Field. He relies on his breaking pitches, that well, quite frankly won't break. He's been slightly worse against righties with a .334 wOBA, though has a lot of room to move once his BABIP goes up. All in all, play whatever Rockies you can fit. They're expensive and rightfully so. As a note, I don't think it's crazy to punt everywhere else and just stack this entire game. I can guarantee you will see that strategy take down tournaments a few times during the summer months.
Xander Bogaerts FD 3600 DK 4400
Opponent - TEX (Cashner) Park - @TEX
FD - 11.77 DK - 9.41
If Trevor Story isn't your preferred option, I get it. He's a bit risky and not nearly the cash game play that Xander Bogaerts is. We've touched on the Red Sox as on offense a little bit, but let's dive in. They face off with Andrew Cashner, who used to be one of the more prolific and interesting pitchers around. From 2012-2014, he sported a wOBA in the low .300's and was a very serviceable starter. Since 2014, it has been a consistent downhill run. He is now absolutely horrible and struggling to get anyone out. With a .270 BABIP, Cashner is posting a .330 combined wOBA and has allowed 20 XBH in 60 innings. He pitches in Globe Life Park, which is one of the best parks in all of baseball and especially during the summer, where Texas gets fiery hot. Bogaerts doesn't really have splits, meaning he's just as good against lefties as he is righties. He's held a .359 wOBA against righties and once his power is fully back, expect it to be around .400. He's great in all formats and should end up as one of the more popular SS on the night.
Miguel Sano FD 3700 DK 4700
Opponent - LAA (Bridwell) Park - @MIN
FD - 13.97 DK - 10.44
This is the guy I've been waiting to get to. Miguel Sano is my favorite play of the slate and certainly my pick for HR of the night. He has been amazing this season, holding a 50% hard contact rate and .275 ISO, Sano is in the upper echelon of power bats in the MLB. Against righties, he has a .384 wOBA and has already smashed 16 homers against them. He has one of, if not the best match-up all year long. Parker Bridwell doesn't belong in the majors yet and it hasn't taken him long to prove it. He's been lit up in every start so far and I doubt the tide changes here. I mean, the guy has found a way to give up 7 home runs in 20 innings. That in itself is a feat and not one that any good pitchers achieve. Sano is going to hit the ball hard at least twice tonight and it just comes down to whether he can get the lift or not. Because of Sano and his style of swing, he is always risky. With that being said, I don't see any 3rd basemen that don't come with any risk tonight.
Manny Machado FD 3200 DK 3500
Opponent - MIL (Garza) Park - @MIL
FD - 12.81 DK - 9.87
Personally, I'm riding with Miguel Sano. I currently have 100% Sano and don't have any reservations to change that. With that being said, I can't take away from the other very viable options at the position. We've ignored the Orioles so far, who are a free-swinging GPP happy lineup with a ton of upside. Machado doesn't fit that mold to a T, but he is still risky. He's also been pretty horrible this year, though things are starting to turn around. The fact of the matter is Machado is 24 years old and we'll soon be looking back at this cold streak while he goes berserk for 2 months. After that, we'll do it again. It's the nature of baseball and the expedited nature of the Baltimore Orioles. They'll face off with Matt Garza tonight, who has actually been decent this season with a .320 wOBA. He is still allowing some homers, however, and that's always been his problem. Miller Park is extremely friendly for righties and Machado has a great shot to hit one out. If you want to stray from me and get off of Sano (bad idea), Machado is definitely the best pivot.
We've somehow managed to ignore the Rangers so far, who are actually implied to score more runs than the Red Sox. Vegas has the Rangers sitting at a -108 favorite with an 11 o/u. Globe Life Park is hot and the ball is flying like it usually does in July. The Red Sox will bring Doug Fister to the mound, who gave up a .400 wOBA to lefties in 2016 through 91 innings. This is a guy who dominated righties with a .267 wOBA, so I won't buy that he was injured or simply getting unlucky. Fister is straight trash against lefties and I will target every good lefty against him when he pitches. Both Shin-Soo Choo and Nomar Mazara hit righties well, posting a .367 (Mazara) and .381 (Choo) over the previous 2 season. Choo should be in the leadoff hole and Mazara in the 3 spot, where both have been raking. I don't really have a favorite between the 2, but would go with Choo simply due to being higher in the order and having a better chance to see an extra at-bat. In terms of a Rangers stack, ignore the righties and stay with all of the lefties.
Our 2nd OF duo is going to come from the other side of the diamond and consist of Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi. We've touched on the Red Sox, who face off with Andrew Cashner and are one of the top overall offenses on the slate. Andrew Cashner is bad against both sides of the plate and faces a Red Sox team that isn't messing around. They've been putting up runs lately and will finally look to do so in a strong DFS spot. Looking at these 2 guys a bit more in-depth, Betts is a bit better in GPP's, opposed to Benintendi in cash. With that being said, you can easily make an argument for either of these guys in either format. They have each held .360+ wOBA's against righties dating back to 2016 and are both on the up and up. Betts is obviously more expensive, so his ownership should be down. There are a lot of ways to pay up on the slate and I don't see people targeting Betts quite as much as they should. All in all, this Red Sox offense is in the top 3 tonight and deserves a ton of attention. They will get a guaranteed 9 innings of at-bats and should put you in a position to contend.
Justin Upton FD 3300 DK 4000
Opponent - SF (Blach) Park - @DET
FD - 12.45 DK - 9.75
There are only a handful of guys that I care about hot and cold streaks with. Justin Upton is at the top of that list. He's actually the only guy that I pay just as much attention to his current state as I do his numbers. Why? His ups and downs have been well documented and are basically impossible to ignore. He;s doing it again this year and while he very well could fall into anther cold streak tonight, I promise you Ty Blach isn't the guy to do it. He strikes out about negative 3 batters 9 innings and somehow finds a way to not be horrible. He does struggle with righties, however, posting a .357 wOBA and giving up 8 homers on the young season. Upton on the other hand, while streaky, has some fantastic numbers against lefties. He's held a .379 wOBA over the last 3 years and posted a few .400's back in the prime. He's going to hit 30 homers by the end of the year and I wouldn't be surprised to see 1 tonight. When you combine Ty Blach and Justin Upton, you get a dream recipe for hitting. Blach strikes out nobody and the only way Upton gets out against lefties is by striking out. We will see how it goes down, but I'll take Upton. As a note, J.D. Martinez is a great play and you can always give him a go in tournaments.
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- Jason Kipnis: AP Photo/Tony Dejak