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Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 4/2/18
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Welcome to Monday baseball! With this being the 5th day of MLB season, we are working with some very bad pitchers. When Charlie Morton and Jameson Taillon are the two most expensive, you know things are going to get rough. We’ll kick things off on the early slate with Jameson Taillon. The up and coming ace posted a 3.67 xFIP in 2017 and followed it up with some strong peripherals and batted ball rates. Tonight, he sees a Twins lineup that’s pretty polarizing. With plenty of power in these bats, they strikeout their fair share. Taillon will likely be on a pitch count around 100 max, so there is always a limited ceiling early in the year. These Twins can obviously put numbers on the board, but Taillon is clearly the best pitcher to choose from and fits the match-up pretty nicely. With just four other games on this slate, Taillon should end up 30-40% owned in the morning.
While we have a lot more games on this main slate, the pitching doesn't get any better. At all. Charlie Morton is the most expensive option on the board and while he's a great pitcher, it's tough when he's your best option. We will look at him, though, as he's in a pretty solid spot against a K-friendly Orioles. While it's been just a few days, they already hold a 28% strikeout rate It can't be a surprise with guys like Chris Davis leading off and Pedro Alvarez and Colby Rasmus in the backend. The middle of the order hitters like Schoop, Mancini, and Jones all strikeout a lot as well. Morton, a righty, was a reverse splits pitcher in 2017. He obliterated lefties to the tune of a .249 wOBA and 32.8% K rate. Against righties, a very different story with a .345 wOBA and 20% K rate. He spent his offseason working on it, but so does everyone else. It's still up in the air whether or not we will see change, but even if we don't, he's one of the best pitchers on this slate. We can afford 1 or 2 solo homers and 2 or 3 runs over 6 innings, as long as we get the expected 7-8+ K's. Nobody is excited about roster Charlie Morton in April with a likely pitch count, but that's where we are at when we're messing with the 4's and 5's of every team's rotation.
If you see what I just said about Charlie Morton, flip those numbers around and you have Mike Clevinger. A more typical righty, Clevinger dominated same-handed hitters with a .259 wOBA and 29% K rate. Lefties have his number with a .359 wOBA and 25% K rate. He has maintained a solid 10.09 K/9, which can make up for 2 or 3 runs at his usual price. Well, the match-up is where everything comes together. Assuming the Angels run their typical squad, we will see two lefties. Kole Calhoun and Luis Valbuena. That means 7 righties in one of the best ballparks for pitching in the league. Clevinger is always a bit scary to roster as he can implode, but he's certainly one of the more talented pitchers on the slate. He can put up 10 strikeouts with ease and I don't think this is the match-up that does him in. avoid him against lefty-heavy lineups and play him tonight. Personally, he's my favorite on the slate and in every lineup. I guess I'm dying on a Mike Clevinger train 5 days into the season. Fun.
Gary Sanchez FD 3600 DK 4500
Opponent - TB (Undecided) Park - NYY
FD - 11.7 DK - 8.79
It’s day five of the MLB season and we are looking at a “bullpen game” for the Rays. Unbelievable. Austin Pruitt will kick things off and likely pitch just three or four innings if successful. There’s a pretty good chance he won’t have success, though. Against righties, Sanchez held a .367 wOBA and in 2017 and hit 25 home runs against them. Yankee Stadium can’t hold this Yankees team and neither can Austin Pruitt and co. Sanchez is clearly the top catcher on the board and I think he goes hard tonight. If you must go elsewhere for the early games, Miggy and Thames make for quality pivots. Update: NYY game is postponed. Consider Manny Pina or Willson Contreras early on DK.
The early slate is pretty weak at C/1B. They are obviously a few options, but not as plentiful as a usual slate. We have far more games at night and the studs come out to play. We'll open things up with Ryan Zimmerman against a bad lefty. If you played MLB DFS in 2016, you're well aware of the monster that Zimmerman was. He sported an absolutely insane .425 wOBA and .330 ISO on a 43% hard contact rate. He would be in play against any lefty, but Newcomb is a gift. He held a .337 wOBA against righties last season and a 4.81 xFIP. SunTrust Park is a friendly one for power and especially this time of the year. Look for runs in this game and for Ryan Zimmerman to be a part of them.
Jose Abreu FD 4300 DK 4500
Opponent - TOR (Jaime Garcia) Park - TOR
FD - 11.49 DK - 8.77
If Ryan Zimmerman doesn't float your boat, you can pay up for Jose Abreu and get him at way too low owned against a lefty. Abreu was right up there with Zimmerman against lefties, posting a .428 wOBA and .356 average. They also both hit 10 homers against southpaws. Abreu gets to face-off with Jaime Garcia, who has a huge HR issue against righties. He always has and it's only been amplified with age. The Rogers Centre is great for righty power (9th) and Abreu is one of the top threats for an HR on the night. If you need to pay down here, look at Hanley.
There isn’t one offense we are in love with on this early slate. They are certainly all in play and a few spots do stand out, but nothing extreme. Miles Mikolas is probably the worst, though. Last pitching in 2014, Mikolas held a .360 wOBA vs righties and a .320 vs lefties. He’s far from anything to be scared of and can be taken advantage of on both sides of the plate. That brings us right to Jonathan Villar, who always has HR + SB upside. He has slightly fallen off after his breakout season two years ago, but 23 SB and 11 HR isn’t terrible. He also held a .331 wOBA and 26% hard contact rate. This isn’t a spot to get excited about, but Mikolas is bad and Villar has upside. His price is cheap and the opportunity cost is null at the position. Villar makes sense in all formats. At least for me.
Second base isn't that great on this main slate. There are definitely some decent match-ups, but Starlin Castro and Altuve are very expensive. Altuve is phenomenal if you can afford him. The only guy that really stands out here is Jason Kipnis. Kipnis had an off-year in 2017, but still sported a .320 wOBA with 9 homers in 80 games against righties. He's also a slight SB risk at the start of the year and especially against J.C. Ramirez, who really opens this play up. Against lefties, Ramirez posted an atrocious .374 wOBA and allowed a crazy 16 homers in 60 innings. I love the lefties in this Indians order and Kipnis is one at a weaker position. The ballpark isn't great, but it's where Ramirez gave up most of his homers anyway. Kipnis is cheap and a solid play across the board.
Shortstop is absolutely brutal on this early slate. Did Gregorious is the only real expensive option and you can go there if you want. I just don’t think he’s worth paying an extra $1k for over Paul DeJong. He may be popular after cranking two homers last night, but this is just a solid overall hitter. He hit righties well in 2017 and doesn’t seem at all to be a fluke. As for his match-up, Zach Davies, he’s average. He sports a .332 wOBA against right-handers and an above average HR/FB% rate. Miller Park is very friendly for righties and the HR pop is most definitely there. Nobody at this position is safe and DeJong offers a ton of upside and plenty of safety at an affordable tag.
We just took a look at Jason Kipnis at 2B and a lot of the same reigns true here for Lindor. J.C. Ramirez is still one of the worst pitchers around against lefties (.374 wOBA) and Francisco Lindor is a much better hitter than Jason Kipnis. Against righties, a .341 wOBA and 22 home runs. At shortstop, yes please. He's also a laughable 24 years old, so you can assume he's still improving. His price is fair on both sites and he has to be considered the safest option at the position. Trea Turner and Carlos Correa are great ways to spend up as well, but they are a lot more expensive and I don't think in a much better spot. Lindor is my guy at the position and where I need to pay down, I'll go Marcus Semien.
Travis Shaw has picked up 2018 right where he left off 2017. In the gap and down the line. Over three games, he has 5 hits and three doubles. A double in each game. We touched on this match-up with Miles Mikolas before and he is where you can start to get excited. Shaw is truly an elite hitter and demolishes righties to a .376 wOBA, hitting 26 homers last season. Miles Mikolas, who’s more of an unknown right now, has always struggled with the long ball to lefties. Shaw is going to cost you a pretty penny, but he’s the best option at this position and could very well hit an HR and be a must at the position.
The choice here wasn't tough at all. We looked at Ryan Zimmerman at 1B and his .425 wOBA against lefties is something to marvel. Rendon makes it look easy. Surpassed by only Arenado, Stanton, McCutchen, Turner, and J.D. Martinez, he's what you could call elite against lefties. Or call it a .461 wOBA with a .346 ISO. He gets to face off with one of the worst pitchers on this slate in Sean Newcomb. He allowed a .337 wOBA against righties in 2017 and is going to struggle with the Nationals a ton. Rendon is easily my favorite 3B and I'll have him in all formats.
I originally had Yelich and Stanton listed here, but I don’t think you need me to tell you about those guys. With cheap pitching, you play your favorite studs and those two guys should be on that radar. Same with Castellanos and Ozuna. Just play them if you have the $. Instead, we’re going to go a little bit cheaper and look at a guy I personally think has a big day. Carlos Gomez. Gomez is an insane hitter and offense swings out of his shoes on the first pitch. Often meaning like 50%+ of the time, literally. What he does do is occasionally make contact and when he does, you’re not catching the ball. It’s why he has two hits on the season and one is a double and the other a homer. He’s fallen off in recent years and is now holding just a .325 combined wOBA, but the pop has gone nowhere. He’s also supposed to be much better this year, but we haven’t seen any evidence just yet. Assuming Gomez is back in that 3 spot, I want a ton of him on this early slate. Jordan Montgomery isn’t a bad pitcher, but 16 HR in 130 innings is worth targeting. If you need to spend down at all, I’d rather go CarGo than anywhere else.
At 24-years old, Trevor Richards will jump from AA to the MLB to face the Boston Red Sox. Let's go Marlins! We haven't looked at the Red Sox just yet, but they're another team in play as a stack. Richards is a righty and we don't have any info on him splits-wise, but he's walking 2+ guys in AA. That's what you call a red flag. If he can even find the zone here, expect both of these guys to put some solid wood on the ball. Both have posted .370+ wOBA's against right-handers and I don't hate the price on either. Personally, I'll have more exposure to Benintendi and the savings, but both of these guys are favorites to end up in my cash game lineup. Richards isn't going any longer than 3 or 4 innings and this bullpen is atrocious and already thin.
In 2017, Chris Tillman was one of the absolute worst pitchers in all of the league. In over 90 innings, he sported a .400 wOBA to righties and a .429 to lefties. That is just utterly atrocious beyond explanation. Josh Reddick has the splits advantage and is a .370 wOBA hitter against righties. George Springer is just an absolute animal against everyone and held a .363 wOBA. He's also a risk to steal a bag. Tillman showed no signs of getting better this spring, but it's always a possibility. These Astros are one of the top stacks of the night and where you can go in cash games with confidence. Good luck tonight and feel free to comment down below with any questions! Thanks a lot!
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- Jason Kipnis: AP Photo/Tony Dejak