Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 4/12/18
Welcome back baseball fans. Thursday brings us another all-day split slate with three games early but neither site has a slate listed with the Pirates/Cubs game at 2:20 ET leaving us a two-game early and five-game main slate. For this reason, I will be solely concentrating on the main slate tonight. Let's get started.
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The pitching options are few and far between tonight but the one that stands out above the rest and is likely going to be super chalky tonight is Jose Berrios. He got beat up in his last start giving up five earned runs but it wasn't as bad is it looked as the xFIP was just 0.61 and the good news is that he struck out seven in just 4.2 innings. Through two starts he his xFIP sits below three and he has a averaged a strikeout per inning while showing excellent control walking only one batter. The White Sox have been up and down to start the season scoring five or more runs four times but have scored just 12 runs in their last five games and sit with the third-worst strikeout rate at 25.6% for the season. The Twins open as -175 home favourites vs. a team that was much better against lefties over the last couple seasons so lock Berrios in as your SP1 tonight in all formats.
I don't think we need to go away from Berrios in cash games on FanDuel but on DraftKings, if you are looking for an SP2 with some value, consider Ian Kennedy who currently sits at the top of the PTS/$ rankings on the main slate. There is definitely some risk involved as he is coming off a season where he posted a 4.88 ERA and gave up just over 40% hard contact overall but there is also some big upside. He has been on point to start the season giving up just one earned run in two starts while holding both the White Sox and Indians to just four hits apiece while striking out 13 across 12 innings. I talk about Valbuena below as Kennedy has been much worse against lefties in his career but he can avoid him and of course Mike Trout, I think he can have a very productive start tonight.
There is nothing really to get excited about at the position on the main slate tonight so let's turn our attention to one of the hottest hitters in the league at the moment. Since going hitless on Opening Day, Ramirez has been en fuego for the Red Sox with hits in eight straight games including six multi-hit efforts and he is currently 1 for 1 with a solo shot against the Yankees on Wednesday night. The matchup doesn't jump off the page as Sonny Gray has been good(3.60 ERA, 2.67 xFIP) but he has continued to have issues with free passes(4.5 BB/9) which helps give Ramirez more opportunities to score runs. All in all, he is the top choice on the main slate and safe in all formats.
Speaking of hot hitters, we better give some consideration to Buster Posey who has been terrific despite a lack of production around him in the early going. He picked up two more hits yesterday giving him three straight multi-hit efforts which also extended his hit streak to nine games overall. The park is not in his favour in San Diego but the matchup is very intriguing as he will face Bryan Mitchell who has struck out just one batter in 10.2 innings while walking nine. If that continues, he will soon be back in the bullpen or riding the bus in the minor leagues. I prefer Hanley on DraftKings at a discount but think Posey makes an excellent GPP option on FanDuel as he comes at a$300 savings.
Second base is a great spot to grab some value and tonight I am looking at a couple hitters who have good matchups and both hit at the top of their respective teams' lineup. I will start with LeMahieu and while I never go out of my way to target the Rockies away from Coors, I will always target DJ when he faces a lefty. Not only has he started hot this season but he was dominant against southpaws last season when breaking down the splits with a .406 wOBA, 136 wRC+ and crazy 38% hard contact rate. Gio has been good to start the year but will always give teams a chance to score on him as he continually walks more than three per nine and behind LeMahieu are some big power bats who also feast off lefty pitching.
If you are looking for even more salary relief, consider Joe Panik who has been consistent to start the year with a .306/.359/.556 slash line while hitting at the top of the Giants lineup. He has also shown some power early on with three home runs as he leads the team in that department and while that isn't likely to continue the run scoring is and he leads the team with six going into Thursday's action. Despite the pitcher's park, I like the spot tonight for the Giants as Mitchell continues to not strike anyone our while showing minimal control.
The Yankees went big this offseason and acquired Giancarlo Stanton to pair with Aaron Judge but it has been Didi who has been the most impressive two weeks into the season. He went into Wednesday night leading the team with 14 hits, nine walks, three home runs, 10 RBI and 10 runs scored and will continue to get a ton of opportunity to drive in runs hitting in the middle of the lineup surrounded by All-Star calibre players. While the matchup isn't at the top of the list tonight, Porcello has been known to have blow up games in the past and these two teams are coming off a slugfest last night where David Price and Masahiro Tanaka got hit hard so anything can happen, especially between these two rivals. Fire up Didi in all formats if you are planning on paying up at the position.
Another thin position tonight so for value, I will once again turn to the Rockies who are likely happy to get back on the road after a terrible homestand where they finished 2-4 while scoring just 20 runs. On top of that, they get a matchup vs. a lefty which opens up a ton of their hitters who crush in this split. One of them is Trevor Story who has a career .291 average, .416 wOBA, and 143 wRC+ vs. southpaws and despite striking out at a 30% rate to start the season, I think we can still trust him in all formats as he will be bumped up the lineup and comes in under $4K on both sites on this smaller slate.
Also consider: Eduardo Escobar(MIN)
Nolan Arenado is likely going to be the chalk at third base tonight but is definitely not the only viable option at the top of the salary. My top pivot is going to be Anthony Rendon of the Nationals who has been very consistent to start the season with hits in 11 of his first 12 games good for a .304/.360/.457 slash line and will continue to get a ton of opportunities to score runs hitting right in front of Bryce Harper in the lineup. Chad Bettis has allowed just three earned runs in his first two starts but has walked six batters in 10.2 innings and has an xFIP that is 2.5 runs higher than his 2.53 ERA. Something has to give and you can bet the Nats won't let him get away with the way the Braves and Padres have. The price is a little better on FanDuel making him safe in all formats while I would reserve him for GPP lineups on DraftKings tonight.
To roster a few of these high-priced, high-upside plays tonight we are going to need some value and that is just what Valbuena offers on both sites. He has been decent to start the year despite hitting down in the order with hits in eight of his last 10 games with two home runs, six RBI, and seven runs scored. The batting order combined with the matchup vs. Ian Kennedy who has been on point to start the season leaves Valbuena as a GPP play but there is definitely upside as Kennedy is not only known to give up some long balls, he is coming off a season where he allowed 47% hard contact vs. left-handed hitters.
There is no shortage of big bats at the top of the outfield position tonight and making the correct decision between all of them will be crucial. For me, it's Bryce Harper who presents the most safety despite the top price at the position as he has struck out just five times through his first 51 at-bats while posting a ridiculous .333/.529/.879 slash line. He also leads the league with six home runs and is second with 12 RBI and 12 runs scored while hitting out of the three-hole for the Nats. I mentioned the matchup with Rendon above in how Bettis has been pretty lucky in his first two starts with an xFIP considerably higher than the ERA and adding to that, he has also given up 43.8% hard contact combined in those two starts. Even on a small slate, enough value should pop up when lineups are released to be able to roster Harper, even in cash games.
One of those values that very well could pop up once again is Brian Goodwin. With Adam Eaton injured and on the 10-day disabled list, Goodwin is getting an opportunity to start and has been hitting out of the leadoff spot over the last two days. If he is back there once again, he should get strong consideration in all formats especially if trying to fit Harper and Rendon together in a Nats stack.
After a night off on Wednesday, Benintendi will most likely be back in the lineup on Thursday to close out the series vs. the Yankees. After a slow start to the season where he went hitless in four straight games, he has been much better as of late with hits in five of his last six games with two doubles, a triple, four RBI, and eight runs scored. He primarily hits out of the two-hole and like Harper rarely strikes out(8.9%) and sits with a .400 on-base percentage which will give him more than enough opportunities to pay off his sub $4K salary on both sites.
It's been a crazy series so far between these two teams with a combined 32 runs scored in the first two games with better pitchers on the mound so no reason tonight would be any different. While I don't think it will as high-scoring I do think Gardner makes an excellent PTS/$ play in the outfield in the low to mid $3K range on both sites. He hits leadoff in front of some very powerful bats and comes in hot with a four-game hit streak including three straight multi-hit efforts, six walks, and seven runs scored. All things considered, Gardner is in play in all formats.