Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 4/23/18
Welcome to a Monday baseball! We have a solid 8-game slate on our hands with a few pitching options and plenty of bats in high-upside spots. There’s also a game in Coors Field with a team expected to score over six runs, so there’s that added dynamic as well.
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On the high-end of pitchers we have Gerrit Cole who will host the Angels in Minute Maid Park. While the Angels are a very good offense against both righties and lefties, the Angels typically toss out 7 of 9 right-handers. It only matters so much because of this match-up. Against lefties, Cole has struggled with a .335 wOBA. Against righties, he allowed just a .297 wOBA and struck out 8.5 batters per nine innings. There are certainly some scary bats to get through here, but they’re from the right side and I think Cole gets it done. He’s been one of the best pitchers in all of baseball to begin the campaign and I expect another 7+ inning performance.
If paying up for Gerrit Cole doesn’t sound like a good plan, you probably want to pivot over to Carlos Carrasco. He started off the season a bit rocky, but has evened things out and has gone 7 and 9 innings in each of the last two games. He gave up just a single run after striking out 13 total. He was well over 10 K/9 in 2017 and held a .273 wOBA against batters from the right side. He faces off with the Orioles tonight, who are one of the league's more disappointing offenses. Against righties, they’re 27th in strikeouts at 27% and 23rd in wOBA at .335. Simply put, they strike out a lot and don’t make up for it with any power. Carrasco can be as elite as anyone in baseball when on his game and the Orioles swing-happy order will only help. I personally still think a Gerrit Cole is just a tad bit safer, but I’ll admittedly have exposure to both on a lot of teams.
30-year-old Trevor Cahill returned from designation just last game and absolutely dominated. He went 7 innings while striking out 8 and grabbing the win. We likely won’t see it again, but Cahill was decent last year and can produce at this price tag. He will struggle at times with lefties and Texas could hit a solo homer or two in Arlington. I just think Cahill works long enough and strikes out 5-6 guys, keeping you afloat at his low price tag. The lineup seems dangerous but offers a ton of K’s once you get into the likes of Guzman and Chirinos. I’ll personally try my best to pay up on this slate, but Cahill is the easy choice if your hand is being forced into the savings jar.
We'll kick off the bats in Coors Field with one of the more obvious plays on the slate. To get things out of the way, I could highlight a Rockies bat at every single position. They're projected to put up well over 6 runs by Vegas and have easily the highest implied team total on the slate. At first base, Ian Desmond is a bit too cheap on both sites and will be right in the heart of the order. He was better against righties in 2017 and while he's definitely a better overall hitter against lefties, it's not as drastic of a split as it once was. He's going to have 25+ home runs with his home park in Colorado and faces a pitcher tonight in Bryan Mitchell that has pretty even splits. He sported a .337 wOBA against righties in '17 and that's with most games in the spacious Petco Park. There's a reason the Rockies are projected to put up 6+ runs tonight and while a lot has to do with the ballpark, the match-up doesn't hurt. Desmond is fairly priced on both sites and you can play him in any format.
If you need a catcher, it's hard to argue against Jonathan Lucroy at his price. He's fallen off a cliff in recent years in terms of production, but he's been a bit better this season and will have at least a couple RBI opportunities. Like the rest of us, FanDuel is tired of Lucroy and has him priced at the bare-minimum $2k. He's hitting in an offense that's projected to put up 5.2+ runs and facing off against a pitiful lefty in Matt Moore. Moore gave up a 5.06 xFIP and 35% hard contact rate to righties in 2017 and isn't expected to improve. Globe Life Park in Arlington is certainly a friendly one for hitting and Vegas expects there to be a ton of runs in this one. Lucroy doesn't have a ton of upside, but he's extremely cheap on both sites and gives you exposure to one of the top offenses on the slate.
There are a lot of options at second base. On the high-end, Jose Altuve is facing a lefty and D.J. LeMahieu sees a bad pitcher in Coors Field. You can pay up for either, but we'll go with Robbie Cano, who's just a tad bit cheaper and in just as good of a spot. The Mariners are expected to put up 5+ runs in U.S. Cellular Field and are facing off with a pretty weak pitcher in Miguel Gonzalez. In 2017, Gonzalez allowed a .360 wOBA and 22 homers in under 150 innings. He now faces off with a Mariners team that has some pretty vicious lefties. Robinson Cano is the best hitter on this team and dominated righties to the tune of a .373 wOBA in '17. U.S. Cellular Field is a huge upgrade from Safeco Field and a big reason why they're projected for so many runs. Second base has a lot of options, but Robbie Cano is my favorite of the bunch.
With all of the options at the high-end, I don't expect Jason Kipnis to come in very highly owned. He's pretty cheap on both sites and is going to be hitting second in a lineup that is expected to put up 4.72 runs. He'll face off with a righty in Kevin Gausman, who was absolutely terrible in 2017, allowing a .350 wOBA to lefties and 12 homers in 70 innings. Kipnis fell off a bit over the last year, but has posted a .338 wOBA over the last two seasons against righties. Camden Yards is a huge upgrade from Progressive Field and the Indians showed what that can do just yesterday. We're not going to focus on this offense a ton, but you can stack the Indians if you think Gausman is going to struggle. Kipnis is fairly priced on all sites and can be played in all formats.
Consider D.J. LeMahieu and Carlos Asuaje in Coors Field
Semien is a guy you want to pay attention to at shortstap. He has a ton of power and always has upside against a lefty. He hit 27 homers in 2016 and followed it up with 10 last year in limited at-bats. He'll now move into Globe Life Park, which is a huge upgrade from the Oakland Coliseum. Semien has sported a .331 wOBA against lefties over the last two seasons and is only getting better at 27. He faces off with Matt Moore tonight, who is one of the worst southpaw starters in all of the league. Semien is fairly priced on both sites and a great play in all formats in the leadoff hole (a rarity for almost any othr shortstop). The Athletics are expected to put up 5.24 runs and you have to think Semien plays his fair part. There are a few options at this position, and Semien is cheaper than any of the others that stand out.
We aren’t really focusing on the Yankees much tonight, but that speaks more to the other offenses in such good spots. The Yankees are still holding an implied team total over fun runs and can be targeted at a few different positions. My favorite of the bunch is Didi Gregorius, who I think makes sense in all formats. Didi was excellent in 2017 against lefties, sporting a .354 wOBA and knocking 22 homers. He’s also a guy I’ll only target in Yankee Stadium as he’s more than reliant on that short porch for upside. He can still hit it out anywhere, but you want him in Yankee Stadium at his inflated price tag. Jake Odorizzi really isn’t all that bad but held a .300+ wOBA against both sides of the plate, so Vegas thinks he will struggle with the balance of this order. Gregorius is expensive for a SS, but that should just keep his ownership down. I don’t think he’s a must by any means, but has a ton of HR upside and won’t be anywhere near as popular as he would be on a slate without Coors Field.
It's hard to stay away from the Colorado Rockies. I didn't want to fill this article up with them, but you can play a Rockie at just about every single position. There also missing Parra and CarGo, so I've included Ryan McMahon as he could very well get the start against a righty. Bryan Mitchell doesn't have all that much experience, but he's been terrible in his limited time on the mound (.341 combined wOBA). He now moves into Coors Field, where the ball flies like crazy. The Rockies are projected to put up 6.20 runs tonight and it'll be tough to stay away in any format. Arenado is better against lefties, but still posted a .431 wOBA over the last two seasons against righties. He's the top play at third and it isn't close at all. McMahon is more of a savings option that can be counted on for production at a much lower price tag. I'll have most of my 3B exposure tied to this team and as much Nolan Arenado as possible.
We touched on Robinson Cano at second base and I think you have to love these lefties against Miguel Gonzalez. He gave up a .360 wOBA to left-handers in 2017 and will now host a lethal Mariners squad in hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field. Kyle Seager sported a .330 wOBA against righties in 2017 with most of his games in the spacious Safeco Field. He's fairly priced on both sites and is a fine pivot from Nolan Arenado is you're not able to pay up. The Mariners are a team I love and I don't think they end up being very popular. The Mariners hold a 5+ implied run total and Seager should have a lot to do with whatever the Mariners get going.
Charlie Blackmon FD 5200 DK 5700
Opponent - SD (Bryan Mitchell) Park - COL
FD - 16.66 DK - 12.78
Surprise, surprise, we’re kicking things off in the outfield with a Rockies bat. Gerardo Parra is suspended and Carlos Gonzalez is hurt, so that should allow the left-handed David Dahl to grab a start. He was phenomenal when given the opportunity a year ago, sporting a .380 wOBA against righties with 7 homers in just 56 games. He’s a legitimate prospect and can be utilized in every lineup. Blackmon is a bit more obvious as one of the best hitters in baseball. He demolished righties to the tune of a .503 wOBA in Coors Field last season and is right on pace here in ‘18. Bryan Mitchell is one of the worst Padres starters and that’s saying a lot. The Rockies are the top offense on the slate and it’s not close at all. If you’re struggling with funds, Dahl and McMahon could end up being lifesavers.
Wil Myers FD 3100 DK 4700
Opponent - COL (Chad Bettis) Park - COL
FD - 0.14 DK - 0.1
Franchy Cordero FD 3000 DK 3900
Opponent - COL (Chad Bettis) Park - COL
FD - 10.19 DK - 7.9
Jose Pirela FD 3000 DK 4300
Opponent - COL (Chad Bettis) Park - COL
FD - 10.53 DK - 8.15
It's hard for me to get away from Coors Field in the outfield. If it's not with the Rockies, the Padres have a few solid bats themselves. We haven't even touched on them at all yet, but you can stack any team in Coors Field. Chad Bettis is nothing special and any 9 MLB hitters can put up 10+ runs with the elevation. The Padres are obviously one of the weaker offenses in the league, but a 4.77 implied run total isn't something to ignore. Well, it may be on DraftKings, where they are all priced. On FanDuel, however, they didn't touch these guys and you can go anywhere. Wil Myers is back from the DL and easily the best hitter on this team. He's only $3100 and will be on most of my cash game teams. Cordero and Pirela are not as good, but both held .330+ wOBA's against righties in '17. As for Chad Bettis, he was worse against righties in 2017, allowing a .363 wOBA and 8 homers in just 40 innings. Coors Field is hell to pitch in and I think he struggles with this Padres team.
The outfield is stuffed tonight and both of these guys are firmly in play. We already touched on five other outfielders and there are ten others that could have been included. We've already touched on a couple Athletics bats and they are one of the clear top offenses on the slate. Matt Moore is one of the three worst pitchers on this entire slate and you want to target righties against him. Khris Davis is the most expensive bat on the team and it's not hard to figure out why. He's hit 42 and 43 homers in each of the last two seasons and has sported a .354 wOBA against lefties. As for Chad Pinder, he hit 15 homers in half of last season and held a .320 wOBA vs lefties. Keep an eye on batting order here. If Pinder moves down out of the two hole and is replaced by Mark Canha (or another bat) we might adjust expectations. Globe Life Park will play into the hands of both of these guys and their big power swings. There are a ton of ways to go in the outfield, but nobody will blame you for attacking Matt Moore with power in a hitters ballpark. Good luck tonight and feel free to comment down below with any questions or feedback! Thanks!
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- Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco (59): By Keith Allison on Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons