Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 5/9/18
Welcome to MLB Wednesday! We have two separate slates on our hands and both are very different. A game in Coors and thin pitching options will make that the case.
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Kicking it off on this early slate, Carlos Carrasco is a pretty easy pick. There are a couple other guys to consider, but Carrasco is in a solid match-up and has been performing at the top of his game. He's sported a .298 wOBA against righties and a .276 wOBA against lefties. He's struck out 8+ batters per 9 innings and has held a 3.79 xFIP on the season. His price is fair on both sites and there are ways to pay down with ease on this early slate. Miller Park is a good park for hitting, but it's nothing to worry about. The Brewers rank 22nd against righties in baseball, sporting a .306 wOBA and 25% strikeout rate. Carrasco is the top dog on this early slate and there's no way around it. Let's get to the main slate!
Moving on to the main slate, there isn't much clarity at pitcher. There are a lot of serviceable options who can give you a good outing, but none of them stand out and you're going to have uncertainty with each of these guys. Rick Porcello and Patrick Corbin are the two most expensive options and they will probably be around 10-15% owned, like the rest of this mid/high-end. We'll focus on Alex Wood, who's facing off with the Diamondbacks at home in Dodger Stadium. Wood hasn't been perfect this season, but he's been over 5 innings in 5 of his 6 starts and his BB rate is about 2x lower than it ever has been. He's been able to work deeper into games and it's given him a ton more consistency. He's still striking out 8+ per 9 innings and has those games where he eclipses 10. This match-up against Arizona is phenomenal, but they rank 5th in strikeouts vs lefties and only hold a team .321 wOBA. They are much worse on the road away from Chase Field and Vegas has them as the clear underdog (3.47 run projected). There is no such thing as a safe pitcher on this slate, but Wood has the upside and is a more consistent pitcher than ever before.
If Alex Wood doesn't float your boat, Gio Gonzalez is our favorite pivot. He sees the best match-up on this slate against the inept San Diego Padres in Petco Park. They rank 25th in baseball against lefties with a .306 wOBA and strikeout at a very high 26% clip. When Christian Villanueva and Jose Pirela are in the 3 and 4 hole, I think that says more than enough. The ballpark is atrocious and it's been a bottom 5 park for years now. Gio Gonzalez is as volatile as it gets with his constant 3-2 counts and walks to the pitcher, but he's always sported a sub .320 wOBA and strikes out 9.5+ batters per 9 innings. He's a bit too expensive on DraftKings, but I'm fine with him on FanDuel in all formats. I do prefer Alex Wood in a vacuum, but Gonzalez may be a bit lower owned and has just as much upside in a solid match-up.
Moving on to the bat, we'll first focus on Josh Bell and the Pirates. There are a few other 1B you can play, but Bell is the favorite of the optimizer. The Pirates are facing off with Reynaldo Lopez, who has been atrocious and has shown so signs of improvement. He posted a 5.75 xFIP in both 2017 and 2018, while more so struggling against lefties. Josh Bell is a switch-hitter that prefers hitting from the right side and is way too cheap on both sites. Against righties, Bell posted a .343 wOBA in 2017 and saw his power numbers come up. He allows you to pay up at other spots and you'll need a few of these guys in order to play Carrasco.
As always, there are a lot of different options at C/1B. We’ll be focusing on Lucas Duda to start, but these expensive options like Sanchez and Goldy do deserve some attention. They don’t make the cut as a top point per dollar play, but all of those guys have a huge upside and won’t be highly owned with such a spread position. On to Lucas Duda, the Royals will face off with Andrew Cashner in hitter-friendly Camden Yards. Against righties, Duda has sported a .360 wOBA and hit 25 homers. The ballpark upgrade is huge and the price reflects no change at all. Duda is a top HR threat of the night and a great play in any format at a pretty lackluster position.
Let’s close things off at first by mentioning a team that we like a lot on this slate. The Blue Jays host the Mariners tonight, who bring along Wade LeBlanc. LeBlanc is 33 years old and nothing to run away from. He’s below average against both sides of the plate and will now go from Safeco Field to The Rogers Centre, where balls fly. Justin Smoak is a switch-hitter that prefers to hit from the right side. In 2017, Smoak sported a .412 wOBA vs lefties and a 40% hard contact rate. The Jays are expected to score 5+ runs and Smoak is sitting in the heart of it all. I personally like the savings you get with Duda on the surface, but get the argument (ownership, upside) to go Smoak. Let’s get to the keystone position.
The Indians are going to be one of the top offenses on this afternoon slate. The Pirates were the focus at 1B, but feel free to go with Edwin Encarnacion in a dynamite match-up. We're now at second base and Jason Kipnis is a pretty easy choice. There are some other viable plays, but Kipnis stands out for the price. He matches up with Junior Guerra, who has struggled immensely vs lefties since entering the majors. In 2017 alone, he gave up a .350 wOBA to lefties and allowed 18 total homers in just under 70 innings. I'd call that just a slight HR issue. Kipnis isn't the god he was in 2016 against righties, but he's back to the hitter we're used to. He's jam-packed in the middle of a gauntlet and is going to see an RBI opportunity or two at the minimum.
The Orioles are a team we’ll be focusing on in this main slate. They face off with Eric Skoglund, who is one of the worst pitchers in the entire league. Through just over a year of work, Skoglund has held a .371 wOBA vs lefties and a .395 to righties. He allows a 44% hard contact rate to righties and is now moving into the hitter haven that is Camden Yards. These guys should have some fun with him and we’ll start with Jonathan Schoop, who just got off the DL. Schoop has held a .350+ wOBA against lefties for two years now and is only building the power in his bat as the years progress. He’s cheap enough on both sites to play in all formats and has the upside to lead you single-handedly in a tournament.
We're right back to Cleveland on this early slate with an easy look at Francisco Lindor. Lindor has progressed as we had all hoped, once again upping his wOBA at age 24. He's now sitting with a combined .371 wOBA and has been dynamic against righties with speed and power. The Indians are expected to put up 4.63 runs and are a personal favorite for the MLB lineup optimizer. Junior Guerra is a subpar righty with horrid HR issues. He's pitching in Miller Park and facing a top-five offense. They're guaranteed 9 innings of AB's and are some of the safer cash plays on the entire day. Lindor is expensive, but you can play him in all formats on this slate. There are easy ways to pay down and not a whole lot of ways to pay up. That is unless you have the Coors Field game on your slate. In that case, just go there.
If there’s a guy to pay up for on this main slate, this could be the one. Manny Machado is having a ridiculous season and demolishing the baseball against anyone who steps on the rubber in front of him. Against lefties, in particular, Manny Machado has sported a .421 wOBA and has held a 40% hard contact rate. He faces off with Eric Skoglund, who we just touched on and doesn’t belong in the majors. I don’t know if his name or performance is worse, but Eric Skoglund shouldn’t have much fun with this Orioles lineup. Machado is my favorite way to pay up on the slate and I’ll have 100% of him in all formats. Let’s move on to third base, where Machado once laid his head.
Let's switch some things up at third base. You can surely play Jose Ramirez and stack the Indians, but I don't need to keep telling you that. We'll instead focus on Adrian Beltre, who's minimum priced on FanDuel. They obviously made a mistake and it's pretty impossible to get away from him in cash games. His surface stats are atrocious so far this year, but he's posted a 54% hard contact rate and 46% line drive rate. Globe Life Park in Arlington is one of the best ballparks in all of the league for hitting and especially right-handers. The Rangers face off with Francisco Liriano tonight, who's nowhere near the pitcher he used to be. He allowed a .374 wOBA in 2017 against righties and gave up 10 home runs in 70 innings. Vegas has the Rangers putting up a slate-high 4.94 runs and Beltre will be in his usual cleanup spot.
The Blue Jays are a team we’re touching on a lot, but I think I still prefer just one or two of them as a 1-off. Wade LeBlanc can definitely stink it up, but I find it more likely he gives up 3 or 4 runs over 5 or 6 innings and then hands it to a serviceable bullpen. Here we’re looking at Josh Donaldson, who’s one of the more lethal hitters in all of baseball. Especially against lefties. He’s posted a .450+ wOBA against them for multiple years and finished 2017 with a .427. He’s hitting the ball great this year and has shown pop since coming off the DL. Donaldson is the clear top dog if the price isn’t a factor. If you’re forced to pay down, I lean towards Danny Valencia.
There are a lot of different ways to go at outfield and these two Mets are my favorites. We haven't focused on these guys yet, but Sal Romano is a pitcher you can target easily. He's held a 5.51 xFIP so far in 2018 and has sported a .340 combined wOBA since entering the majors. He strikes out just over 6 batters per 9 innings and walks close to 4. Today, he faces off with the New York Mets. They hold the 2nd highest total on the board at 4.83 and are a team you can stack. Both Jay Bruce and Michael Conforto are lethal left-handers that prey on below-average righties. In 2017, Conforto sported a .420 wOBA against righties and Bruce a .369. They are similarly priced on both sites and I personally like Conforto just a tad bit more. Let's move on to the main slate!
Right back to these swinging O's. The Orioles are a team you almost have to play tonight, facing off with Eric Skoglund. We've touched on him plenty, but a .395 wOBA against lefties says it all. He allows a 44% hard contact rate and is moving into a crazy great hitter ballpark. Both Trey Mancini and Adam Jones are better against lefties and have posted .350+ wOBA's in 2017. Both of these guys are extremely cheap on both sites and you don't even really have to consider the price. You can play Mark Trumbo as well, but he's more volatile than anyone and his price isn't the friendliest. These Orioles are a team I'm all over tonight and will have exposure in all formats. Manny Machado is the cornerstone of them all, but any of these guys can bop 2 homers in a night.
We'll close things off with another Toronto Blue Jay in Teoscar Hernandez. He bats leadoff against lefties and is going to see 5+ at-bats as a minimum. Hernandez hasn't been a n extremely good hitter, but he's going to see a tremendous match-up and will get pitches to hit with Josh Donaldson behind him. He's hit 5 homers in just over 35 games and is a better hitter this season than ever before. Wade LeBlanc is on the downside of his career and has been struggling against righties for four seasons now. He's sported a .350 since 2016 and should be taken advantage of in this hitter-friendly ballpark. Good luck tonight and feel free to comment down below if you have any questions or thoughts!
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- 1024px-Manny_Machado_(17140631152): By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA (Manny Machado) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons