Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 5/15/18
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It is definitely an interesting night when looking at the pitching for this 14-game slate. Gerrit Cole is, by far, the best pitcher but is priced at $13,900 on DraftKings and gets a terrible matchup vs. the Angels who are the league's hottest hitting team over the past couple weeks. I can see using Cole in GPP formats with his huge upside but for cash games, I will take the discount and roll with Greinke who has been very consistent and gets a much better matchup vs. the Brewers who are 18th in wOBA vs. right-handed pitching(.314) while striking out 24.5% of the time. He doesn't provide near the upside as Cole but is still striking out over a batter per inning with a nice 12.8% swinging strike rate and has allowed two or fewer earned runs in five of his eight starts, all of which have come at home at Chase Field. This is not out of the norm for Greinke either as he was also elite in home splits last year with a 2.87 ERA, .321 xFIP, and .268 wOBA against while striking out 1.5 more batters per nine. Given the matchup and discount from Cole, Greinke can be considered in all formats tonight.
With a real lack of value pitchers tonight, it is a pay up night for me on DraftKings and the other top option I am looking at very closely is Noah Syndergaard. While he hasn't been completely dominant to start the season he has been very consistent holding opponents to three or fewer earned runs in seven straight starts. He has also flashed big upside with 10+ strikeouts in two starts and sits with a 10.41 K/9 rate and 14.4% swinging strike rate on the season. The Blue Jays have been better vs. right-handed pitching on the season but have really been struggling as of late losing seven of their last 10 games while striking out nearly 26% of the time. The Mets are currently -175 home favorites in a game with the lowest total(7.5) of the slate so I will be locking Thor into my cash game lineups.
If you don't feel like using over 45% of your salary cap on DraftKings for the above pitchers and looking for a value guy to help get more bats in your lineup, you can do worse than Nick Pivetta. He comes in the low $7K range which if paired with Thor gives you an average of $4K remaining for your bats and overall he has made big improvements from his rookie season. He is walking over a batter and a half less per nine innings while striking out over a batter per inning and sits with an xFIP in the mid-three range as he has held opponents to three or fewer earned runs in six of his eight starts. The Orioles have been slightly better over the last couple of weeks but still rank 25th in wOBA(.299) vs. right-handed pitching with a 24.1% strikeout rate. He can be considered in all formats on DraftKings and a very low owned GPP play on FanDuel.
With expensive options at pitcher tonight, I am not ready to pay over $5K for Freddie Freeman and with both Votto and Bellinger in lefty/lefty matchups I gravitate towards Edwin Encarnacion. He has been much more consistent in the month of May hitting over .300 with a .393 wOBA, 146 wRC+ with three home runs and 11 RBI. I am not too concerned about his struggles against left-handed pitching as he will face 34-year-old Francisco Liriano who has been a bit on the lucky side this season as he is operating with a .226 BABIP(.299 career) and has an xFIP(4.93) that is over a run and a half higher than his ERA(3.35). He also walks almost 4.5 batters per nine which should give Edwin plenty of opportunities to drive in runs and crush value on both sites.
If you are looking for a bit of a discount on DraftKings, consider Jose Abreu who has been the face of consistency since entering the league in 2014. He has put up four straight seasons with 25+ home runs and 100+ RBI on a less than impressive White Sox offense. He is once again on pace to match those numbers in 2018 as he is slashing .284/.350/.489 with seven home runs and 21 RBI and comes into tonight's matchup red hot with hits in nine of 11 games in May with four multi-hit efforts. He will face Trevor Williams of the Pirates who started out well but has struggled as of late giving up seven earned in his last two starts with four long balls. There is likely even more regression coming his way as his xFIP(4.98) is almost two runs higher than the ERA(3.13). Abreu can be considered in all formats.
Catcher Consideration: Yan Gomes(CLE) who crushes left-handed pitching with a .410 wOBA and 157 wRC+ on the season.
Asdrubal Cabrera FD 3900 DK 3900
Opponent - TOR (Jaime Garcia) Park - NYM
FD - 10.43 DK - 7.99
This play has almost more to do with the matchup than anything else as Jaime Garcia has been getting rocked in his first season as a Blue Jay. He has already given up 21 earned runs for a 5.4o ERA/4.92 xFIP which is not helped at all by his walk rate(4.63 BB/9) and to top it off, he has also given up eight home runs with a 41% hard contact rate. The Mets have been a huge disappointment this season especially against lefties(30th in wOBA) but one bat in the lineup that has had no troubles against southpaws is Asdrubal Cabrera. He is hitting .343 with a .364 wOBA and 135 wRC+ and hits at or near the top of the lineup. With a salary under $4K on both sites, we can consider him in all formats.
Whenever he faces a lefty, Whit Merrifield can be considered a very strong play at the position. He normally gets bumped up to the top of the lineup as his splits are pretty astounding as he is currently hitting .377 in 57 plate appearances with an elite .452 wOBA, 186 wRC+, and .264 ISO. Tonight he and the Royals will face Anthony Banda who struggled in his debut last year for the Diamondbacks going 2-3 with a 5.96 ERA/4.81 xFIP. He is now with the Rays and while he has struck out 11 batters per nine innings in the minors, he is walking four per nine which will be trouble at the highest level. If he is back in the leadoff spot tonight, you can consider Merrifield a top play in all formats.
Also Consider: Jed Lowrie(OAK)
If paying up for just one bat tonight, there has to be some strong consideration giving to Francisco Lindor. He near the top of the league in almost all offensive categories including average(.321), wOBA(.427), wRC+(168), home runs(12), and runs scored(34). He also went into Monday night red-hot with a 14-game hit streak with 10 multi-hit efforts and eight home runs. He is a switch hitter and has much better splits against lefties hitting .390 with a .451 wOBA and 185 wRC on the season and now faces Francisco Liriano, who I mentioned above, is due for some regression and has been average at best over the past couple years.
I honestly didn't set out to target this many hitters who rake against lefties, it just turned out that way. Segura provides nice value at a discount under $4K on both sites and makes sense in cash games if you are going with two stud pitchers and want a more balanced lineup. He has struggled vs. righties this season with a .309 wOBA/132 wRC+ but has been very productive vs. southpaws with a .364 wOBA/132 wRC+. He also comes in with hits in four of his last five games with three multi-hit efforts and faces Mike Minor who has been pretty bad lately giving up 12 earned runs in his last three starts with four home runs.
Also Consider: Marcus Semien(OAK)
Tonight's edition of the MLB picks article is the who's who of lefty mashers. It is a small sample size early in the season but Suarez is hitting .409 with a .583 wOBA, 279 wRC+ with three home runs in 28 at-bats. To back it up, he was also impressive in this split last season with a .383 wOBA, 135 wRC+ and .228 ISO. He hits in the middle of the order and gets a plus matchup vs. the Giants and Ty Blach who is not only coming off his worst start of the season but also has trouble striking anyone out(4.56 K/9) and sits with a 4.20 ERA/4.21 xFIP on the season.
If you are looking to punt the position, consider the red-hot Pirates three-bagger. He hits down in the order which takes away some value, especially at home but so far in the month of May he is slashing .310/.394/.517 with a home run and six runs batted in and has also scored six runs. He and Pirates get a pretty good matchup as well against Reynaldo Lopez who is due for some big regression considering his ERA(2.44) is just over three runs lower than his xFIP(5.54) while operating with a .202 BABIP and he has also given up a home run in three straight and four of his last five games.
Also Consider: Alex Bregman(HOU)
Don't get me wrong, there are some elite plays in the outfield but if you are trying to fit Cole, Thor, or Greinke you are going to need some value. The Royals offense has been pretty disappointing overall but Jorge Soler is having himself a breakout season in his second season with the team. Through 36 games(156 plate appearances), he is slashing .323/.423/.531 with five home runs, 18 RBI, and 19 runs scored. There is definitely some regression coming as he sits with an unsustainable .411 BABIP but I don't think it comes tonight as, shocker, he crushes left-handed pitching(.390 average, .508 wOBA, 223 wRC+). With the matchup combined with the value price, he can be considered in all formats tonight.
After finishing in the bottom five of the league in offense last season, the Phillies have made a big stride forward in 2018 in large part to their young core of players. One of those players is Odubel Herrera who is having a breakout season as he leads the team in average(.360), OBP(.430), slugging %(.561), and wRC+(173). He hits third in the order and faces one of the many struggling Orioles pitchers in Andrew Cashner who has given up three or more earned runs and at least one home run in each of his last five starts.
Choo isn't providing a ton of power in the month of May but he has been consistent, considering the price, with hits in eight of 11 games with four multi-hit efforts. He hits out of the two hole for the Rangers who are in a pretty good spot tonight against Mike Leake who has been pretty bad this season with a 5.72 ERA, 4.81 xFIP and has already given up seven home runs while giving up 38% hard contact. Rostering Choo gives you a ton of salary relief helping you get to a top pitcher or two and possibly another big bat.
Also Consider: Nelson Cruz(SEA)