Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 5/24/18
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What a day we have ahead of us here when looking at pitching on these four-game slates. It feels like a great day to buy a case of beer and head to the lake fishing but unfortunately, I do this for a living so let's dig a little deeper and see if we can find a couple gems. On the early slate, I just can't go back to Dylan Bundy after some absolutely awful performances lately but one name that does stand out on this slate is Luis Castillo who opens as a favorite at home to the Pirates who are without their best hitter, Starling Marte. Castillo has also been red-hot in May going four straight starts allowing two earned or fewer in each(2.78 ERA, 3.39 xFIP) while recording a 10.32 K/9 and 17.5% swinging strike rate. It sure feels like a GPP only slate but if you are playing cash games, strongly consider Castillo.
Considering he was over $12K on DraftKings in each of his last two starts, it feels like we are getting him at a bit of discount in the mid $11K range today on a smaller four-game slate. Some props have to be given to the Astros pitching coach, Brent Strom, as he has orchestrated the best pitching staff in baseball(starters) as they lead all teams in wins(25), ERA(2.26), xFIP(3.11), and K rate(10.58 K/9). Charlie Morton has been a big piece of the puzzle behind Cole, Verlander, Keuchel, and McCullers and has yet to be beaten in 2018 as he sits with a 6-0 record, terrific 1.94 ERA and supporting 2.72 xFIP. He has also flashed big-time upside as well striking out over 11 batters per nine with a 13.3% swinging strike rate. Tonight's matchup isn't the best he has faced this season but consider the Indians are much better against southpaws in 2018 as they rank 18th in wOBA(.314), 20th in wRC+(94), and 20th in K rate(23.7%) vs. right-handed pitchers. All things considered, Morton is the top pitcher on the slate and safe in all formats.
I wrote about him on Tuesday's slate and he never let us down with another multi-hit game, his fourth such performance in his last five games. With that effort Tuesday he raised his average in May to a cool .365 while getting on base at an elite .415 clip. The power stroke has yet to kick into full gear but he has driven in 14 in the month and 26 all season. Tonight he faces Dylan Bundy who has been getting rocked lately giving up four or more earned runs in four of his last five starts(9.41 ERA, 5.54 xFIP) and if there was a time for Abreu to get the power going it would be today as Bundy has also given up a whopping 12 home runs in those five starts(29.3% HR/FB rate, 40.3% hard contact). He gives us a high floor for cash games as well as a ton of upside in this matchup today.
Catcher Consideration: Mike Zunino(SEA)
The first base position gets even tougher on the main slate but one name that stands out is Jesus Aguilar. He spent nine seasons in the Indians organization and only ended up making 35 starts in the majors before moving on to the Brewers last season. He was a serviceable player slashing .265/.331/.505 with 16 home runs but was mostly hitting at the bottom of the lineup thanks to a sky-high 30% K rate. The biggest difference so far this season is the 7.4% drop in strikeouts which in turn has elevated not only his average to .321 but his on-base percentage is up in an elite zone at .383 through 41 games. He started out the season near the bottom of the order but has quickly made his way up hitting in the three and five hole a ton. He has been consistent enough to consider in cash games and also has upside with seven home runs and 20 RBI and can also be considered an upside play in GPP formats.
Catcher Consideration: Salvador Perez(KC)
We don't necessarily need to dig for value on the early slate but it never hurts and only helps us stack some big bats at other positions. One of the values I am looking at is Yangervis Solarte who started to heat up once again and went into Wednesday night's game with hits in six of his last seven games including three straight multi-hit efforts. He has also provided us with a ton of power upside this season as he leads the Jays with 11 home runs and 30 RBI. The Jays are in a great spot today facing Nick Tropeano who, despite flashing some upside, has been mostly disappointing giving up three or more earned runs in four of his last five starts with five home runs and sits with a 4.45 ERA and 4.94 xFIP on the season.
Also Consider: Scooter Gennett(CIN)
Cabrera is a player on this slate we can consider in both cash games and GPP formats. It is early but he is currently enjoying his best season a pro through 12 years in the majors with career-highs in average(.317), on-base percentage(.363) and slugging %(.539). He has also flashed some upside with seven home runs and 27 RBI which are second on the team to only Cespedes and he also leads the team with 25 runs scored. The matchup vs. Zach Davies doesn't stand out by any means but considering the position is pretty depleted outside of Jose Altuve who will be tough to roster at this price, Cabrera is a fine target in all formats.
Also Consider: Whit Merrifield(KC) in GPP formats
Manny could not have found a better time to post career numbers as his name is, by far, the most popular among trade deadline potential acquisitions. He is currently posting a ridiculous .335/.412/.649 slash line and sits second in the league with 15 home runs and leads the league with 43 RBI. What makes this even more impressive is the fact he is doing this on arguably the worst team in baseball as the Orioles are currently 18 games back in the American League East. The matchup definitely helps soften the blow of the high price as Lucas Giolito is walking(6.42 BB/9) more batters than he is striking out(5.10 K/9) and sits with an awful 6.42 ERA, 6.89 xFIP through nine starts. Manny can do it all and makes a great play in all formats and is the top player on the slate to pay up for today.
Also Consider: Marcus Semien(OAK)
With Joey Wnedle on the paternity leave list for a couple days, the Rays called up their #4 prospect Willy Adames yesterday. It was a very interesting debut that started before first pitch as he missed the first flight and ended up making it to the ballpark about 30 minutes before game time. It didn't affect his performance however as he hit a home run off Chris Sale in his second career at-bat. This after he made big strides at the AAA level this season and through 40 games(173 at-bats) was hitting .311 with a .387 on-base percentage. He is currently 0 for 3 on Wednesday night but should be back in the lineup again on Thursday and provides us a nice punt play considering we will likely be loading up on Charlie Morton.
Also Consider: Xander Bogaerts(BOS)
Josh Donaldson is the most expensive option on the board at third base today on the early slate but I prefer to go with Kyle Seager for a couple reasons. Both hitters have gotten off to terrible starts when looking at their averages(.222 and .224) but I feel Seager is closer to climbing out of the slump with his very low .236 BABIP(.284 for Donaldson) and the fact that he is striking out 10% less as well. On top of that, has flashed more upside this season with eight home runs and 28 RBI. Neither player strikes me as "safe" today so you might as well take the discount and load up at other positions.
Also Consider: Matt Chapman(OAK)
There are definitely some higher upside plays at third base tonight but we will take value where we can find it, especially with a high-priced pitcher on the mound on a small slate. Kiner-Falefa plays all of the infield positions outside of first base and opportunity is everything in fantasy and he is getting just that at third base with Adrian Beltre still on the DL and has also been hitting third in the lineup. Looking at the splits, he has been pretty even against lefties and righties when looking at wOBA and wRC+ and gets a nice matchup vs. Danny Duffy who has been struggling, to say the least. He has given up four or more earned runs in five of his last six starts with 11 home runs(21.6% HR/FB rate). All things considered, he is a nice PTS/$ value play in all formats tonight.
Despite the lack of early season success for the Orioles offense, there is a lot to like about their prospects this afternoon. Considering the small four-game slate and the limited options, both Mancini and Jones come cheap"ish" under $4K on both sites allowing us easier access to their MVP candidate teammate, Manny Machado, in an Orioles stack scenario. They have been hitting 1-2 in the lineup with Mancini leading off and while consistency hasn't really been his thing, he has scored 26 runs on the season. Jones has been the more consistent option lately as he went into Wednesday night with hits in five straight and 16 of his last 17 games and has 24 RBI on the season. These two should get the opportunity to set the table for Manny today considering Giolito has walked more batters(6.42 BB/9) than he has struck out(5.10 K/9) this season.
Also Consider: Justin Upton(LAA) as a high upside GPP play
Cain got the night off on Wednesday and should be well-rested and back in the starting lineup and Thursday in a prime matchup. He comes in red-hot slashing .320/.414/.500 over the last 14 days with five multi-hit efforts and is currently sitting with a career-high .370 wOBA and 133 wRC+ which is exactly what the Brewers had hoped for when they signed him in the offseason. He gets a matchup against Steven Matz who has struggled to a 4.42 ERA, 4.34 xFIP this season and has already given up nine home runs. This is good news for Cain as he has destroyed left-handed pitching this season to the tune of a .400 average, .496 wOBA, and 219 wRC+. Leading off for the Brew Crew gives Cain a nice projected floor as well as a ton of upside in this matchup.
Jon Jay FD 2400 DK 3000
Opponent - STL (Austin Bibens-Dirkx) Park - STL
FD - 8.5 DK - 6.65
If you are just looking for some salary relief to help fit Charlie Morton tonight, consider Jon Jay who leads off for the Royals. He provides little to no upside but does give us a little safety in our lineup as he comes in with hits in 20 of his last 22 games and now sits with a .293 average and .351 on-base percentage on the season. He gets a matchup vs. Austin Bibens-Dirkx who will be making his season debut tonight and has struggled in AAA so far this season striking out just over seven batters per nine with a 3.72 ERA and 4.68 xFIP. Considering the low price on both sites, it is more than worth taking the risk with Jay in all formats.
Also Consider: Tony Kemp(HOU) as a GPP play if he gets another start