Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

05/26/2018
James Davis

Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 5/27/18

We're back with another full slate of pre-Memorial Day Sunday baseball! Should we play Chris Sale, Gerrit Cole, or Stephen Strasburg? With two bad pitchers going in Coors, do we need to prioritize bats from that game? Let's dive in and make sense of it all.

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Pitcher

Stephen StrasburgStephen Strasburg FD 10000 DK 12600
Opponent - MIA (Elieser Hernandez) Park - MIA
FD - 41.92 DK - 23
It's an embarrassment of riches at the starting pitcher position right now, but as of now our system is really attracted to the value Strasburg brings to the table as a relatively cheaper option on FanDuel. To start, Strasburg is simply an ace. He's a slightly improved version of last year's monster, going 6.7 innings per start with slightly fewer Ks but fewer BBs as well. The ERA isn't quite where it was last year, but a lot of that can be chalked up to a 17.9% HR/FB ratio that's almost 6% higher than his career levels. Today he'll be heading into an excellent pitcher's park in Miami, and as you can likely guess, that also means he'll be up against the league's second worst offense (a .282 wOBA!) against right handed pitching. The Marlins also have a top 10 K rate versus righties while walking the second least, so from top to bottom, this is just an incredible spot for Stras. The price on DK might be a little high (more on that in a second) but on FD? I love him in the starting spot for any format.

Chris SaleChris Sale FD 11600 DK 11800
Opponent - ATL (Mike Foltynewicz) Park - BOS
FD - 43.8 DK - 24.53
If our system likes Strasburg a hair more on FanDuel right now, it's positively confused as to why Sale is priced the way he is on DraftKings. It must be based on Atlanta's offensive success this season. And frankly, they really are no joke. They lead the majors in wOBA vs. lefties, and strike out the very least against them. So can we really play Sale in what currently represents the worst possible match-up for an opposing lefty? I say yes. No pitcher is match-up proof, but when you're one of the very best in the league at striking batters out AND one of the stingiest at giving out free passes, you can get fairly close. I mean Sale went a complete game with 16 Ks at Toronto, went 6 with 8 Ks against New York and their murderer's row of righties - the man can handle just about anyone. I don't think his skill is enough to make me want to take him over Stras for more money on FD, but on DK? This pick looks pretty hot and tempting (P.H.A.T.).

Trevor CahillTrevor Cahill FD 8000 DK 6900
Opponent - ARI (Zack Greinke) Park - OAK
FD - 34.87 DK - 17.48
So I'm not going to run him out there on FanDuel, but what about DraftKings where we need two pitchers? At $6,900, Cahill has to at least be on our radars. Yes, he has sort of gone pumpkin on us for the last two starts after coming out of the gate as hot as possible, but how much should we weigh the last two starts versus his strong start to the season? For starters, I'm simply throwing out the Boston game. If Sale can be considered somewhat match-up proof, Cahill is nowhere near that discussion, and Boston is the best team in the league versus opposing right handed pitchers. He looked better in the Seattle game, and while the Ks weren't there, you can still live with the end result. Today he'll head back to his very friendly home pitchers' park in Oakland, and he'll be up against the absurdly bad Diamondbacks. The D-Backs rank dead last versus opposing righties in terms of wOBA, and are .5% away from being the team that strikes out the most often against them. The only fly in the ointment is that Greinke is the opposing starter, but outside of that, this is just a dream spot for a pitcher who is probably too cheap right now.

First Base/Catcher

Victor MartinezVictor Martinez FD 2200 DK 3100
Opponent - CHW (James Shields) Park - DET
FD - 10.32 DK - 7.92
Catcher is simply terrible this season, and while we blessedly can avoid the position on FD, we have no such luck on DraftKings. The ancient Victor Martinez has been no great shakes, it's true, but I submit that there are signs of life here. His .239 BABIP trails his career levels by nearly .070 points, and while we can expect a decline as he makes less hard contact than he used to and runs a little slower, he's also .041 points off of last year's numbers. His Ks are actually down this season, and his 10% Ks to 8% walks is actually kind of great. He's still drawing looks in the cleanup spot, and the match-up with Shields is obviously excellent. I think he's a totally fine cash game option today.

Cody BellingerCody Bellinger FD 3100 DK 4600
Opponent - SD (Robbie Erlin) Park - LAD
FD - 12.38 DK - 9.25
The price isn't tenable on DraftKings in a lefty/lefty match-up, but is he finally just too cheap on FanDuel? For starters, Bellinger still has an .834 career OPS against left handed pitching, so it's not like he's an automatic out there or anything. And then there is Robbie Erlin. It's tough to know what to make of him. He's only started 7 games since the beginning of 2015, and has been the definition of mediocre when he's been out there. He doesn't strike many people out (a big plus for a young hitter like Bellinger), and tends to stay around the plate. That seems like a recipe for a pretty good spot here assuming Bellinger doesn't fall too far in the lineup in a bad platoon spot.

Also considered: Ian Desmond at too cheap prices in a Coors game.

Second Base

Joey WendleJoey Wendle FD 2400 DK 3000
Opponent - BAL (Kevin Gausman) Park - TB
FD - 7.99 DK - 6.23
Welcome to a really, really bad position today. The best value at the position is Javier Baez, who isn't even available on DraftKings. For the rest of us, that leaves us with... Joey Wendle? Oh baby. As far as the position is concerned, Wendle is actually pretty passable offensively. His .720 OPS is not embarrassing, and if you squint you can see a potential 10/10 or 15/15 package if he keeps developing. But really, this is just about the fact that second base is so thin and this guy actually bats toward the top of his team's lineup. Wendle is batting third against righties right now, which is a great deal better than most of his counter-parts who bat 7th or worse. Gausman has been better this season than in those past, but this is a lot more about price and batting order than about anything else.

Jose PirelaJose Pirela FD 2600 DK 3000
Opponent - LAD (Walker Buehler) Park - LAD
FD - 8.09 DK - 6.26
Another strict opportunity play. Pirela is batting second for the Padres right now, which gives him a lot more chances to contribute offensively than most second basemen. I don't love the match-up with Buehler, who has been nothing short of great so far, but this is what we're dealing with today. The optimistic view of Pirela is that this early season has just been a statistical blip and that we'll return to last year's .800+ OPS guy. The pessimistic view is that he's already 28 years old, and there really isn't a lot more development to be had. Only time will tell, but on this fine Sunday, I think he's a reasonable cash game option.

Also considered: Jose Altuve, if you simply insist on playing actual good players at the position. I don't love his spot against Bauer, but he has to have a higher floor than most of the guys here.

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Shortstop

Trevor StoryTrevor Story FD 4200 DK 4800
Opponent - CIN (Matt Harvey) Park - COL
FD - 13.63 DK - 10.26
Hey, it's a Coors bat! To this point in his career Story has been a guy you can only really consider playing in Coors, but man, when he is at home he's been pretty damned impressive. His .967 OPS in Coors is almost .300 points better than his road OPS, and the big benefit we get from that is that his price gets depressed whenever he under-performs on the road. It's true that he's also better against lefties, so why play him against Harvey? Well, the former ace-in-the-making is nothing short of a reclamation project at this point, cobbling together a 5+ xFIP over the last two seasons across multiple teams. Throwing him into the best hitters' park in the world can't help his chances, and I think Story should be a solid part of a Rockies' stack if you can afford it.

Carlos CorreaCarlos Correa FD 3800 DK 4400
Opponent - CLE (Trevor Bauer) Park - CLE
FD - 12.2 DK - 9.19
Shortstop is so thin that I'm looking outside my usual avenues, and I actually like Correa more than I thought I would at first considering the non-excellent match-up with Bauer. Yes, the Cleveland righty has had excellent results so far, but he's still playing with fire just a little bit. He hasn't gotten as punished for his shoddy control (a 3.18 bb/9) as he likely should have so far, as his 3.52 xFIP probably paints a more accurate picture of his actual talent right now than his 2.35 ERA. Still, his insane K rate means he can clean up a lot of messes, and it makes it pretty unattractive to run hitters into him. Still, with an .855 career OPS against righties Correa has been pretty close to platoon-neutral, and he seems like a decent pivot from Story.

Strongly consider: Jose Peraza. He's cheap and gives you good exposure to the Coors game, but he'll be batting lower in the lineup against the righty.

Third Base

Nolan ArenadoNolan Arenado FD 4900 DK 5300
Opponent - CIN (Matt Harvey) Park - COL
FD - 16.91 DK - 12.74
A straightforward spot to invest your extra dollar today. He's a lot better against lefties, yes, but have you seen his home numbers? They're downright Ruthian. With a 1.147 OPS in Coors this season, it hasn't really mattered if you played him against lefties or righties, and a match-up with a shaken pitcher like Harvey isn't one to be ignored. Expect a ton of ownership on him today - not a whole lot more to say than that.

Eduardo EscobarEduardo Escobar FD 3200 DK 4200
Opponent - SEA (Mike Leake) Park - SEA
FD - 10.24 DK - 7.85
If you're looking to go off board a little bit, why not Escobar? It's true that he's better against left handed pitching, but the .813 OPS against righties this season is hardly embarrassing. And if he's better against lefties, you know where he really thrives? Against terrible pitchers like Mike Leake. The Seattle north-paw has regressed in every conceivable way this year, reducing his already low K rate to 5.77/9 and padding his BB/9 and HR/9 numbers in the meantime. I think the Twins are a pretty solid big tournament stack even if Vegas isn't a huge believer.

Also considered: Maikel Franco.

Outfield

David DahlDavid Dahl FD 3200 DK 4000
Opponent - CIN (Matt Harvey) Park - COL
FD - 14.84 DK - 11.42
Another instrumental part of a Coors stack, Dahl is way too cheap for a guy batting second right now. Don't be discouraged by his overall line - Dahl has dumpstered opposing righties to the tune of an .890 OPS this season, and is even better than that at home. If there's a black mark against him it's that he's so bad against lefties that he warrants a call to the bullpen for a lefty almost on his own, but the protection of Arenado means that happens less than it could otherwise. If he bats second again he could be one of the highest owned players on the slate.

Kike HernandezKike Hernandez FD 2500 DK 3800
Opponent - SD (Robbie Erlin) Park - LAD
FD - 10.89 DK - 8.24
You can't call him a lefty "killer," but at $2,500, he doesn't need to be. For his young career Hernandez has posted a more than serviceable .857 OPS against left handers, and while it hasn't played out that way so far this season, it's far too small a sample size to complain. Really, though, this is a price and opportunity mismatch. He's a good hitter against lefties, he'll be batting 2nd in all likelihood, and Erlin just isn't anything to be scared of. He's another guy that will be hugely owned in cash assuming he steps into his normal role.

Delino DeShieldsDelino DeShields FD 3100 DK 3300
Opponent - KC (Jason Hammel) Park - TEX
FD - 11.98 DK - 9.27
Leonys MartinLeonys Martin FD 2900 DK 3400
Opponent - CHW (James Shields) Park - DET
FD - 10.9 DK - 8.47
Two under-priced lead-off men with excellent match-ups against two of the league's worst starters, but I'm not sure they wind up getting there given that the outfield position is just stuffed with excellent value today. Both seem fine for cash, but if you're trying to shoot the moon on upside I'm only really looking at DeShields. His 9 steals mean that he's a candidate to put up multiples in one game, and he should be able to get on base against Hammel here.

Ryan BraunRyan Braun FD 2800 DK 3900
Opponent - NYM (Zack Wheeler) Park - MIL
FD - 12.73 DK - 9.68
Yup, this is the awkward position baseball puts us in time and time again. Braun will likely be batting third against Zack Wheeler, and he's priced like a guy who both bats late in the lineup AND is terrible. Braun looks every bit the part of the terrible player right now, as the aging slugger is worse in basically every conceivable category this year. Nonetheless, you don't need to buy into a full return to glory to want to buy here. He's still on pace for something like a 15 homer 15 steal season, and that's in spite of running about .050 points bad in terms of BABIP. It's not an exciting play, but this is sometimes how we have to get value in DFS baseball.

Other good options: Charlie Blackmon if you want to pay up, and Shin-Soo Choo if you want to stack Rangers.

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10 Visitor Comments

  1. You never say anything about the Angels. Trout ripped off 56 pts. on FD last night. Cozart ($2700 on FD) came in with 15 pts. Not to mention Andrelton Simmons is smacking the ball every night. By the way, Quintana got knocked out in the fourth inning.

    • I not a fan boy. I live in Atlanta. DUH! Keep taking Crawford and I will stack the Angels and we can compare winnings!

      • You must be related to the author!

  2. Brandon Crawford had 32 FanDuel points last night and has been the hottest batter in baseball this month. Stop being a fan boy James Michael. The author can’t cover every single player.

  3. That’s baseball James Michael duh

  4. I will keep taking Trout and going to the payout window. That’s FANTASY BASEBALL! Duh!

  5. Trout 56, 25, 28, 21 FP’s. Crawford 32, 6, 6. Average 9 FP’s a game.

  6. Payout window lol.The total construction of your lineup is what counts.
    Whose getting paid James Michael or James Apsey?Is one your maiden name?Anyone can be a fake winner or millionaire on the Internet.The shallowness of your comments let’s us no that you are a teenager or a rookie lol.

    • Lol losers. If you don’t like these free tips that are very helpful go pay for premium service James

  7. I’m just here for the popcorn 🍿

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