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Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

06/19/2018
Doug Norrie

Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 6/20/18

Wednesday in MLB always means we are getting a full day's worth of baseball action with slates all over the place on FanDuel and DraftKings. It makes for a whole host of options on both sites and plenty of ways to attack the day.

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Pitcher

Early
Corey KluberCorey Kluber FD 12100 DK 12600
Opponent - CHW (Reynaldo Lopez) Park - CLE
FD - 46.74 DK - 25.96
After looking like he’d really found his strikeout groove over the better part of late May and most of June, Kluber had a disaster of an outing against the Twins on Friday. He allowed four runs in five innings while striking out three. Dude got pulled after only 65 pitches and it will likely go down as his lowest-scoring game of the season. He’ll look to bounce back against the White Sox on Wednesday. Chicago strikes out at the fourth-highest clip in the majors against righty pitching and are below average in team wOBA in that platoon split. Despite the fiasco last game, Kluber is still averaging right around seven innings per start and carries an insane 9.6:1 K:BB ratio this season. Those are just elite peripherals and should work to his favor against the free-swinging White Sox. He’s a big-time -290 opening favorite and for good reason.

Ross StriplingRoss Stripling FD 9400 DK 9700
Opponent - CHC (Jon Lester) Park - CHC
FD - 35.41 DK - 18.7
Stripling has put up nothing short of ace-level numbers since entering the starting rotation. In his last 38 innings (6 starts) he's struck out 54 batters and allowed only six earned runs. He's also limited the walks, allowing only two free passes in that stretch. There are few pitchers in baseball who can claim this kind of on-the-mound dominance. Any concerns about him sticking in the starting rotation or not getting stretched out with the Dodgers' finicky pitch counts are long gone. This isn't an ideal matchup with the Cubs who rank among the best in the league against righties, but the wind in Wrigley is blowing in on Wednesday and should help reduce some of the power.

Main
Charlie MortonCharlie Morton FD 10000 DK 12200
Opponent - TB (Nathan Eovaldi) Park - HOU
FD - 43.13 DK - 23.1
After a very strong start to the season, Morton looked anything but comfortable over his last two games. There was, of course, the historically bad start against the Rangers and the control didn’t look all that much better against the Royals on Friday. In fact, over his last two games, he’s walked (and hit) batters 14 times in only nine innings. The strikeouts have been there (13 in that span) but the control is for sure a concern. But he enters the game against the Rays on Wednesday as an overwhelming -260 favorite and the 2.93 implied runs against still point to a guy projection services trust going forward. The Rays are a little worse than league average against righties with a 22% strikeout rate on the season. Their current lineup is much different than what we saw earlier in the year, but not because they’ve made major upgrades in talent. I think Morton is still the fairly easy call in cash games on this slate especially considering the rest of the pitching options which, as you’ll see in a second, get significantly worse.

David PriceDavid Price FD 8600 DK 9700
Opponent - MIN (Lance Lynn) Park - MIN
FD - 31.25 DK - 16.62
If you think the early slate of games has question marks and uncertainty around secondary pitching options, then you might want to skip the evening slate altogether. At least early on, things are looking awfully grim for pitchers beyond Morton (and it isn’t even like he’s Mr. Consistent). There are reasons to like Price in this matchup though I’d exercise a certain amount of caution. He’s striking out around 24% of batters, which gets the job done at times, but the 9% walk rate is the highest of his career and cause for more than a little concern. He’s a -142 favorite against a Twins team that strikes out around 24% of the time against lefties. They are also a below average offense against the split. Price is just coming a little more expensive than I’d like considering his inconsistency.

First Base/Catcher

Early
Yuli GurrielYuli Gurriel FD 3400 DK 4100
Opponent - TB (Nathan Eovaldi) Park - HOU
FD - 11.09 DK - 8.52
Yonder AlonsoYonder Alonso FD 3200 DK 3600
Opponent - CHW (Reynaldo Lopez) Park - CLE
FD - 10.81 DK - 8.15
When these guys are plays, they usually end up being plays together. It makes sense considering they are slotted into the four/five slots in the lineup against righties and on Wednesday they get one of the weaker ones you’ll see in Reynaldo Lopez. The White Sox righty has struck out less than seven batters per nine over his career (closer to six per nine this season) and carries in a 5.33 xFIP. Dude is brutal with E5 and Alonso set to take advantage. The former is solid against righty pitching with a .863 OPS over his last 645 plate appearances in that split. He takes walks at around an 11% clip and the .366 wOBA is well above average.

Alonso has nearly identical platoon splits as Encarnacion with a .367 wOBA, .865 OPS And 13% walk rate over his last 634 plate appearances against righties. You can’t play them together on DraftKings because of the positional eligibility but FanDuel makes it easier with the UTIL slot.

At catcher, strongly consider Rafael Lopez on the cheap. Tucker Barnhart is also a play if he's sitting second in the lineup.

Main
Greg BirdGreg Bird FD 3100 DK 4100
Opponent - SEA (Felix Hernandez) Park - NYY
FD - 12.47 DK - 9.28
Bird’s overall numbers don’t look all that great this season since coming off the DL with the OPS sitting under .800 and the 8% walk rate well below his career number. But the season is still early for the young Yankee first baseman and this is still a guy following Giancarlo Stanton and in front of Gary Sanchez. Few players in the game have this kind of lineup advantage when it comes to producing fantasy relevant statistics and I still think we are getting Bird on the cheap all around. Felix Hernandez is now firmly cemented into the “just a guy” starting pitcher tier. The K’s are sitting around 7.5 per nine and the xFIP is a below average 4.48. Gone are the King Felix days of yore and the 34% flyball rate could be a real problem for him in Yankee Stadium. I wish Bird was still hitting a little higher in the order, but he’s a value regardless.

At catcher, strongly consider Brian McCann against Eovaldi. Robinson Chirinos could also make for a play on DraftKings.

 

Second Base

Early
Joe PanikJoe Panik FD 2800 DK 3200
Opponent - MIA (Jose Urena) Park - SF
FD - 9.19 DK - 7.11
Second base is looking pretty rough on the early slate with few options I feel totally comfortable running out in cash games. Panik has the advantage of projecting into the leadoff slot for the Giants in a favorable matchup against Jose Urena. The former isn’t exactly a punt play, but is coming cheap enough to strongly consider because of the plate appearance expectation. Panik is a near lock to put the ball in play in this matchup. He’s struck out only 6% of the time this season (as low a number as you’ll ever see) and is walking around 8%. That leaves a lot of bat on ball opportunities against Urena who has a low walk rate in his own right while striking out batters only 19% of the time. Panik is much better in the righty split where he has a .781 OPS over the last couple of seasons. At a weaker position, taking a guy in the leadoff slot against a weaker arm checks most of the boxes for cash games.

Scooter GennettScooter Gennett FD 3900 DK 4500
Opponent - DET (Michael Fulmer) Park - CIN
FD - 10.67 DK - 8.14
Gennett isn’t a guy I’ve written much about this season, but it hasn’t been for lack of the dude’s production. He’s been awesome with a .910 OPS, 12 home runs, and 48 RBIs already. Sure, the BABIP is running at unsustainable levels, but he’s still a middle-of-the-order hitter for the Reds who play in one of the best power parks in baseball. They’re coming in with around 4.5 implied runs against Michael Fulmer who’s been platoon neutral for his career. Again, with Great American playing so well for lefty power and Gennett’s early season returns, I think we are still buying at solid price points.

Main
Daniel MurphyDaniel Murphy FD 3600 DK 4300
Opponent - BAL (Andrew Cashner) Park - WSH
FD - 12.45 DK - 9.53
Murphy is only recently off the DL and hasn’t put up much in the way of fantasy numbers since coming back. But this is one of the best professional hitters in the game with OPS numbers hovering in the low-to-mid .900’s in both 2016 and 2017. I have little doubt he’ll begin rounding out to form and the matchup against Andrew Cashner is exactly how a hitter gets going. The latter walks more than four batters per nine this season with only a 19% walk rate. There’s a reason the Nationals are coming in around 5.5 implied runs on the day, one of the highest on the evening slate. With Juan Soto in the mix, the Nationals are an even better offensive team, but it’s meant Murphy getting pushed a little lower in the order. I’m not overly concerned though because I still think he’s coming at a bargain.

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Shortstop

Early
Dansby SwansonDansby Swanson FD 3000 DK 3500
Opponent - TOR (J.A. Happ) Park - TOR
FD - 9.41 DK - 7.23
Ok, bad news first: We are forced, by the sites’ rules of entry, to roster shortstops today. I know, I know, it sucks. This position is difficult on the best of days and this isn’t one of those days. But the good news is there are a few guys that I hate less than the rest of the position. Swanson is one of them. He gets a tough matchup against Happ who’s putting together the best season of his career. But tough times require tough calls and there’s enough to like about Swanson here to warrant a play. He’s slotted firmly into the Braves’ two-hole with Acuna out of the lineup and the former has been solid against lefties (for a shortstop) with a .744 OPS and .307 wOBA in that split. I know those numbers aren’t anywhere close to overwhelming, but you have to consider just how light-hitting the position is across the board. I’m not crazy bullish on Swanson here, but think he represents the least bad option of the group (unless you are just straight up punting it entirely with a bottom of the order bum).

Main
Didi GregoriusDidi Gregorius FD 4000 DK 4800
Opponent - SEA (Felix Hernandez) Park - NYY
FD - 12.34 DK - 9.5
You might be put in a spot where you’ll need to slightly overpay at shortstop just to get a guy who doesn’t hit last with a sub .700 OPS. Enter Didi who’s back up to hitting third in the Yankees’ lineup in between Judge and Stanton. Honestly, just about anyone hitting in that spot would be a value at around $3K (and I’m including me and you dear reader) so getting Gregorius in these price ranges represents a chance to pay here and save elsewhere in the lineup. Like I said with Bird, Felix Hernandez is a shell of his former self and the Yankees are projected for a lot of runs. We can’t pay up for everyone on the evening slate (and there’s a game in Coors) but considering the scarcity at SS I’ll take a guy with a .855 OPS and .356 wOBA against righties. Plus the short porch in right is calling. Didi’s on pace to eclipse his career home run mark which he set last season at 25.

 

Third Base

Early
Yangervis SolarteYangervis Solarte FD 3400 DK 4100
Opponent - ATL (Anibal Sanchez) Park - TOR
FD - 10.52 DK - 8.04
The Blue Jays come in with about 4.6 implied runs at home against Anibal Sanchez. The Braves’ veteran righty has been about a league-average pitcher this season and isn’t an arm we need to avoid by any stretch of the imagination. The park, as long as the roof is closed, plays well for lefty power and Solarte has been above average against righty pitching over his last 550+ plate appearances. In that time, he’s sported an OPS around .800 and is tough to strike out at only 14%. He’s moved up in the order thanks to some Blue Jays’ injury issues and should be in the second or third spot Wednesday afternoon. The 15 home runs have him set to obliterate his career high of 18 (last season) and though the Hr/FB rate is up, that was to be expected moving away from Petco. I definitely like him in this matchup and don’t think the prices have fully caught up to his power this season.

Main
Todd FrazierTodd Frazier FD 3900 DK 4600
Opponent - COL (Chad Bettis) Park - COL
FD - 13.54 DK - 10.14
The Mets come into the game with a (likely) season-high of 5.7 implied runs. They've been a brutal offense, helping to keep their overall pricing on the lower side of things for the better part of the last two months. Even with the bump in salaries because of the Coors' game, we are still getting Frazier on the relatively cheap if he's hitting in the cleanup spot for New York. Dude's struggled with the BABIP on the season (.250) even though his hard contact rate is the highest of his career (45%). He's been much, much better against righty pitching this season and isn't an extreme platoon guy for his career. I like the FanDuel price a little more than DraftKings especially because paying all the way up for Arenado against the righty might not be in the cards for Wednesday.

 

Outfield

Early
Curtis GrandersonCurtis Granderson FD 3100 DK 3800
Opponent - ATL (Anibal Sanchez) Park - TOR
FD - 11.44 DK - 8.56
Much like the case for Solarte, Granderson is in a good spot against Sanchez on Wednesday afternoon. The Grandy-man should be in the leadoff slot where he draws an elite 15% walk rate against righties to go with a .814 OPS and .349 wOBA. The strikeouts are something of a concern at 30% this season, but I’ll take his profile in the leadoff spot just about any day at these prices. Outfield on the early slate of games isn’t overwhelmingly deep so we need to make some concessions on the type of player we roster. Granderson’s warts are there, but he has plenty of upside considering his spot in the order and the righty on the mound.

Alex GordonAlex Gordon FD 2600 DK 3100
Opponent - TEX (Austin Bibens-Dirkx) Park - KC
FD - 10.34 DK - 7.86
His biggest fantasy superlative is that the Royals seem to want to hit him second in the order these days. It’s tough to make an overwhelming case for the dude considering he has a sub .700 OPS over the last three seasons. And yet hitting second in the order at close to punt prices does have its advantages especially when the Royals come in with an implied run line around five. Again, there’s not much in Gordon’s profile that gives one a sense of optimism, but plate appearance expectation does matter in this game and if the price is right you can make a case for just about anyone in this spot.

Main
Bryce HarperBryce Harper FD 4100 DK 5400
Opponent - BAL (Andrew Cashner) Park - WSH
FD - 15.75 DK - 11.73
Juan SotoJuan Soto FD 3800 DK 4600
Opponent - BAL (Andrew Cashner) Park - WSH
FD - 12.88 DK - 9.76
Adam EatonAdam Eaton FD 3800 DK 4300
Opponent - BAL (Andrew Cashner) Park - WSH
FD - 12.92 DK - 9.98
Can you tell we want all the Nationals today? And why not? Of course, they get Cashner, who as we outlined in the Murphy write up, is such a below average arm. If you aren’t going to be able to put this lineup down on strikes then you can run afoul of some really bad outings. Such could be the case in Washington. It remains to be seen how they’ll structure their lineup, but if it’s the same as Tuesday night then we are looking at Eaton, Soto, Harper in the 1,2,3 slots in the lineup. That’s a change pushing Turner down lower in the order. We’ll see if it sticks.

It’s a smaller sample size because of his injury issues, but Eaton has been excellent against righty pitching in the last two seasons. He’s sporting a .951 OPS and .410 wOBA. He’s a tough strikeout (14% of the time) and in his first 62 plate appearances this year he’s getting on base close to 40% of the time.

Then there’s Soto who’s come into his rookie campaign looking like a future (and present) superstar. In his first 100 major league plate appearances, the 19-year-old has 1.013 OPS with six home runs and a crazy .277 ISO. That he’s shown such patient maturity with a 13% walk rate is a testament that he’s already figuring out this “major league” thing.

And finally, there’s Harper who is once again becoming something of a maligned play because of a recent 1-29 slump. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking he isn’t still one of the very best hitters in all of baseball. Like two seasons ago, he’s struggling with a .208 BABIP (it was .356 last season) and it’s driving down a lot of his rate stats. Dude is just running bad considering the hard contact rate is actually the highest of his career.

Strongly consider Michael Conforto against the righty in Coors.

Oh and in all this Washington love, I’ve failed to even mention that Cashner gets slaughtered by lefty bats to the tune of a .370 this season. It’s all good on the Nationals’ side of things on Wednesday.

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