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Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

06/23/2018
Jerry Vanderwoude

Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 6/23/18

Welcome friends! Saturday's MLB brings us eleven early games with four on the later set. Let's get right to it and take a look at our top plays position by position.

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Pitcher

Zack GreinkeZack Greinke FD 8900 DK 9700
Opponent - PIT (Joe Musgrove) Park - PIT
FD - 35.75 DK - 19
Pitching isn't great today, the top option of the day is only available on the all-day slate on both sites with Trevor Bauer, and the Indians playing the Tigers. Among what we're left to work with on the early slate, Zach Greinke is a strong option, priced below $10K on both sites which will help us with our bats on a Coors Field slate. Greinke and the Diamondbacks are in Pittsburgh for a set with the Pirates. Pittsburgh is an average offense on paper. Their combined .312 wOBA against RHP is league average, and they rarely strikeout, with a 19.2 K%, third lowest in the split. Still, Greinke is once again proving to be among the best in the game, with the fifteenth lowest xFIP among qualified pitchers through the first half of the season, and over a strikeout per inning pitched. He's struggled some with the long ball but sees a park boost going from Chase to PNC Park, and Pittsburgh hasn't been a power offense this season with just 58 home runs as a team. All in all, Greinke is among the best ways to go in cash today, and if you think he can get the pirates swinging, he could provide some upside on the price as a GPP play.

Andrew SuarezAndrew Suarez FD 7300 DK 7900
Opponent - SD (Jordan Lyles) Park - SF
FD - 33.17 DK - 16.7
In the SP2 slot on DraftKings for the early slate give some consideration to Andrew Suarez of the Giants. Don't let the two wins in eleven starts fool you, the rookie southpaw is quietly piecing together a solid season statistically, and remember he has to rely on the Giants offense to get the wins. In spite of a 4.70 ERA, Suarez is sitting on a 3.28 xFIP and has limited opponents to two runs or less in three of his last four starts. He's got a solid 23.5 K%, and today he gets the luxury of pitching to the Padres offense. San Diego sports an abysmal .289 team wOBA, 83 wRC+, and strike out at a 25.9% clip. The Giants are -165 favorites in this one so as a low-cost option Suarez comes packed with some nice implied safety in a strong matchup.

Lance McCullers Jr.Lance McCullers Jr. FD 9200 DK 10200
Opponent - KC (Ian Kennedy) Park - HOU
FD - 40.09 DK - 21.3
On the main slate, we've got just four games, and there's one team standing clearly above the rest. We're going to look at the Astros from every angle possible today, so why not start out on the hill with Lance McCullers. The Astros have the distinction of having four of the top 25 xFIPS among qualified pitchers as we approach the halfway point of the season, and McCullers is one of those with a 3.53. He's also striking out nearly a quarter of the batters he faces with a 9.17 K/9. He's gone at least six full innings in six of his last seven and limited the damage to just three runs or less in each of those with a quality start in each in spite of just three wins. The Astros are ridiculous -315 favorites against the Royals who sport just a .292 wOBA against RHP. The Royals are a patient team; they strike out at the lowest percentage in the league against the split, they just can't hit. There may not be a ton of upside in McCullers, but there's safety for days.

First Base/Catcher

Logan MorrisonLogan Morrison FD 2400 DK 3300
Opponent - TEX (Yovani Gallardo) Park - MIN
FD - 11.87 DK - 8.9
Joe MauerJoe Mauer FD 2600 DK 3400
Opponent - TEX (Yovani Gallardo) Park - MIN
FD - 11.21 DK - 8.59
There is plenty of value to be had in the top part of the Twins' lineup today against Yovani Gallardo. With just $100 separating leadoff man Joe Mauer and cleanup hitting Logan Morrison on both sites, you can target either one (or pair them up on FanDuel) and get plenty of bang for your buck. While Mauer has clearly put up better numbers this season with a .332 wOBA and .269 AVG while drawing nearly 4% more walks Morrison has been at his best against RHP in his career with a .334 wOBA against the split. Gallardo has made just one start this season with the Rangers after three horrid relief appearances with the reds factoring into his terrible ERA. In that start, he allowed five runs in five innings on nine baserunners against the Rockies. For his career, Gallardo sports an xFIP approaching 4.00 and for the past three seasons has been well above that mark. It's a great spot for the Twins batters and an excellent way for us to gain a little value on the slate.

Willson ContrerasWillson Contreras FD 2600 DK 3900
Opponent - CIN (Anthony DeSclafani) Park - CIN
FD - 9.27 DK - 7.02
The Cubs continue their weekend set in Great American Ballpark against the Reds, who will send Anthony DeSclafani to the hill this afternoon. DeSclafani has made just three starts this season, following up a four-run allowed debut with two games surrendering just two runs. These were against the Rockies, Pirates, and Cardinals, who are ranked tenth, twelfth, and eighteenth respectively among team offenses this season. Today he faces a top-five challenge in the form of the Cubs. Wilson Contreras hits in the bottom of the Cubbies order, which keeps his price modest, but he still sports a wOBA, on par with the much more expensive Buster Posey, while his ISO and BABIP surpass Posey. All things considered, if you need to use a catcher, Contreras is a solid option in a favorable matchup, and we can utilize him in all formats.

Mitch MorelandMitch Moreland FD 3400 DK 4300
Opponent - SEA (Mike Leake) Park - BOS
FD - 11.19 DK - 8.44
The main slate is a rough one, there are just four games going tonight, and as I said earlier, I'm going to give you a ton of Astros (see below) just because the other options are so thin. I almost put Yuli Gurriel here, and you can consider him, but if there is one spot where I feel confident in getting away from the 'Stros, it's at first base with Mitch Moreland of the Red Sox. Moreland comes into the day with a top ten wOBA among first basemen and is putting up career numbers across the board. His BABIP, ISO, OPS, and SLG are all on pace for career-best numbers, while his walk percentage is coming up second to his rookie campaign. Mike Leake meanwhile, whose xFIP has continually risen each of the past four seasons, is now up over 4.00 with a hard hit rate near 40%. You're going to want to squeeze every Astro you can find in your main slate lineup, but when you can't the Red Sox are an exciting alternative, and Moreland is my favorite of the bunch.

Brian McCannBrian McCann FD 2300 DK 3200
Opponent - KC (Ian Kennedy) Park - HOU
FD - 10.51 DK - 7.88
The Astros project for 5.6 implied runs today and are huge favorites against Ian Kennedy and the Royals. On the short four-game main slate this evening they are the offense to target, and we will do just that. For value, Brian McCann is an excellent option, priced at near minimum across the industry, McCann is projecting as the top point per dollar play among position players for the day. McCann got the night off Friday night against the southpaw but should be back in the lineup tonight with the right-handed Kennedy on the hill. McCann's numbers haven't been extraordinary this season, but as a value option if you absolutely have to have a catcher in your lineup then strongly consider McCann who has shown some pop recently and has been on base in six of his last ten games.

 

Second Base

Yoan MoncadaYoan Moncada FD 2800 DK 3700
Opponent - OAK (Daniel Mengden) Park - CHW
FD - 10.39 DK - 7.81
We can get out of second base rather easily on the early with Moncada. He's continued where he left off in his first, albeit short, season with the White Sox in 2017. His numbers are down a bit this season, but he is still posting a wOBA over .300, an ISO over .175 and an OPS over .700. The biggest detractor is his lack of discipline at the plate where he's striking out nearly a third of the time. That may not be an issue today however against Daniel Mengden, who doesn't strike anybody out. Now in his third season with the A's Mengden is proving himself to be consistently meh, with a 4.47 xFIP on pace with his career number, nearly two walks per nine, with just over half a strikeout per inning. He's allowing 1.42 HR/9 with a 38.4% hard-hit rate.

Jose AltuveJose Altuve FD 4300 DK 5300
Opponent - KC (Ian Kennedy) Park - HOU
FD - 14.58 DK - 11.28
We've looked at the Astros on the hill (McCullers), and for value (McCann), now let's get to the meat and potatoes of this Houston lineup. Altuve is just crushing once again this season with his .386 wOBA, the best among qualified second basemen. While never much of a power hitter (though he did homer twice in a game against the Rays earlier this week), Altuve makes up for it with his patience at the plate (a 0.60 BB/K rate) and on the base path (he's ranked fourth overall at the position with 11 swipes). I'm not a huge fan of the price, and if the opportunity presents itself to fade Altuve for some value, see just below, I'll be all over it. That said, Altuve is still in a strong matchup and is certainly a top consideration given the options on the shorter slate.

To pick up some value while getting away from the Astros, strongly consider Eduardo Nunez if he's hitting in the top two-thirds of the lineup.

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Shortstop

Trevor StoryTrevor Story FD 4300 DK 5500
Opponent - MIA (Trevor Richards) Park - COL
FD - 14.06 DK - 10.59
We've made it this far without looking at the Rockies, but they are home in Coors Field against a rookie right-hander with some terrible numbers so we will see plenty of them before all is said and done. Story comes into Saturday with the fourth-best wOBA among qualified shortstops. The price is a bit much, especially on DraftKings. Story is a lefty basher, but against the righty, I'm a little more hesitant. Still, Richards only has eight starts under his belt, and that first trip into Coors can be a long day for a pitcher if he gets rattled early. Story isn't necessarily a must-have play, but he is certainly in the conversation.

Ehire AdrianzaEhire Adrianza FD 2200 DK 3100
Opponent - TEX (Yovani Gallardo) Park - MIN
FD - 8.47 DK - 6.55
Ehire Adrianza spent much of the season hitting in the bottom of the Twins order, but Friday night he made his way to the five-hole for the first time. If he is going to remain there, then he becomes a tremendous value play at shortstop and makes fading Story an easier pill to swallow. Even in the bottom of the order, Adrianza has been solid for Minnesota this season posting a .304 wOBA. We've already established Gallardo is nothing to fear on the hill, so this one is all about the lineup spot. The higher in the order Adrianza is, the more our MLB projection system loves him.

Carlos CorreaCarlos Correa FD 4000 DK 5100
Opponent - KC (Ian Kennedy) Park - HOU
FD - 14.7 DK - 11.07
Our next stop in Houston brings to shortstop Carlos Correa in the cleanup spot. Correa's numbers are down significantly from 2017 when he posted a .394 wOBA and .941 OPS. He is however on pace to post a career-high number of home runs, besting his 24 from last season. He hit two home runs against the Royals last weekend in Kansas City. This time around the scene has changed to Minute Maid Park, which isn't near as favorable to the batter, the matchup, however, is quite favorable. Ian Kennedy has been nothing short of terrible this year. His 4.50 xFIP is seventeenth highest among qualified pitchers, and his 5.31 ERA is fourth highest. He's walking 3.5 batters per nine and has been equally terrible against both sides of the dish. Correa, who has hit safely in five of his last six games has even splits for his career with just a bit more power coming off of RHP. Our system loves Correa tonight, and there isn't anyone else at the position that I feel as good about playing on the main slate.

 

Third Base

Nolan ArenadoNolan Arenado FD 5300 DK 5900
Opponent - MIA (Trevor Richards) Park - COL
FD - 17.44 DK - 13.14
Nolan Arenado sits just behind Jose Ramirez in wOBA (.413), home runs (16), OPS (.987) and has the fourth best ISO (.267) among third basemen this season. Though his splits against southpaws are insane, Arenado has impressive numbers off RHP as well with a .356 career wOBA, and .843 OPS against the split. Arenado was a top player in our system last night and paid off handsomely going 3 for 4 with a home run and a walk in the series opener, for his fourth straight multi-hit effort and his fifth in six games, not to mention his fourth game with a home run. The price on these Coors bats are reaching ridiculous levels, but it's hard to argue the fade in this spot.

Adrian BeltreAdrian Beltre FD 2900 DK 3900
Opponent - MIN (Jake Odorizzi) Park - MIN
FD - 9.85 DK - 7.57
If you just can't fit that ridiculous Arenado pricetag into your early lineup, then Adrian Beltre presents a solid value option for nearly half the price. He's been around as long as I can remember but doesn't show any signs of slowing down. Now in his twenty-first season, Beltre is posting a .334 wOBA, slashing .302/.357/.428 with an OPS approaching .800. Mix in a matchup against Jake Odorizzi, who's been showing some solid strikeout stuff this season but still has an xFIP pushing the 5.00 mark and the appeal becomes quite clear. He's allowed 16 runs in his last four starts and has failed to go deeper than five innings in each. Sure, Beltre tends to fare better against lefties, but he's got strong numbers for his career against RHP as well, and for the savings off of Arenado, he's an excellent pivot.

Alex BregmanAlex Bregman FD 4200 DK 5000
Opponent - KC (Ian Kennedy) Park - HOU
FD - 13.83 DK - 10.53
Now in his third year in the bigs, Alex Bregman continues to improve with each season. Bregman has a .367 wOBA, 138 wRC+, and 13.4% walk rate, all career-best numbers, while his 11 home runs have him well on pace to shatter the 19, he hit in 2017. Bregman has much better numbers against lefties, but his .344 wOBA and 119 wRC+ are impressive enough. Bregman never made it out of the batter's box last night in the first game of the series, ending a 21 game on-base streak which saw him go 8 for 24 since last Friday with three home runs and nine RBI. Bregman is one of the safest plays on the night, and I'll have him in most if not all of my lineups.

 

Outfield

Charlie BlackmonCharlie Blackmon FD 4700 DK 5800
Opponent - MIA (Trevor Richards) Park - COL
FD - 17.5 DK - 13.28
Carlos GonzalezCarlos Gonzalez FD 3700 DK 4300
Opponent - MIA (Trevor Richards) Park - COL
FD - 13.75 DK - 10.43
Gerardo ParraGerardo Parra FD 3200 DK 4000
Opponent - MIA (Trevor Richards) Park - COL
FD - 11.98 DK - 9.28
We're going to round out the Rockies selections with the trio of outfielders. Charlie Blackmon leads the way and will be in 100% of my lineups today, if not more. Blackmon is far and away the top raw point projected position player on the slate in our MLB projection system, and is in a tremendous spot against the rookie Trevor Richards. Blackmon has the sixth best wOBA (.404) against RHP since 2016 with a .973 OPS and .278 ISO. The Rockies are projected for 6.6 implied runs against the young Marlins pitcher today and Blackmon hits in the top of a very strong order.

Then we have Carlos Gonzalez and Gerardo Parra in the heart of the order. CarGo hitting in the cleanup spot is among the top raw projected point totals of the day in our system and comes in significantly less than Blackmon in price. If you absolutely have to fade Charlie B, make sure to have CarGo in his place. CarGo is slashing .271/.325/.447 this season and has a .386 wOBA against the split for his career. Parra meanwhile has more down to earth numbers in the split with a .329 wOBA, .766 OPS, and .145 ISO off RHP in his career, but he also comes with a down to earth price tag to boot. Regardless of how the rest of your lineup shakes out, we find Parra priced to a point where you can comfortably fit him in to have your Coors exposure, even if you fade the full Colorado stack. Among the trio, Blackmon is a must, while pairing him with CarGo is the best option, but if you don't quite have the funds, then Parra works just as well.

Marcell OzunaMarcell Ozuna FD 3100 DK 4200
Opponent - MIL (Chase Anderson) Park - MIL
FD - 11.57 DK - 8.78
If you can't fit all of those Rockies into your outfield, then shake things up a bit with Marcel Ozuna in Milwaukee against Chase Anderson and the Brewers. Anderson came off a 2017 campaign that saw him pick up a dozen wins while posting a 2.74 ERA but his xFIP was at 4.33, and he has regressed back to numbers more on par with his career totals in 2018. The xFIP is now over 5.00; the K's are at a career low while the walks are a career high. He's expected to struggle against the Cardinals, who project for 4.6 implied runs, and Ozuna is a sure target in the cleanup spot of the St. Louis order. Ozuna is now doing in St. Louis what he did for five seasons in Miami, with a strong .323 wOBA, .279/.323/.420 slash line, and .743 OPS. It's not his preferred split, but his numbers off of RHP don't fall too far off from where they are against southpaws, so I'm quite comfortable with Ozuna here regardless of the split as a pivot off of one of those oh so pricey Colorado bats.

Josh ReddickJosh Reddick FD 2500 DK 3400
Opponent - KC (Ian Kennedy) Park - HOU
FD - 11.2 DK - 8.58
George SpringerGeorge Springer FD 4100 DK 5000
Opponent - KC (Ian Kennedy) Park - HOU
FD - 15.14 DK - 11.39
Are you as sick of reading about the Astros as I am of writing about them? It's not easy to think of new ways at each position to say a pitcher is terrible, but Ian Kennedy is quite so. The good news is this is the last we'll talk about the Astros for today because this is the end of the article. So we close out this thing with outfielders Josh Reddick and George Springer. Springer comes in second to Mike Trout as raw point projections on the main slate go, but with a significant discount in price. Now five seasons into his career, Springer continues to post a wOBA over .350, OPS over .800 and has an ISO over .200 for the second year in a row. He's striking out 5% less than his career average for the second straight season and is on pace for another 30 home run campaign. Reddick meanwhile is another value option in the Houston lineup. The left-handed hitter has excellent splits, with a .341 wOBA, 117 wRC+, and .794 OPS against RHP. To summarize, the Astros are the top offense going on the main slate and can be targeted anywhere from 1-9 with a prime matchup against a terrible pitcher on a struggling team.

Thanks for stopping by and reading, feel free to leave any questions or comments below, and keep an eye out for the pitchers/stack article coming out a little later today. As always good luck out there. Cheers!

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image sources

  • 1024px-Coors_Field,_Denver,_Colorado,_US: By color line (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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