Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 7/26/18
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The options on this small slate are less than appealing tonight which only helps prop up Strasburg as the clear #1 option. After missing over a month with right shoulder inflammation, Strasburg made his return last Friday and it wasn't exactly how he had planned it. He gave up eight hits and six earned runs to the Braves striking out six and walking two batters but the good news is that there appeared to be no restrictions as he threw 98 pitches before being pulled. The overall season numbers are much better than what we saw in that start as he enters tonight with a 3.90 ERA and even better 3.30 xFIP. He also provides big upside with a 28.8% K rate and 11.7% swinging strike rate. He will get a good matchup to get back on track vs. the Marlins who rank 26th in runs scored on the season and 25th against right-handed pitching when looking at wOBA(.303) and wRC+(90) and are striking out at 22.9% rate as well. Considering the discounted options(Cahill, Miley, Hill) in much tougher matchups, Strasburg is the top choice in all formats tonight. Editor's Note: Strasburg was placed on the 10 Day DL this AM. So let's go ahead and now assume he's not (I repeat, NOT) a play today. Article updated shortly.
The drop off after Strasburg is quite significant but I am willing to take a risk with Sonny Gray tonight as the Yankees are huge -270 favorites. He does have some knocks against him as he has been pretty terrible at home with a 7.62 ERA but in his defense, he has had some very tough matchups in Yankee Stadium(NYM, BOS, WSH, LAA, OAK, CLE) lately. The good news is that he has put together back to back solid starts holding the Mets to just two runs at home and the shutout the O's the start before in Baltimore. He has also struck out 14 batters in those two starts and tonight gets a plus matchup vs. a Royals team that ranks 28th in wOBA(.289) and wRC+(82) against right-handed pitching. They don't K a bunch(19.8% in that split) but given the price and other options, Gray has a high enough floor to be considered a top SP2 option on DraftKings and GPP option on FanDuel.
If you have been targeting against Alex Cobb this season you likely don't have a whole lot to complain about. He enters Thursday night with a 6.17 ERA over his first 18 starts and while that is quite a bit higher than his career 3.82 ERA, he still sits with a 4.62 xFIP and 4.63 SIERA which suggests things won't be getting much better. He has also struggled with the long ball giving up 17 home runs in those starts(15.3% HR/FB). I don't normally like targeting Rays bats but will make an exception tonight and it starts with C.J. Cron who has been en fuego this month. In 17 games in July, he has an elite .389/.443/.704 slash line and for the season sits with a career-high 19 home runs. He has bounced around the lineup throughout the season but I would assume he is back in the cleanup spot on Thursday and a terrific play in all formats.
If we are going to target struggling pitchers who give up home runs we can't go without mentioning the Yankees against Jakob Junis. It has been a terrible season overall but even worse over the course of the last two months as he sits with a 7.51 ERA and 4.90 xFIP since the start of June and given up a whopping 12 home runs in just seven starts(23.1% HR/FB). This is nothing for Junis who is coming off a season where he recorded a 4.30 ERA, 4.77 xFIP and a 12.3% HR/FB rate. I will start by going the value route with the Bronx Bombers and roll with Greg Bird. He gets a bit of a downgrade in projection as he hits down the order but comes in hot with hits in five straight and 13 of his last 14 games. He is also starting to show his power upside with five of his eight home runs coming since the 29th of June. All things considered, he is another player I will target in all formats tonight.
At catcher, consider Elias Diaz(PIT) who leads the team with a .427 wOBA, 171 wRC+ and 1.004 OPS against left-handed pitchers.
You thought I was going to talk about Brian Dozier vs. lefty here, didn't you? While he is in his best split and ranked high in the raw points projections tonight he is also a bit too pricey which lowers his PTS/$ value overall. Instead, I will turn to Jed Lowrie as my top play at second base as he is also in his best split tonight. He is a switch hitter and has been consistent overall with a .280 average and .358 OBP but has near elite from the left side with a .381 wOBA, 146 wRC+, and .890 OPS. He will face 45-year-old Bartolo Colon who is barely striking out over five batters per nine and sits with 4.85 ERA and 17.3% HR/FB rate. Nuff said!
We can definitely grab some value in the middle infield tonight with the red-hot Pirates and it starts with Sean Rodriguez. He landed on the DL in late June with a quad injury and since his return post-All-Star break, he has hits in three of four games including a double and two home runs. On top of that, he has some big splits as he has struggled big-time against righties with a .237 wOBA and 45 wRC+ while crushing lefties to the tune of a .394 wOBA, 150 wRC+, and .243 ISO. Matz hasn't been bad this season but he hasn't been great either walking almost 3.5 batters per nine with a 3.65 ERA, 4.40 xFIP and 15% HR/FB rate while giving up 38% hard contact to righties(11% to lefties). Rodriguez makes an excellent salary relief option in all formats.
Also consider: Joey Wendle(TB)
Andrus doesn't provide us with a ton of upside with just four home runs and 16 RBI on the season but he has been very consistent and with a mid-range price tag, is a worthy candidate for a more balanced cash lineup. He does come in hot with his in seven straight and in 14 of 18 games in July with six multi-hit efforts and seven extra-base hits. The matchup is definitely nothing to write home about as Trevor Cahill has been good overall but most of his success has come at home where he holes a 0.80 ERA vs. a 5.92 ERA on the road.
Any time the Pirates are going up against a lefty, Mercer enters the conversation as a value play at the shortstop position. He has hit southpaws to the tune of a .307 average, .348 wOBA, and 119 wRC+ and he has also been playing very well lately. He enters the night with hits in five straight and nine of his last 10 games with five extra-base hits. He and the red-hot Pirates will face Steven Matz who has been decent this season but also has some glaring splits. He has allowed just a .308 wOBA and 11% hard contact to left-handed batters but a .330 wOBA and 38% hard contact to righties. Considering the matchup and price, Mercer can be considered in all formats.
Also Consider: Didi Gregorius(NYY)
If you are paying up at the position, there is no player with a higher upside than Eugenio Suarez, at least on DraftKings where Machado is listed at shortstop. He has been consistent all season with a .306 average and elite .391 on-base percentage and also leads the team with 22 home runs and 76 RBI. He also sits in an elite class against left-handed pitchers sitting behind only Nolan Arenado and Mookie Betts overall with a ridiculous .488 wOBA, 208 wRC+, and 1.176 OPS in the split. He will face Ranger Suarez who is making his major league debut tonight and while he was good in the minors this season, he goes into a hitters park vs. a powerful offense. I don't think Suarez is a must for cash games at his price but makes a very high upside GPP play.
Andujar's impressive rookie season continues as he comes in scorching hot with five straight multi-hit games and overall has at least one hit in 12 of his last 13 games. That stretch has pushed his season average up to .294 and he has also added power upside with 12 home runs and 41 RBI. Probably more impressive than anything is that he is putting up these numbers while hitting near the bottom of the order for the Yankees. He has also shown some reverse splits in a smaller sample size this season with a .307 average, .352 wOBA, and 124 wRC against right-handed pitching and like I mentioned above, he gets an elite matchup tonight bringing him into the conversation in all formats.
Also Consider: Travis Shaw(MIL) in GPP formats
I talked about Jakob Junis and his 5.03 ERA and 17.9% HR/FB rate earlier in the article and if we are targeting Yankee bats we best get Aaron Judge into our lineups. He leads the team with an elite .398 wOBA, 155 wRC+, and .265 ISO vs. right-handed pitching and sits Top 5 in the league with 26 home runs on the season. Sure, he strikes out at a terrible 30% rate but still takes his walks(15%) and gets on base at a .397 rate and hits ahead of power bats in Didi Gregorius and Giancarlo Stanton. The Yankees are one of two teams at the moment with implied run lines over six and while Judge is very expensive, he is definitely in the conversation for cash games if you plan to pay up for one bat.
I mentioned Trevor Cahill's road splits above(5.92 ERA) above and think this is a great spot to target against him as he will be going into a very tough spot for any pitcher. For cash games, I love playing Choo who hits leadoff for the Rangers and has been getting on base at an elite level(.402 OBP) this season which helps provide consistency and a high floor. Joey Gallo will never be considered consistent as he is hitting just .188 on the season with a .3030 on-base percentage but what he does offer us is big-time upside and with 7 home runs since the 29th of June, has climbed into the Top 10 among all hitters with 25 long balls on the season. He also comes low owned hitting down in the order but makes a perfect addition to a high upside stack tonight.
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- Yankees Orioles Baseball: (AP Photo/Nick Wass)