Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

07/26/2018
Doug Norrie

Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 7/27/18

Tonight's baseball slate has a little something for everyone. We've got two of the best pitchers in the game with Max Scherzer and Chris Sale taking the mound. Plus there's a game in Coors with the righty-heavy Rockies led by Nolan Arenado facing a lefty in Sean Manaea. It's going to get interesting.

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Pitcher

Max ScherzerMax Scherzer FD 11500 DK 13900
Opponent - MIA (Pablo Lopez) Park - MIA
FD - 48.85 DK - 27.51
There will be some debate between Scherzer and Sale for Friday’s matchup, but I’m taking a firm stand in Mad Max’s corner early on FanDuel. From a statistical perspective, Sale has the advantage over Scherzer with a better strikeout rate and lower xFIP. But the matchup for Scherzer overcomes those differences. Despite some recent offensive gains, Miami still ranks 25th in the league against righty pitching with a .303 team wOBA in that split. Scherzer also gets to throw in a clear pitchers’ park in Miami and on FanDuel is coming just a bit cheaper than Sale. Look, it’s close. But the savings you get on Scherzer on FanDuel ($1300 cheaper) makes all the difference. On DraftKings, go Sale for $400 less and take the hedge that way.

Chris ArcherChris Archer FD 9000 DK 9500
Opponent - BAL (Andrew Cashner) Park - BAL
FD - 33.22 DK - 17.83
Archer was a strikeout machine in his first start back from the All-Star Break, K-ing 13 batters in six innings against the Marlins without surrendering a walk. He did allow three earned runs, but the K’s more than made up for it. On Friday, he’ll get an Orioles team ranked 27th in wOBA against righties this season and that includes time with Manny Machado who’s now exited stage Los Angeles. They are a dramatically worse lineup and already struck out 25% of the time against righties. Archer worked his way back from the disabled list but seemed at full strength in his last start throwing 101 pitches. The walks are still something of an *issue* and K% is down from the last three seasons. But I’m not overly concerned and at these prices, he makes for an interesting GPP pivot off of the two big guys.

Marcus StromanMarcus Stroman FD 8000 DK 7300
Opponent - CHW (Reynaldo Lopez) Park - CHW
FD - 29.07 DK - 14.71
Stroman is kind of doing this “every other start” kind of thing. So here’s to hoping tonight he breaks the pattern. All kidding aside, Stroman has been quite good since his DL stint back in late May/most of June. He was atrocious to start the season, but since coming back he’s averaged 5.86 innings and a 3.06 ERA to go with a 3:1 K:BB ratio. This is a marked improvement since that early run and he walks into a great matchup on Friday. The park doesn’t do him any favors, but the White Sox rank 23rd in the league against righty pitching and strike out 25% of the time. They have some power bats in the lineup, but the K upside outweighs some of those concerns.

Strongly consider Madison Bumgarner at home against the Brewers. He’s coming off a horrific start but is pitching in a great ballpark against a K-happy Brewers team.

First Base/Catcher

Jose MartinezJose Martinez FD 2800 DK 3700
Opponent - CHC (Mike Montgomery) Park - STL
FD - 10.65 DK - 8.15
He’s moved down a bit in the Cardinals’ lineup but at these prices, I really don’t care all that much. In his first two major league seasons, the big Cardinal first baseman is among the best in the league at hitting left-handed pitching. Over his first 146 plate appearances in that split he has a whopping .413 wOBA and .986 OPS. Those are better rate stats than guys like Trout or Judge (to randomly pick a couple) and they look every bit the real thing. Is he as good as those guys? Of course not, but he’s priced firmly in the lower-middle tier. Mike Montgomery generates a lot of groundballs, but doesn’t strike anyone out and has a 4.53 xFIP. This is a good matchup for the Cardinals and if Martinez moves back up in the order at all then he makes an even better value bat.

Greg BirdGreg Bird FD 3000 DK 4100
Opponent - KC (Brad Keller) Park - NYY
FD - 12.7 DK - 9.42
Brad Keller could be in big trouble against the Yankees on Friday. Sure, the Royals’ righty generates a lot of groundballs (57% this season) but allowing a lot of contact to these Yankees in this stadium isn’t exactly a recipe for success. Bird, like Martinez above, hits lower in the order, but hitting 7th for the Yankees can be almost like hitting fifth for some other teams because of the plate appearance expectation. There’s a reason they have the highest opening implied run total on the day (6.18) and that includes a game in Coors. Bird has been serviceable this season with a .781 OPS and eight home runs. He’ll take walks (10%) and you are a lot less worried about the strikeout rate in this matchup.

Mitch MorelandMitch Moreland FD 3400 DK 4100
Opponent - MIN (Lance Lynn) Park - BOS
FD - 12.71 DK - 9.57
He’s the cheapest of the top four Red Sox hitters on a day which they face Lance Lynn with a 5.75 opening implied run line. This is Moreland’s best OPS season (.842) and he’s on pace to eclipse his best power numbers if he can play out the rest of the season. The Red Sox first baseman has increased the walk rate in each of the last two seasons since coming to Boston while also cutting down on the strikeouts. I like his middle tier pricing on both sites.

There are a lot of solid catcher options on Friday. Evan Gattis against Yovani Gallardo looks enticing. As does Russell Martin against Reynaldo Lopez. And finally, Francisco Cervelli could be the best of the bunch if he’s in the middle of the lineup against the lefty Jason Vargas.

 

Second Base

Cesar HernandezCesar Hernandez FD 2900 DK 4400
Opponent - CIN (Anthony DeSclafani) Park - CIN
FD - 10.67 DK - 8.32
Hernandez has been in and out of the lineup this week with a foot issue, but after a day off Thursday and only pinch-hitting duties on Wednesday, I do think we see him back in his customary leadoff role on Friday. He’s fantastic at getting on base with a .370 OBP this season thanks to a 14% walk rate. He’s got speed when on base with 14 stolen bases already this season and has shown a little pop as well (eight home runs). The Phillies are in Great American Ballpark for the weekend, one of the best power pads in baseball facing Anthony DeSclafani who’s merely average. He’s sporting a 4.45 xFIP and sub 3:1 K:BB ratio. Philadephia comes in right under five implied runs putting Hernandez in a great spot for his price.

Josh HarrisonJosh Harrison FD 2700 DK 3800
Opponent - NYM (Jason Vargas) Park - PIT
FD - 12.13 DK - 9.46
Sean RodriguezSean Rodriguez FD 2100 DK 3200
Opponent - NYM (Jason Vargas) Park - PIT
FD - 10.3 DK - 7.8
With Starling Marte out of the lineup with a hand contusion, Harrison moved back up into the two hole for the Pirates. He’d been relegated to the bottom of the order in the short term because of his struggles at the plate. Some of that is BABIP-related where he’s running 30 points off his career average despite a hard contact rate right in line with previous seasons. For a guy coming so cheap, he’s still put up solid numbers over the last couple of seasons against lefty pitching with a .772 OPS And .330 wOBA. He’s tough to strike out (16%) and fits the theme of the cheap hitting option as long as he’s slotted near the top of the order.

The same goes for Sean Rodriguez who’s coming at or near the minimum on both sites an actually has multi-position eligibility on DraftKings. This is for a guy with a 17% walk rate, .832 OPS and .360 wOBA in his last 109 plate appearances against lefty pitching. He's nothing like a great slugger, but if looking for value, salary-relief bats on this slate then he definitely checks some boxes.

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Shortstop

Paul DeJongPaul DeJong FD 3200 DK 3600
Opponent - CHC (Mike Montgomery) Park - STL
FD - 11.15 DK - 8.5
There are a couple of ways to spend up at shortstop on Friday, but I do like the relative savings we get on deJong. His price hasn’t really caught up to his new, third slot in the lineup. I’m assuming he sticks there considering that’s the way the Cardinals have rolled in the short term and he has a good matchup against Montgomery. DeJong is something like platoon neutral over the last two seasons with low .800’s OPS’s in both splits. That being said, he has a much better walk rate against lefties (10.3%). He’s also made improvements since last season by reducing his strikeout rate. The young Cardinal probably ran a little hot in the power department last season seeing as he’s nowhere close to his 25 home run pace from 2017. But he still has pop and is coming priced in the middle tier for a third hitter in a good matchup.

Didi GregoriusDidi Gregorius FD 3500 DK 4800
Opponent - KC (Brad Keller) Park - NYY
FD - 14.12 DK - 10.87
It’s going to be real tempting to spend up at shortstop on Friday considering Didi’s matchup and Story facing a lefty in Coors. I’ll give the value nod to the former because he’s priced significantly lower on both sites. Gregorius has cooled off some in the power department after hitting 10 home runs in his first 98 plate appearances. He *only* has eight in the following 269 plate appearances which is a bit more in line with his previous power pace. That being said, this is still a guy hitting between Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in the Yankee lineup. That kind of placement can make even the most mediocre of hitters pick up inordinate rate stats. Didi is well above that and at a premium position to boot. If you are spending up at pitching you can likely save just about everywhere else and still consider rostering Gregorius at his FanDuel price.

If you want to go really cheap, consider Jordy Mercer against the lefty Vargas

 

Third Base

Nolan ArenadoNolan Arenado FD 4500 DK 5500
Opponent - OAK (Sean Manaea) Park - COL
FD - 17.06 DK - 12.86
Look, I know it appears a little flaky (or disingenuous) to write up guys like Scherzer and Sale while ALSO throwing out Arenado as a play. But the simple fact is the two things are mutually exclusive and all of them are incredible values on Friday. It’s just going to come down to what type of roster construction you are looking for. With Arenado you are getting the very best lefty killing bat in the game and it really isn’t all that close. In the last two seasons, Arenado has a 1.323 OPS in that split. The next closest qualified guy is Stanton about 150 points lower. For context, the difference between one and two is the same difference as two and ten. The Rockies’ slugger has just been that much better than everyone else in this split. Life is full of tough choices and fading Arenado on this slate won’t feel great at all. But you will likely have to choose between spending up at pitching and sweating out the PAs or vice versa.

Matt DuffyMatt Duffy FD 2700 DK 4000
Opponent - BAL (Andrew Cashner) Park - BAL
FD - 9.77 DK - 7.6
If you want / need to go much cheap at the position, then Duffy makes an interesting option. He’s actually been a reverse splits guy over the last two seasons, with an OPS about 80 points higher against righties (.778 compared to .692). He’s tough to strike out (15%) and faces Andrew Cashner who K’s about seven batters per nine while walking close to four. The Rays get a big park upgrade moving out of Tampa and into Baltimore. Duffy is mostly attractive because he’s coming very cheap on FanDuel for a middle of the order hitter who’s above average in this split. The Rays at more than 4.5 implied runs coming into a game means something is definitely working in their favor.

Strongly consider Yangervis Solarte coming cheap on DraftKings where he qualifies at 3B and 2B.

 

Outfield

Curtis GrandersonCurtis Granderson FD 2900 DK 3700
Opponent - CHW (Reynaldo Lopez) Park - CHW
FD - 11.92 DK - 8.92
Granderson could come in something like the chalk on both sites if he sticks in the leadoff spot against Reynaldo Lopez. The latter is something close to horrible for a pitcher with a gig every five days. Don’t get all that confused by the 4.13 ERA. The xFIP is more than 1.5 runs higher because he’s run very hot on BABIP. That stat should regress considering he’s primarily a flyball pitcher who allows a 33% hard contact rate. Granderson still takes walks at a 13% clip and though his numbers are down some this season, has pop in the bat with nine home runs in 284 plate appearances. I love the price on both sites seeing as how US Cellular is a power park and the matchup is clearly in the Blue Jays’ favor here.

Brett GardnerBrett Gardner FD 3200 DK 4700
Opponent - KC (Brad Keller) Park - NYY
FD - 13.58 DK - 10.39
Aaron HicksAaron Hicks FD 3100 DK 4100
Opponent - KC (Brad Keller) Park - NYY
FD - 12.83 DK - 9.71
Gardner is still damn cheap on FanDuel at $3200. I’m not as intrigued by the DraftKings’ price, but hitting leadoff in this lineup is nothing short of the best spot in baseball. He rates as one of the best points/$ plays at the position. He takes walks at a 12% clip and is actually striking out less than last season. The home runs are down (along with the hard contact just a bit) but again hitting at the top of this lineup makes up for perceived weaknesses. I’m all over him in this matchup.

Meanwhile, Hicks could move up in the lineup if Aaron Judge is out for this matchup. Judge was pulled early in Thursday’s game and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him sit in this game. Hicks is significantly better against lefties over the last two seasons (and for his career) but he’s taken cuts against righties with the Yankees to the tune of a .789 OPS thanks in large part to the 15% walk rate. If he’s hitting in the middle of this lineup then he’s coming way too cheap even in the wrong side of his split.

Marcell OzunaMarcell Ozuna FD 2800 DK 3500
Opponent - CHC (Mike Montgomery) Park - STL
FD - 10.94 DK - 8.35
Did you think I was going to make it through a whole picks article without mentioning Ozuna? I doubt many people have written more about Ozuna than us this year and obviously the results leave a lot to be desired. But as we’ve mentioned time and time again, the struggles do appear correctable considering his dips in production seem almost all BABIP and Hr/FB related despite a career-high in hard contact rate. He’s better against righties over the last two seasons, but for his career has been significantly better against southpaws. I’m buying on the bigger sample size and do think we are still getting him at too cheap of a price in the middle of this Cardinals’ lineup.

Strongly consider Josh Reddick

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4 Visitor Comments

  1. No thanks on Archer at $9500 on DK. Being an Orioles fan, I know full well how bad they are. But Archer has never pitched well at Camden Yards. Career 6.91 ERA over 9 starts.

  2. Thank you Brian for the insight. I always appreciate Doug’s articles but it’s pretty cool when other people give their thoughts as well.

  3. Spreadsheet says 7-25 for the date

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