Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

08/04/2018
Jerry Vanderwoude

Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 8/4/18

It's Saturday, and we've got a full day of major league baseball action. There's a double header going on in our nation's capital, and a couple of early afternoon contests, but for this article, we'll focus on the twelve game main slate starting at 7:05 PM EST. There's a lot to break down with some dominant arms on the hill, while several teams are projecting for big-time run totals. Where should we spend our salary? Let's take a look at the picks.

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Pitcher

James PaxtonJames Paxton FD 9500 DK 12900
Opponent - TOR (Marco Estrada) Park - SEA
FD - 42.08 DK - 22.89
We have got a lot of lopsided matchups going tonight including three games opening with money lines of -200 or better. While the two guys below are even larger favorites, I opted to open this piece up with James Paxton because he has the best peripherals of the three. Paxton comes into the day with the fifth lowest xFIP in the majors at 3.05 and his 11.61 K/9 is the fourth highest. He also sees a strong matchup at home in a pitchers haven against a mediocre Toronto offense. The Jays have a .308 team wOBA, and 92 wRC+ against southpaws this season, and come into the day with the lowest implied run line. Paxton ran into some trouble in late June/early July before hitting the DL with a back issue, but if his last start against the Astros (7.0 IP, 3H, 0BB, 8K, 0ER) is any indication, he is back on track and ready to dismantle the Jays lineup. Paxton is a tremendous cash play all around, and I love that sub $10K price tag on FanDuel for some huge tournament upside as well.

Corey KluberCorey Kluber FD 10400 DK 10100
Opponent - LAA (Felix Pena) Park - CLE
FD - 39.77 DK - 21.81
Corey Kluber may not be the same guy he was last year. In the second half of 2017, CK posted a ridiculous 2.41 xFIP, with a .229 wOBA against, striking out over a third of the batters he faced and allowed a single earned run in his final four starts. While he hasn't been quite that dominant in 2018, with a 3.22 xFIP Kluber is still proving to be one of the best arms in the game. The strikeouts are down nearly three batters per nine, but the control hasn't been an issue as his 1.18 BB/9 is the best walk rate in the game. Kluber and the Indians are huge -236 favorites against the Angels who will likely have Mike Trout back in the lineup, but just how is that wrist feeling? Even with a healthy Trout, Anaheim has an average .319 team wOBA this season, and they only strikeout 20.6% of the time. Kluber is another excellent cash option, but I'll limit my tournament exposure to DraftKings.

Jose BerriosJose Berrios FD 10700 DK 11000
Opponent - KC (Burch Smith) Park - MIN
FD - 41.39 DK - 21.82
Jose Berrios and the Twins are -230 favorites at home against the Royals. Kansas City comes into the day with a .295 team wOBA, second worst in the majors. Like Anaheim, they don't strikeout a ton so the upside can be called into question here, but Berrios is another fine option in cash games with a 3.75 xFIP, 25.2 K% limiting baserunners with a 5.9 BB% and 1.05 WHIP. As the most expensive arm on FanDuel tonight, I'll likely stick with the two guys above, but on DraftKings Berrios is just a tad bit more expensive than Kluber, while coming much cheaper than Paxton if you can't afford to pay all the way up there.

First Base/Catcher

Logan MorrisonLogan Morrison FD 2700 DK 3900
Opponent - KC (Burch Smith) Park - MIN
FD - 12.07 DK - 9.05
Joe MauerJoe Mauer FD 2600 DK 3900
Opponent - KC (Burch Smith) Park - MIN
FD - 11.4 DK - 8.74
We just discussed the Twins pitcher in a game against the Royals that sees Minnesota as overwhelming favorites. While a large part of that is due to their pitcher, it's also due in part to the fact that Minnesota's offense is expected to put up one of the larger run lines against Burch Smith. We have two solid options to consider at first base from the Twins lineup priced identically on DK with just $100 separating them on FD. Logan Morrison has missed some time this season with a hip injury, and it certainly seems to have impacted his game, as he holds career low .293 wOBA with an OPS below .700, there is, however, reason for some optimism. He has homered three times in seven games since returning to the lineup with a .366 wOBA and .861 OPS. With LoMo as my upside play, Mauer will be my safety guy. Mauer has a .321 wOBA, walks 10.7% of the time and only whiffs 13.3%. He's hit safely in nine of his last 14 games, with five multi-hit efforts in that time. Smith struggles with the lefties, and we've got a pair to hit him with here in the top of the Twins order.

Behind the plate, it gets a little dicey. I was all set to write up Yan Gomes (CLE), then he was pulled from Friday night's game. If he's in the lineup, he's my top pick. I also considered Matt Wieters (WAS), but we're going to cover the Nationals extensively before all is said and done, and I didn't want to overdo it. He is indeed a consideration. I suppose you could consider Buster Posey (SFG) against Clay Bucholz. Through nine starts, Bucholz has a 4.03 xFIP, 2.12 BB%, and 36.9% hard-hit rate, while Posey is a reasonably priced, top of the order option at the position.

 

Second Base

Daniel MurphyDaniel Murphy FD 3500 DK 4400
Opponent - CIN (Matt Harvey) Park - WSH
FD - 12.05 DK - 9.23
I mentioned earlier that we would be talking quite a bit about the Nationals today as they host the Reds tonight in D.C. We'll begin with Daniel Murphy who missed much of the first half on the disabled list, but seems to have found himself a groove with hits in 11 of his last 14 games. Murphy now has his wOBA up to a healthy .331, while slashing .289/.345/.430. The Reds and Nats are playing a doubleheader today with Matt Harvey set to take the mound for the visitors in the nightcap. The left-handed hitting Murphy loves the righties with a career .355 wOBA, 124 wRC+, and .831 OPS against the split. The only real knock on Murphy is that he hits in the bottom of the order, but if Washington puts up the run total Vegas is predicting, he'll see plenty of opportunity at the plate.

Dee GordonDee Gordon FD 2900 DK 4100
Opponent - TOR (Marco Estrada) Park - SEA
FD - 10.41 DK - 8.36
If you need a cheap way out of the position, give a good look to Dee Gordon. Gordon is an exciting upside play with his speed (26 stolen bases, second most in the majors). He's struggled some at the plate this season, his wOBA is .015 points below his career mark, but he sees a promising matchup against right-hander Marco Estrada, as he holds a career .307 wOBA against the split. Hitting in the leadoff spot, Gordon is a tremendous value on FanDuel. The DraftKings price is a little more questionable, but certainly not out of consideration.

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Shortstop

Trea TurnerTrea Turner FD 4400 DK 5500
Opponent - CIN (Matt Harvey) Park - WSH
FD - 14.51 DK - 11.31
Our next stop in Washington is shortstop Trea Turner. We just talked about Dee Gordon above with his speed, and his 26 steals is second to this guy. Turner has swiped 30 bags already, while hitting 14 home runs, and scoring 68 runs, making him one of the top upside plays at the position. Turner has excellent reverse splits, with a career .358 wOBA against RHP, and though Harvey has fared better from the right side of the plate in his career, this season he has struggled from both sides of the dish. Turner doesn't come cheap, but with five multi-hit efforts, a home run, and eight steals in his last seven games, there is no denying the upside. Play him everywhere that you can afford him.

Nick AhmedNick Ahmed FD 3000 DK 4700
Opponent - SF (Andrew Suarez) Park - ARI
FD - 10.08 DK - 7.8
Nick Ahmed and the Diamondbacks host the Giants in Chase Field this weekend. San Francisco will counter the DBacks lineup with Andrew Suarez. The rookie has proven less than impressive in his first go around in the big leagues with a 4.11 ERA backed up by a 3.51 xFIP, while striking out just under eight batters per nine, and allowing a 38.1% hard-hit rate. With a number like that the 1.16 HR/9 would likely be much higher if he didn't have the luxury of throwing the majority of his games in AT&T Park. Chase Field is much more favorable to the hitters, and he could find himself in big trouble with the likes of Ahmed, who holds a top ten wOBA against southpaws at the position, slashing .272/.313/.528. Ahmed takes a hit batting in the six hole but has hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games, so he maintains his cash game appeal despite the spot in the order.

Jorge PolancoJorge Polanco FD 2800 DK 4100
Opponent - KC (Burch Smith) Park - MIN
FD - 11.33 DK - 8.76
For value, consider Jorge Polanco. Polanco is just 26 games back from serving his suspension but is making his presence felt in the Twins lineup with a .333 wOBA, and .749 OPS. In the split, he holds the highest wOBA on the team against RHP (.434), albeit in just 74 plate appearances. The switch-hitting Polanco has always favored the lefties though, with a career .333 wOBA, 141 wRC+, and .769 OPS against RHP making his way on base 35% of the time. The Royals are sending Burch Smith to the hill today. Smith started a handful of games for the Padres back in 2013 then faded back into obscurity before returning to the big leagues this year in the Royals bullpen. This will be his fifth start this season. As a starter, Smith is allowing a .371 wOBA against, with a 3.94 xFIP, and 36.4% hard-hit rate.

 

Third Base

Anthony RendonAnthony Rendon FD 3900 DK 4300
Opponent - CIN (Matt Harvey) Park - WSH
FD - 13.9 DK - 10.47
We'll open up the hot corner with another National against Matt Harvey. If the Nationals have any hope of making the postseason, and they seem to think they do, it's because of Anthony Rendon. The man has been a stud this year with a .365 wOBA, 128 wRC+, .287/.348/.518 slash line, .232 ISO, and .866 OPS. Rendon tends to fare better against the lefties, but with numbers like this, do we even need to worry about splits? Even in his weaker platoon, Rendon has a .345 wOBA with an OPS approaching .800, and like I said when talking about Turner, at this point in his career Harvey doesn't discriminate. He sucks against everyone. Rendon has been on base in 16 of his last 17 games, and you can consider him everywhere.

Miguel SanoMiguel Sano FD 2600 DK 4200
Opponent - KC (Burch Smith) Park - MIN
FD - 12.37 DK - 9.2
After a stint in the minors to get things sorted, the Twins recalled Miguel Sano back to the big club after trading away Eduardo Escobar. After a 0-for-7 in Fenway, Sano shook things up with five hits in nine at-bats against the Indians earlier this week with two doubles, two walks, an RBI, and two runs scored. With a career .351 wOBA, and .248/.338/.484 slash line, Sano is always a huge upside threat, and thanks to his recent stay in the minors, he is priced entirely too cheap, especially on FanDuel. Consider him in all formats against Burch Smith.

Adrian BeltreAdrian Beltre FD 2700 DK 3700
Opponent - BAL (Dylan Bundy) Park - TEX
FD - 11.71 DK - 8.95
If you can't afford Rendon, and Sano concerns you, then our system thinks you should consider Adrian Beltre at the hot corner. After all this time, Beltre is still plugging along, with a .319 wOBA, .289/.342/.396 slash line, and .738 OPS. Not bad numbers at all for someone coming in dirt cheap across the industry and seeing a prime matchup against Dylan Bundy. It's Beltre's less favorable split, but he still maintains a .345 wOBA and .807 OPS in his career against RHP. while Bundy has been outright terrible with a .4.25 xFIP, and 2.03 HR/9 thanks in part to a 35.1% hard-hit rate. Bundy has surrendered 18 earned runs through 19.1IP in his last four starts. Consider Beltre as a high upside play, with enough implied safety for the price in cash games as well.

 

Outfield

Bryce HarperBryce Harper FD 4600 DK 5500
Opponent - CIN (Matt Harvey) Park - WSH
FD - 15.83 DK - 11.78
Adam EatonAdam Eaton FD 3100 DK 4500
Opponent - CIN (Matt Harvey) Park - WSH
FD - 13.32 DK - 10.29
Have I picked on Matt Harvey enough today? No? Okay, then, just because you asked for it, I present a double dip of Nationals outfielders. Of course, with all of the extensive coverage of the Nationals bats today, you knew we had to mention Bryce Harper (as if his picture in the header didn't tip you off coming in). Harper struggled through much of the first part of the season, with a .214 average through the first half. In spite of that he went into the All-Star break with a .351 wOBA, which tells you when he did hit the ball, big things happened. The second half has been a whole different story for the All-Star outfielder, with a .359 average and .484 wOBA since the break. Harper has base hits in nine of his last twelve games with five multi-hit efforts with three home runs and three stolen bases. Perhaps now that the trade deadline has passed and the Nationals decided to stick with the face of their franchise a weight has been lifted and we'll see a return to the Harper of old.

In addition to Harper, we can also consider Adam Eaton in the leadoff spot for Washington. Eaton comes to us much cheaper than Bryce, with an equally impressive .353 wOBA, and 120 wRC+. He lacks the upside of some of his teammates who we've discussed today, but as a cash game play, the left-handed Eaton has a .351 wOBA and an OPS over .800 against the split. As the table setter, he merely needs to get on base, and then there's plenty of power lined up behind him to handle the rest.

Shin-Soo ChooShin-Soo Choo FD 3200 DK 4800
Opponent - BAL (Dylan Bundy) Park - TEX
FD - 13.56 DK - 10.21
I mentioned earlier just how bad Dylan Bundy had been this season. Well, that's how good Shin-Soo Choo has been in 2018. Choo is experiencing a kind of resurgence this year with his highest wOBA in the past five years, while his 20 home runs have him on pace to set a career mark. He's getting on base nearly 40% of the time thanks in part to a 14.2 BB%. Following an impressive on-base streak that encompassed the early part of the season, Choo has struggled a bit lately failing to get out of the batters' box three times in five games coming into Friday night. Still, Choo is an excellent play against Bundy, who has made a career of catering to left-handed hitters with a .339 wOBA allowed.

Michael BrantleyMichael Brantley FD 3400 DK 4400
Opponent - LAA (Felix Pena) Park - CLE
FD - 12.85 DK - 9.85
Like Choo, Michael Brantley is looking like a new player in 2018. His .347 wOBA is the highest in three years, while his 12 home runs may not be on pace to eclipse his career high of 20 set back in 2014, but will likely be his highest total since then. With 2016 and 17 injury shortened, Brantley finally looks healthy and reborn. While the Indians project for one of the highest run totals tonight, we haven't covered them extensively due to the price. Brantley, however, is a value-priced way into the top of the tribe's order without breaking the bank. With the Angels countering Cleveland with Felix Pena on the mound, we certainly want to get a piece of the action. Pena spent two years in the Cubs bullpen, before coming to Anaheim where he's made seven starts this season, with a 5.23 ERA, nearly four batters walked per nine, and a 43.9% hard-hit rate. In tournaments, you can look at going cheap on the mound and loading up on Cleveland bats, but in cash games, just run with Brantley.

Thanks for stopping by and reading. As always best of luck to you out there today. Make sure to check back later for the pitchers/stacks article, and if you haven't already done so, click on that red banner and get yourself a free trial of the system that generates all of these great picks! Cheers!

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