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Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

04/26/2019
James Davis

DraftKings and FanDuel MLB Picks for Saturday 4/27/19

Happy Saturday, everyone! These are my picks for tonight's main slate of games. If you're looking for early slate action, I'll put a couple of good stacks and pitchers below. If you want, you can always get access to our entire projection system for every slate and every game of all the sports we cover by clicking the button below!

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Early Slate Stacks to watch

The early games today feature a ton of terrible pitchers to stack against. Here is a pretty solid group of them for you!
Minnesota TwinsMinnesota Twins @MIN - vs. BAL (Dan Straily) - Implied Runs: 5.69

St. Louis CardinalsSt. Louis Cardinals @STL - vs. CIN (Tyler Mahle) - Implied Runs: 4.81

Oakland AthleticsOakland Athletics @TOR - vs. TOR (Aaron Sanchez) - Implied Runs: 4.66

Early slate pitchers

Stephen Strasburg and JA Happ, and a whole lot of bums. Hard to imagine those two not being chalk on both FD and DK. As I said above, for more hot early slate talk be sure to sign up for a free trial of our projection system and hop in our members only chatroom!

Pitchers

Noah SyndergaardNoah Syndergaard FD - P 9300 DK - 9400
Opponent - MIL (Brandon Woodruff) Park - NYM
FD - 35.66 DK - 0

We'll kick things off with Thor, which only seems appropriate given the current public discourse. April has been a forgettable one for the Mets' stud, with a ridiculous .346 BABIP allowed souring what ought to be an actual improvement over last year's solid campaign. Syndergaard has run up his K/9 to 10.55 - more than a full K/9 better than last year's already solid numbers. His 5.40 ERA is more than 2 full runs higher than his xFIP, and some positive regression should be right around the corner. The Brewers are a solid DFS match-up as well, with a league average wOBA against righties with the league's 4th highest strikeout rate against them. Syndergaard is also the second highest favorite on this slate, making him a pretty juicy cash game and big tournament option.

Clayton KershawClayton Kershaw FD - P 10900 DK - 10200
Opponent - PIT (Joe Musgrove) Park - LAD
FD - 39.52 DK - 0

Were it not for it being Avengers(TM) week, I may have just listed Kershaw atop this entire list. The 31 year old is still getting it done, registering a strikeout per inning, an ERA under 3 and an xFIP in the low 3s. I do think there is some cause for concern with Kershaw. The K rate is down and the walks are up, and his xFIP is really being pushed down by what ought to be an unsustainable 61.3% groundball rate. But man, you really can't complain about this match-up. The Pirates have been historically bad against lefties to start the season, nearly capturing dead last in both strikeout rate and wOBA. Striking out 30% of the time against lefties is just an incredible figure. Only the existence of Joe Musgrove keeps the Dodgers' moneyline under 200, but Kershaw is still a great bet for a win here.

On DraftKings, I kind of like Jon Gray in the pitcher 2 slot.

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Catcher/First Base

John HicksJohn Hicks FD - C 2100 DK - 3600
Opponent - CHW (Reynaldo Lopez) Park - CHW
FD - 7.87 DK - 0

Catcher, as always, is pretty lousy. I'm all about piling up Tigers against Reynaldo Lopez. People like to dream on Lopez's fastball, but it just hasn't come close to translating to Major League success. After two seasons of 5.5 xFIP ball, you'd think that Lopez couldn't get any worse. Except he has. Through 25.1 innings this year the xFIP has climbed to 6.41, and there is no end in sight to his futility. Hicks himself is nothing to write home about, but a catcher with 15 home run pop and a .700+ OPS at the minimum price is pretty much fine. You don't like that he hits toward the end of the order, but what can you do? It's catcher.

Ryan O'HearnRyan O'Hearn FD - 1B 2500 DK - 1B 3700
Opponent - LAA (Jaime Barria) Park - KC
FD - 9.56 DK - 7.23

Tonight's slate features an interesting mix of decent pitchers facing good offenses and terrible pitchers facing bad offenses. Barria falls in the second category. He's a non-prospect converted reliever whose only real skill is control, and since he can't miss bats, he is always going to be a reasonable guy to stack against. For my money, O'Hearn is a pretty intriguing young player. The 15.7% walk rate is elite, especially since he's walked at every level. He hasn't built upon last season's .950 OPS 170 plate appearances, but it's really just been a dismal BABIP that's held him down. He's inexpensive, has power, and is against a terrible pitcher - a recipe for success. O'Hearn's biggest weakness is the strikeout, but taking that off the table against Barria makes him a much better play than usual.

Anthony RizzoAnthony Rizzo FD - 1B 4100 DK - 1B 4600
Opponent - ARI (Zack Godley) Park - ARI
FD - 12.13 DK - 9.14

I think I'd actually rather pay down at first base and roll with some O'Hearn, but if I were a spending man I would definitely consider Rizzo. Arizona remains an underrated place to hit, and we're getting a discount on Rizzo thanks to some awful BABIP luck this year. His .213 number is .074 points behind his established levels, and he's actually improved upon both his ISO and BB% this year. His approach is still very solid, and all signs point to him turning it around. Godley, meanwhile, is quietly turning in a pretty bad season on the mound. He's doubled down on the control problems that plagued him last year, as his BB/9 has climbed to 4.67. Unfortunately, the K's have evaded him as well, dropping down to 7.33 K/9. I think the Cubs wail on him and his 5.42 xFIP.

Also considered: Miguel Cabrera.

Second Base

Whit MerrifieldWhit Merrifield FD - 2B 4000 DK - 2B/OF 4800
Opponent - LAA (Jaime Barria) Park - KC
FD - 11.35 DK - 8.89

We're seeing the beginnings of a reasonable Royals stack forming. Merrifield is one of those unassuming DFS plays, who doesn't hit for a whole lot of power but can pile up points in a hurry thanks to batting atop the order and his considerable wheels. Merrifield is a lot better against left handed pitching, but like most batters, he's even better against bad pitchers. Barria qualifies, and at a thin position Merrifield represents a pretty reasonable payoff.

Ozzie AlbiesOzzie Albies FD - 2B 3800 DK - 2B 4600
Opponent - COL (Jon Gray) Park - ATL
FD - 11.18 DK - 8.65

I nodded to Jon Gray as a decent pitcher two for DraftKings tonight, and while I stand by that, it's going to be hard to fade every team except the Royals, Angels, and Tigers. The case for Albies is almost identical to the case for Merrifield, but just a little bit worse. Which is to say, I like Merrifield better. Albies is reasonable against righties (but considerably better from the right side of the plate against lefties). Most of his value comes from where he bats in the lineup. Gray is a fine pitcher, but he's run seriously hot with the sub 3 ERA this season, as his xFIP sits in the mid-4s. Again, Albies is basically a poor-man's Merrifield here.

Also considered: Robinson Cano as an upside play against Woodruff.

Shortstop

Corey SeagerCorey Seager FD - SS 3600 DK - SS 4300
Opponent - PIT (Joe Musgrove) Park - LAD
FD - 10.5 DK - 8
I'll start by saying I'm actually a big believer in the tools on Musgrove. He had a sub 4 xFIP last year, and has modestly improved upon that so far this year, ticking up the K rate while maintaining excellent control. He just isn't a sub 2 ERA pitcher, though, and has ridden an absurd .233 BABIP allowed and 3.8% HR/FB rate to the ERA he's posted so far. Seager, meanwhile, has been excellent so far this year, posting career highs in walk rate and OBP. It's not clear that the power is back after his Tommy John surgery, but honestly at these prices we don't totally need the power. He's also .101 OPS points better against right handed pitching, which doesn't hurt.

The rest:
You know the drill at these terrible positions by now. After Seager there's hardly another credibly hitter at the position, which means we're going to have to make some concessions here. Ronny Rodriguez is off to a hot start, but he looks for all the world like a paper tiger with his 35% K rate and 5% walk rate. You have other cheap options in good match-ups like Nick Ahmed, but they are pretty damned unexciting. I'll just play Seager.

Third Base

Kris BryantKris Bryant FD - 3B 3800 DK - 3B/OF 4300
Opponent - ARI (Zack Godley) Park - ARI
FD - 12.45 DK - 9.37

We move on to one of baseball's most enigmatic hitters in Kris Bryant. It's easy to forget now that Bryant was one of a few prospects to receive an 80 grade when it came to raw power, as he's made it to his age 27 season with just one 30+ homer campaign. Bryant saw his ISO, exit velocity, and barrel rate all fall off a cliff last season due to shoulder injuries, but swore he was "%100" in Spring Training this year. You know what the results have been so far - a new career low .134 ISO rate and a .720 OPS. But is he really a sub $4,000 player? That's the million dollar question. I'm willing to take my chances against the struggling Godley if only because Bryant's excellent approach makes him a reasonably high floor option, but I have real concerns about Bryant going forward.

Jeimer CandelarioJeimer Candelario FD - 3B 3000 DK - 3B 3600
Opponent - CHW (Reynaldo Lopez) Park - CHW
FD - 9.71 DK - 7.36
It be like that sometimes. Candelario is like an even poorer man's version of Merrifield with a slightly different twist. Unlike Merrifield, Candelario is both cheap and bad. Like Merrifield, he's batting off against a very bad pitcher in Lopez. Offensively, Candelario skates by with a good walkrate and mediocre power, which is actually a pretty decent combo for a high floor against a pitcher with terrible control like Lopez. Not a play to write home about, but it does help you afford more expensive plays elsewhere.

Also considered: Justin Turner against Joe Musgrove, but I'd really prefer to do it in big tourneys only.

Outfield

Mike TroutMike Trout FD - OF 5000 DK - OF 5600
Opponent - KC (Jorge Lopez) Park - KC
FD - 15.54 DK - 11.61

If we're going to play seas of terrible players at cheap price points, we have to take our payoffs somewhere. For me, that's going to look like Mike Trout. It's too bad that baseball's best (all time?) player is stuck on such a horrific offense, but that's life. It's almost impossible to overstate how good Trout is, but I'll try. His 27% walk rate would make him one of the most valuable players in the league even if he only hit singles. His .319 ISO would make him one of the most valuable players in the league if he had Chris Davis' K rate. And he does this all as a center fielder. Anyway. Today he'll roll up on the vision of mediocrity that is Jorge Lopez. Lopez is a run of the mill 4.5 xFIP guy who gives up too many home runs (more than 2 per 9 this year), and not someone that baseball's best hitter needs to worry about. Trout is the best pay off option, and it isn't even close.

Brandon NimmoBrandon Nimmo FD - OF 2900 DK - OF 3900
Opponent - MIL (Brandon Woodruff) Park - NYM
FD - 9.79 DK - 7.43

It only seems fitting to fully write up at least one Met vs. Brandon Woodruff here, so why not the currently cheap Brandon Nimmo? The Mets' outfielder was one of the more underrated players in baseball last season, topping a .400 OBP thanks to an excellent 15.4% walk rate and a lot of very hard contact. The early season has been harder on him thanks to a big jump in his strikeout rate, but I think we're just getting him at a discount. Woodruff is not as bad as his 5.81 ERA would have you believe, but the list of converted relievers that don't wind up making it as starters is long enough for me to believe he's nothing to be scared of. I'm happy to grab Nimmo as a high floor play here.

Nicholas CastellanosNicholas Castellanos FD - OF 3300 DK - OF 4200
Opponent - CHW (Reynaldo Lopez) Park - CHW
FD - 10.62 DK - 8.12

Another Tiger on the wrong side of his platoon, but again, we're mostly just targeting the pitcher here. Castellanos seemed to have put it all together last season, topping 20 homers again and riding his line drive profile to an .854 OPS. One does have to wonder if the .361 BABIP was unsustainable, but either way the early season power outage shouldn't last forever. I like Castellanos to get back on track vs. Lopez here.

Ben ZobristBen Zobrist FD - OF 2400 DK - 2B/OF 3400
Opponent - ARI (Zack Godley) Park - ARI
FD - 10.6 DK - 8.1

It's almost like Ben Zobrist heard me typing when I talked about hitting only singles, as Zobrist has the incredible distinction of having a .000 ISO this season. While he hits for exactly zero power, he is still maintaining an even 1:1 BB/K rate, giving him a decent floor since he can still get on base at a great rate for an essentially minimum priced player.

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image sources

  • Noah Syndergaard: By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA (Noah Syndergaard) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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