Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
DraftKings and FanDuel MLB Picks for Friday 4/26/19
Friday's MLB action brings us a bunch of aces, some surprisingly efficient arms and some cash stacks we can sink our teeth into. Let's take an early look at FanDuel and DraftKings cash plays.
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Scherzer is the highest-priced pitcher on the board and rightfully so, What makes him such an attractive option here is this matchup, with San Diego putting out a lineup full of righties. That can't be overlooked when considering Scherzer, as he owns a 36 percent K-rate against righties throughout his career. It's not like these are tough righties either, with San Diego ranking 25th in xwOBA. That's why the Nationals enter this game as a -200 favorite with the Padres projected to score only three runs. Scherzer's numbers are simply ridiculous too, with Scherzer owning a 2.25 career FIP and a WHIP below 1.00 in three straight seasons.
Paxton is my personal favorite play of the day and his recent form his hard to overlook. Not only has he gone two starts without allowing a run, Paxton has actually only allowed five baserunners in that span, striking out 24 batters across 14 innings. That's obviously ridiculous and it should only continue in this superb matchup. Facing an NL lineup with a pitcher is beneficial enough, but he's actually facing a Giants team who ranks bottom-three in runs scored, batting average, OPS and xwOBA. To put it simply, this is one of the worst lineups in baseball facing arguably the hottest pitcher in the league.
Rodon was a personal breakout of mine at the beginning of the season and recent results are really encouraging. What I really like about Rodon this season is his improved control, with Rodon owning a 33:12 K:BB rate. That's a huge improvement from a guy who walked everybody last season and that's what's going to lead to a full-on breakout if he continues this. That alone is attractive but his 2.89 ERA and 1.11 WHIP backs up that control. The matchup may be the best part of this play though, with Detroit ranked 27th in runs scored and 26th in wOBA. In addition, Detroit ranks 23rd in K-rate and Rodon enters this matchup as a -140 favorite.
The catcher position is an absolute nightmare this season but Castro is a nice punt play if he finds his way into the lineup. His recent form is what's really enticing, with Castro posting a .545 OBP across his last three games while providing a home run and three runs scored. That's pretty much all you can ask for from a minimum priced catcher, especially against a guy who has a double-digit ERA and a WHIP approaching 2.00.
Castillo has good power potential for a catcher and that alone makes him worth a shot at such a cheap price. The matchup is hard to fade, with Norris allowing a .500 SLG and .347 wOBA this season. That should be beneficial for a guy like Castillo, who happens to have the platoon advantage against Norris. Since 2017, Castillo owns a .288 AVG and .784 OPS against southpaws, if you needed any more incentive.
Encarnacion continues to be undervalued on these DFS sites and it's hard to understand why. His power prowess is not matched by many others, with Encarnacion ranking top-three in the league in homers over the last eight years. That's crystal clear by his .233 career ISO and he should have no problem using that power against a guy like Shelby Miller. Not only does Miller own a 7.63 ERA and 2.22 WHIP, he also sits with an ugly .426 xwOBA.
Votto easily has some of the best eyes in the majors and that makes him particularly intriguing against a contact pitcher like Mikolas. Not only is Mikolas one of the worst strikeout pitchers in the league (17 percent K-rate), Votto is typically one of the lowest strikeout batters in the majors (0.92 BB/K-rate). That's a recipe for success for Votto, especially considering he gets the platoon advantage against Mikolas. His recent struggles have lowered his price to a number we can't pass up either, as Votto has traditionally been a $4,500 player in the past on both sites.
Profar is really struggling at the plate this year but it's lowered his price to this enticing number. This is a guy who had a breakout 2018 campaign, posting a 20-10 season while falling just a hair short of an .800 OPS. That's the Profar we expect to see for the rest of the season, as he has some inevitable regression headed his way. His .179 BABIP and 36.3 percent hard contact rate are the biggest indicators for a positive regression and we're going to bet on that happening against an average arm like Stroman.
Sogard is not a name that's going to pop off the page but he's way too cheap on both sites. His numbers this year are downright impressive, with Sogard posting a .367 average and .939 OPS. That has quietly made him one of the best hitters in this Blue Jays lineup and he could have success against a struggling Mike Fiers. In six starts this season, Fiers is posting an 8.28 ERA and 1.72 WHIP.
This is a tough sell with Seager's tough matchup and mediocre numbers but he's simply too cheap. What we really like about Seager is his recent form, as he's 11-for-27 at the plate over the last eight games. While none of those are homers, he does have three doubles in that span. That alone makes him an attractive option in this price range, especially when he gets the platoon advantage against Chris Archer.
Lindor just returned from injury and he's got hits in three of the four games he's played thus far. While he hasn't done a whole lot of damage, this is a guy who's a legitimate 25-25 threat with the ability to hit .300. What makes him an intriguing option here is the platoon advantage against Collin McHugh, who just had the worst start of his career. In fact, McHugh allowed 10 runs across 3,1 innings, as he really struggled against the lefty-heavy Rangers lineup. That is a promising sign for Lindor and our next recommendation.
Ramirez' struggles early on is well known in the fantasy industry but he's getting to a point where he's simply too cheap. In fact, Ramirez was a $4,500 player on FanDuel for the majority of last season and a $5,500 player on DraftKings. That means he's at a 25 percent discount and we're going to keep recommending him until he inevitably gets out of this slump. Recent results indicate he may slowly be climbing out of it, with Ramirez posting a .405 OBP over his last eight games while collecting two homers, three steals, six runs and seven RBI.
Gonzalez is another piece to our Minnesota stack but the majority of that will come in the outfield section. What we like about Gonzalez is the fact that he gets the platoon advantage, as he's a much better hitter from the left side. This is a guy who's really broken out the last two years too, posting an OPS north of .815 in that span. While he's struggled so far this season, facing Cobb may get him out of it. Corn on the Cobb is posting a putrid 11.88 ERA and 1.92 WHIP so far this season and Gonzalez is hungry to get out of his slump.
We're going to go with a mini two-man Cincy stack here, as Mikolas hasn't shown us much in terms of getting players to swing-and-miss. In fact, Mikolas' 17 percent K-rate is actually one of the worst in the majors these days and that should benefit a struggling lineup like this with his ugly 35 percent hard-hit rate. Puig appears to be ending his early-season slump too, as he's hitting .270 over his last 10 games while collecting three dingers and seven RBI. While Schebler's struggles continue, he's simply too cheap with his .206 career ISO and serious home run upside.
Stacking against Cobb is always a good idea and we definitely want to ride this Minnesota stack. Kepler is probably the best value of the bunch because he's projected to bat lead-off. Cruz is a great play because of his ridiculous hitting profile, as he's one of the league leaders with a .427 xwOBA. Rosario comes into this matchup just scorching, accruing 10 homers, 16 RBI and a 1.225 OPS across his last 16 games. All of those impressive Twins numbers look very tasty against Cobb, who owns a dreadful .480 xwOBA.
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- Max Scherzer: AP Photo - Eric Risberg