Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
DraftKings and FanDuel MLB Picks for Thursday 5/9/19
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It says a lot about the early slate pitching options when I lead off with Yu Darvish and his 5.79 ERA/5.00 xFIP. His two biggest issues early in the season are the walks(17.8%) and home runs(2.2 per 9). The good news today is that he and the Cubs face a Marlins team that is not only dead last in runs scored(99) but also in walk rate(6.9%) and ISO(.097) which somewhat negates Darvish's issues. He does have K upside with a 24% K rate(29% career average) and while the fastball is only generating 9% swinging strikes, the slider is generating 17% swinging strikes which just happens to be the Marlins worst pitch as a team(via FanGraphs). All things considered, Darvish is my top pitcher on both sites for the early slate.
Also Consider: Chris Bassitt(OAK)
It has been an incredible start to the season for the rookie who leads the Braves in ERA(1.14), xFIP(3.04), K rate(26.7%), and is second to Max Fried in wins with three. Those numbers also sit among the leaders across the entire league putting him on the fantasy radar almost every time he takes the bump. He is currently only throwing two pitches 91% of the time but the slider has been almost unhittable as he is generating a 14% swinging strike rate with it. Tonight he goes on the road to face a Diamondbacks team for the second time(5IP, 1 ER, 6 K, 2 BB) in less than a month. That same Diamondbacks team has been much better against lefties and slightly below average vs. righties while striking out 23% of the time. It is very close at the top between Corbin and Soroka but tonight I slightly lean Soroka on FanDuel and will likely pair them together on DraftKings as both are in the sub $10K range.
Also Consider: Patrick Corbin(WSH) as a 1B option in a worse matchup
Santana has cooled down since his hot start but even with just three hits in his last 24 at-bats, he is still hitting .293 with an elite .406 on-base percentage. What stands out the most, however, is the matchup as he faces a very inconsistent lefty with a 1.7 WHIP and who is prone to giving up home runs while Santana has raked in this split with a .422 wOBA, 165 wRC+, and 1.003 OPS. On FanDuel, the decision is a lot closer as Rizzo is only $300 more but on DraftKings I will side with Santana, at least in cash games, at an $800 discount.
Also Consider: Miguel Cabrera(DET) who has hits in seven straight and 18 of his last 20 games and sits with an xSLG(.430) 60 points higher than his SLG(.376) showing me the numbers are sustainable moving forward. On top of that, he is still very affordable on both sites
Yuli Gurriel FD - 1B 2600 DK - 1B/3B 3100
Opponent - TEX (Mike Minor) Park - HOU
FD - 10.33 DK - 8.01
Robinson Chirinos FD - C 3200 DK - C 3500
Opponent - TEX (Mike Minor) Park - HOU
FD - 10.18 DK - 7.58
Mike Minor has been a lot better than last season when we targeted him on the regular and for this reason, I will concentrate my Astros exposure to the value plays. It starts with Yuli Gurriel who I mention almost every time he faces a lefty as he has very strong splits with a .413 wOBA, 167 wRC+, and .250 ISO in the split. Chirinos is in a good spot as well with consistent strong splits against lefties for his career and in the mid $3K range on both sites and has posted a .384 OBP for the season which gives him one of the highest floors at the catcher position.
Also Consider: Luke Voit(NYY)
On these small slates, value is very important and middle infield is one of the best places to find it. Rodriguez doesn't play every day but plays all four infield positions and has made his opportunity count early in the season with hits in 11 of his first 13 games with six doubles and two triples for an impressive .409 wOBA and 159 wRC+. The Tigers are in a great spot today against a Trevor Cahill who has given up four or more earned runs in four straight starts and has already given up 12 home runs in just 33.2 innings. At these prices, Rodriguez is in play in all formats.
Also Consider: David Bote(CHC)
The Yankees are starting to get healthy and lead all teams on this five-game slate with a near 5.5 run projection. It starts with the matchup against Miek Leake who is well on his way to his ninth straight season giving up 20+ home runs as he has already surrendered 11 through seven starts(21.6% HR/FB) with an ugly 45% hard contact rate and 92.5 mph average exit velocity. For cash games, I turn my attention to LeMahieu who hits leadoff and has been on fire lately with hits in 10 straight games including seven multi-hit efforts. He is in a perfect position to score runs at the top of the Yankees lineup with his .385 on-base percentage. He is in play in all formats with his best value coming on FanDuel in the mid $3K range.
Also Consider: Adam Frazier(PIT) if he is back in the leadoff spot for the Pirates
Outside of Mike Trout, we don't normally think much of the Angels in terms of fantasy but there have actually been multiple players who have stepped up and been consistent this season, Simmons being one of them. With hits in 19 of his last 21 games, he has pushed his average up to .289 and while he doesn't walk much he gets tons of opportunity to drive in runs hitting in the middle of the order behind Mike Trout. For his career, he has been better against righties but is having a nice start against southpaws early in the season going 13 for 41(.317) with two home runs. If enough value shows up when lineups come out, I would say pay up for Story in Coors but right now Simmons is my favorite PTS/$ play at the position on the early slate.
Also Consider: Marcus Semien(OAK)
Torres is one of the few Yankees who has stayed healthy this season and while the overall numbers(.278/.310/.451) don't jump off the page, he has been consistent as of late. He went into Wednesday night's game with hits in 12 straight games and now gets a plus matchup against Mike Leake who has shown reverse splits and has been worse against righties while the same can be said for Torres who also hits righties better. Considering the discount from DeJong and Andrus on both sites, I will have exposure to Torres in all formats.
Also Consider: Yairo Munoz(STL) as value play if he were to get another start
For a small slate, the third base position is absolutely loaded with Nolan Arenado at home in Coors and Kris Bryant who has started to heat up but I will once again side with PTS/$ on this smaller slate. Matt Chapman has not only become one of the most consistent hitters at his position but in all of baseball with a .279/.359/.522 slash line with 33 home runs, 120 runs, and 90 RBI since the start of his breakout 2018 season. Tanner Roark really suppresses the power upside but is walking 11% of batters which will come back to bite him which shows as he sits with an xFIP(4.92) over a full run higher than his ERA(3.82). Fire up Chapman in all formats.
Third base is tricky on the main slate with the top guys in less than appealing matchups so, at this point without lineups, I am seriously considering punting the position. Don't get me wrong, I don't love the matchup against Patrick Corbin but Freese has been spending time in the middle of the lineup and has strong splits against lefties with a .370 wOBA, 135 wRC+, and .851 OPS since the start of last season. More value could open up as lineups come out but for now, I am considering Freese as a cash game punt and as a part of a middle to bottom of the order Dodgers stack.
Also Consider: Josh Donaldson(ATL)
Tapia is making a case to remain in the starting lineup as he is hitting .292 with a .381 wOBA thanks to a team-high four triples. He has also flashed some power upside with four home runs and has also driven in 16 through his first 34 games. The Rockies also get a terrific matchup against Dereck Rodriguez who is fresh off giving up eight earned runs with four long balls in Great American "Smallpark" and now has to pitch in Coors Field. on DraftKings, it makes sense to just pay up for his teammate Blackmon or Mike Trout but on FanDuel, Tapia provides excellent PTS/$ value and is in play in all formats.
Also Consider: Jason Heyward(CHC)
Gregory Polanco FD - OF 3100 DK - OF 3700
Opponent - STL (Michael Wacha) Park - STL
FD - 9.74 DK - 7.42
Melky Cabrera FD - OF 2800 DK - OF 3400
Opponent - STL (Michael Wacha) Park - STL
FD - 7.68 DK - 5.97
The Pirates sit near the bottom of the list of implied run projections tonight but I am not buying it. It starts with the matchup as they face Michael Wacha who sits with a 5.17 ERA and 4.83 xFIP despite allowing just one earned run in each of his first two starts. He gives teams a ton of opportunities to score with an ugly, slate-high 1.63 WHIP and doesn't have overpowering stuff(9% swinging strike rate) to get out of trouble.
The other thing that stands out is the value with the Pirates bats allowing you to pay up for pitching and/or some elite bats in cash or GPP. Polanco has yet to break out since returning from injury but does have hits in nine of his 12 games while striking out just 16% of the time(league average-20%). Melky Cabrera has provided nice depth for the Pirates in the outfield and while he doesn't flash a ton of upside, he has been terrific with a .344/.382/.500 slash line.