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Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

05/25/2019
James Davis

DraftKings and FanDuel MLB Picks for Saturday 5/25/19

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Pitchers

Hyun-Jin RyuHyun-Jin Ryu FD 11000 DK 11200
Opponent - PIT (Joe Musgrove) Park - PIT
FD - 39.61 DK - 21.77
There's no way to put this delicately: Hyun-Jin Ryu is now one of the best pitchers in the Major Leagues. It's very rare to find a pitcher who can walk fewer than a single batter per 9 innings, and even more rare to find one that can pair that with striking out more than a batter per inning. Ryu is doing both right now. And even with the Dodgers conservative approach, this hyper-efficient approach is letting him stay in games for 6.5 innings per start as well. This also happens to be basically a perfect match-up for his skill set as well, with the Pirates holding the league's 3rd lowest wOBA vs. left handed pitching this season thanks to their league lowest 5% walk rate. Ryu should cruise here once again.

Tyler SkaggsTyler Skaggs FD 7400 DK 7300
Opponent - TEX (Mike Minor) Park - TEX
FD - 29.78 DK - 15.58

So let's get one thing out of the way before we even write these guys up. This is a tough slate to find a second pitcher on. Instead of paying more for only slightly better options, our system is throwing up its hands and suggesting that we should potentially chase solid pitchers in very difficult circumstances.

We'll start with Skaggs. He's undoubtedly been worse this season, and after last year's mini-breakout Angels fans have to be at least a little bit disappointed. Still, he's pitched just 40 innings so far this season, and most of his bad ERA can be attributed to one truly terrible start against Detroit. He actually managed these Rangers well in the one time they faced this season, putting together 6.1 innings of 1 ER ball on 5 Ks and 1 BB. You don't want to trust a one game sample any more than you want to trust a 40 IP sample, but it's something. Pitching in Texas is different than pitching in Anaheim, of course, and this is far from a 'safe' play. But at these prices? You can make a case for it.

Kyle FreelandKyle Freeland FD 6000 DK 5500
Opponent - BAL (Andrew Cashner) Park - BAL
FD - 29.6 DK - 15.09

And then there's Freeland. After a season where Freeland dodged bullets like Neo in the Matrix to a 17-7 record and a 2.85 ERA, the harsh reality of pitching in Coors has certainly caught up to him this year. He's been worse by essentially every available metric, and things are just looking hard as hell for him right now. And he's pitching in Coors today! But then we have to consider those pesky little things called prices. Freeland is, well, free today, and our system is certainly considering him as a pitcher 2 option on DraftKings as a result. He is a -160 favorite against Baltimore, a favorite to pitch 5+ innings and be eligible for the win, and he's facing an Orioles team with a sub .300 wOBA against righties. Will you feel happy plugging his name in? Probably not, but you can get some pretty damned good bats to go around him if you decide to go there.

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Catcher/First Base

Yadier MolinaYadier Molina FD 2800 DK 3500
Opponent - ATL (Mike Soroka) Park - ATL
FD - 8.68 DK - 6.71
We'll kick things off with a classic decision for a smaller slate: a mediocre hitting catcher in a not-so-great situation, because catcher really is that bad. I don't want to cast aspersions on Yadi - it's actually pretty astounding that a 36 year old catcher with a 3.2% walk rate can keep an OPS over .700, and he's cheap enough that the floor he represents is fine if not exciting. It's just that he's up against one baseball's more exciting young pitchers. The 21 year old Mike Soroka was ranked as Fangraphs' 28th overall prospect coming into this year, and certainly hasn't disappointed with a pristine 1.01 ERA over his first 7 starts. He's running hot, of course, as his 3.71 xFIP paints a better picture of his true talent right now. And that's mostly why we're okay going after Soroka on a slate like this. He's probably a bit overrated right now thanks to the excitement about this explosive start, and while he's got a great future we can't be too scared to take hitters against him on a small slate.

Max MuncyMax Muncy FD 3300 DK 4700
Opponent - PIT (Joe Musgrove) Park - PIT
FD - 11.53 DK - 8.59
While Max Muncy hasn't built upon last season's outrageous success, you're still looking at a 28 year old first baseman with an .850 OPS, which is more than enough for a $3,300 price tag on FanDuel. I am actually a believer in Musgrove's future, but he's actually taken a step back this season thanks to an increased walk rate. Musgrove gets by on less than stellar stuff thanks to his excellent control, but if that's not present you could be looking at a league average pitcher. I like the left handed Muncy to take advantage of a guy who really isn't striking many people out these days, and he's a great value in any format.

Paul GoldschmidtPaul Goldschmidt FD 3700 DK 4200
Opponent - ATL (Mike Soroka) Park - ATL
FD - 11.91 DK - 8.97
It's been a rough start to Goldschmidt's career as a Cardinal, as he's been significantly worse in essentially every facet of the game this season. He's hitting for less power, striking out more, walking less, and as a result is worse on every triple slash stat. That being said, he's probably just too cheap, as just a season ago we were looking at a $5k player. I think we should see an improvement on Goldschmidt's stats as well. His hard hit ball % is actually 5% higher than last season, and sits at a career high 51.9%. Good things should be ahead for the Cardinals' new slugger, and I like buying low here.

Also considered: Daniel Murphy.

Second Base

Jonathan VillarJonathan Villar FD 3600 DK 4700
Opponent - COL (Kyle Freeland) Park - COL
FD - 12.14 DK - 9.47
This is a straight up batting order/park play. Villar himself is not very good, but he should be batting leadoff in Coors field, which almost worth $4k on FanDuel by itself. Throw in the fact that Kyle Freeland is having a rough year and that 2nd base is simply awful tonight and you've got a cheapish way to escape a bad position pretty cheaply.

Ozzie AlbiesOzzie Albies FD 3000 DK 3900
Opponent - STL (Dakota Hudson) Park - STL
FD - 8.96 DK - 6.93

It's funny, Albies is better at every facet of the game than Jonathan Villar, and he's cheaper than Villar today. Easy play, right? Unfortunately that's not quite the case. You see, it's just really hard to return value on any price when you bat 8th. The additional plate appearances that come when you're at the top of the lineup make a huge difference, and missing out on them can hurt even a great match-up like this one with Dakota Hudson. Hudson, if you're unaware, is a ground-ball generating extremist who walks a lot of guys without striking very many out. His ground-ball tendencies make him less than amazing to stack against, but Braves hitters should have a decently high floor against him today.

Shortstop

Corey SeagerCorey Seager FD 2900 DK 3900
Opponent - PIT (Joe Musgrove) Park - PIT
FD - 10.12 DK - 7.71
Seager looked like he might be a generational superstar after putting up 13 WAR in his age 22 and 23 seasons, and he's turned into merely a very good player in the meantime thanks to an injury that stole most of 2018 and caused him to get Tommy John surgery. There are signs of life, though. Seager's K% and BB% are basically the same as 2017's excellent campaign, and his BABIP is .080 points below the levels he established in 2016 and 2017. Part of that is thanks to his reduced hard hit %, which is understandable as he's recovering from TJ surgery. All of this is almost incidental information, as he's wildly cheap at a position that's just bad in general.

Trevor StoryTrevor Story FD 4500 DK 5400
Opponent - BAL (Andrew Cashner) Park - BAL
FD - 13.63 DK - 10.35

I generally don't grab Story against righties since he's expensive and such a platoon heavy guy, but I might make an exception against Andrew Cashner. The 32 year old righty has been better this year than over the last two, but I don't know if I'm penciling in any major improvements for a guy who averaged a 5.25 xFIP over his last 300 innings. Cashner is generating more grounders this season, but Vegas still likes the Rockies for by far the highest implied total today. If you go cheap at SP2 on DK you can probably afford a few Rockies, and you probably should.

Third Base

Josh DonaldsonJosh Donaldson FD 3300 DK 4000
Opponent - STL (Dakota Hudson) Park - STL
FD - 11.35 DK - 8.48
The 30+ HR .900+ OPS days might be gone for Donaldson, but you're not paying for that guy anyway at these prices. Our system is really picking something up with the Braves today, seeing them as underpriced across the board against Hudson. I've said this before, but professional hitters like Donaldson salivate at facing raw but non-powerful guys like Hudson, and I wouldn't be surprised to see some fireworks from the Braves here.

Justin TurnerJustin Turner FD 3000 DK 4200
Opponent - PIT (Joe Musgrove) Park - PIT
FD - 10.97 DK - 8.34
One of the rare true reverse platoon guys in the world, Justin Turner is keeping it up this year, with an OPS .113 points higher against northpaws this season. He should be batting toward the top of the Dodgers' lineup again, and he's exceedingly cheap for what he brings against right handers. He's just a straightforward value play, even if he lacks up the upside of the elite 3B home run threats.

Also considered: Nolan Arenado, if only because you can play any Rockies tonight against Cashner.

Outfield

Raimel TapiaRaimel Tapia FD 3100 DK 4900
Opponent - BAL (Andrew Cashner) Park - BAL
FD - 11.1 DK - 8.66

Charlie BlackmonCharlie Blackmon FD 4300 DK 5800
Opponent - BAL (Andrew Cashner) Park - BAL
FD - 14.24 DK - 10.94
Here's where our system really wants to start prioritizing Rockies. Tapia is wildly cheap and will likely bad leadoff again, which makes him a full on no-brainer against Cashner in an advantageous platoon spot. Blackmon is obviously quite a bit more expensive, but the man is straight mashing righties for a 1.023 OPS this season, and he's just too cheap at $4,300 on FanDuel. You can't play all the Rockies today, but you should probably start with their left handed outfielders.

Jose MartinezJose Martinez FD 2800 DK 3500
Opponent - ATL (Mike Soroka) Park - ATL
FD - 9.37 DK - 7.21
Just throw him in with the rest of the too-cheap Cardinal gang. Martinez is nothing special, but these prices make him look flat out bad, and that just isn't the case. He's a true talent .310+ batting average guy thanks to limiting the Ks and hitting a lot of line drives, and that's plenty of floor if you're paying next to nothing for it.

Mike TroutMike Trout FD 4800 DK 4800
Opponent - TEX (Mike Minor) Park - TEX
FD - 14.22 DK - 10.61
Trout will wind up being an every lineup guy given that his price is seemingly frozen too low, and putting him in the Coors of the American League only helps matters. Minor has added a few Ks this year, but he's run very hot on his HR/FB ratio given how many balls he leaves up in the zone. When we're dealing with Mike Trout, we really only get bashful against the league's very best. In spite of Minor's improvements, he certainly ain't that, and even more certainly when he's pitching in Texas.

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1 Visitor Comment

  1. Kyle Freeland is a lefty… and you touted Baltimore’s poor wOBA against righties as a positive for him in this matchup. Just a heads up.

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