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Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

07/12/2019
James Davis

DraftKings and FanDuel MLB Picks for Saturday 7/13/19

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Pitchers

Chris SaleChris Sale FD - P 10700 DK - SP 10500
Opponent - LAD (Ross Stripling) Park - BOS
FD - 38.36 DK - 22.05
The people who have stuck with us throughout this DFS MLB season aren't going to be thrilled with this one, possibly. Sale's 4.05 ERA is the worst of his career, and he's seen a decline in each of his major stats this year. But this is where stats can be a little bit deceiving. While his strikeouts are down a bit, his 12.87 K/9 is still the second best in the Majors among starting pitchers. While his 2.19 BB/9 is higher than last year, it's still the 23rd lowest among starters. His 3.12 xFIP is worse than last year's, but it's still good for the 5th best in the Majors. All this to say, Chris Sale is still pretty damned good. The match-up with the Dodgers is far from ideal - they have the 9th best wOBA vs. lefties this year and are about league average when it comes to striking out. Still, Sale is a -165 favorite with the 2nd best strikeout stuff in the Majors, and our system sees him as a cash game play particularly because his prices are still too low.

Jake OdorizziJake Odorizzi FD - P 8900 DK - SP 7700
Opponent - CLE (Trevor Bauer) Park - CLE
FD - 34.17 DK - 18.25

I mulled over what to do about this pitcher two slot for a while before deciding on Odorizzi, so let's take a look at why this felt like such a tough decision. First, the good bits. Odorizzi has actually increased his K/9 to an elite 9.74 while bringing his BB/9 down to a respectable 3.05. His 3.15 ERA is a career best. The problem is that he's still rocking a mid-4s xFIP on account of his absurdly low 30.9% ground ball rate, which is good for the second lowest in the Majors. What this means is that you'll get some pretty hit or miss starts with Odorizzi. When those fly balls land in gloves he's going to look incredible, but when they clear the wall he'll look pretty pedestrian. I hesitate to recommend him for cash games for just this reason, but it's hard to argue with this price on DraftKings. The Indians are a stock league average match-up, with exactly the 15th best wOBA against righties and a below average K rate. It's a little rough that Odorizzi and the Twins are underdogs, but again you're getting enough of a savings on DraftKings that I think it's fine.

Other reasonable DraftKings options: Chris Bassitt against the White Sox, and Jon Lester against the Pirates.

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Catcher/First Base

Daniel MurphyDaniel Murphy FD - 1B 3700 DK - 1B 4300
Opponent - CIN (Tanner Roark) Park - COL
FD - 15.46 DK - 11.87
Joey VottoJoey Votto FD - 1B 3700 DK - 1B 4400
Opponent - COL (Kyle Freeland) Park - COL
FD - 14.71 DK - 11.02
So this is going to be a continuing theme today. A pick 'em with a 13.5 total is something you'll see almost never, and with plenty of DFS relevant guys on both teams you're going to see a lot of ownership here. Freeland's struggles this season are well documented - he's striking out fewer batters while walking more, and perhaps more importantly, he's no longer getting absurdly lucky in his HR/FB ratio. I love stacking Reds against him here. Roark is a slightly better pitcher, but his 4.42 xFIP is the same as last year's pretty rough number. He's added more strikeouts this year, but it's come at the expense leaving more balls up in the zone and walking more batters. Murphy and Votto both are not up to the standards they've established for themselves, but they can more than pass the sniff test in this match-up.

Paul GoldschmidtPaul Goldschmidt FD - 1B 3300 DK - 1B 3700
Opponent - ARI (Merrill Kelly) Park - STL
FD - 12.76 DK - 9.61
Speaking of guys not living up to the lofty bar they've set for themselves, I present to you Paul Goldschmidt. Goldie is a lot better against left handers, but you know who he prefers to lefties? Bad pitchers. And Merrill Kelly certainly qualifies there. With a K/9 below 7 and an xFIP near 5, Kelly smacks of a pitcher who just isn't ready to be in the Majors quite yet. And while Goldschimdt had a terrible June, he's got a 1.167 OPS through 25 plate appearances in July. I'm not ready to write the 31 year old first baseman off just yet. He's made more hard contact this year than last year, but has hit for less power on account of him hitting more balls to center field instead of pulling them. Assuming his batted ball profile regresses to his established levels, he's a heck of a value at these prices in this match-up.

Keep an eye on Yasmani Grandal if you are thinking about a catcher. He's a bit better against righties, but he's a switch hitter and facing Bumgarner isn't the issue that it used to be.

Second Base

Jose AltuveJose Altuve FD - 2B 3600 DK - 2B 3600
Opponent - TEX (Mike Minor) Park - TEX
FD - 13.99 DK - 10.84
I've written up Altuve so many times against lefties this season that it's starting to make my head spin. The Astros' second baseman is still just too cheap thanks to a ridiculous unlucky stretch in the first half for Altuve, whose .263 BABIP is .074 points below his established career levels. Like Goldschmidt he's making even more hard contact than he did last year, except he's actually pulling the ball too much rather than spreading things out the way he normally does. Altuve is also an underrated platoon split guy, with a career OPS more than .100 points higher against lefties. As for Mike Minor, don't be too worried about his "hot start." He's got the exact same 4.42 xFIP that Tanner Roark does, and while he can strike a few guys out he walks plenty of players too. Texas is almost the Coors of the AL, and Houston has a very healthy 5.21 implied run total here.

Keston HiuraKeston Hiura FD - 2B 2900 DK - 2B 3800
Opponent - SF (Madison Bumgarner) Park - MIL
FD - 9.66 DK - 7.4

I'm pretty sure I've never written up Keston Hiura before. If you're unfamiliar with him, he's a consensus top ten prospect with serious power for the position, but he's raw enough that he carries a lot of risk. He had 19 homers and a 1.091 OPS in 243 AAA appearances this year, followed by the 7 homers he's hit in 110 plate appearances in the bigs. The fly in the ointment here is the absurdly high 31.8% K rate. Hiura still chases too many pitchers and hasn't quite caught all the way up to big league stuff - hence the relatively low price point. The match-up with Bumgarner isn't as bad as it's been in the past, with Bumgarner hovering around a 4 xFIP this year. Grabbing Hiura on the good side of his platoon is a totally respectable spot for cash games tonight.

Shortstop

Paul DeJongPaul DeJong FD - SS 3300 DK - SS 3600
Opponent - ARI (Merrill Kelly) Park - STL
FD - 10.57 DK - 8.03
I love DeJong as shortstop today for a couple of reasons. First, Merrill Kelly is just not especially good, so grabbing as many Cards as you can is totally reasonable here. Next, DeJong is actually a slight reverse platoon split guy for his career, favoring right handed pitchers by a narrow .007 OPS margin over left. DeJong's high floor comes from a solid approach and lots of plate appearances coming from the top of the lineup, so while he's not a classic big tournament play he's still plenty viable in cash games.

Alex BregmanAlex Bregman FD - SS 4100 DK - 3B/SS 4600
Opponent - TEX (Mike Minor) Park - TEX
FD - 11.79 DK - 8.88

Here's your big tournament play, if you can afford him. Alex Bregman is simply one of the very best hitters in baseball, and he's only getting better. He's not walking 5% more often than he strikes out, and he's .076 OPS points better against lefties for his career as well. He's on pace to eclipse last year's excellent 31 homers by about 30%, and he's doing all of this out of your shortstop position for DFS. It's hard to pay for everyone, but Bregman is an important part of a Houston stack against the overrated Mike Minor.

Third Base

Matt CarpenterMatt Carpenter FD - 3B 3100 DK - 3B 3800
Opponent - ARI (Merrill Kelly) Park - STL
FD - 12.32 DK - 9.18
Carpenter as quite obviously taken a step back this season, but it's not as big a step as you might think. A lot of his triple-slash woes can be attributed to a .263 BABIP that's .050 points below his career levels, but there's still a noticeable power decline as well. Still, his K% and BB% are almost the same as last year, and you have to think there are better things ahead for Carpenter. He's a nice part of a Cards stack, and helps you pay up elsewhere.

Nolan ArenadoNolan Arenado FD - 3B 4400 DK - 3B 4900
Opponent - CIN (Tanner Roark) Park - COL
FD - 17.96 DK - 13.52
Eugenio SuarezEugenio Suarez FD - 3B 4000 DK - 3B 5300
Opponent - COL (Kyle Freeland) Park - COL
FD - 15.4 DK - 11.57
Another part of that Colorado/Cincinnati game that you should keep an eye on. Arenado is better against lefties, but his prowess at home is well documented, and you aren't going to shy away from him here if you're stacking Rockies. I don't think he's a cash game must, though. Suarez might be. The 27 year old bats third against lefties, and with a flat 1.000 OPS against them this season he's been more than up to the task. Grabbing him against Freeland and his 5.36 xFIP is a treat, and I'll hope to include him wherever I can.

Outfield

David DahlDavid Dahl FD - OF 3900 DK - OF 4500
Opponent - CIN (Tanner Roark) Park - COL
FD - 16.6 DK - 12.71

Charlie BlackmonCharlie Blackmon FD - OF 4600 DK - OF 5500
Opponent - CIN (Tanner Roark) Park - COL
FD - 17.67 DK - 13.57
You know the deal by now. It's an insane game, and our lineup optimizer is having a hard time pulling out which expensive guys from this game to play. You can't play them all, so you might wind up going cheap at OF to pay up at the premium positions.

J.D. MartinezJ.D. Martinez FD - OF 4100 DK - OF 4800
Opponent - LAD (Ross Stripling) Park - BOS
FD - 15.59 DK - 11.71

Mookie BettsMookie Betts FD - OF 4200 DK - OF 4900
Opponent - LAD (Ross Stripling) Park - BOS
FD - 15.78 DK - 12
I didn't want to go through the whole article without at least nodding to the Red Sox. Stripling was a break out pitcher last season, and while he's been pretty effective this year he's still got a lot of limitations. The Dodgers haven't let him pitch through the fifth inning since April 15th, and that means the BoSox will spend the majority of the game batting against the Dodgers' bullpen. With everyone jumping on the Coors game the Red Sox have the rare opportunity to be an off-beat upside stack.

Ryan BraunRyan Braun FD - OF 3000 DK - OF 3800
Opponent - SF (Madison Bumgarner) Park - MIL
FD - 12.1 DK - 9.23
Lorenzo CainLorenzo Cain FD - OF 3100 DK - OF 3600
Opponent - SF (Madison Bumgarner) Park - MIL
FD - 11.93 DK - 9.29

If you need to pay down in the outfield it gets sort of rough until we know which cheap outfielders are going to make a cameo at the top of their respective order. Given that this is the second game since the All-Star break, we'll probably see teams just stick to what they normally do without giving anyone days off. With Cain and Braun you get the leadoff man and the fifth hitter for a potent offensive, and both of them are huge platoon split guys. Both Cain and Braun are .100 OPS points better against lefties for their career, and while Bumgarner is still solid you can certainly run righties against him when he's outside the safety of San Francisco.

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