3 MLB FanDuel Studs to Target on 7/25/19
Just like in other sports, the focal point of your daily fantasy baseball lineups will be your high-priced studs. These guys take up by far the biggest chunk of your cap space, but they also offer the highest ceiling, and in the case of pitcher, by far the highest floors for production.
For hitters, we're looking for guys with big numbers, strong matchups, and with players around them that are likely to produce well too, increasing our chances for runs and RBI. For pitchers we want big strikeout numbers, while the ability to go deep in a game and pick up a win is also valuable.
Taking up so much salary, and playing such a big role in your lineup's ceiling, you're not going to want to whiff on these guys, so lets take a look at a few top-end options that you can count on to anchor your lineup today.
Jose Berrios, P, Minnesota Twins ($9,300)
Stud pitching is thin tonight. Like, "$5,900 Wade LeBlanc is projected for the third-most fantasy points at the position" level thin.
Making things even messier, the only two pitchers priced above even $8,000 are on opposite sides of the same matchup, with Jose Berrios ($9,300) and the Minnesota Twins taking on Lucas Giolito ($9,300) and the Chicago White Sox.
Admittedly, Giolito has put up much better numbers than Berrios this season. His 29.7% strikeout rate sits well ahead of Berrios' 21.5%, and Giolito also has a 3.89 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) to Berrios' 4.38. Berrios does have the lower walk rate (5.5% compared to 8.9% for Giolito), but that gap is smaller than the gap between strikeout rates.
What does set Berrios apart is the difference in matchups. The Twins' active roster ranks third in the majors with a 120 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, and they pair that with only a 21.1% strikeout rate (ninth-lowest in the split). On the other side, the White Sox' 26.3% strikeout rate is the highest of any team in the split, and their 92 wRC+ is the seventh-worst.
The difference in matchups more than makes up for the difference in their individual numbers, and Online Sportsbook has the Twins as modest favorites (-138 moneyline) in this one.
Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees ($4,600)
Aaron Judge isn't showing any lingering ill effects from the injury that had him miss significant time earlier this season, and his 98.4 mile-per-hour average exit velocity in 2019 is crushing his previous career high.
Since 2016, among hitters who have notched at least 100 batted-ball events in a season, none have hit the ball with a higher average exit velocity as Judge has this season. The next-highest mark over that span is 94.8 miles per hour -- also belonging to Judge in 2017. After that is 94.7 -- again, Judge in 2018. He's always been an absolute menace, but even by his standards, this year has been exceptional in that category.
That contact has translated to some serious production as well, as he's boasting a .411 wOBA with a .238 ISO. His .423 expected wOBA and .566 expected slugging percentage, per Baseball Savant, are on pace to be the second-highest marks of his career.
He brings that into a great matchup tonight against Boston Red Sox righty Rick Porcello. Porcello is in the midst of his worst season in the majors, and he's sporting a career-high 5.02 SIERA to go with his lowest strikeout rate (17.5%) since 2014 and his highest walk rate (6.4%) since 2009. Even in same-sided matchups, he's giving up a 37.1% fly-ball rate with a 4.52 xFIP, not taking any luster out of this spot for Judge.
Matt Olson, 1B, Oakland Athletics ($3,700)
The Texas Rangers are starting right-hander Ariel Jurado tonight, and even in a less hitter-friendly ballpark in Oakland, Jurado is likely to struggle.
The 23-year-old has only managed a 4.95 SIERA across 21 major league games this season, bringing his career average to 5.10. He's forcing more soft-hit balls (17.3%), but his hard-hit rate (43.4%) and fly-ball rate (31.7%) have both climbed since his rookie year, while his ground-ball rate has dropped sharply from 51.5% to 43.9%.
He's been especially bad against left-handed sticks in the majors, getting crushed for a .364 wOBA and 5.50 xFIP on 46.1% hard hits, which opens the door for some serious upside from Matt Olson.
Olson's overall .367 wOBA may not look overly studly at first glance, but he pairs that with a strong .288 ISO on a 53.4% hard-hit rate and 48.4% fly-ball rate. Getting the platoon advantage against Jurado, that power gives Olson the kind of upside that we're usually happy to pay up into the $4,000s for.
Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.