MLB Sim Sports Picks for 4/9/20 on FanDuel
Do you miss baseball? Yeah, we do, too.
Maybe you can't quite fill that sports void in your heart, but FanDuel has been coming up with new contests to keep us entertained during these strange times.
Enter MLB Sims Sports, a new free-to-play format that simulates the baseball games that were originally scheduled for play each day. Starting pitchers and batting orders are announced in advance, and then games will play out through numberFire's custom simulator.
Starting pitchers will have a simulated pitch count that we won't know beforehand but should be roughly based on their performance last season. Hitters will play the whole game, so there's no fear of pinch hitters and the like.
Best of all, the simulation is meant to replicate real life, so all the usual things you typically analyze in MLB DFS -- player skills, matchups, park factors, and platoon splits -- are in play here, so you can approach this in much the same way you would on a real baseball slate.
Below are the starting pitchers for Thursday's slate, which locks at 7:30pm ET. Stats are from 2019 and limited to just games started, so you may see slight changes in the overall numbers of some players who made appearances out of the bullpen. Opposing strikeout rate and wRC+ are last year's numbers against a given pitcher's handedness using updated active rosters, per FanGraphs. Note that Taijuan Walker only pitched one inning in 2019, so his numbers aren't listed.
|Pitcher||Salary||Opp.||SIERA||K %||BB %||Opp. K%||Opp. wRC+|
|Trevor Bauer (R)||$10,500||PHI||4.14||27.8%||9.0%||24.5%||90|
|Tyler Glasnow (R)||$9,300||@CLE||3.18||33.0%||6.1%||22.1%||96|
|Max Fried (L)||$8,800||@MIA||3.83||24.6%||6.4%||24.9%||82|
|Zack Wheeler (R)||$8,500||@CIN||4.20||23.6%||6.0%||24.3%||95|
|Marcus Stroman (R)||$7,900||@MIL||4.41||20.5%||7.5%||22.8%||102|
|Aaron Civale (R)||$7,300||TAM||4.74||20.3%||7.1%||24.3%||99|
|Jakob Junis (R)||$7,100||@TOR||4.63||21.3%||7.5%||25.2%||85|
|Pablo Lopez (R)||$6,700||ATL||4.44||20.3%||5.8%||22.4%||100|
|Chase Anderson (R)||$6,500||KAN||5.00||20.2%||8.4%||22.1%||93|
|Brian Johnson (L)||$6,400||@SEA||5.92||13.9%||10.2%||23.4%||106|
|Adrian Houser (R)||$6,200||NYM||4.08||24.2%||7.5%||21.5%||109|
|Taijuan Walker (R)||$5,800||BOS||--||--||--||19.9%||105|
To help get you started, let's go through some of the top pitchers and stacks on tonight's slate.
Trevor Bauer ($10,500) should be able to rack up the punchouts against the Phillies, but he'll probably give up some runs in virtual Great American Ball Park, and you're arguably getting more bang for your buck from Tyler Glasnow ($9,300) and Max Fried ($8,800).
Glasnow only made 12 starts in 2019, but he was lights out, compiling a squeaky clean 1.78 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. His 3.18 SIERA suggests those numbers were a tad lucky, but we'll still gladly take that, as his SIERA and strikeout rate are easily tops on the slate. While the main concern with Glasnow is health in season-long leagues, we needn't worry about such things in the simulation. The matchup against Cleveland isn't perfect, but Glasnow's talent should win out.
Meanwhile, Fried gets one of the night's best matchups against Miami in pitcher-friendly Marlins Park. His strikeout rate can't compete with Bauer's or Glasnow's, but his floor should be pretty safe in such a favorable spot.
You only need a quick scan of the above chart to conclude that Brian Johnson is the weak gazelle of the bunch. Not only were Johnson's peripherals pretty rotten in 2019, but so were his actual results, with a 5.09 ERA and 1.87 WHIP over seven starts (6.02 and 1.88 overall). Even if you include his time in the bullpen, the left-hander only pitched 40 1/3 innings -- hardly a large sample -- but he hasn't done much historically, either, owning a career 4.88 SIERA.
The downside is the Mariners aren't an amazing team to stack, particularly with so many lefty bats in the lineup, though they're inexpensive at least, with no hitter priced over $3,400. Mitch Haniger ($3,400), Tom Murphy ($2,700), and Evan White ($2,600) all bat right-handed, and lefty Kyle Seager ($3,300) was actually quite effective in same-sided matchups last season. This might actually be a situation where it's better to pluck one or two bats rather than go with a full stack.
If that Seattle lineup isn't doing anything for you, then you can also flip over to the other side and use Boston against Taijuan Walker. The right-hander has barely pitched the last two seasons, making him a bit of a wild card, but with his projections looking bearish across the board, expectations shouldn't be high in the simulation's eyes.
Even without Mookie Betts around anymore, the Red Sox still have their share of sluggers between Rafael Devers ($4,000), J.D. Martinez ($3,900), and Xander Bogaerts ($3,500). Mitch Moreland ($3,100), Michael Chavis ($2,700), and Jackie Bradley ($2,300) give you some solid value options, too. Christian Vazquez ($2,100) is barely priced above the minimum if you're really strapped for cash.
The Rays also stand out in their matchup against Aaron Civale. Although Civale managed to post a 2.34 ERA over 10 starts last season, none of his peripherals back that up, and he benefited from a fortuitous .250 BABIP and 6.6% HR/FB rate. Like Walker, projections aren't buying into him for 2020, so we should feel comfortable in attacking him.
Austin Meadows ($4,000), Brandon Lowe ($3,400), and Ji-Man Choi ($2,800) will all enjoy the platoon advantage and bat in the top half of the order. Yandy Diaz ($3,100) is an affordable number-three hitter, and Hunter Renfroe ($2,800) is always a good bet to knock one out.
The author of this article has no involvement with the MLB Sim Sports simulations powered by numberFire and has no knowledge of the results of tonight’s contest.