MLB Sim Sports Picks for 4/12/20 on FanDuel
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FanDuel's 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 -- things like 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.
Here's the breakdown for today's slate.
We've got a loaded pitching slate. When Charlie Morton is barely one of the 10 most expensive starting pitchers, you know there are some big-time arms on the bump.
Chris Paddack ($9,500) is my favorite of the bunch. As a rookie a year ago, Paddack broke out with a 3.83 SIERA, 26.9% strikeout rate and 11.4% swinging-strike rate over 140 2/3 innings. He's at home today, and he was dominant there last season, holding hitters to a .235 wOBA while racking up a 28.0% strikeout rate and 4.1% walk rate. Today he's taking on a San Francisco Giants squad that sat 28th in wOBA (.285) in 2019.
Gerrit Cole ($11,500) has to be talked about whenever he's throwing, and that's the case today as he's on the road versus the Oakland Athletics. Make no mistake -- the matchup is a brutal one. Oakland had the 10th-best wOBA (.327) last season while also carrying the sixth-lowest strikeout rate (21.3%). But Cole's numbers were so great in 2019 -- 39.9% strikeout rate, 16.8% swinging-strike rate and 2.62 SIERA -- that he is in play in any matchup. If Cole is your top-ranked pitcher tonight, you won't hear much of an argument from me.
Yu Darvish ($8,700) is a bit underpriced given the way he finished 2019. In the second half last year, Darvish posted a 2.37 xFIP with a 37.8% strikeout rate and 2.2% walk rate. Those are not typos. The St. Louis Cardinals recorded a 24.4% strikeout rate on the road last campaign, and while the Cards are far from an easy matchup, Darvish's elite swing-and-miss ability gives him enticing upside.
Lastly, Mike Foltynewicz ($8,000) deserves a shout, mostly due to a soft matchup with the Miami Marlins, who had the eighth-worst strikeout rate (24.3%) last year in addition to the worst wOBA (.288). Folty was much improved in the second half last campaign, limiting batters to a .269 wOBA while totaling a 23.8% strikeout rate across 57 2/3 frames in the split. He's got a good shot at getting a win, but Foltynewicz doesn't offer the strikeout upside this slate's top-shelf arms do.
Ross was particularly bashed by lefties, allowing a .389 wOBA and 15.3% walk rate in the split. The Dodgers' lineup is loaded with lefty bats -- Joc Pederson ($3,800), Cody Bellinger ($4,300), Max Muncy ($3,600), Corey Seager ($3,000) and Gavin Lux ($2,500). If you're dropping big bucks at pitcher, Muncy, Seager and Lux give you economical exposure to what should be a high-octane offense.
Mookie Betts ($3,600) doesn't have the platoon advantage, but he's been a reverse-splits guy for a while, holding a .391 wOBA, 43.3% hard-hit rate and 42.8% fly-ball rate a year ago. You can peep Will Smith ($2,600), too. Smith had excellent walk rates in the minor leagues, and he put up a 44.6% hard-hit rate with a 53.7% fly-ball rate over 196 plate appearances last year.
Jordan Lyles had a lot of trouble with lefties a year ago, and that makes the Houston Astros a great team to stack today. Versus left-handed bats in 2019, Lyles surrendered a 41.5% hard-hit rate, 46.3% fly-ball rate and .382 wOBA. Lefties Yordan Alvarez ($3,900) and Michael Brantley ($3,800) should be part of any Astros stack against Lyles. Alvarez mashed righties to the tune of a .437 wOBA and 52.2% hard-hit rate a season ago while Brantley put up a .385 wOBA and 41.9% hard-hit rate in the split.
Houston has just one other lefty in the lineup today, and it's Josh Reddick ($2,300), whose salary can help you pay up on the mound. Of course big boppers Alex Bregman ($4,200), George Springer ($4,100) and Jose Altuve ($3,700) are in play despite being righties, but I'll be using Yuli Gurriel ($3,000). The price is nice, and Yuli had reverse splits in 2019, registering a .376 wOBA and 40.4% hard-hit rate in righty-righty matchups.
The Toronto Blue Jays are in a great spot against Jorge Lopez, and the Jays have just one player above $3,000, making them a perfect stack on a day when we'll likely be spending up at pitcher. Lopez had just a 19.9% strikeout rate in 2019 while allowing a 39.3% hard-hit rate, with lefties holding a 42.7% hard-hit rate against him.
Bo Bichette ($3,600) is the most expensive Toronto bat, and he's hitting leadoff. Bichette raked as a rookie, amassing a .384 wOBA, and two years ago he swiped 32 bags in the minors. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($3,000) had a .340 wOBA in the second half in 2019. Lourdes Gurriel ($2,900) finished last year with a solid batted-ball profile (43.1% hard-hit rate and 42.9% fly-ball rate), and Randal Grichuk ($2,900) had a 39.7% hard-hit rate and 43.8% fly-ball rate at home in 2019.
The best lefty exposure to Lopez is via Cavan Biggio ($2,900) and Travis Shaw ($2,600). Biggio posted a .350 wOBA, 41.3% hard-hit rate and 51.6% fly-ball rate last season with the platoon advantage. Even in a poor campaign last year, Shaw finished with a 39.5% hard-hit rate and 47.2% fly-ball rate against righties, and he popped 63 taters across 2017 and 2018.
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.