MLB Sim Sports Picks for 4/13/20 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 Monday'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.
|Pitcher||Salary||Opp.||SIERA||K %||BB %||Opp. K%||Opp. wRC+|
|Justin Verlander (R)||$11,800||@TAM||2.95||35.4%||5.0%||24.3%||99|
|Max Scherzer (R)||$11,400||@SEA||2.93||35.1%||4.8%||25.9%||88|
|Jacob deGrom (R)||$11,000||ATL||3.29||31.7%||5.5%||22.4%||100|
|Lucas Giolito (R)||$9,800||@KAN||3.57||32.3%||8.1%||22.1%||93|
|Blake Snell (L)||$9,000||HOU||3.56||33.3%||9.1%||15.9%||137|
|Corey Kluber (R)||$8,700||NYY||4.68||22.6%||8.9%||23.4%||119|
|Cole Hamels (L)||$8,500||@NYM||4.55||23.2%||9.1%||23.4%||114|
|Brandon Woodruff (R)||$8,100||PHI||3.60||29.0%||6.1%||24.5%||90|
|Masahiro Tanaka (R)||$7,700||@TEX||4.44||19.8%||5.2%||25.5%||89|
|Jake Odorizzi (R)||$7,500||@TOR||4.14||27.1%||8.1%||25.2%||85|
|Frankie Montas (R)||$7,200||BOS||3.76||26.1%||5.8%||19.9%||105|
|Matt Shoemaker (R)||$6,900||MIN||4.54||22.2%||8.3%||20.9%||119|
|Danny Duffy (L)||$6,700||CWS||4.89||20.7%||8.3%||23.8%||119|
|Jake Arrieta (R)||$6,500||@MIL||4.82||18.5%||8.6%||22.8%||102|
|Martin Perez (L)||$6,300||@OAK||5.01||17.8%||8.4%||19.9%||114|
|Justus Sheffield (L)||$5,800||WAS||4.57||22.1%||9.1%||20.2%||106|
To help get you started, let's go through some of the top pitchers and stacks on tonight's slate.
Wow, this pitching slate is absolutely loaded, with Justin Verlander ($11,800), Max Scherzer ($11,400), and Jacob deGrom ($11,000) all capable of posting the top score of the night. All of them are viable, but Scherzer's matchup stands out against Seattle, making him the top overall choice. And while all three are priced up, don't let the high salaries scare you off.
If you're looking to drop down in salary, Lucas Giolito ($9,800) is intriguing against Kansas City, but with projections spitting out a fairly wide range of results, his outcome might be too unpredictable at his price. Instead, you can hop down a bit further to Brandon Woodruff ($8,100), who's a fantastic value given his stellar peripherals and a solid matchup versus the Phillies. Woodruff's projections see him taking a slight step back this season, so he's unlikely to match the big three up top, but he has a chance to remain within striking distance and costs far, far less.
Veterans of MLB DFS are no strangers to stacking against left-hander Martin Perez, who's posted a SIERA over 5.00 in four straight seasons. Perez actually had some respectable numbers in the early months of last season, but it was the same old Perez in the second half, with a 5.31 SIERA, 15.3% strikeout rate, and 8.3% walk rate. Even though he ultimately finished with one of the best strikeout rates of his career, his 17.8% strikeout rate as a starter still ranks as the slate's worst.
Oakland Coliseum isn't ideal for dingers, but we should still feel good about stacking the Athletics against such a weak arm -- particularly since they're surprisingly affordable, too. Leadoff man Marcus Semien ($3,600) is the most expensive Oakland hitter, but after him, you can get guys like Matt Chapman ($3,300), Ramon Laureano ($3,000), Mark Canha ($2,800), Khris Davis ($2,700), and Stephen Piscotty ($2,700) -- all of whom performed well versus southpaws in 2019.
Those low salaries pair nicely with tonight's pricey aces, but that will also presumably lead to high ownership. If you're concerned about that, one alternative stack is Chicago against Danny Duffy. The White Sox aren't quite as dirt cheap as the Athletics, but with no player priced over $3,400, you should be able to put together a four-man stack pretty easily.
Duffy produced some excellent numbers in 2016, but since seeing a drop in velocity in subsequent seasons, he hasn't been able to match them ever since. He's posted a SIERA above 4.70 in back-to-back campaigns with a 20% strikeout rate, so we should expect the simulation to assume more of the same.
Jose Abreu, Edwin Encarnacion, Yasmani Grandal, and Eloy Jimenez all come in at $3,400 apiece, with those first three performing especially well against lefties last season. Tim Anderson ($3,100) is also effective when he has the platoon advantage and is batting leadoff. Switch-hitter Yoan Moncada ($3,200) isn't as impressive in the split but makes for a reasonably priced number-two hitter. Don't forget about uber-prospect Luis Robert ($3,000) lower in the order, too, who actually has some notable projections for a player who's never had a single MLB at-bat.
If you're shooting to be more contrarian, the Yankees are a possibility against Corey Kluber. The name value of Kluber figures to scare people away from the Yankees, but his lost 2019 season almost certainly drops his level in the simulation's eyes. A "healthy" virtual Bronx Bombers lineup is loaded from top to bottom, and outside of Aaron Judge ($4,000) and Giancarlo Stanton ($3,500), everyone else is priced at $3,100 and below.
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.