MLB Sim Sports Picks for 4/16/20 on FanDuel

In our present sports-less days, it's easy to miss even the most mundane things. Tilting the Colorado Rockies' lineup being posted late, trying to predict in-game rain delays, and digging for who will come in after an opener are all annoyances I'd happily accept at the moment.

Initially, small slates would have been on that list, as well. The frustration of digging for palatable options when we don't have many to begin with was once a pain point, but I would have been fine with every slate being limited if it meant we got real DFS again.

Today's simulated slate on FanDuel will test just how much we truly miss those shorter offerings.

It's a Thursday, so there are just five games on the main slate with lock at 7:05 pm Eastern. That means there are just 10 starting pitchers, and three of them didn't make a single start last year. Here's that list, along with the numbers they posted in starts across 2019, at least when applicable. The opposing strikeout numbers are based on last year's marks from current active rosters against that pitcher's handedness.

PitcherSalaryOpponentSIERAStrikeout %Walk %Opp. K%
Patrick Corbin$9,800CHC3.8828.5%8.4%24.5%
Alex Wood$8,500STL4.6719.6%5.9%22.4%
Gio Gonzalez$8,200TEX5.0320.7%10.5%26.4%
Steven Matz$8,100ATL4.4622.3%7.6%22.7%
Carlos Martinez$7,900LOS------20.2%
A.J. Puk$7,800SEA------23.4%
Mike Soroka$7,800NYM4.2820.3%5.9%21.5%
Jose Quintana$7,400WAS4.5519.9%5.9%20.2%
Kendall Graveman$6,600OAK------22.8%
Kyle Gibson$5,800CWS4.2722.4%7.8%25.6%

We've got our work cut out for us to find desirable assets for each slot. So let's get it started.


If you want a top-end, high-upside starter on this slate, open up your pocket book for Patrick Corbin ($9,800).

Corbin's far from a value, but he's also not all that expensive. He finished last year with a 3.25 ERA and 3.88 SIERA, the proper blend of results and peripherals we should seek in this format. He also has a 28.5% strikeout rate that towers above the marks of all other starters on this slate.

Corbin will face a decent Chicago Cubs team, but they did strike out 24.5% of the time against lefties, and Corbin is at home. If you jump off of Corbin, it's purely to differentiate from other lineups.

If you do decide to zig elsewhere, it's tempting to do so with A.J. Puk ($7,800). The simulations won't have a ton of data on Puk, but he did rack up a 27.7% strikeout rate and a 13.9% swinging-strike rate out of the bullpen last year in addition to his impressive minor-league numbers. We can probably assume the simulations will at least view him as a guy with strikeout capabilities.

He also gets a juicy matchup with the Seattle Mariners. The lineup has been stripped down to the studs, and they struck out 23.4% of the time versus southpaws last year. Puk's several rungs below Corbin, but he works as a pivot if you want to deviate from the chalk.


For the stacks, we've got some options, which is a relief. One of the top ones seems to be the Washington Nationals against Jose Quintana.

Although the Nationals no longer have Anthony Rendon, their active roster still had a 106 wRC+ against lefties last year while striking out just 20.2% of the time. That's bad news for Quintana, who struggled along to a 4.68 ERA and 4.50 SIERA.

Even the desirable Nationals are affordable, too, for those who decide to pay up for Corbin. Trea Turner ($3,200) and his nasty speed are cheap, and you can pay for anybody you want here. The golden ticket might actually be Starlin Castro ($2,600), finally free of Marlins Park and bringing his .207 isolated slugging percentage against lefties into the fold. This is an easy stack to get behind no matter where you go at pitcher.

It's a Kendall Graveman revenge game as he faces the Oakland Athletics, but it's unlikely to go the way he envisioned. Before undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2018, Graveman had a 7.60 ERA and 4.47 SIERA across seven starts, and he has never had a SIERA lower than 4.43 in a relevant season. Even in a poor park, we can vibe with that and stack the A's.

This is where we can get the monster upside that may have been lacking with the Nationals. Matt Olson ($3,200) has double-dong ability and checks in with a mid-range salary while Marcus Semien ($3,400), Mark Canha ($3,300), Matt Chapman ($3,300), and Ramon Laureano ($3,200) all had an isolated slugging percentage of at least .239 against righties last year. The dud of park is the reason we'll put the Athletics below the Nationals in the pecking order, but they're still a strong option.

If you need additional hitting options, check out the Texas Rangers against Gio Gonzalez. Gonzalez had a respectable 3.50 ERA last year, but it came with just a 5.03 SIERA as a starter, hinting that he is due for regression that the simulations will likely bake in. Joey Gallo ($3,400) doesn't have the platoon advantage, but he still had a .413 isolated slugging percentage against lefties in 2019, and we can scrounge for value lower in the order. This is a solid place for one-offs if you do decide to roll with both Corbin and his Nationals teammates.

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.