MLB Sim Sports Picks for 4/17/20 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 Friday'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 Julio Urias, Sean Manaea, Jose Urquidy, Patrick Sandoval, and Andrew Suarez all made single-digit starts last year.
|Pitcher||Salary||Opp.||SIERA||K %||BB %||Opp. K%||Opp. wRC+|
|Julio Urias (L)||$9,300||PIT||3.75||29.4%||6.4%||21.3%||85|
|Sean Manaea (L)||$9,000||SEA||3.86||27.5%||6.4%||23.4%||106|
|Jose Urquidy (R)||$8,600||LAA||3.77||25.9%||4.3%||20.3%||109|
|Mike Foltynewicz (R)||$8,300||SFG||4.71||21.4%||7.5%||24.0%||89|
|Dylan Cease (R)||$7,900||TEX||4.60||24.9%||10.7%||25.5%||89|
|Mike Montgomery (L)||$7,700||BAL||4.74||18.3%||7.5%||21.0%||98|
|Jhoulys Chacin (R)||$7,500||DET||4.91||21.7%||9.7%||25.6%||82|
|Marco Gonzales (L)||$7,100||@OAK||5.08||17.0%||6.5%||19.9%||114|
|Jordan Lyles (R)||$6,900||@CWS||4.53||24.4%||9.2%||25.6%||107|
|Asher Wojciechowski (R)||$6,700||@KAN||4.88||21.8%||7.8%||22.1%||93|
|Mitch Keller (R)||$6,500||@LOS||3.78||28.6%||7.1%||20.2%||122|
|Miles Mikolas (R)||$6,200||@COL||4.39||18.9%||4.2%||22.5%||86|
|Patrick Sandoval (L)||$5,900||@HOU||4.89||22.8%||11.4%||15.9%||137|
|Andrew Suarez (L)||$5,800||@ATL||6.47||14.3%||14.3%||22.7%||106|
|Daniel Norris (L)||$5,600||@MIN||4.50||21.2%||6.1%||20.4%||123|
|Antonio Senzatela (R)||$5,500||STL||5.50||13.1%||9.8%||23.6%||94|
To help get you started, let's go through some of the top pitchers and stacks on tonight's eight-game slate.
With no pitcher even hitting $10k, this isn't exactly a who's who of fantasy aces tonight.
Julio Urias ($9,300) is the night's highest-priced hurler, and he looks the part with some of the best peripherals on the board, including the highest strikeout rate. He only made eight starts last season, though, and if we expand out to include his bullpen appearances, he actually takes a slight step back, with an overall 4.00 SIERA, 26.1% strikeout rate, and 8.3% walk rate over 79.2 innings. Still, even if we peg him for those marks, which is pretty much how most projections have him this season, he still rates as one of the slate's best. Pittsburgh isn't a great strikeout matchup, but they shouldn't do much damage, and Urias has a good chance at the win with the Dodgers' offense on his side.
Sean Manaea ($9,000) should also perform well in a solid matchup at home against Seattle, who's starting five left-handed hitters. Considering Manaea only made five starts last year and has a career 19.6% strikeout rate, take those 2019 numbers with a grain of salt, but given the competition, he shouldn't need to be amazing to finish among the evening's best.
Pay-down options are pretty limited, but you could considering take a shot on Mike Foltynewicz ($8,300) versus a weak Giants lineup. Following a breakout 2018 season, Foltynewicz came crashing back down last year, so it's probably best to view him as the league average-ish pitcher he's been for most of his career. That might be enough against this opponent on such a lackluster pitching slate.
Mikolas' below-average strikeout rate won't do him any favors here, so load up on the usual Colorado stars in Nolan Arenado ($4,400), Trevor Story ($4,100), and Charlie Blackmon ($4,000). Leadoff man David Dahl ($3,800) is also a strong choice with the platoon advantage, and fellow lefty stick Daniel Murphy ($3,100) stands out as a value out of the five hole.
Meanwhile, Senzatela has some of the worst overall numbers of the entire slate, with a respectable 53.8% ground-ball rate perhaps being the only thing preventing more balls from flying out of the park. Paul Goldschmidt ($4,300) and Paul DeJong ($3,800) are the priorities, followed by affordable plays like Yadier Molina ($3,000) and Dexter Fowler ($2,900). Matt Carpenter ($3,700) and leadoff hitter Kolten Wong ($3,500) get a boost as lefty bats, as well.
If you want to look elsewhere, the Minnesota Twins are a top offense facing a mediocre southpaw in Daniel Norris. If that wasn't enough, the Twins' top bats aren't nearly as expensive as those Coors teams. Take your pick of Nelson Cruz ($3,600), Mitch Garver ($3,500), Josh Donaldson ($3,500), and Miguel Sano ($3,200), with Sano looking like an especially good option at that price. Max Kepler ($2,600) actually performed quite well in lefty-left matchups last season, so he can be considered in a wrap-around stack, and lefty Eddie Rosario ($3,200) is also a reasonable secondary piece. Jim Sannes' boy Byron Buxton ($2,400) deserves a look at his price, too.
The Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox are additional stacks to consider in their respective matchups. The Astros are one of the league's top offenses, and Patrick Sandoval is hardly the type of pitcher to scare us off. Jordan Lyles' 2019 numbers aren't completely terrible, but when accounting for his entire track record, he projects quite poorly, which is more than likely how the simulation will view him.
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.