MLB Sim Sports Picks for 4/19/20 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 main slate, which starts at 1:05 p.m. EST.
We have a big three on the bump for this 15-game slate, and it's an incredible trio -- Justin Verlander ($12,000), Max Scherzer ($11,400) and Walker Buehler ($11,000). Obviously, all three are in play, but Buehler's matchup with the Pittsburgh Pirates gives him the edge for me, compared to JV against the Los Angeles Angels and Max versus the Chicago Cubs -- though none of the matchups are all that sexy.
Pittsburgh had just a .313 wOBA last year, which sat 21st, and Buehler ended 2019 with a 29.2% strikeout rate, 5.0% walk rate and 12.1% swinging-strike rate. Buehler was particularly nasty at home, where he's throwing today, limiting hitters to a .247 wOBA while posting a 31.6% strikeout rate, 2.8% walk rate and 3.01 xFIP. I'm not going to put up a fight if you prefer Verlander or Scherzer, but of the slate's big three, I'm rolling with Buehler today.
Outside of those guys, Blake Snell ($9,200) has a lot of appeal at a respectable price for his date with the Toronto Blue Jays. After a breakout 2018 in which he posted a 31.6% strikeout rate and 15.1% strikeout rate, Snell got even more whiffs a year ago, recording a 33.3% strikeout rate and 17.7% swinging-strike rate. The Jays owned the sixth-highest strikeout rate (24.9%) and the eighth-worst wOBA (.310) last year. Against lefties, those numbers sat at 24.0% and .312, respectively.
Paying down at pitcher isn't the best route to take today given the quantity of high-priced studs available to us. With that said, it'll certainly be a contrarian move. If you are looking for a cheap arm, a matchup with the punchless San Francisco Giants puts Max Fried ($7,300) on the radar. The Giants had the third-worst wOBA (.298) against lefties a campaign ago while their 23.0% strikeout rate in the split was roughly a league-average clip. With a 24.6% strikeout rate and 11.4% swinging-strike rate in 2019, Fried can get punchouts, and he's got a good shot at a win.
Dakota Hudson, owner of a 5.08 SIERA in 2019, is pitching at Coors, so you're going to want some exposure to the Colorado Rockies. Hudson permitted a 40.5% hard-hit rate last season, and lefties tagged him for a .347 wOBA and 44.5% hard-hit rate. The only flaw with the Rox is that they're pricey.
Charlie Blackmon ($4,100), Ryan McMahon ($3,800), David Dahl ($3,700), Daniel Murphy ($3,500) and Tony Wolters ($2,500) will hit from the left side today. All are in play, but Dahl is my pick of the litter. He's hitting atop the order and put up a .386 wOBA at home against righties in 2019. Righties Nolan Arenado ($4,400) and Trevor Story ($3,900) are obviously worth using, too, if you can afford them.
We'll need a cheaper stack to help pay up for one of the elite aces, and that's where the Philadelphia Phillies come in. They're at home versus Sandy Alcantara, who carries a 5.28 SIERA over 239 2/3 career frames, and outside of Bryce Harper ($3,800), the Phils don't have anyone over $3,500.
Rhys Hoskins ($3,300) is an easy add to any Philly stack today. While his .347 wOBA from last season doesn't jump out at you, he produced stellar marks in walk rate (16.5%), hard-hit rate (46.2%) and fly-ball rate (50.4%). I'm also intrigued by a bottom-of-the-order stack of Didi Gregorius ($2,500), Jay Bruce ($2,500) and Scott Kingery, who are hitting 6-7-8. That trio offers power upside as well as the cost savings we need to jam in an ace.
When I'm looking for a contrarian stack, I keep coming back to the Tampa Bay Rays, another cheap option. Tampa Bay is at home against Matt Shoemaker, who has allowed a 39.8% hard-hit rate over the last three seasons (137 1/3 innings).
Brandon Lowe ($3,400) is the most expensive Ray, and you can roster their first four bats -- Lowe in addition to Austin Meadows ($3,300), Yandy Diaz ($2,600) and Ji-Man Choi ($2,800) -- without spending too much. Lowe and Meadows both mauled righties in 2019, racking up wOBAs of .373 and .394, respectively, in the split a season ago. Meadows is one of the best point-per-dollar plays on the slate after registering a .394 wOBA, 44.2% hard-hit rate and 42.8% fly-ball rate with the platoon advantage last year.
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.