MLB Sim Sports Picks for 4/21/20 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 Tuesday'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+|
|Jon Gray (R)||$9,400||@SFG||4.28||23.7%||8.4%||24.0%||89|
|Lance McCullers Jr. (R)||$9,100||TAM||--||--||--||24.3%||99|
|Luis Castillo (R)||$9,000||@STL||3.95||28.9%||10.1%||23.6%||94|
|Rick Porcello (R)||$8,800||MIA||4.86||18.6%||5.9%||24.4%||95|
|Griffin Canning (R)||$8,200||BAL||4.31||25.3%||7.8%||21.5%||86|
|Carlos Martinez (R)||$7,900||CIN||--||--||--||24.3%||95|
|Luke Weaver (R)||$7,600||@ATL||3.84||26.5%||5.4%||22.4%||100|
|Gio Gonzalez (L)||$7,400||KAN||5.03||20.7%||10.5%||21.7%||88|
|Kevin Gausman (R)||$6,900||COL||4.41||23.6%||7.3%||22.5%||86|
|Brad Keller (R)||$6,700||@CWS||5.23||17.2%||9.9%||25.6%||107|
|Yonny Chirinos (R)||$6,500||@HOU||4.22||22.3%||5.6%||16.3%||129|
|Homer Bailey (R)||$6,400||SEA||4.60||21.4%||7.6%||25.9%||88|
|Jordan Yamamoto (R)||$6,300||@NYM||4.71||25.2%||11.1%||21.5%||109|
|Felix Hernandez (R)||$6,100||ARI||5.02||17.5%||7.7%||21.8%||96|
|Kendall Graveman (R)||$6,000||@MIN||--||--||--||20.9%||119|
|Wade LeBlanc (L)||$5,800||@LAA||5.01||16.9%||5.1%||19.8%||102|
To help get you started, let's go through some of the top pitchers and stacks on tonight's eight-game slate.
Jon Gray ($9,400) has a fantastic road matchup against the Giants, while Luis Castillo ($9,000) owns the top strikeout rate on the board, but don't sleep on Lance McCullers Jr. ($9,100). McCullers missed all of last season, but his overall track record can go toe-to-toe with anyone on the slate. He produced a 3.62 SIERA, 26.9% strikeout rate, and a 9.5% walk rate in 2018, and his career marks are practically identical. All three hurlers have plus strikeout matchups, but ultimately it's McCullers and Castillo who have the most upside in tonight's sims.
None of the slate's pitchers are particularly expensive, but if you're looking save a few more bucks, Griffin Canning ($8,200) is the way to go against the lowly Orioles. While Baltimore surprisingly doesn't provide a boost in strikeouts as you might expect, you know Chris Davis should be good for a few extra Ks at least, and they're still one of the evening's weakest overall lineups. Canning put up solid enough peripherals in his rookie campaign for us to predict a good showing tonight.
Kendall Graveman wasn't exactly anything special when he last pitched in 2018, posting a 4.47 SIERA and 17.1% strikeout rate over seven starts and getting lit up for a 7.60 ERA. He's always owned a below-average strikeout rate (15.0% career rate), and while he does a good job of inducing ground balls (51.7% career rate), that probably won't save him against a loaded Minnesota Twins order. Season-long projections for him are ugly across the board.
Nelson Cruz ($3,200) and Miguel Sano ($3,300) are fantastic values at these salaries, and Mitch Garver ($3,100) and Josh Donaldson ($3,200) are inexpensive, too. While Eddie Rosario ($3,900) and Max Kepler ($3,500) are pricier, they'll both benefit from the platoon advantage and are worth considering if you have the extra cash.
The Los Angeles Angels also draw a pushover matchup, taking on left-hander Wade LeBlanc. Between the rotation and bullpen, LeBlanc gave up 2.08 home runs per nine innings in 2019, the eighth-worst mark that season among pitchers with at least 100 innings. Public projections universally peg him for an ERA well over 5.00.
Mike Trout ($4,500) will cost you an arm and a leg, but you can also look to Anthony Rendon ($3,800), Shohei Ohtani ($3,400), and Justin Upton ($3,100) as home run threats. Upton is coming off a down year, but owns a career .230 ISO and .365 wOBA versus lefties. Brian Goodwin ($2,500) actually has strong numbers in lefty-lefty matchups (career .232 ISO), and while it's still a fairly small sample, the sims should view him pretty favorably. Albert Pujols ($2,200) is dirt cheap if you need a punt.
The Seattle Mariners have a pretty sorry lineup, but they could be a sneaky contrarian stack against Homer Bailey. Although Bailey actually performed around league average in 2019, his horrific track record has projections see him taking a step back. Let's not forget he posted a 6.29 ERA from 2016-18 following Tommy John surgery.
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.