MLB Sim Sports Picks for 4/22/20 on FanDuel

Josh Donaldson and the Twins are paired with a low-strikeout pitcher on Wednesday, making them a top-tier stack for FanDuel's simulated MLB DFS slate.

Even in the simulated world, we're going to want to pay up at pitcher more often than not.

The simulations are based on real-world situations, meaning talent matters. Talent -- in general -- is a prerequisite for strikeouts, and strikeouts are necessary if you want an eye-popping fantasy output. So even in this fake world that FanDuel has created, there's an incentive to fork over some serious dough.

Tonight's slate is a wee bit different.

The big issue is the specifics of the highest-salaried pitchers at our disposal. Steven Matz ($10,000) gets the Miami Marlins, but he's far from being a high-strikeout guy himself. Patrick Corbin ($9,200) thrives there but gets the immense pleasure of facing Mookie Betts and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Then there's Mike Soroka ($9,000), who has the talent angle but doesn't always convert said talent into strikeouts.

We want to pay up when doing so gives us a big advantage over the cheaper assets. That may not be the case today. So it's party time for all of you "pay-down" truthers.

Here's the full list of starters for tonight's main slate. The individual numbers are from starts they made in 2019, and the opposing strikeout numbers are based on current active rosters against that pitcher's handedness.

Pitcher Salary Opponent SIERA Strikeout % Walk % Opp. K%
Steven Matz $10,000 MIA 4.46 22.3% 7.6% 24.9%
Patrick Corbin $9,200 LOS 3.88 28.5% 8.4% 21.9%
Mike Soroka $9,000 ARI 4.28 20.3% 5.9% 21.8%
Eduardo Rodriguez $8,800 TOR 4.31 24.8% 8.7% 24.7%
Jose Urquidy $8,400 TAM 3.77 25.9% 4.3% 24.3%
Jose Quintana $8,100 SDP 4.55 19.9% 5.9% 24.5%
Joey Lucchesi $7,600 CHC 4.48 23.0% 8.2% 24.5%
Alex Wood $7,500 WAS 4.67 19.6% 5.9% 20.2%
Kyle Freeland $7,200 SFG 5.19 16.7% 8.3% 22.2%
Drew Smyly $7,000 COL 4.73 24.2% 10.4% 24.1%
Eric Lauer $6,900 PIT 4.74 21.2% 7.9% 21.3%
Tanner Roark $6,800 BOS 4.57 21.9% 7.1% 19.9%
Mike Leake $6,700 ATL 4.79 15.2% 3.2% 22.4%
Marco Gonzales $6,500 MIN 5.08 17.0% 6.5% 20.4%
Ryan Yarbrough $6,300 HOU 4.21 20.9% 3.2% 15.9%
Pablo Lopez $6,200 NYM 4.44 20.3% 5.8% 21.5%
Derek Holland $6,000 MIL 5.16 25.0% 14.3% 22.7%
Jhoulys Chacin $5,800 SEA 4.91 21.7% 9.7% 25.9%

We've got some decisions to make, so let's dive in and look at the top options for the night.


Given the red flags around the top players, this seems like a good slate to pilfer the mid-range. The top options there are Eduardo Rodriguez ($8,800) and Jose Urquidy ($8,400), both of whom are firmly in play.

Rodriguez is facing the Toronto Blue Jays, whose active roster had a 24.7% strikeout rate against lefties in 2019. That's something Rodriguez can exploit as he also had a 24.8% strikeout rate for the full season.

Rodriguez does bring some risk due to his elevated walk rate, so he's far from a no-brainer. But he's at home and brings strikeout upside to the table, so he does check in as our top option overall.

There's risk with Urquidy, too, because the sample on him is limited, and it's hard to tell how the simulations will view him. However, he did perform well in that sample last year with a 3.77 SIERA and a 25.9% strikeout rate in the rotation. Unlike Rodriguez, free passes aren't an issue here as Urquidy's walk rate was just 4.3%

The matchup is where Urquidy's floor takes its dent. The Tampa Bay Rays will whiff plenty, but they aren't a terrible offense with a 99 wRC+ against righties. The matchup and ambiguity around how the simulations will view Urquidy push him below Rodriguez, but he's a high-quality pivot if you decide to look elsewhere.


With Rodriguez and Urquidy as our top pitchers, we've got a bit of coin to rain down upon the hitters. Enter the Minnesota Twins.

They're facing Marco Gonzales, who had the third-lowest strikeout rate among starters on this slate at just 17.0%. He also had a low walk rate at 6.5%, meaning he's going to let up plenty of balls in play. That's generally bad news bears against the Twins.

Although we have financial flexibility, we don't necessarily need it to roster the top-end Twins hitters. Josh Donaldson ($3,500) is the only guy with a salary above $3,200, meaning the heavy-power bats of Mitch Garver ($3,200), Nelson Cruz ($3,100), and Miguel Sano ($3,100) are all a breeze to afford. Against a low-strikeout pitcher, that's hard to pass up.

The Milwaukee Brewers don't have a favorable park factor with their game being played in Pittsburgh, but the matchup with Derek Holland allows us to still give them a sniff. Holland did bump his strikeout rate up to 25.0% last year, but he also walked 14.3% of his opponents, pushing his ERA up to 8.10 in an eight-start sample. Sub-optimal.

You probably don't need me to tell you this, but the lefty-lefty matchup shouldn't scare you out of Christian Yelich ($4,400). Yelich still had a .277 isolated slugging percentage against lefties last year, so feel free to lock that bad man in.

Ryan Braun ($2,900) actually topped Yelich in isolated slugging against lefties with a mark of .287, making him an elite value option for the slate. New Brewer Avisail Garcia ($3,100) is another guy who can bang with the platoon advantage, and you can consider Lorenzo Cain ($2,700) and Jedd Gyorko ($2,400) if you need extra help affording Yelich. They're the number two stack on the board behind the Twins.

If you need additional hitters to round things out, the New York Mets are in a plus spot against Pablo Lopez. Lopez finished with a 5.09 ERA as a starter, and he projects to allow lots of balls in play. Brandon Nimmo (2,900), Jeff McNeil ($2,900), and Michael Conforto ($2,600) bring value when necessary while Pete Alonso ($3,300) shapes up as a high-upside one-off play.

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.