MLB Sim Sports Picks for 4/28/20 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 Sim 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 8:00pm 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+|
|Patrick Corbin (L)||$10,000||@MIL||3.88||28.5 %||8.4 %||20.7 %||102|
|Miles Mikolas (R)||$8,400||@SDP||4.39||18.9 %||4.2 %||25.0 %||88|
|Zach Eflin (R)||$8,100||@SFG||4.90||17.9 %||6.6 %||24.0 %||89|
|Patrick Sandoval (L)||$7,900||@SEA||4.89||22.8 %||11.4 %||23.4 %||106|
|Alex Wood (L)||$7,600||MIN||4.67||19.6 %||5.9 %||20.4 %||123|
|Jose Urquidy (R)||$7,400||@ARI||3.77||25.9 %||4.3 %||21.8 %||96|
|Garrett Richards (R)||$7,200||STL||4.93||26.8 %||14.6 %||23.6 %||94|
|Marco Gonzales (L)||$7,000||LAA||5.08||17.0 %||6.5 %||19.8 %||102|
|Sean Manaea (L)||$6,900||@TEX||3.86||27.5 %||6.4 %||26.4 %||97|
|Mitch Keller (R)||$6,700||@CHC||3.78||28.6 %||7.1 %||23.5 %||108|
|Mike Leake (R)||$6,600||HOU||4.79||15.2 %||3.2 %||16.3 %||129|
|Tyler Chatwood (R)||$6,500||PIT||5.10||21.4 %||12.2 %||20.1 %||94|
|Kyle Gibson (R)||$6,300||OAK||4.27||22.4 %||7.8 %||22.8 %||109|
|Eric Lauer (L)||$6,200||WAS||4.74||21.2 %||7.9 %||20.2 %||106|
|Jhoulys Chacin (R)||$6,000||@LOS||4.91||21.7 %||9.7 %||20.2 %||122|
|Andrew Suarez (L)||$6,000||PHI||6.47||14.3 %||14.3 %||23.9 %||109|
|Kyle Freeland (L)||$5,700||CWS||5.19||16.7 %||8.3 %||23.8 %||119|
|Dylan Cease (R)||$5,500||@COL||4.60||24.9 %||10.7 %||22.5 %||86|
To help get you started, let's go through some of the top pitchers and stacks on tonight's nine-game slate.
As the only pitcher exceeding even the $9k mark, it's clear that Patrick Corbin ($10,000) is a top play pretty much by default despite a mediocre matchup on the road against the Brewers. Only Garrett Richards ($7,200), Mitch Keller ($6,700), and Sean Manaea ($6,900) contend with Corbin in strikeout rate -- except none of those pitchers made more than 11 starts last season, so their rates should be taken with a grain of salt. On the other hand, Corbin has produced a 29.6% strikeout rate over the past two seasons, and Steamer projects him for a 27.0% clip in 2020. He's priced where he's at for a reason.
But if you're looking to pay down, Richards should be your guy from that cheaper trio. Richards only made three starts following Tommy John surgery last season, but he showed the same punchout upside from prior years, and season-long projections are generally favorable for him, including a 24.5% strikeout rate from Steamer. When we last saw a decent sample size from Richards, he produced a 3.88 SIERA, 26.9% strikeout rate, and 10.5% walk rate over 16 starts in 2018. It's fair to wonder what kind of pitch count the sims will give him after the abridged season, but he does get a solid matchup versus the Cardinals.
Despite his underwhelming numbers, you could also take a chance on left-hander Patrick Sandoval ($7,900). The Mariners' overall active roster numbers are a bit misleading because of the small sample size splits for some hitters, as lefty sticks like Dee Gordon, Mallex Smith, Dan Vogelbach, and J.P. Crawford were below average hitters in same-sided matchups last season. Ultimately, if you look at the individual parts, this Seattle lineup lacks much punch, and Sandoval will also benefit from a park factor boost in T-Mobile Park, too.
As for Sandoval himself, his numbers aren't anything to get excited about, but given the matchup, he could do enough to come through at likely lower ownership.
Tonight's two cheapest pitchers are Kyle Freeland and Dylan Cease, and it doesn't take a genius to figure out why -- they're both pitching in Coors Field. Cease has the higher strikeout rate, but really, you shouldn't be afraid to stack either side of the matchup.
On the Chicago White Sox side, Eloy Jimenez ($4,300), Jose Abreu ($4,100), Yasmani Grandal ($4,000), and top prospect Luis Robert ($3,900) are fantastic options, but obviously come with hefty price tags. Rostering Garrett Richards will go a long way towards fitting in your favorites, and Nomar Mazara ($3,200) might be worth a look as a value stick despite the lefty-lefty spot.
The Colorado Rockies' lineup is also expensive, but Trevor Story ($4,400), Nolan Arenado ($4,200), Charlie Blackmon ($4,100), and David Dahl ($4,000) are top choices. Daniel Murphy ($3,300) is one of the better ways to find some salary relief.
But if you're starting Patrick Corbin, those stacks just aren't that feasible, so instead, you can stack the Houston Astros, who are much more reasonably priced. The Astros should be able to punish a low strikeout pitcher like Mike Leake, with Yordan Alvarez ($3,700), Alex Bregman ($3,600), George Springer ($3,400), Carlos Correa ($3,000), and Michael Brantley ($3,000) being your best bets to go deep.
In addition to those stacks, you can consider both teams in the Oakland Athletics-Texas Rangers matchup, as the sims likely still view the Rangers' home park favorably and neither starting pitcher has particularly intimidating projections for 2020. Both the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers are in soft matchups, as well.
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.