MLB Sim Sports Picks for 4/29/20 on FanDuel

Randal Grichuk provides high-upside salary relief on a simulated MLB DFS slate where we want to splurge for pitchers. Who else should we target on FanDuel?

If you are a fan of strikeouts -- and, partner, you had better be -- gird your loins. This simulated slate's gonna be spicy.

Not only do we have Gerrit Cole ($12,000) and Jack Flaherty ($10,200) ready to toe the virtual rubber, but Andrew Heaney ($9,600), Dinelson Lamet ($8,500), and Julio Urias ($7,600) can also dish out the whiffs. You've got options at pitcher, and there's nothing more beautiful in DFS than that.

Here are all of the options, sorted by their salary on FanDuel. The individual stats are their marks as starters last year. The opposing numbers are based on what their current active rosters did against pitchers of that handedness in 2019.

Pitcher Salary Opponent SIERA Strikeout % Walk % Opp. K% Opp. wRC+
Gerrit Cole $12,000 DET 2.62 39.9% 5.9% 25.6% 82
Jack Flaherty $10,200 SDP 3.68 29.9% 7.1% 25.0% 88
Andrew Heaney $9,600 SEA 3.87 28.9% 7.3% 23.4% 106
Aaron Nola $9,300 SFG 4.14 26.9% 9.4% 24.0% 89
Dinelson Lamet $8,500 STL 3.61 33.6% 9.6% 23.6% 94
Jose Berrios $8,000 LOS 4.28 23.2% 6.1% 20.2% 122
Hyun-Jin Ryu $7,900 BOS 3.77 22.5% 3.3% 19.7% 112
Julio Urias $7,600 MIN 3.75 29.4% 6.4% 20.4% 123
Josh Lindblom $7,500 WAS -- -- -- 21.5% 96
Anibal Sanchez $7,300 MIL 5.07 18.8% 8.2% 22.8% 102
Michael Wacha $7,300 MIA 5.19 18.3% 10.1% 24.4% 95
Johnny Cueto $7,100 PHI 5.49 19.4% 13.4% 24.5% 90
Martin Perez $6,900 TOR 5.01 17.8% 8.4% 24.7% 94
Jorge Lopez $6,700 BAL 5.01 18.4% 8.0% 21.5% 86
Jose Urena $6,500 NYM 4.98 15.8% 7.1% 21.5% 109
Michael Fulmer $6,300 NYY -- -- -- 23.4% 119
Kohl Stewart $6,000 KAN 6.33 5.8% 9.6% 22.1% 93
Yusei Kikuchi $5,800 LAA 5.17 16.1% 6.9% 19.8% 102

Hot diggity. Let's dive in now and decipher where we should go with our lineups.


Usually, when we've got lots of pitching options, it allows us to not pay top dollar for a stud. The reason we pay up for aces is they give us a massive leg up over the rest of the crowd, and that's less true when we have proper alternatives.

But I still wanna use Cole.

Even though we do have other options, there's still a huge advantage in using Cole. His strikeout rate of 39.9% last year was six percentage points higher than all others on the slate, and it's 10 percentage points clear of everyone except Lamet. When you put that in a matchup with the Detroit Tigers, we're still drooling, even after accounting for the $12,000 salary.

If you want to pass up on Cole because of the other options, that's fine. It's defensible to do so on this specific slate. But there's enough juice here for him to still be our top pitcher of the night.

Flaherty is in a similar spot against the San Diego Padres, though his match is on the road while Cole is at home. Flaherty saves you $1,800 and still comes with a 29.9% strikeout rate. The Padres' 25.0% strikeout rate is second-highest on the slate behind the Tigers' (25.6%), so there's a lot to like here. But with the gap in strikeouts between Cole and Flaherty and with Cole at home, the New York Yankees' new hurler is in a tier of his own.

Among the cheaper options, Lamet stands out as he faces Flaherty in San Diego. Lamet came back last year and made 14 starts, and his strikeout rate was 33.6%. The St. Louis Cardinals' active roster had just a 94 wRC+ against righties last year, meaning this matchup is sneakily enticing, as well. At just $8,500, Lamet does provide a legitimately different roster construction from Cole lineups, and he's our top option if we're looking to save.


Because I'm pushing Cole on you, we should start off the stacks with a cheapy as repayment. The Toronto Blue Jays can fill that role.

The Jays are facing Martin Perez, who boasted just a 17.8% strikeout rate as a starter last year. It led to a 4.99 ERA and 5.01 SIERA, meaning the simulations should view things in a negative light whether they lean more on the results or the peripherals.

The top-end guys in Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($3,300), Bo Bichette ($3,100), and Lourdes Gurriel ($3,000) are all obviously solid plays. But among the value options, Randal Grichuk ($2,600), Travis Shaw ($2,200), and Teoscar Hernandez ($2,200) all provide some pop.

Grichuk and Hernandez both had isolated slugging percentages of .223 or higher against lefties last year, so they're the true no-brainers if you're trying to get Cole. Shaw was bad against everybody last year, but we can probably assume the simulations will pull more than just single-season marks. Shaw has an acceptable career 24.7% strikeout rate against lefties, so for such a low salary at the sixth spot in the order, he's a worthwhile risk within this stack, even if he does sit below Grichuk and Hernandez on our priority list.

If you use the Blue Jays as your primary stack, you should be able to afford some Kansas City Royals as your second stack. Loading up on those two offenses probably makes you want to vomit, but the Royals are facing Kohl Stewart, so swallow that puke and plug them in.

Beyond the obvious options here like Adalberto Mondesi ($3,300), the intriguing value option here is Ryan O'Hearn ($2,300). There's no pinch-hitting in the sims, so we don't have to risk having him yanked if a lefty comes out of the bullpen. O'Hearn is in a good park, facing a low-strikeout pitcher, and showed some semblance of power last year. He's another guy who grades out below Grichuk and Hernandez, but if you need cheap sticks, he fits the bill well enough to be an option.

Those of you who decide not to use Cole have a couple extra avenues you can explore. Those are the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Angels.

The Nats are facing Josh Lindblom, who is coming back to MLB from the KBO for this upcoming year. Lindblom had a successful stint in the KBO, but even there, he was never a high-strikeout pitcher, meaning he projects to allow plenty of balls in play. That's a plus for the defending champs in Miller Park.

Using the Nats in Milwaukee means we get to exploit an Eric Thames ($2,900) revenge game. Oh, baby.

Thames is another guy who benefits from the "no-pinch-hitting" rule, and he'll bat fifth in the order. Thames had a .275 isolated slugging percentage against righties in 2019. He's a vital part of a Nationals stack, and he's in play as a one-off if you need some extra upside in your lineup.

As for the Angels, they have a date with Yusei Kikuchi. There was optimism around Kikuchi this spring and hopes he'd improve on a disappointing rookie season, but the projections likely see just his 5.46 ERA and 5.17 SIERA.

The big advantage of using Lamet at pitcher is it allows you to afford Mike Trout ($4,500) and Anthony Rendon ($3,900) with the platoon advantage. That's likely not super easy in the Cole and Flaherty lineups, so there is some legit incentive to pay down and take that risk. If you need a bit of help in getting to those two studs, Albert Pujols ($2,300) is yet another value option at catcher/first base who has the ability to leave the yard.

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.