MLB Sim Sports Picks for 4/30/20 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 Thursday'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+|
|Justin Verlander (R)||$12,000||@SEA||2.95||35.4 %||5.0 %||25.9 %||88|
|Jacob deGrom (R)||$11,600||@MIA||3.29||31.7 %||5.5 %||24.4 %||95|
|Chris Paddack (R)||$9,200||STL||3.83||26.9 %||5.5 %||23.6 %||94|
|Tyler Glasnow (R)||$8,700||@OAK||3.18||33.0 %||6.1 %||22.8 %||109|
|Caleb Smith (L)||$8,600||NYM||4.58||26.0 %||9.3 %||23.4 %||114|
|Brandon Woodruff (R)||$8,300||WAS||3.60||29.0 %||6.1 %||21.5 %||96|
|Madison Bumgarner (L)||$8,100||CHC||4.15||24.1 %||5.1 %||24.5 %||94|
|Masahiro Tanaka (R)||$8,000||DET||4.44||19.8 %||5.2 %||25.6 %||82|
|Matthew Boyd (L)||$7,900||@NYY||3.61||30.2 %||6.4 %||23.6 %||126|
|Kyle Hendricks (R)||$7,700||@ARI||4.38||20.6 %||4.4 %||21.8 %||96|
|Jesus Luzardo (L)||$7,300||TAM||--||--||--||27.1 %||99|
|Danny Duffy (L)||$7,000||@BAL||4.89||20.7 %||8.3 %||21.0 %||98|
|Joe Ross (R)||$6,800||@MIL||5.24||19.8 %||11.5 %||22.8 %||102|
|Dakota Hudson (R)||$6,400||@SDP||5.06||18.0 %||11.3 %||25.0 %||88|
|Alex Cobb (R)||$6,100||KAN||4.96||13.3 %||3.3 %||22.1 %||93|
|Justus Sheffield (L)||$5,900||HOU||4.57||22.1 %||9.1 %||15.9 %||137|
To help get you started, let's go through some of the top pitchers and stacks on tonight's slate.
Let's get this out of the way first. Justin Verlander ($12,000) and Jacob deGrom ($11,600) are two of the top pitchers in baseball and get soft draws against the Mariners and Marlins, respectively. There's no reason to overthink this -- they're the top overall hurlers of the slate.
But if you're looking to pay down, the foursome that follows in Chris Paddack ($9,200), Tyler Glasnow ($8,700), Caleb Smith ($8,600), and Brandon Woodruff ($8,300) are viable alternatives. Paddack has a solid matchup against the Cardinals, while Glasnow's numbers rival that of Verlander and deGrom despite a tougher spot against the Athletics. Smith doesn't have a cupcake opponent in the Mets, but virtual Marlins Park should give him some added protection.
Matt Boyd has strong marks in the above chart, but don't let that scare you off from stacking the New York Yankees against him. Boyd posted mediocre numbers in prior campaigns, and season-long projections see him taking a step back in strikeout rate, which is something the simulation should account for. He also coughed up 1.89 homers per nine innings in 2019, and a 40.7% hard-hit rate and 44.9% fly-ball rate won't do him a whole lot of good in Yankee Stadium.
Aaron Judge ($3,800) and Giancarlo Stanton ($3,700) are the obvious headliners, but you don't have to necessarily spend too much to go here, with Gleyber Torres ($3,200), Gary Sanchez ($3,000), and Luke Voit ($2,900) checking in at affordable salaries.
The Baltimore Orioles aren't a team we typically look to stack, yet they might be worth considering against lefty Danny Duffy. Camden Yards is a favorable locale for dingers, and Duffy only posted a 36.0% groundball rate last season and hasn't had a high strikeout rate since 2016.
Austin Hays ($3,100), Renato Nunez ($3,100), Trey Mancini ($2,900), and Anthony Santander ($2,700) all have enough pop to take advantage and make for a cheap stack if you're paying up for Verlander or deGrom.
On the other side of that game, the Kansas City Royals are another squad we don't often think to load up on, but they draw one of the easiest matchups on the board against Alex Cobb. It's worth noting that Cobb only made three starts last season, but he wasn't anything special over his 28 starts in 2018, producing a 4.62 SIERA and 15.4% strikeout rate.
Jorge Soler ($3,700) and an underpriced Salvador Perez ($2,800) are top choices, along with Hunter Dozier ($3,600), Ryan O'Hearn ($2,200), and Maikel Franco ($2,200) as options to round out your lineup.
For some contrarian stacks, you can try the Detroit Tigers against an often homer-prone Masahiro Tanaka or the Chicago Cubs against Madison Bumgarner. While stacking against Bumgarner might seem odd, keep in mind that his projections are rather bearish for 2020, so the sim may view him pessimistically.
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.