MLB Sim Sports Picks for 5/2/20 on FanDuel
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FanDuel's 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 -- things like 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.
Here's the breakdown for today's main slate, which starts at 8 p.m. EST.
Walker Buehler ($11,700) is in his own stratosphere tonight. He's $1,900 more expensive than any other hurler, and Buehler will likely come with a good amount of ownership. It's probably chalk worth eating, though, as he's up against a San Diego Padres squad that really struggled against righties in 2019 -- fourth-worst wOBA (.299) and second-highest strikeout rate (26.5%). For his part, Buehler finished 2019 with a 3.50 SIERA, 29.2% strikeout rate and 5.0% walk rate. And this game is at pitcher-friendly Petco. Pretty much all the boxes are checked.
After Buehler, you can easily poke holes in any other pitcher, so you're going to have to make some sacrifices no matter who you choose. Lance McCullers ($9,700) missed all of 2019, so he's a wild card. With that said, he offers some strikeout upside as he carried a 26.9% strikeout rate and 13.5% swinging-strike rate in 2018, his last full campaign. McCullers is on the road at the Seattle Mariners, a team that ended last season just 21st in wOBA against righties (.310) while holding the fourth-highest strikeout rate in the split (25.8%). There's upside here, but there's some risk, too, given McCullers' 2019 injury.
Another guy I can stomach is Luke Weaver ($7,200) at home against the Chicago Cubs. The Cubbies did have the seventh-best wOBA against righties last year (.333) -- like I said: sacrifices -- but they also sported the 11th-highest strikeout rate (23.4%) in the split. Prior to getting hurt, Weaver was having a nice bounce-back season a year ago, posting a 26.5% strikeout rate and 5.4% walk rate. Obviously, I'd much rather have Buehler and am prioritizing making his salary work, but Weaver has some upside today.
The only issue with Houston is that their best bats -- Alex Bregman ($3,900), Jose Altuve ($3,700), Yordan Alvarez ($3,600) and George Springer ($3,400) -- are too expensive to stack with Buehler. They do have some quality cheaper hitters, though, in Carlos Correa ($3,200), Michael Brantley ($3,100) and Yuli Gurriel ($2,800). Brantley might be the best point-per-dollar bat on the slate. He's hitting third in a loaded lineup and is fresh off a .385 wOBA and 41.9% hard-hit rate with the platoon advantage last year.
A sneaky-good stack today is the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are at home versus Jose Quintana. Arizona mauled southpaws this past season, mashing their way to a .349 wOBA (fourth-best) and 42.0% hard-hit rate (fifth-best) in the split. Quintana had a mere 8.3% swinging-strike rate in 2019, finishing with a 4.50 SIERA. Righties had a .336 wOBA and 39.1% hard-hit rate against him.
Other than Ketel Marte ($3,500), the D-Backs don't have any bats over $3,000, so they're a great place to look if you're rostering Buehler. Starling Marte ($3,000) is one of the better point--per-dollar plays on the slate, bringing pop and stolen-base upside from his spot atop the order. Christian Walker ($2,900) and Eduardo Escobar ($2,900) are in the middle of the lineup (fifth and third, respectively) and will hit from the right side. And the aforementioned Ketel Marte is coming off a 32-jack, 10-steal campaign.
Another cheap stack we can feel good about is the Kansas City Royals against Jordan Zimmermann. Zimmermann had a punchless 16.3% strikeout rate in 2019 and allowed a 42.7% hard-hit rate -- including a .411 wOBA and 46.1% hard-hit rate to lefty hitters.
KC offers us a bottom-of-the-order trio of left-handed bats in Alex Gordon ($2,700), Ryan O'Hearn ($2,100) and Nicky Lopez (2,000). O'Hearn is one of my favorite clearance-rack sticks today -- both as a one-off play and in stacks. Yes, he was terrible a year ago (.278 wOBA), but O'Hearn amassed a .398 wOBA across 170 plate appearances in 2018 and was swinging it well in spring training.
The Royals have some quality righties, too, in Jorge Soler ($3,500), Hunter Dozier ($3,700) and Whit Merrifield ($3,100). And don't sleep on Adalberto Mondesi ($3,200), who will hit from the left side and swiped 43 bags in 102 games last season.
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.