MLB Sim Sports Picks for 5/3/20 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 7 p.m. EST.
At the top end of pricing, Mike Clevinger ($10,300) is the slate's best option, with his matchup against the New York Giants giving him the edge over Patrick Corbin ($10,500), who is up against the Cincinnati Reds. In 2019, the Giants had a horrid .295 wOBA, the third-worst clip in baseball. Clevinger put up some sparkling numbers a year ago, including a 3.31 SIERA, 33.9% strikeout rate and 15.2% swinging-strike rate. The upside is immense for him in this matchup.
I also like Luis Castillo ($8,700) against an Anthony Rendon-less Washington Nationals lineup. Castillo should be priced up closer to the elite aces as he finished 2019 with a 28.9% strikeout rate and 15.9% swinging-strike rate. His walk rate was 10.1% last year, but that was an outlier compared to the 6.9% and 8.9% walk rates he had in his first two seasons. Castillo doesn't have the floor of Clev or Corbin, but he's got just as high of a ceiling.
Jose Urquidy ($7,800) is a guy I loved in season-long coming into the campaign, and he's got a sweet road matchup with the Seattle Mariners. Seattle recorded a .310 wOBA against righties (21st-best) last season while also carrying a 25.8% strikeout rate (fourth-highest). Urquidy posted at least a 30.0% strikeout rate across two minor-league levels in 2019, and in 41.0 MLB frames (in which he worked as a reliever and starter), he had a 4.03 SIERA, 23.9% strikeout rate, 12.0% swinging-strike rate and 4.2% walk rate. If a cheaper hurler pops off today, my money is on it being Urquidy.
The Arizona Diamondbacks should be one of the league's better offenses, and they've got a great matchup today versus Chicago Cubs righty Tyler Chatwood. Chatwood has owned a double-digit walk rate in four consecutive seasons and just once (last year, 22.8%) in that span has his strikeout rate been above 19.0%.
The D-Backs have several appealing options, and just one of their bats is above $3,100. That one pricey dude is Ketel Marte ($3,600), who is worth the cost as a guy who blasted 32 homers with 10 swipes in 2019. Starling Marte ($3,100) is a great power-speed guy who is atop the lineup, and Eduardo Escobar slugged his way to a .360 wOBA, 44.8% hard-hit rate and 44.4% fly-ball rate at home a season ago.
David Peralta ($2,800), Christian Walker ($2,800) and Kole Calhoun ($2,600) deserve consideration, too. Peralta is a great choice at a modest cost as he finished last year with a .359 wOBA and 46.7% hard-hit rate at home versus righties.
On the flip side of that game, Mike Leake gave up a 41.1% hard-hit rate last season while striking out just 15.2% of hitters. He was particularly crushed by lefties, surrendering a .351 wOBA in the split. Low strikeouts and a lot of hard contact -- two of the key things we're looking for when stacking.
Given Leake's woes versus left-handed hitters, we can start with Anthony Rizzo ($3,700). Rizzo has put up at least 25 jacks with a double-digit walk rate for six straight years, and he mashed with the platoon advantage last season, holding a .403 wOBA in the split.
Kyle Schwarber ($3,200) and Ian Happ ($3,300) will also hit from the left side. Schwarber always gives us double-dong upside whenever the Cubbies face a righty. And don't sleep on Jason Heyward ($2,200), who had a .350 wOBA against righties last year and bopped 21 dingers overall. Of course, Javier Baez ($3,400) and Kris Bryant ($3,400) are in play, too, despite being righties.
For the last stack, let's peep the Houston Astros, who are on the road versus Marco Gonzales. Houston is always enticing when they're seeing a southpaw (MLB-best .363 wOBA in the split in 2019), but when that lefty is a low-strikeout guy, our tails should be up. Gonzales ended last year with a measly 17.0% strikeout rate and 7.9% swinging-strike rate.
As always, Houston has so many quality hitters in their lineup. Carlos Correa ($3,000) is one of the top point-per-dollar options on the slate as he rocked lefties to the tune of a .405 wOBA and 52.2% hard-hit rate. Correa is hitting fifth, right in front of Yuli Gurriel ($2,600), another cheap righty who did pretty well -- more walks than punchouts along with a 41.8% fly-ball rate -- with the platoon advantage a campaign ago.
And there's always the big bats if you have the cash -- Alex Bregman ($4,000), George Springer ($3,800), Jose Altuve ($3,700) and Yordan Alvarez ($3,300). Yordan is the lone guy from that group who will hit from the left side, but that shouldn't scare us one bit as he had a .422 wOBA and 49.4% hard-hit rate in lefty-lefty matchups as a rookie in 2019.
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.