MLB Sim Sports Picks for 5/7/20 on FanDuel

Who should you roster on Thursday night's seven-game MLB Sim Sports slate?

Do you miss Major League 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 night'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+
Max Scherzer (R) $12,000 ARI 2.93 35.1 % 4.8 % 21.8 % 96
Lance McCullers Jr. (R) $10,000 SEA -- -- -- 25.9 % 88
Robbie Ray (L) $8,700 @WAS 4.02 31.5 % 11.2 % 20.2 % 106
Dallas Keuchel (L) $8,100 TAM 4.39 18.7 % 8.0 % 27.1 % 99
Mike Minor (L) $7,900 @CLE 4.51 23.2 % 7.9 % 20.8 % 104
Trevor Bauer (R) $7,600 @COL 4.14 27.8 % 9.0 % 22.5 % 86
Brett Anderson (L) $7,200 @MIA 5.17 12.1 % 6.6 % 24.9 % 82
German Marquez (R) $7,000 CIN 3.85 24.3 % 4.9 % 24.3 % 95
Jordan Yamamoto (R) $6,700 MIL 4.71 25.2 % 11.1 % 22.8 % 102
Zach Plesac (R) $6,500 TEX 5.13 18.5 % 8.4 % 25.5 % 89
Julio Teheran (R) $6,200 @BOS 5.11 21.5 % 11.0 % 19.9 % 105
Yonny Chirinos (R) $6,000 @CWS 4.22 22.3 % 5.6 % 25.6 % 107
Kendall Graveman (R) $5,800 @HOU -- -- -- 16.3 % 129
Brian Johnson (L) $5,500 LAA 5.92 13.9 % 10.2 % 19.8 % 102

To help get you started, let's go through some of the top pitchers and stacks on tonight's slate.


Max Scherzer ($12,000) is the most expensive hurler by a whopping $2,000, but c'mon, it's Mad Max -- you know he's firmly in play against Arizona. No one has more strikeout potential.

Lance McCullers Jr. ($10,000) gets a fantastic matchup versus the Mariners, though, so if you need that $2k elsewhere, he's a worthwhile alternative. Prior to missing the 2019 season, McCullers posted a 3.62 SIERA, 26.9% strikeout rate, and 9.5% walk rate in 2018. Season-long projections peg him for similar numbers in 2020.

Robbie Ray ($8,700) and Dallas Keuchel ($8,100) are riskier plays, but they're the way to go if you're shooting for value. Ray has the slate's second-best strikeout rate but has a tougher matchup against Washington. On the other hand, Keuchel has pedestrian peripherals, but the Rays give a big boost in punchouts to lefties.


Coors Field is in action, and while Trevor Bauer and German Marquez are hardly pushovers, that shouldn't deter us from stacking the Colorado Rockies and Cincinnati Reds.

For the Rockies, Nolan Arenado ($4,100) and Trevor Story ($3,800) are top options as usual, and you can also drop down to Ryan McMahon ($3,500) and Daniel Murphy ($3,100) for some cheaper choices.

On the Reds' side, you want Mike Moustakas ($4,100), Eugenio Suarez ($3,700), and Nick Castellanos ($3,700) on the high end, and Jesse Winker ($2,800) is a great value out of the six hole.

That being said, given the quality of pitchers at Coors, you could argue the Los Angeles Angels are in a better overall spot against left-hander Brian Johnson. Johnson's above numbers came across just seven starts, but even if we include his bullpen work, it amounts to a still terrible 5.75 SIERA, 16.1% strikeout rate, and 11.9% walk rate over 41.1 innings.

Mike Trout ($4,600) is stupidly expensive, but you can also roll out any combination of Anthony Rendon ($4,000), Shohei Ohtani ($3,500), Justin Upton ($3,300), and Albert Pujols ($2,200). Ohtani held his own in lefty-lefty matchups last season (112 wRC+), and Pujols actually maintained some decent pop against southpaws (.255 ISO).

You can also flip over to the other side and stack the Boston Red Sox against Julio Teheran, who projects rather poorly for 2020. Rafael Devers ($3,800) and J.D. Martinez ($3,500) are always good bets for dingers.

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.