MLB Sim Sports Picks for 5/8/20 on FanDuel

Tonight's main simulated MLB DFS slate should involve a classic dilemma: do we stack Coors or splurge for the stud pitcher in an elite matchup?

The latter half is certainly there. Walker Buehler ($11,500) is facing the San Diego Padres at home, and it doesn't get much juicier than that.

The problem is that Coors isn't the lone potential outlet for some saucy high-salaried bats. The Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins are also shaping up mighty fine, and there aren't a ton of salary-savers there who will help you get up to Buehler.

So, how should we handle things on tonight's slate? To help us answer that question, here's a rundown of the starting pitchers sorted by their FanDuel salaries. The individual numbers are from starts they made in 2019, and the opposing numbers are based on current active rosters against that pitcher's handedness.

PitcherSalaryOpponentSIERAStrikeout %Walk %Opp. K%Opp. wRC+
Walker Buehler$11,500SDP3.5029.2%5.0%25.0%88
Lance Lynn$9,600TAM3.8328.1%6.7%24.3%99
Jose Urquidy$8,500SEA3.7725.9%4.3%25.9%88
Carlos Martinez$8,300NYM------21.5%109
Kenta Maeda$8,100KAN4.2226.2%8.4%22.1%93
Ryan Yarbrough$7,900TEX4.2120.9%3.2%26.4%97
A.J. Puk$7,600TOR------24.7%94
Luke Weaver$7,400MIL3.8426.5%5.4%22.8%102
Rick Porcello$7,200STL4.8618.6%5.9%23.6%94
Jon Gray$7,000CIN4.2823.7%8.4%24.3%95
Joey Lucchesi$6,900LOS4.4823.0%8.2%21.9%105
Luis Castillo$6,800COL3.9528.9%10.1%22.5%86
Chase Anderson$6,700OAK5.0020.2%8.4%22.8%109
Kevin Gausman$6,600CWS4.4123.6%7.3%25.6%107
Reynaldo Lopez$6,500SFG4.8820.9%8.0%24.0%89
Eric Lauer$6,400ARI4.7421.2%7.9%21.5%112
Pablo Lopez$6,200ATL4.4420.3%5.8%22.4%100
Felix Hernandez$6,000MIA5.0217.5%7.7%24.4%95
Marco Gonzales$5,700HOU5.0817.0%6.5%15.9%137
Brad Keller$5,500MIN5.2317.2%9.9%20.9%119

Let's dive in and see what we should make of this and where we should allocate those ever-important fake salary bucks.


In a vacuum, Buehler is everything you want in a pitcher. That makes him worth $11,500 without a doubt in our minds.

Buehler has the highest strikeout rate on the slate, and his opponent has the fourth-highest mark. That's the exact formula you want when looking for reasons to justify spending up at pitcher.

Normally, this would be a time where we'd tell you to pay up because expensive pitchers drastically increase your lineup's expected scoring output. The difference here is that we do have some palatable, lower-cost alternatives who also possess strikeout upside and could allow us to get up to those expensive hitters.

One of those options is the second most expensive pitcher on the board, Lance Lynn ($9,600). Although Lynn is behind only Buehler in salary, he's still a $1,900 discount. That's the difference between averaging $2,938 per hitter and $3,175, and you can at least stack the Twins while using a pitcher in Lynn's salary range. Lynn, himself, has strikeout upside with a 28.1% strikeout rate last year, and the opposing Tampa Bay Rays struck out 24.3% of the time against righties. If you want a half measure to give you extra wiggle room, Lynn fits.

The full measure would be jumping all the way down to Kevin Gausman ($6,600). Gausman was basically a disaster last year with a 6.37 ERA, but his peripherals were stronger with a 4.41 SIERA and 23.6% strikeout rate. He also now moves to the black hole of offensive despair that is San Francisco, which should help keep the Chicago White Sox's new bats in check. They struck out at a 25.6% clip in 2019, so Gausman -- even if the floor is lava -- does have a path to a ceiling game.

Buehler is still a great option, and if you find low-dollar stacks you love, he's worth it. But for once, you don't have to jam him in, and Lynn and Gausman stand out as being the best alternatives.


Let's start things off with Coors because it'll always be the first decision point when it's on the slate.

The simulations account for park factor, which means we have to bump up both offenses. The issue is that neither the Colorado Rockies nor Cincinnati Reds have elite lineups, and they're facing pitchers in Luis Castillo and Jon Gray who have some talent at their disposal. That's another reason that at least discussing Buehler was worthwhile.

Still, the Reds are among the top options available as they face Gray. Specifically, the lefties stand out after Gray allowed a .345 wOBA to them for the full season in 2019. This means newcomers Mike Moustakas ($3,800) and Shogo Akiyama ($3,000) stand out along with holdovers Joey Votto ($3,500) and Jesse Winker ($3,100).

Based on the matchup with Castillo, we'll likely want to rank the Rockies beneath both the Astros and Twins from a prioritization perspective. The Astros are pricey, too, but they get Marco Gonzales, who had a 17.0% strikeout rate and 6.5% walk rate last year. They're going to put the ball in play, and they'll likely do so in a loud fashion.

If you're using Buehler but still want some exposure to this matchup, Yulieski Gurriel ($2,600) is your outlet. He's batting sixth and had a .241 isolated slugging percentage against lefties in 2019 while striking out just 6.8% of the time. A full stack is likely reserved only for Lynn and Gausman lineups, but Gurriel and one of the others can at least get you a mini stack without limiting you elsewhere.

The Twins' high-end sticks are cheaper with nobody costing more than $3,300, but they don't provide any super cheap bats. Max Kepler ($3,000) and Jorge Polanco ($2,800) could fill a similar role to Gurriel where they can get you a mini stack of the Twins, but going all-in will be difficult unless you spend down.

There is one potential saving grace, though. There's a team that's cheap enough to allow you to check out the Reds, Astros, and Twins even while rolling out Buehler. That team is the Miami Marlins.

There are a couple of reasons we're drawn here. The first is the matchup with Felix Hernandez, who doesn't project to grade out well in the simulations. The second is that they're probably not as bad as perception. When you account for their offseason moves, their active roster actually sits 18th in wRC+ against righties. Put that in a plus matchup in Atlanta, and you've got a cause for optimism.

The individual players within the stack also at least have a pulse. Corey Dickerson ($2,700), specifically, had a .274 isolated slugging percentage against righties in 2019, and Jesus Aguilar ($2,400) has pop aplenty despite coming off a wretched season. Checking out some of these options can give us a stars-and-scrubsy lineup with both Buehler and the expensive stacks. And if we're ever going to bite the bullet and consider both Gausman and the Marlins in the same day, it might as well be a contest we're not paying to enter.

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.