MLB Sim Sports Picks for 5/9/20 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.
Charlie Morton ($9,400) sits at the top of the heap among tonight's hurlers. Not only does Morton have great numbers, his matchup with the Texas Rangers helps raise his ceiling. Texas had the fifth-highest strikeout rate (25.4%) last season, and Morton can take advantage. He posted a 30.4% strikeout rate and 12.9% swinging-strike rate in 2019. He's got the best floor/ceiling combination on the slate.
After Morton, you can poke holes in pretty much every other pitcher, but Mike Soroka ($9,000) checks a few boxes. His matchup is a dream one as he hosts the Miami Marlins, a team that had the eighth-highest strikeout rate (24.3%) and worst wOBA (.288) in 2019. Soroka doesn't usually have big-time upside thanks to a blah 20.3% strikeout rate, but he gets a lot of grounders (51.2% ground-ball rate) and limits walks (5.9% walk rate). The floor is high here, and the ceiling is decent thanks to the matchup.
It's a big risk to go with anyone else, but if you're desperate to stack Coors, Drew Smyly ($7,700) makes some sense. Smyly is a guy I can never fully quit, because he can get punchouts. Of course, he's also got some flaws in his profile, but when healthy, Smyly offers strikeout upside. Over 114 frames last year, he recorded a 23.4% strikeout rate. That came with a 10.7% walk rate and 45.4% hard-hit rate -- like I said: flaws -- but when you dip down in pricing on the bump, you've got to make some sacrifices. In a home matchup with the Chicago White Sox, a team that had the third-highest strikeout rate (25.6%) last year, Smyly could have a good day.
I really like the Minnesota Twins against Mike Montgomery. A lefty, Montgomery hasn't put up a strikeout rate higher than 18.5% since 2016, and righties tagged him for a .350 wOBA and 43.7% hard-hit rate last year.
The Twins have plenty of right-handed hitters who can pounce, led by longtime southpaw killers Nelson Cruz ($3,200) and Josh Donaldson ($3,400). Last season Cruz mauled lefties to the tune of a .464 wOBA, 56.8% hard-hit rate and 45.5% fly-ball rate. Miguel Sano ($3,000), Jorge Polanco ($3,000) and Byron Buxton ($2,400) will also hit from the right side. Lefty bats Max Kepler ($2,300) and Eddie Rosario ($3,100) are also in play. Kepler had a .367 wOBA in lefty-lefty matchups last season.
The Houston Astros are near the top of the wishlist whenever they face a southpaw, and that's the case today as they do battle with Yusei Kikuchi. Kikuchi struggled in his first season, posting a 5.17 SIERA and 16.1% strikeout rate a year ago. Righties got to him for a .374 wOBA. That could spell disaster versus the Astros.
The only issue with Houston is that they're pricey, but they could go off in this matchup. Jose Altuve ($3,700), George Springer ($4,000), Alex Bregman ($4,000) and Carlos Correa ($3,100) make up four of the first five spots in the order. Correa, in particular, is a great point-per-dollar play at his salary. And don't sleep on left-handers Michael Brantley ($2,900) and Yordan Alvarez ($3,300). As a rookie last season, Alvarez finished with a .422 wOBA and 49.4% hard-hit rate against southpaws.
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.