MLB Sim Sports Picks for 5/12/20 on FanDuel
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 Tuesday 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.
Note: Lance McCullers Jr. was out for all of 2019 recovering from Tommy John surgery, while Jesus Luzardo only pitched 12 innings out of the bullpen. Taijuan Walker threw one inning last year, so his numbers aren't listed, either.
|Pitcher||Salary||Opp.||SIERA||K%||BB%||Opp. K%||Opp. wRC+|
|Max Scherzer (R)||$12,000||@LAA||2.93||35.1 %||4.8 %||20.3 %||109|
|Lance McCullers Jr. (R)||$9,700||KAN||--||--||--||22.1 %||93|
|Robbie Ray (L)||$9,400||NYM||4.02||31.5 %||11.2 %||23.4 %||114|
|Mike Minor (L)||$9,100||TOR||4.51||23.2 %||7.9 %||24.7 %||94|
|Dallas Keuchel (L)||$8,600||@SDP||4.39||18.7 %||8.0 %||24.5 %||107|
|Jake Odorizzi (R)||$8,000||@DET||4.14||27.1 %||8.1 %||25.6 %||82|
|Jon Lester (L)||$7,700||MIL||4.49||21.6 %||6.8 %||20.7 %||102|
|Marcus Stroman (R)||$7,500||@ARI||4.41||20.5 %||7.5 %||21.8 %||96|
|Cole Hamels (L)||$7,400||BOS||4.55||23.2 %||9.1 %||19.7 %||112|
|Julio Teheran (R)||$7,300||WAS||5.11||21.5 %||11.0 %||21.5 %||96|
|German Marquez (R)||$7,000||SFG||3.85||24.3 %||4.9 %||24.0 %||89|
|Jesus Luzardo (L)||$6,800||@SEA||--||--||--||23.4 %||106|
|Taijuan Walker (R)||$6,500||OAK||--||--||--||22.8 %||109|
|Matt Shoemaker (R)||$6,400||@TEX||4.54||22.2 %||8.3 %||25.5 %||89|
|Brett Anderson (L)||$6,300||@CHC||5.17||12.1 %||6.6 %||24.5 %||94|
|Martin Perez (L)||$6,200||@ATL||5.01||17.8 %||8.4 %||22.7 %||106|
|Jakob Junis (R)||$6,100||@HOU||4.63||21.3 %||7.5 %||16.3 %||129|
|Zach Davies (R)||$6,000||CWS||5.43||15.2 %||7.6 %||25.6 %||107|
|Ivan Nova (R)||$5,900||MIN||5.16||14.1 %||5.8 %||20.9 %||119|
|Jeff Samardzija (R)||$5,500||@COL||4.92||18.9 %||6.6 %||22.5 %||86|
To help get you started, let's go through some of the top pitchers and stacks on tonight's slate.
Max Scherzer ($12,000) might give up a couple runs in a tougher spot against the Angels, but no one has more strikeout potential. The prohibitive price tag may give you pause, but his numbers are heads and shoulders above everyone else.
Lance McCullers ($9,700) doesn't have the punchout ceiling of Scherzer, but he should be a fairly safe play against the Royals. McCullers has consistently posted strong peripherals prior to 2019, and Steamer projects him for a rock-solid 3.74 ERA, 25.9% strikeout rate, and 9.1% walk rate, which is probably right around how the sims view him.
Robbie Ray ($9,400) is the only other hurler other than Scherzer who exceeds a 30% strikeout rate, so that puts him on the table versus the Mets. Between the matchup and Ray's always concerning walk rate, this is a boom-or-bust choice, but the upside should be there.
Jake Odorizzi ($8,000) and Jesus Luzardo ($6,800) are probably your best choices from the bargain bin. Odorizzi draws arguably the easiest matchup on the board in the Tigers, and last year's 27.1% strikeout rate sits behind only Scherzer and Ray. Luzardo doesn't have much of a track record, but his projections pop in this price range, and over half the Mariners' lineup is made up of lefty sticks.
There will be a temptation to save at pitcher because Jeff Samardzija is making a start at Coors Field, and you wouldn't be wrong if you want to go that route. Despite some lackluster peripherals in 2019, Samardzija somehow escaped with a 3.52 ERA, but projections aren't buying into that and neither should we.
The Colorado Rockies are super expensive, but the good news is that could put a dent in their ownership. Nolan Arenado ($4,400) and Trevor Story ($4,200) always top any Rockies wish list, but Charlie Blackmon ($4,300), David Dahl ($4,200), and Ryan McMahon ($3,700) are also standout options against a pitcher who produced sorry numbers versus lefties (5.22 FIP and 5.54 xFIP). And while Ian Desmond ($3,000) isn't terribly exciting in same-sided matchups, he's one of the few ways to get cheap exposure.
The Minnesota Twins aren't nearly as priced up as the Rockies, and they could very well be even more dangerous against Ivan Nova. The veteran right-hander checks all the boxes for a simulated stack victim: poor real-life results, poor peripherals, and poor projections. Oh, and the Twins are pretty damn good, too.
Miguel Sano ($3,700), Nelson Cruz ($3,500), Max Kepler ($3,400) and Josh Donaldson ($3,300) are your primary targets, followed by Mitch Garver ($3,300), Eddie Rosario ($3,300), and even number-nine hitter Byron Buxton ($2,600).
For a more contrarian stack, you could try the Toronto Blue Jays against lefty Mike Minor. The simulation likely still views the Rangers' home ballpark as a plus for hitters, and Minor projects as a league average 2020 pitcher at best. Randal Grichuk ($3,200), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($3,200), Lourdes Gurriel ($2,800), and Teoscar Hernandez ($2,500) make for an inexpensive righty stack, and you can throw Bo Bichette ($3,600) into the mix, too. Travis Shaw ($2,300) and Cavan Biggio ($2,600) bat left-handed but have enough pop to also consider at their cheap salaries.
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.