MLB Sim Sports Picks for 5/15/20 on FanDuel

Brandon Woodruff brings strikeout upside for a mid-range salary on Friday's simulated MLB DFS slate. Who else stands out on FanDuel?

Friday's simulated MLB DFS slate on FanDuel is one I wish were real.

Not only do we have more than one pitcher who fits what we're looking for, but those viable pitchers reside in differing salary tiers.

Wanna splurge? We've got you covered.

Wanna save salary there in order to load up on hitters? We've got you there, too.

It's a bummer that we can't dump in entries and kick off our weekend the right way, but at least we'll get to experience the feeling of filling out the lineups. That'll have to do as a proxy for now.

Here's a rundown of the pitchers on the slate. The individual numbers came from starts the pitchers made in 2019. For Jordan Montgomery and Josh James, the sample as starters was less than 45 pitches, so their numbers were omitted. The opposing numbers are based on current active rosters against that pitcher's handedness in 2019.

Pitcher Salary Opponent SIERA Strikeout % Walk % Opp. K% Opp. wRC+
Yu Darvish $10,000 SDP 3.55 31.3% 7.7% 25.0% 88
Dinelson Lamet $9,600 CHC 3.61 33.6% 9.6% 23.5% 108
Zac Gallen $9,200 WAS 4.24 28.7% 10.8% 21.5% 96
David Price $9,000 KAN 3.85 28.0% 7.0% 21.7% 88
Eduardo Rodriguez $8,700 TEX 4.31 24.8% 8.7% 26.4% 97
Brandon Woodruff $8,100 CIN 3.60 29.0% 6.1% 24.3% 95
Michael Fulmer $7,800 SEA -- -- -- 25.9% 88
Griffin Canning $7,600 OAK 4.31 25.3% 7.8% 22.8% 109
Anibal Sanchez $7,500 ARI 5.07 18.8% 8.2% 21.8% 96
Dylan Cease $7,100 TOR 4.60 24.9% 10.7% 25.2% 85
Trent Thornton $6,800 CWS 4.94 21.7% 9.5% 25.6% 107
Yusei Kikuchi $6,700 DET 5.17 16.1% 6.9% 24.9% 98
Jordan Montgomery $6,600 HOU -- -- -- 15.9% 137
Sean Manaea $6,400 LAA 3.86 27.5% 6.4% 19.8% 102
Josh James $6,200 NYY -- -- -- 23.4% 119
Felix Hernandez $6,100 SFG 5.02 17.5% 7.7% 24.0% 89
Jordan Lyles $6,000 BOS 4.53 24.4% 9.2% 19.9% 105
Andrew Suarez $5,900 ATL 6.47 14.3% 14.3% 22.7% 106
Wade Miley $5,800 MIL 4.80 19.4% 8.5% 20.7% 102
Mike Montgomery $5,500 LOS 4.74 18.3% 7.5% 21.9% 105

Where can we find those aforementioned delicious pitching options on the slate? Let's break it all down, starting right there.


At the top of the pitching pool, we get Yu Darvish ($10,000) against a high-strikeout San Diego Padres team. That should make it clear why this slate is so fun.

The simulations will likely weight Darvish's early-season struggles and late-season dominance equally, which means we should look mainly at his full-season numbers. But he was so nasty in the second half that even those paint him in a positive light. He finished with a 3.55 SIERA and 31.3% strikeout rate, both of which are either first or second-best on the slate.

Darvish does have to make this start on the road, but with the Padres' strikeout rate against righties being 25.0%, he's still easily worth his salary.

If you'd rather save a little salary, then both Eduardo Rodriguez ($8,700) and Brandon Woodruff ($8,100) get the juices flowing for different reasons.

For Rodriguez, it's about the matchup. He's facing the Texas Rangers, whose active roster struck out a whopping 26.4% of the time against lefties last year. Rodriguez wasn't bad, himself, with a 24.8% strikeout rate, so he should be able to take advantage of the plus spot.

Woodruff has a good matchup, too, but the bigger appeal here is the talent. Woodruff broke out fully last year with a 3.60 SIERA and 29.0% strikeout rate, that SIERA being the second-best mark among all starters on this slate. The Cincinnati Reds had a 24.3% strikeout rate against righties, giving him an obvious path to upside.

Between the two, Woodruff should likely be higher on our lists due to the individual strikeout gap between him and Rodriguez. Regardless of how you view them, though, we've got three really solid options here, allowing you to play things however you prefer.


One reason to consider skipping over Darvish and peppering the middle tier at pitcher is that it better positions you to stack the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are in a prime spot against Mike Montgomery.

Montgomery finished last year with a 4.74 SIERA and 18.3% strikeout rate while walking 7.5% of the batters he faced. This means he projects to let up a lot of balls in play. Although you'd rather have those balls in play come at a spot that's not Kansas City, it's still a boon for the Dodgers' hitters.

The simulation seems to be as platoon-happy as the actual Dodgers, which means we get both Will Smith ($3,000) and A.J. Pollock ($3,000) in the top six spots in the batting order at a mid-range salary. Justin Turner ($3,300) isn't too much more expensive than that and had a .294 isolated slugging percentage with the platoon advantage last year. Ideally, using players like that will afford you the salary flexibility to get up and lock in Mookie Betts ($3,800) with his new club.

The other expensive stack we'll want is the Houston Astros. They're facing Jordan Montgomery, who has plenty of promise as he comes back from injury but also gives the simulation a limited sample and a career 21.9% strikeout rate. With how nasty this Astros team was against lefties last year, that's enough for us to bite.

The Astros are definitely expensive, but they're at least affordable if you use Woodruff. One guy who can help unlock those upper-tier options is Yulieski Gurriel ($2,400). He's slated to bat sixth and finished last year with a .241 isolated slugging percentage against lefties. At that salary, he can also help you get exposure to this team even if you decide to spend up for Darvish.

Speaking of Darvish, you'll need value plays in order to plug him in, although even he isn't all that expensive. The hunt for value leads us to the Detroit Tigers.

Detroit's obviously not a great offense, and I'm not going to try to pretend they are. They will be in a good spot, though, as they face Yusei Kikuchi, who struggled as a rookie with a 5.17 SIERA and 16.1% strikeout rate. There's reason for optimism in the real world in 2020, but the simulated world will only see what he did last year.

Detroit also isn't as stanky as they were last year thanks to the additions of C.J. Cron ($3,000) and Jonathan Schoop ($2,600), both of whom had an isolated slugging percentage of at least .286 against lefties last year. Cron's the most expensive hitter on the team, making the Tigers the ideal route if you need help getting to Darvish or any of the studs in the other stacks.

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.