MLB Sim Sports Picks for 5/17/20 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 7 p.m. EST.


Max Scherzer ($12,000) is on the bump, and per usual when he's pitching, he's the day's top starter. Scherzer finished 2019 with incredible numbers -- a 35.1% strikeout rate, 16.3% swinging-strike rate and 4.8% walk rate. The matchup is a tough one as he's on the road against the Arizona Diamondbacks, but Scherzer's floor/ceiling combination is unmatched on this slate. And there are enough cheaper stacking options that it shouldn't be too hard to pay up for him.

Andrew Heaney ($8,800) jumps out to me as a guy who may slip through the cracks today. His home date with the Oakland Athletics is certainly a tough one, but Heaney can come through here. He quietly has SIERAs of 3.74 and 3.87 over the last two seasons, with a 28.8% strikeout rate and 14.1% swinging-strike rate a year ago. With Trevor Bauer, Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray also in this price range, Heaney might go under-owned.

Mike Foltynewicz ($7,600) brings plenty of risk, but his road clash with the San Francisco Giants makes him an attractive value arm. San Fran ranked just 28th in wOBA (.295) this past year. Folty had better numbers in the second half -- including a 23.8% strikeout rate in that span -- and is capable of a good game in this matchup.


The Los Angeles Dodgers are on the road against Danny Duffy, making them a top stack. Duffy gave up a 41.3% hard-hit rate and 41.0% fly-ball rate to righties last year, so that's where we'll focus.

Mookie Betts ($3,700), Justin Turner ($3,200), Will Smith ($3,100) and A.J. Pollock ($3,000) are hitting 1-3-5-6. Turner had a .385 wOBA, 56.4% hard-hit rate and 48.4% fly-ball rate against southpaws last year. Enrique Hernandez ($3,000) is also worth a look despite hitting ninth. Hernandez put up a 41.5% hard-hit rate and 40.8% fly-ball rate with the platoon advantage last year.

The San Diego Padres are at home versus Jon Lester. They could be a nice contrarian stack, and they're pretty cheap. Lester hasn't had a swinging-strike rate better than 9.0% in either of the last two campaigns, and righties got to him for a 39.5% hard-hit rate last year.

San Diego has some lefty killers. Fernando Tatis Jr. ($3,600) is their only expensive bat, and he's leading off. Tommy Pham ($2,900) and Manny Machado ($3,100) -- hitting 2-3 -- are excellent point-per-dollar plays. Versus lefties in 2019, Machado had a .441 wOBA and 51.5% hard-hit rate, and Pham registered a .407 wOBA and 45.2% hard-hit rate. The Pads also have Wil Myers ($2,600), Jurickson Profar ($2,300), Francisco Mejia ($2,200) and Juan Lagares ($2,000) hitting from the right side.

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.