MLB Sim Sports Picks for 5/18/20 on FanDuel

Which players should you roster on Monday's six-game MLB Sim Sports slate?

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 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 tonight'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.

PitcherSalaryOpp.SIERAK%BB%Opp. K%Opp. wRC+
Clayton Kershaw (L)$10,200PHI3.7726.7 %5.8 %23.9 %109
Lance McCullers Jr. (R)$9,300@TOR------25.2 %85
Cole Hamels (L)$8,700@STL4.5523.2 %9.1 %22.4 %96
Kenta Maeda (R)$8,500BAL4.2226.2 %8.4 %21.5 %86
Marcus Stroman (R)$8,200PIT4.4120.5 %7.5 %20.1 %94
Julio Teheran (R)$7,900@KAN5.1121.5 %11.0 %22.1 %93
Chris Archer (R)$7,400@NYM4.3827.2 %10.5 %21.5 %109
Jakob Junis (R)$6,800LAA4.6321.3 %7.5 %20.3 %109
Adam Wainwright (R)$6,500ATL4.7020.5 %8.6 %22.4 %100
Jake Arrieta (R)$6,300@LOS4.8218.5 %8.6 %20.2 %122
John Means (L)$6,000@MIN5.1917.9 %5.8 %20.4 %123
Chase Anderson (R)$5,700HOU5.0020.2 %8.4 %16.3 %129

To help get you started, let's go through some of the top pitchers and stacks on tonight's slate.


Clayton Kershaw ($10,200) has the best SIERA and second-best strikeout rate on the board, and he benefits from a generally pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium. The Phillies aren't a cupcake matchup, but they should be a plus for Kershaw in punchouts at least.

Lance McCullers Jr. ($9,300) produced a 3.62 SIERA, 26.9% strikeout rate, and 9.5% walk rate when we last saw him in 2018, and season-long projections put him around the same range in 2020. Considering all the young up-and-comers on Toronto, they aren't total pushovers like those 2019 numbers would suggest, but McCullers should still be able to rack up some Ks.

Kenta Maeda ($8,500) doesn't have amazing projections, so he's less likely to have a ceiling performance, but he should still be able to put together a solid fantasy night against the lowly Orioles.

Chris Archer ($7,400) has the top strikeout rate of the slate, making him a great potential value. The Mets aren't an especially great matchup, but hitter-suppressing Citi Field should help Archer out.


The Minnesota Twins stand out as one of the slate's top stacks against lefty John Means. Not only are the Twins an offensive juggernaut, but Means has both the worst SIERA and worst strikeout rate among tonight's arms. Multiple models see him posting an ERA over 5.00 this season.

Nelson Cruz ($3,100) and Miguel Sano ($3,200) are egregiously mispriced for such a great spot, and it won't be hard to fit them in with the likes of Josh Donaldson ($3,500) and Mitch Garver ($3,300). Byron Buxton ($2,400) can also be thrown in on the cheap.

The Houston Astros are priced more how you would expect, but they're also in a fantastic matchup versus Chase Anderson. The right-hander has the third-worst SIERA of tonight's starters, and projections universally see him getting pummeled by the long ball this year.

George Springer ($3,900), Alex Bregman ($3,800), and Yordan Alvarez ($3,500) are the usual suspects we can expect to cash in on some dingers, and Jose Altuve ($3,700), Carlos Correa ($3,300), and Yuli Gurriel ($2,800) are solid plays, too.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are yet another top offense with an easy matchup. Jake Arrieta is well past his peak, and his 2019 peripherals are probably a good barometer of what to expect moving forward.

Cody Bellinger ($4,200), Joc Pederson ($3,800), and Max Muncy ($3,500) are the top choices to go deep. Justin Turner ($3,100), Corey Seager ($3,000), and Gavin Lux ($2,600) provide some value in the lower price range.

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.