MLB Sim Sports Picks for 5/21/20 on FanDuel

Need some DFS in your life?

We got you.

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.


While Jack Flaherty ($10,600) is appealing, I'm leaning more toward Dinelson Lamet ($10,200) and Hyun-jin Ryu ($9,700) due to matchups. Flaherty is taking on the Atlanta Braves, a team that was seventh in wOBA (.332) in 2019. Lamet and Ryu, meanwhile, get cushy dates with the Miami Marlins (32nd in wOBA; .288) and Baltimore Orioles (25th; .308), respectively.

Choosing between Ryu and Lamet is tough, but I'll take Lamet for the upside.

Not only was Miami last in wOBA in 2019, they had a 24.3% strikeout rate, the eighth-highest mark. While they improved their offense over the winter, the Marlins are still a bad lineup. Lamet offers a big-time ceiling thanks to his career 30.6% strikeout rate across 187 1/3 frames. His 10.5% career walk rate and 40.6% fly-ball rate show his volatility, but he can post a big score today.

Ryu got a lot of pub last year, but he's actually had two outstanding campaigns in a row, posting SIERAs of 3.77 (2019) and 3.18 (2018) over the past two seasons. With a 3.3% walk rate and 50.4% ground-ball rate a year ago, Ryu is safer than Lamet, and his 11.3% swinging-strike rate hints at some strikeout upside that's not fully captured by his 22.5% strikeout rate. At home against the O's, he should feast.

This slate also has Blake Snell ($8,900), Eduardo Rodriguez ($8,600) and Yu Darvish ($8,700) on it in addition to Flaherty, so there's not much incentive to spend down. But if you want to, Patrick Sandoval ($6,000) checks some boxes.

In 2019, Sandoval's rookie year, he flashed swing-and-miss ability with a 24.9% strikeout rate and 13.5% swinging-strike rate over 39 1/3 MLB innings. Of course, that's a small sample, and it also came with an 11.2% walk rate. But he had a 14.1% swinging-strike rate over 60 1/3 Triple-A innings last season and gets a soft matchup with the Kansas City Royals, who were 27th in wOBA (.302) last season. It's too risky for me, but among the cheap hurlers, Sandoval is the best bet.


The Los Angeles Angels get to take on Jorge Lopez, the owner of a 4.65 SIERA, 39.3% hard-hit rate and 19.9% strikeout rate last year. Yes, please.

LA is in a money spot here, but the only issue is how pricey they are. Mike Trout ($4,400), Anthony Rendon ($3,800), Shohei Ohtani ($3,400) and Justin Upton ($3,200) are hitting 2-3-4-5. You don't need me to elaborate on Trout and Rendon, but don't sleep on Ohtani. Against righties in his career, he's got a .392 wOBA and 49.2% hard-hit rate. The Halos' value bats aren't all that fun outside of Tommy La Stella ($2,600), a cheap leadoff stick.

Miami's Jose Urena is a guy we've looked to stack against for a while now, and even though the San Diego Padres are in cavernous Marlins Park, we can go to them in this spot. San Diego is priced fairly modestly, with their first five in the lineup between $3,000 and $3,500.

Fernando Tatis Jr. ($3,500), Tommy Pham ($3,000), Manny Machado ($3,300), Eric Hosmer ($3,200) and Trent Grisham ($3,100) are hitting one through five, in that order. Grisham recorded a 10.9% walk rate across 183 plate appearances as a rookie after posting walk rates of 14.6% and 15.5% across Double- and Triple-A last year, mashing 26 taters over those two stops.

Lastly, we need a cheaper stack if we're spending up on the bump, and the Toronto Blue Jays are there for us. Toronto is taking on righty Kohl Stewart, who has a 12.7% strikeout rate and 9.7% walk rate in 62 career MLB innings.

Bo Bichette ($3,600) is priced up as a leadoff hitter who brings pop and speed. But after Bichette, no other Jay is over $3,000. Cavan Biggio ($3,000), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($3,000), Lourdes Gurriel ($2,600), Randal Grichuk ($2,800) and Travis Shaw ($2,600) are hitting second through sixth. Shaw brings a lot of pop to the table at a bargain price. He notched back-to-back 30-homer seasons in 2017 and 2018 before riding the struggle bus in 2019. But even in a horrid campaign a year ago, he still finished with a 39.5% hard-hit rate and 47.2% fly-ball rate against righties.

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.