Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 4/30/15
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As for today's lineups -- those can be found here. The information below is to help you understand why particular players are being picked, because we don't want you going into the things completely blind. We want to help you. Keep in mind, however, that things often change up until the games start, so make sure you're refreshing the optimal lineups as close to the start of games as possible.
Note: The following players are for the night slate only.
Stephen Strasburg – I know, I know. You've been burned by Strasburg this year, and using him again in April is like going back to your ex for a third time. But there are reasons to believe Strasburg's not-so-great start has just as much to do with luck as anything else. His BABIP is a ridiculous .403, over 100 points greater than his career average. Meanwhile, his batted ball profile is nearly identical -- if not better -- than it was last year. His strikeouts per nine rate is lower than in previous seasons, but let's not pretend an 8.63 rate is something to strongly criticize after 24 innings of work. The fact is, Strasburg could very easily have a strong outing if some things out of his control go his way. The fear in using him today should have little to do with how he's burned you, and more to do with his pitching opponent -- a win isn't close to a lock. If you're playing cash games, my advice would be to differentiate your pitchers between the top three options on the day (the other two are listed below). But don't completely avoid Strasburg because he lost you money this season.
Mike Leake – I'm not all that confident in the pitchers outside of tonight's big three, but if we lean on the numberFire algorithm, Mike Leake appears to be the number four on tonight's list. The Reds' game against Atlanta has an over/under of just seven runs, though the Braves and Shelby Miller are favorites. Leake, though, has the more reasonable price tag, and will see a slight, favorable park shift as he pitches away from Great American Ball Park. If you're comparing him to Miller, he's the one with the better K/9 rate (about two more per nine innings), and while Miller's started the year with better traditional stats (ERA and wins), Leake's projected, per our numbers, to outlast him in those categories this season. I'd only throw these guys into GPPs though -- you know who the top options are today.
Alternative Option: Shelby Miller
Jose Altuve - Throughout his career, Altuve has a .385 wOBA against left-handed pitching. Insert James Paxton, the southpaw facing the Astros lineup tonight. The advantage in this case should go to Altuve, but I need to make note that Paxton, in limited time (120 innings), does have reverse split tendencies. I wouldn't use that to get off of Altuve though, who should certainly help the Astros produce in a game with an eight run over/under where they're favored.
Miguel Cabrera - Miggy is always in play, but when he faces left-handed pitching in a small slate, he's almost a lock to find a lot of lineups. He's so good that the handedness of the pitcher really doesn't matter, but tonight should be extra good for him. Danny Duffy has allowed right-handed hitters to hit to a .336 wOBA against him throughout his career, a big bump from his .263 wOBA against lefties. Cabrera's wOBA against lefties is a stupid-good .414, while his ISO still hovers around the .240 to .245 range. He's most definitely in play tonight, despite his high cost.
Alternative Option: Jose Abreu
Adam LaRoche - From a data collection standpoint, we don't know a ton about Minnesota Twins' starter Trevor May. What we do know is that he throws baseballs with his right arm and hand, which is a plus for LaRoche, who has a career .359 wOBA and .217 ISO against right-handed pitching. His cost on FanDuel is still inexplicably low, so if you opt to not use Miggy over there, going with LaRoche could give you some nice cap relief.
Kyle Seager - Seager is more of a mid-priced player, but he's still cost-effective tonight against right-hander Scott Feldman. That is, of course, if he's in the lineup after suffering a thumb tweak (what even is that?). Against righties over his career, Seager's hit to a .352 wOBA and .183 ISO, far better than his numbers when he doesn't have the platoon advantage. Feldman has a career 4.41 FIP, has given up roughly one home run per nine innings, and although he's somewhat of a reverse splits pitcher, has still surrendered a .320 wOBA to lefties. Seager's a great way to get exposure to the Mariners lineup, and if he doesn't go tonight, targeting lefty Seattle bats is a strong move.
Alternative Option: Mike Moustakas