MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 6/18/15
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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.
Gerrit Cole – There's a "big three" at pitcher tonight, and our algorithm likes Cole most. It's not by much though, so differentiating your lineups is important. But Cole does have a nice matchup against a White Sox offense that's been depressing this season, hitting to a 29th-ranked .283 wOBA. They're a little better against right-handed pitching, but not by much, ranking 23rd in wOBA and striking out at a very average 19.4% clip. Cole has also been a monster, and we can't ignore that. Through 84 innings of work this year, he has a 9.96 strikeout per nine rate with a FIP of 2.37. That's the third best FIP in all of baseball.
Danny Salazar – OK, I'm cheating a bit today. Salazar is by no means "cost-effective" (whatever that means), but I also don't want to steer you in the wrong direction. Because the fact is, today's slate of cheaper pitchers is horrendous. Salazar is a less costly than the three aforementioned hurlers, but he provides just as much -- if not more -- upside. Through 68.2 innings of work, he's averaging 11.40 strikeouts per nine innings, and his FIP is a reasonable 3.43. More importantly, the Cubs, his opponent, are tied with the Astros for the highest strikeout rate in all of baseball versus right-handed pitching at 25.2%, with a wOBA that's below average. The sky is the limit in terms of fantasy points scored for Salazar tonight. Just know that his floor isn't as nice as the top-tier options.
Alternative Option: N/A
Giancarlo Stanton - Opposing lefty CC Sabathia has surrendered a .403 wOBA to right-handed bats this season. Giancarlo Stanton, a righty, has a career .319 ISO against southpaws, including a .521 (!!!) ISO in the split this season. He's always in play due to his power and ability to go yard, but tonight could be extra special.
Freddie Freeman - Freeman loves hitting right-handed pitching -- so far this year, he has a .396 wOBA and a .247 ISO against them. He's hitting for more power with the platoon advantage, and that's a great thing for DFS purposes. The Braves get Clay Buchholz, who's surrendered a .343 wOBA to lefty bats this year, and who has generally been worse against lefties over his career. Freeman usually goes overlooked in DFS due to the number of first base options each day, but don't make the mistake of looking past him tonight.
Alternative Options: Todd Frazier
Justin Turner - We'll see where Turner ends up batting tonight, but if he's in the five spot as he's usually been, he makes for a good play. The Rangers' Anthony Ranaudo has pitched just 1.2 innings this year, but his ZiPS and Steamer projections show a pitcher who should throw to around a 5.00 FIP. A righty, Turner won't get the platoon advantage, but that doesn't really matter -- he has an insane .441 wOBA versus right-handers this year, and has been a pretty big reverse-splits hitter throughout his career (.306 wOBA versus lefties, .350 versus righties).
Adam Lind - Among all pitchers on the mound tonight with (fairly) significant innings pitched this year, Jeremy Guthrie has been by far the worst against left-handed batters, giving up a .431 wOBA to them. That's generally been the case over his career, too, just not as significant (.357 wOBA). Lind, meanwhile, is a righty masher, hitting to a .368 wOBA over his career in the split, up from a .260 wOBA against lefties. The matchup is close to perfect for the first baseman, and you can get him at a low cost on DFS sites.
Alternative Option: Jung-Ho Kang