5 Daily Fantasy Baseball Hitting Studs for 4/4/16

Josh Donaldson leads the pack of top hitters with great matchups for daily fantasy baseball's first big slate of the season.

It’s been seven long months since we’ve been able to play daily fantasy baseball, but the wait is over.

Let's play ball.

With such a big slate and so many hitting options, it’s important to select the correct top-priced hitters. Luckily for us, some top bats have excellent matchups on Monday. 

Josh Donaldson, 3B, Toronto Blue Jays: $4,800 on FanDuel

Here’s a simple rule for daily fantasy baseball. When Josh Donaldson is facing a lefty, you play him. No questions asked.

In 138 plate appearances last year versus left-handed pitching, Donaldson had a ridiculous 0.333 Isolated Power (ISO). Think the sample size is too small? In 2013 and 2014, Donaldson posted a 0.322 ISO versus LHP in 383 plate appearances.

Donaldson will face Drew Smyly, who has had trouble dealing with right-handed batters in the Majors. While Smyly has struck out right-handed batters at an above-average rate, he’s allowed an ISO of 0.181 to those same batters. That’s 25 percent above the league average!

Don’t overthink it -- slot Donaldson in both tournaments and cash games first, then worry about the rest of your lineup.

Chris Davis, 1B, Baltimore Orioles: $3,700 on FanDuel

Chris Davis is always an intriguing DFS option due to his huge power numbers. He’s a decent contrarian tournament option when he’s facing a left-handed pitcher or he’s on the road, but when he matches up with a righty at home, it’s all systems go.

Last season, 29 of Davis’ 47 home runs came at Camden Yards. With a short porch in right field, this ballpark was made for lefty power hitters like Davis.

Ervin Santana will take the mound versus the Orioles on Monday. In 108 innings last year, Santana allowed just 10 extra base hits to right-handed batters. However, versus lefties, he allowed 27 extra base hits.

Of the balls put in play against Santana in 2015, lefties pulled the ball an amazing 49.7 percent of the time. This is right up Chris Davis’ alley -- 59 percent of his extra base hits versus righties last season were pulled to right field.

With a fantastic matchup and playing at home, Davis is a great first base option on the slate.

Miguel Sano, OF, Minnesota Twins: $3,100 on FanDuel

Miguel Sano was a top prospect in the Twins’ farm system, and he proved true to that ranking during his inaugural season in 2015. Despite not being called up until July, Sano slugged 18 home runs and posted a 0.392 wOBA.

Sano actually experienced reverse splits in 2015, as he fared far better versus righties than lefties.

Pitchers PA ISO wOBA Fly Ball %
vs Lefties   91 .235 .379 31.9
vs Righties 244 .273 .397 46.1

Nearly half of Sano’s balls in play versus righties were fly balls, which doesn’t bode well for his opposing pitcher, Chris Tillman. Last season, 17.3 percent of the fly balls from right-handed batters off Tillman left the yard -- compare that to the home run-to-fly ball rate of just 3.2 percent from lefties.

Now consider that Sano is moving from a bottom-15 park at home to a top-three park in Camden Yards for right-handed hitters, and you’ll find a hitting stud for a much cheaper price than the other guys on this list.

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks: $4,800 on FanDuel

Since the beginning of 2013, Paul Goldschmidt has posted a .441 wOBA versus left-handed pitching, which is in the top one percent of the league in that category. On Monday, lefty Jorge De La Rosa visits Arizona, which is an ideal matchup for Goldschmidt. Despite pitching half of his games in Coors Field, de la Rosa has actually allowed a higher slugging percentage on the road in two of his past three seasons.

In 2015, de la Rosa walked righties at a much higher clip than lefties -- 10.9 percent versus 7.8 percent. Goldschmidt walked an astounding 14.6 percent of the time versus lefties, and he provides fantasy scoring in more ways than your average first basemen: stolen bases. Last season, 10 of his 21 stolen bases came versus left-handed pitching -- this dispels the common myth that it’s much tougher to steal on left-handed pitching. Jorge de la Rosa allowed 10 stolen bases last season, which put him in the bottom-50 of the league in that category.

So in this matchup, Goldschmidt should get on base multiple times, have an opportunity to provide a stolen base, and, oh yeah, he’s hit 88 home runs over the last three seasons. It makes perfect sense to pay up for him in cash games.

Bryce Harper, OF, Washington Nationals: $4,800 on FanDuel

Bryce Harper made a massive jump in 2015 at the ripe age of just 22 years old, as he went from being a good hitter to a completely disruptive force versus righties -- Harper posted the highest ISO against right-handed pitching than any other player with at least 150 plate appearances last seasons.

A whopping 35 of his 42 home runs last season were against right-handed pitching, and he will be looking to continue that trend on opening day against righty  Julio Teheran. If you're into the whole batter versus pitcher thing, in 27 plate appearances versus Teheran in his career, Harper has a ridiculous 1.475 OPS.

If you’re not a believer of the small sample sizes in BvP, you can look at Teheran’s awful numbers versus left-handed batters. He allowed 18 of his 27 homers last year, an 11.1% walk rate, and an ISO that was 36 percent above league average to left-handed batters.

It’s hard to ask for a better matchup for Harper. His upside is massive, so find a way to get him in your lineups.