6 MLB FanDuel Studs to Target on 4/12/16

Which expensive players can you count on to anchor your lineup?

Tuesday provides us with 10 games on FanDuel’s main slate.

And as always when playing any sport on FanDuel, it’s imperative to hit on high-priced players, especially when it comes to pitching. 

Using our projection tools, let’s take a look at three hitters and three pitchers, who, despite costing a good chunk of change, are worth the investment.


Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians

FanDuel Price: $10,600

That Corey Kluber slider alone might be enough to convince you he’s worth the investment despite his hefty price tag, but I’ll give you a few more reasons.

Kluber, the day’s third-most expensive hurler, is our second-ranked pitcher for Tuesday. We project him to score 36.72 FanDuel points. In a road game at Tampa Bay, our daily projections expect Kluber to allow 2.52 earned runs on 5.95 hits and 1.62 walks while fanning 6.23 hitters over 6.73 innings.

Kluber captured the 2014 Cy Young thanks to a silly 2.57 xFIP and 2.61 SIERA. While he didn’t match those ungodly numbers in 2015, Kluber still put together a superb campaign, finishing with a 3.05 xFIP and 2.98 SIERA. Over the past two years, he owns elite strikeout percentages of 28.3 percent and 27.7 percent, respectively, with last season’s clip ranking sixth among qualified starting pitchers.

Tropicana Field ranked in the middle of the road (17th), according to ESPN’s 2015 Park Factors, so it doesn’t figure to help or hurt Kluber today. However, he was better on the road (2.79 xFIP) than at home (3.31 xFIP) last season.

Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals

FanDuel Price: $9,300

Of the day’s high-priced options, Gio Gonzalez is the fourth-most expensive arm, but he’s $1,300 cheaper than any of the three most expensive pitchers. To boot, he’s our top-ranked pitcher for the day with a point projection of 36.93.

While Gonzalez is a solid starter (3.59 xFIP and 3.77 SIERA in 2015), this is almost all about his matchup with the Braves, who are averaging just 3.5 runs per game through six contests and finished last season with the worst wOBA (.296) in baseball. Atlanta’s implied total today is 3.19, the second-lowest mark of the evening.

Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins

FanDuel Price: $10,900

Jose Fernandez is scary-good. Over 294 2/3 career innings, he owns a 2.77 xFIP, 2.83 SIERA and 29.7 strikeout percentage.

Oh, yeah, this is just his age-24 season.

Injury is the only thing holding him back from possibly challenging Clayton Kershaw for the title of the game’s best pitcher. He has thrown just over 115 innings over the last two years due to Tommy John surgery, but when Fernandez returned at the tail end of the 2015 season, he was his usual dominant self, posting a 2.77 SIERA over 64 2/3 frames.

It can’t be quantified, but he's among the most exciting pitchers in the game to watch when it’s his turn to take the ball. Here’s Fernandez impersonating me when I see him pull the string on one of his filthy changeups, which generated an 18.3 percent swinging strike rate last season. 

Our models project Fernandez to rack up 31.62 points in tonight’s matchup at the Mets. We have him allowing 2.39 earned runs on 5.62 hits while striking out 5.40 hitters in 6.17 innings of work.

While the matchup with New York’s offense is good -- the Mets ranked 20th in wOBA last season -- the only reservation is Noah Syndergaard, Fernandez’s counterpart for the evening and our third-ranked pitcher for Tuesday. If you’re free around 7:00 p.m. and you hate runs, this game is where you belong. The implied total for this heavyweight pitching clash is a meager 6.0 runs, the lowest of the day.


Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants

FanDuel Price: $4,000

The game between the Giants and Rockies is one to target. With an implied total of 11 runs, it’s projected to be the day’s highest scoring game by 2 runs. Not to mention, it’s being played at Coors Field.

Brandon Belt ties Edwin Encarnacion as Tuesday’s most expensive first baseman, and we project Belt to be the day’s top hitter as our models have him scoring 15.03 points.

Belt’s splits aren’t too drastic, but he does fare slightly better against right-handed throwers, which is what he’ll face tonight in Tyler Chatwood. In 2015, Belt owned a .362 wOBA against right-handers while hitting to the tune of a .349 wOBA versus lefties. He hit a fly ball on 38.5 percent of his balls in play last year against right-handed pitchers, which should play well with the spacious outfield at Colorado.

Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies

FanDuel Price: $5,000

The second-most expensive third baseman on the slate, Nolan Arenado is a good play any time Colorado is facing a righty, especially at home, which is exactly the case tonight as the Rockies host Jeff Samardzija and the Giants.

Arenado exploded in 2015, becoming one of the game’s best mashers. He posted a .371 wOBA with 42 jacks a year ago, which was his age-24 campaign. Despite being a right-handed hitter, he did a hurricane’s worth of damage against righties.

2015 Plate Appearances wOBA Home Runs
vs. LHP 156 .312 5
vs. RHP 509 .388 37

Arenado is  our second-ranked batter for Tuesday. We project him to score 14.92 points, and we give him the best odds (0.37) of hitting a home run.

Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles

FanDuel Price: $3,800

Chris Davis gets paid a lot of money -- $161 million over seven years, to be exact -- to, in large part, destroy right-handed pitching. He did that last year, posting a .410 wOBA and hitting 37 of his 10 long balls against righties.

Tonight in Boston, Davis gets to feast on right-handed pitcher Clay Buchholz. The game features the second-highest total at 9.0 runs, with Baltimore projected for 4.06 runs. Davis is our third-ranked hitter, as we project him to rack up 14.4 points. He also ties Arenado for the best odds to go deep today.

It certainly doesn’t hurt that Davis and the Orioles are on fire. Not only is Baltimore 6-0, but Davis has left the yard three times already this season, including  a historic three-run homer Monday off -- you guessed it -- a right-hander in Boston closer Craig Kimbrel.