6 MLB FanDuel Studs to Target for 4/21/16
Thursdayâ€™s lighter schedule means there are only six games on FanDuelâ€™s main slate. The smaller player pool makes it imperative to hit on high-priced players, especially when it comes to pitching.
Letâ€™s take a look at three hitters and three pitchers, who, despite costing a good chunk of change, are worth the investment.
Jake Arrieta, Chicago Cubs
FanDuel Price: $12,100
The main slateâ€™s most expensive pitcher, Jake Arrieta, is our top-ranked hurler for the day. In a cushy road matchup with Cincinnati, we project the Cubsâ€™ ace to rack up 38.82 FanDuel points. We see him allowing 1.98 earned runs on 5.72 hits and 1.79 walks while striking out 6.26 hitters in 6.66 innings.
After his historic second half a year ago, Arrieta has started strongly in 2016. He owns a 2.48 SIERA, which ranks sixth, to go along with the fourth best walk percentage of 2.5. Through 22 innings, he has fanned 20 and walked just two, something at which the entire Cubsâ€™ staff is excelling.
Cincinnati ranks 17th in wOBA after ranking 22nd a season ago. The Reds implied team total of 2.95 runs is the lowest mark of the day. There is a chance for rain in Cincinnati, which is worth monitoring.
Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates
FanDuel Price: $9,700
The ace who faced off with Arrieta in last yearâ€™s National League Wild Card playoff game also makes for a great play, checking in as our second-ranked pitcher for the main slate.
After putting up 5.4 Wins Above Replacement and a 3.23 SIERA in 2015, Gerrit Cole has struggled in his first two starts of the campaign. A welcoming matchup against San Diego, who ranked 29th in wOBA last season, at pitcher-friendly Petco Park is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Cole makes a living thanks to a mid-90s heater and filthy slider. He posted a 20.5 percent swinging strike rate with the slide-piece in 2015, and itâ€™s easy to see why.
Thatâ€™s Buster Posey, a stud with a career .369 wOBA through 3,136 plate appearances and a guy who walked (56) more than he struck out (52) last season. You do that to Posey, and youâ€™re a bad man.
Our projections for Thursday have Cole amassing 34.17 points against the Padres by allowing 2.22 earned runs on 6.06 hits while fanning 5.59 batters over 6.30 frames. San Diegoâ€™s implied total of 3.0 runs is the second worst clip of the evening.
Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros
FanDuel Price: $10,700
Dallas Keuchel has a vast amount of success (2015 American League Cy Young winner) for not being a flame thrower. He struck out just 23.7 percent of hitters a year ago -- an above-average rate but top-tier pitchers are usually over 25 percent -- yet he induced a meager 21.3 percent hard-hit rate on his way to a sparkling 2.84 SIERA.
Thursday, Keuchel gets a road matchup against Texas, who ranks 19th in wOBA with a .307 mark. Our models slot Keuchel as the fifth-ranked arm on the main slate, projecting him to register 29.25 points. We forecast him to allow 3.21 earned runs on 6.34 hits while recording 4.55 strikeouts over 6.57 innings of work.
Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles
FanDuel Price: $4,800
This is what a breakout looks like:
|Plate Appearances||wOBA||Home Runs||Steals||BB%||K%|
The power arrived last year, and it arrived in a big way. After putting together two solid seasons in 2013 and 2014, especially considering they were his age-22 and age-23 campaigns, Machado's numbers jumped across the board. And by the way, heâ€™s a two-time Gold Glove winner who can make throws like this:
As for Thursday night, Machado is our fourth-ranked hitter as we project him to score 13.56 points. Baltimoreâ€™s Camden Yards is the sixth best hittersâ€™ park, according to ESPNâ€™s three-year Park Factor Averages. The Oriolesâ€™ matchup with Toronto is one to target with an implied total of 9.0 runs, which is split evenly between the two teams.
Anthony Rizzo, Team
FanDuel Price: $4,000
Anthony Rizzo is our second-ranked hitter for Thursday as we project him to tally 13.98 points, making him our top-ranked first baseman.
Rizzo squares off with Redsâ€™ lefty Brandon Finnegan. While most left-handed hitters struggle with southpaws, Rizzo bucks the trend, posting nearly even platoon splits in 2015.
|2015||Plate Appearances||wOBA||Home Runs|
Great American Ballpark is the fifth best hittersâ€™ park, according to those aforementioned three-year averages, and the Cubs have an implied total of 4.05 runs. The only potential hiccup here is the weather as thereâ€™s a decent chance for rain in Cincinnati.
Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays
FanDuel Price: $4,700
Jose Bautista gets an inviting matchup Thursday against Baltimore right-hander Chris Tillman. In a game where the Blue Jaysâ€™ implied total is 4.5 runs, we rank Bautista as the main slateâ€™s No. 4 hitter, projecting him to score 13.86 points.
Despite being a right-handed hitter, Bautista actually hit righties better in 2015.
|2015||Plate Appearances||wOBA||Home Runs|
Playing in hitter-friendly Camden Yards, Bautista should be able to keep his ridiculous start going. Through 69 plate appearances, he owns an absurd .435 wOBA to go with 3 homers, 11 RBIâ€™s and a 20.3 walk percentage. Heâ€™s already recorded 1.1 WAR in just 16 games.