I don’t like any of the cheap daily fantasy baseball pitching options today.
I’m not going to mislead you folks by suggesting to start one, so be prepared to spend a bit more at the position today. Don’t worry, though, I’ve sprinkled in some cheaper options around the rest of the diamond, including catcher and first base. The hot corner options playing at Coors Field today look superb. Speaking of Coors Field, even at a price in excess of my Value Pick at pitcher, a white hot infielder is too good to pass up.
Daily Fantasy Baseball Pitchers
My Pick: Tim Hudson, San Francisco Giants, $15,350
Hudson has proven quite the slick offseason acquisition by general manager Brian Sabean. The former Athletic has pitched a minimum of seven innings in all six of his starts, has issued a walk in just one of those turns, and five of his starts have been of the quality variety. All of the advanced measures of performance support his sub-three ERA, and his 31 strikeouts in 45.2 innings are adequate. He’ll pitch in run suppressing PNC Park in Pittsburgh tonight, against a Pirates offense that ranks 23rd in OPS against right-handed pitching this season.
Value Pick: Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies, $12,950
Hamels got an endorsement from me before his last start and filled his diaper against the Mets. Daily fantasy baseball requires a short memory though. The Phillies southpaw has a track record of pitching like an ace, and while his fastball and sinker velocity are both down about a tick apiece, the velocity drop isn’t substantial enough to be alarming. The lefty had his Sunday start pushed back to today because he was dealing with the flu, but as of very late Monday night Hamels was feeling better and a go for today’s start. Double-check to be sure nothing has changed, but if he’s a go, he should be rostered at his modest discount.
Daily Fantasy Baseball Catchers
My Pick: Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals, $7,900
The right-handed hitting Perez has only two hits in 26 plate appearances against southpaws this year, but he’s walked four times. That minuscule sample does little to temper my enthusiasm when I see him priced under $8,000 against a lefty. In 294 plate appearances against lefties, he’s hit .330/.371/.546 with an itty bitty 7.1 percent strikeout rate and a sky high wRC+ of 146. Oh, and Perez has managed a whopping 35 extra base hits, including 11 homers. Yes, please, I’ll take some of that.
Value Pick: Derek Norris, Oakland Athletics, $7,450
It wasn’t long ago that Norris was considered one of the most promising offensive minded catching prospects in baseball. Now 25-years old, and having been eased into regular big league duty the last two years playing on the short-side of a platoon, Norris is really beginning to flourish. He’s hitting .371/.458/.548 and he has more walks, 10, than strikeouts, nine. His low strikeout rate of 12.3 percent is especially interesting for two reasons. One is that strikeouts have been problematic at times throughout his professional career. The second reason is that strikeout rate is one of the first hitter stats to stabilize according to Derek Carty. Norris doesn’t have a terribly daunting matchup facing rookie starter Roenis Elias, and that further aids his cause for some DraftDay love today.
Daily Fantasy Baseball First Basemen
My Pick: Matt Adams, St. Louis Cardinals, $8,550
Adams has worked his way up to the cleanup slot in the Cardinals lineup, and that’s obviously good for his run production. The left-handed hitting big man was better against right-handed pitchers in the minors (splits are since 2011), and he’s been worlds better against righties in his big league career. The Cardinals first baseman has 435 plate appearances against right-handed pitchers in the majors and has hit .313/.359/.517 with a 146 wRC+ in that sample. As nice as those numbers are, the bigger motivating factor for me giving Adams the nod as my favorite option at first base today is that he’s facing Gavin Floyd in his first start in the bigs this year. Floyd underwent Tommy John surgery, and his numbers were less than impressive on his rehab stint. I fully expect him to have some rust to shake off.
Value Pick: Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies, $8,200
Howard isn’t what he once was, but he has hit six homers in 126 plate appearances this year. His batted ball profile this season also lines up really nicely with his career work. His contact rate is, surprisingly, the highest it has been in his career. Albeit it’s only 69.9 percent prior to Monday’s game. As a left-handed batter, Howard is much better against right-handed pitchers, and he still enjoys the sweet left-handed homer park factor of 136 at home.
Daily Fantasy Baseball Second Basemen
My Pick: Ian Kinsler, Detroit Tigers, $9,450
Kinsler against a lefty is always going to merit some consideration from me. The reason is simple, he’s a .312/.385/.526 hitter with a 140 wRC+ in 1,281 plate appearances against southpaws in his career, and he’s walked more than he’s struck out against them. That line would fit in nicely at first base, and you luckily get to slot it in at the keystone position. When Kinsler faces a bad southpaw like Brett Oberholtzer, he goes from mere consideration to must start territory.
Value Pick: Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals, $7,700
If you’re going to turn away from Kinsler, you have to take a chance on top flight talent. Rendon is turning into the type of hitter his top prospect billing pegged him to become. The elephant in the room that I have to address is that facing Clayton Kershaw is not an enjoyable experience for a hitter, but today will be his first start since being activated from the disabled list. That’s the only reason I’m willing to gamble on any hitter against him.
Daily Fantasy Baseball Third Basemen
My Pick: Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers, $9,100
Since exiting Seattle for more hitter friendly confines in 2011 (first in Boston that year, and then to Texas from 2012-to-present), Beltre ranks 18th among qualified hitters in wRC+, and he ranks second among qualified third basemen in that time frame. Beltre has yet to find the seats this year, but his plate discipline numbers and batted ball distribution look fine. He’s still a stud, and one that’s both cheap for his talent level and benefiting from playing in a hitter haven at Coors Field today.
Value Pick: Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies, $8,400
Of course if you want to save a few hundred dollars at the hot corner, using Beltre’s opponent playing third base makes for a sweet alternative. Arenado, who is also a right-handed batter, will enjoy the same right-handed batter homer park factor of 120. The Rockies young third baseman is a nightmare for lefties. In 261 plate appearances against lefties in the minors since 2011, he’s hit .368/.414/.607, and in 180 big league plate appearances against them he’s hit .305/.352/.494 with a 119 wRC+.
Daily Fantasy Baseball Shortstops
My Pick: Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies, $13,650
It’s a rare occasion that I’m willing to pay a pitcher’s price for a hitter, but Tulowitzki gets all the necessary check marks. He plays a position that’s thin on offensive talent, is playing in a hitter friendly ballpark, is hitting in a run producing spot in a high octane offensive lineup, all while facing the handed pitching he has his best numbers against, and he’s in the midst of a scorching hot start to the year. The 29-year old shortstop has 560 plate appearances against southpaws at Coors Field in his career and ripped the cover off the ball to the tune of .337/.423/.569 with a 153 wRC+. Budget accordingly, and find a way to make space for Tulo.
Value Pick: Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox, $7,950
Bogaerts has yet to fully tap into his offensive potential, and that’s most noticeable in his power production numbers. That said, he’s still been really good and is reaching base at a high clip with a .394 on-base percentage. If you don’t think his on-base skills have value, you’d be mistaken. Bogaerts has posted a positive point total in 15 straight games and in 26 games overall. Being able to count on points at a offensively deficient position at less than $8,000 is a nice luxury.
Daily Fantasy Baseball Outfielders
My Pick: Rajai Davis, Detroit Tigers, $9,750
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be touting Davis as a nearly five-figure player, and one that’s more expensive than Carlos Gomez no less. That said, here I am doing just that. The 33-year old outfielder, and first year Tiger, has split his time in the Tigers lineup between first and ninth in the order, but he’s hit leadoff in three of his last four games played. The trend is pretty easy to spot. When the Tigers face a left-handed starter, like they are today, Davis hits leadoff and Kinsler moves to the two-hole. Davis owns a career 113 wRC+ in over 900 plate appearances against southpaws, and he’s a terror on the base paths. It’s easy to see why manager Brad Ausmus would choose to use him in the leadoff spot. I believe the Tigers will maul, yes the poor pun was intended, Oberholtzer today. Using the top two hitters in the lineup is an easy choice.
Value Pick: Nate Schierholtz, Chicago Cubs, $7,150
I went back and forth between Schierholtz and teammate Emilio Bonifacio. The reason I like both is because they’ll be taking their hacks against Hector Noesi, and he’s terrible. How terrible exactly? He has been designated for assignment by two clubs this year, owns a 5.85 ERA in 201.2 innings in the majors, and a 5.33 ERA with a 1.49 WHIP in 174.0 innings pitched at the Triple-A level. If the Cubs had a better lineup, they’d make for a fun stack option. Guys such as Wellington Castillo, Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, and the aforementioned Bonifacio all merit consideration. Getting back to the subject at hand, the left-handed hitting Schierholtz has hit a respectable .267/.315/.460 with a 111 wRC+ in 1,010 plate appearances against right-handed pitchers since 2011. Those aren’t world beater numbers by any stretch, but against a terrible pitcher like Noesi, Schierholtz makes for a nifty bargain to supplement pricier options elsewhere around the diamond.