It was a struggle picking just one top daily fantasy baseball pitcher today.
In the end, one daily fantasy baseball hurler was just too good to pass up though. My value pick, a guy that has a pair of double digit strikeout outings in his last three starts, was easier. Only one player I highlighted was the most expensive at his position, so there are bargains to be found throughout today’s daily fantasy baseball plays.
Daily Fantasy Baseball Pitchers
My Pick: Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves, $18,200
Yu Darvish and Madison Bumgarner received some consideration, but neither gets the luxury of squaring off against the Cubs. Teheran will be facing a Chicago team that ranks 29th in OPS against right-handed pitching this year. He’s also been pretty darn good too. Julio has a sub-two ERA with a fantastic 3.67 K/BB ratio.
Value Pick: Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians, $13,000
Kluber has sandwiched gems around a clunker. In his last start he struck out 13 batters, and allowed just one earned run on three hits with two walks in eight innings. He threw a dud before that, but prior to the messy start he went the distance allowing zero earned runs (one unearned run) on four hits with zero walks and 11 strikeouts. Overall, the 28-year old starter has a 3.60 ERA with an exciting strikeout rate of 24.5 percent that is supported by a well above league average swinging strike percentage. The Rays aren’t the easiest assignment, but tossing in a pitcher-friendly ballpark like Tampa Bay is nice.
Daily Fantasy Baseball Catchers
My Pick: Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants, $11,100
Posey is expensive, but he catches one of the weakest starters, Paul Maholm, on a day full of aces. Maholm is a lefty, and Posey annihilates left-handed pitching. The former National League Most Valuable Player has 565 plate appearances against them in his career, and has hit a staggering .339/.405/.592 with a 172 wRC+.
Value Pick: Brian McCann, New York Yankees, $7,450
The Yankees made a splash spending heavily on McCann, and the former Brave hasn’t gotten off to the fastest of starts with his new club. Putting too much stock in a little over 100 plate appearances is foolish though. His contact rate remains strong, and while he’s swinging more often in the early going, it’s not as if he’s become some reckless Vlad Guerrero clone. The things I like most about McCann are that he’s facing a right-handed pitcher, and that he’s playing in a bandbox at Miller Park today. Lefties get the benefit of a left-handed homer park factor of 126.
Daily Fantasy Baseball First Basemen
My Pick: Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers, $9,950
I wrote a few paragraphs about Martinez and his insanely low strikeout rate for The Fantasy Fix earlier in the week. In short, he’s always been a high contact hitter, and that’s helped fuel high batting averages year after year. I’m not often a fan of spending nearly $10,000 on a guy with good, but not great, power. However, the Tigers offense could be in store for an outburst against Phil Hughes today. Hughes owns a 4.72 ERA, and while his walk and strikeout rates look fine, he’s plagued by some of the same problems that have inflated his ERA in past seasons. Namely a low strand rate and a high BABIP. If he gets roughed up Martinez will have outstanding run production potential.
Value Pick: Adam Lind, Toronto Blue Jays, $8,950
It didn’t take Lind long to make a splash after his activation from the disabled list on Thursday. He reached the seats taking A.J. Burnett deep. The left-handed batter has been very productive against right-handed pitching in 2,589 plate appearances, hitting .287/.345/.508 with a 126 wRC+. He’ll be facing a solid but not ace-worthy pitcher in Garrett Richards.
Daily Fantasy Baseball Second Basemen
My Pick: Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals, $8,350
Rendon is blossoming before our eyes, hitting .295/.331/.518 with a 133 wRC+ in his second year. He’s a disciplined hitter, despite the low-ish walk rate, and makes lots of contact. The former Rice Owl hasn’t reached the point of stabilizing his batted ball distribution yet, but the foundation he’s laying is promising. The 23-year old will be taking his hacks against lefty Tommy Milone. The Athletics’ southpaw has been hammered this year totaling a 5.85 ERA in five starts, and the more advanced measures of his performance haven’t painted a much prettier picture.
Value Pick: Jose Altuve, Houston Astros, $8,350
In a weird coincidence, my value pick at second base costs exactly the same amount as my top pick. Altuve is so good against lefties that it’s impossible to pass on though. The right-hander has 459 plate appearances against southpaws since joining the Astros, and has hit .331/.370/.455 with a 128 wRC+. As good as his bat has been, his legs are really enticing as well. The diminutive second baseman has stolen 11 bases in 12 chances this year, and more than 30 bases each of the last two years.
Daily Fantasy Baseball Third Basemen
My Pick: Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers, $10,150
Any (unwarranted) concerns about Beltre’s power taking a nose dive in the early going this year have been alleviated with his first two home runs. I wrote about Beltre earlier in the week, and much of what I said then still applies now (minus playing at Coors Field). Beltre is probably a touch pricey, but the other options at the hot corner have uglier blemishes.
Value Pick: Martin Prado, Arizona Diamondbacks, $7,150
I’m not completely enamored with anyone at third base today, and that makes using the super cheap Prado a very enticing option. For his second straight year as a member of the Diamondbacks he’s digging himself an early hole to work out of if he hopes to turn in a nice final season line. Final season lines mean jack squat to daily gamers though. What exactly is it that I like about him today? He’s facing a starting pitcher for the White Sox, Andre Rienzo, who has walked as many batters as he’s struck out (10) over 18 innings. Rienzo has a 4.74 ERA in 74 innings pitched in the big leagues, and his ERA barely checks in under four at the Triple-A level in 132.2 innings pitched. Toss in the fact that today’s game between the Diamondbacks and White Sox will be played in a very friendly run scoring environment, and Prado becomes a calculated gamble for a tiny price.
Daily Fantasy Baseball Shortstops
My Pick: Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics, $8,000
The factors were perfect for Troy Tulowitzki when I featured him and his exorbitant price tag earlier in the week, but that’s not the case today. None of the other pricey shortstops received much consideration, so now it comes down to who has a high-ish floor, and Lowrie fits that bill. The switch-hitting middle infielder will be hitting from the left side today with a righty on the hill against him. His overall line against right-handed pitchers in his career is dragged down by a slow start, but he posted a wRC+ above 120 each of the last two years, and is sitting at 131 this year. DraftDay gamers have to love his consistency. Lowrie has posted a negative score in only two games this year. The floor isn’t through the roof, but glue guys have great value at the right cost, and Lowrie’s is right.
Value Pick: Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox, $7,600
Bogaerts is another consistent source of points in DraftDay games from an offensively poor position. The 21-year old shortstop has negative point totals in only four games this year, and a big reason for that is his top notch plate discipline. He’s willing to take a walk, and he refuses to make himself an easy out. My biggest reservation in using Bogaerts is that facing Darvish is a challenging endeavor.
Daily Fantasy Baseball Outfielders
My Pick: Allen Craig, St. Louis Cardinals, $9,200
Craig’s 62 wRC+ this year is embarrassing. As bad as his bat has been on the whole this year though, he’s maintained his dominance against lefties. He only has 29 plate appearances against them, but he’s hit .333/.345/.593 with a 156 wRC+. More importantly, he’s been great against lefties for his entire big league career. In 419 plate appearances against southpaws he’s rattled off a triple slash line of .304/.337/.552 with a 144 wRC+. Lefty Francisco Liriano has been messy this year, and Craig will make him pay if he makes mistakes.
Value Pick: Corey Hart, Seattle Mariners, $8,200
My second pick in the outfield also gets the nod due to facing a southpaw, as Hart faces Jason Vargas. The former Brewer has 1,067 plate appearances against lefties in his major league career, and has hit .297/.368/.519 with a 135 wRC+. Playing at Safeco Field isn’t ideal, but it might be surprising for gamers to learn that it isn’t a complete nightmare environment for right-handed sluggers with a home run park factor of 89 and a runs park factor of 94.
*Split stats are courtesy FanGraphs unless otherwise noted, and ballpark factors come from StatCorner where a three-year rolling average is used.