Today on FanDuel we have a cascaded game schedule, so we will focus on the two larger game sets, with the first five-game slate starting at 12:10 PM ET and the larger evening eight-game set beginning at 7:05 PM. Onto the picks!
Michael Bolsinger – LAD at ATL - $6,100 – It was a close call between Bolsinger and Jordan Zimmermann – WAS vs NYM - $8,700 for me today, however, the freedom offered by the $2,600 savings will improve hitters enough to tip the scales in favor of Bolsinger.
On the season Atlanta is just below league average against right-handed pitching with a 93 wRC+ (weighted runs created plus is an advanced metric developed to neutralize ballpark factors and create a league-wide scoring efficiency baseline of 100), meaning that the Braves score 7% less efficiently against right-handed pitching than the league benchmark.
Additionally, on the MLB odds board the Dodgers are -140 ML road favorites for the win, which is worth a robust four FanDuel points.
Jose Fernandez – MIA at ARI - $10,300 – Fernandez has been solid in his first three starts since returning from Tommy John surgery, however, there is a little bit of concern that he may be capped at around 85 pitches. No official comment has come from the Marlins, however, his pitch count in the three games has been 89, 94 and a low of 70, which came in Philadelphia on Friday. There is no need for Miami to push their star pitcher and they will want to work him back slowly so he is in top form for next season. Either way, he is still the top option for the evening game set.
Kyle Schwarber – CHC at CIN - $2,500 - In 140ish minor league games across several levels the last two seasons, Schwarber posted a .440 wOBA, and last night he was outstanding, going 4-for-7 with two home runs in a 13 inning game. With the Cubs playing a doubleheader again today, I suspect he will be behind the plate in the first game against RHP Mike Leake.
Other Early Options – Jonathan Lucroy
Josh Phegley – OAK vs TOR - $3,000 – It looks like Billy Beane has found another catcher to fit into the Oakland platoon system. During 2013 and 2014, in 241 at-bats, Phegley was barely above the Mendoza line with a .207/.221/.332 slash line. This season with Oakland, who is utilizing him more often when the matchup is in his favor, particularly against left-handed pitching, Phegley has put up a much improved slash line of .268/.319/.504 in 127 at-bats, and it is an even better .303/.352/.545 against southpaws.
David Ortiz – BOS at HOU - $3,500 – Big Papi is still effective in his age 39 season and this is a fine lefty/righty matchup for him against RHP Collin McHugh, who has allowed two or more home runs in four of his last 15 starts.
Jason Kipnis – CLE at MIL - $4,000 – By going with a mid-priced pitcher in Michael Bolsinger, we will have the added luxury of choosing where to upgrade our hitters. Kipnis has left last season’s struggles in the rearview mirror and has been excellent against right-handed pitching, with a .368 average and a 1.006 OPS through 220 at-bats.
Brian Dozier – MIN at LAA - $3,900 – It seems like forever since Dozier has had a matchup against a mediocre southpaw, so I am excited that he is an option for the late games tonight when he faces LHP C.J. Wilson. His power and speed combination makes him a fine play in all game formats tonight.
Justin Turner – LAD at ATL - $3,300 – We are seeing that FanDuel’s pricing algorithm is now giving a little more respect to Justin Turner, who since the beginning of 2014 is actually leading all of MLB with a .422 wOBA against right-handed pitching among players with at least 400 plate appearances. Rounding out the top five are Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Corey Dickerson and Paul Goldschmidt.
Alex Rodriguez – NYY vs BAL - $3,600 – A-Rod continues to be productive this season, particularly against same-handed pitchers. In 259 plate appearances he has posted a .380 wOBA and a .229 ISO (.200 is borderline elite status), and over his career, opposing pitcher RHP Kevin Gausman has been worse against fellow right-handers when looking at platoon splits.
Once again the shortstop position is going to be challenging, and in the early game set, it is probably just best to go cheap at this position. I will be looking for hitters that will be near the top of their respective batting orders. My preferred targets are Francisco Lindor – CLE at MIL - $2,500, Jean Segura – MIL vs CLE and Freddy Galvis – PHI vs TB - $2,500.
Michael Brantley – CLE at MIL - $3,600 – Brantley has seen a bump in his price point with his steady production over the last week. He is still being overlooked by daily fantasy gamers and I suspect even more will blanch at the increased price point. Teammate David Murphy - $2,200 is a fine minimum priced option who should garner a favorable spot in the batting order against RHP Kyle Lohse.
Rajai Davis – DET vs SEA - $2,300 – This price point is just too low for Davis, who should be leading off against LHP Michael Montgomery. Since the beginning of 2014 Davis has posted a .388 wOBA against southpaws, and he has the green light to steal any time he is on base.
Gregory Polanco – PIT at KC - $2,400 – Polanco continues to hover near the minimum price on FanDuel and he can be very productive when he puts things together. This is a favorable matchup with RHP Edinson Volquez, and by going cheap at one of the outfield positions tonight it is pretty easy to roll with a top shelf pitcher and some MONSTER bats.