A great-looking MLB slate awaits us on Wednesday night. Let’s dive into the top FanDuel picks at each position.
Chris Archer, TB, $11,000 - Archer has not gotten through the sixth inning this year. He runs up high pitch counts and has been taken out after the fifth inning twice already. Even with that information, he has still had games of 45 FanDuel points and 28 FanDuel points in his three outings this year. He’s also faced off against two of the better offenses in Major League Baseball (Toronto and Baltimore), so although a matchup with the Red Sox in Boston isn’t a cakewalk, this is far from a difficult game in the eyes of Chris Archer. He is hands down my number one ranked pitcher tonight, and it’s not even close.
Joe Ross, WAS, $7,500 - If the price tag on the higher end guys is a little too much for you, you can move in to the mid-range and get a guy like Ross taking on Miami in a huge pitcher’s ballpark. He has gone at least seven innings in both of his starts so far this year and has given up a total of one earned run. He has also struck out 10 guys in two games. When I look at this Miami team that he is facing, I think there are two things you need to do in order to shut them down. First of all, keep Dee Gordon from wreaking havoc on the bases. The second key factor is to keep Giancarlo Stanton in the yard. In 18 career games, Joe Ross has given up only one stolen base, so we can put a check by that box when saying he has a good opportunity to slow down Gordon. Ross has also faced 187 right-handed batters in his career and given up only three home runs, so there is a solid chance that he can hold Stanton without that big homer. If he does those two things tonight, he can have a lot of success against this lineup, and I feel really good about rostering him at this mid-level price tag.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, DET, $2,900 - Saltalamacchia is starting to heat up. He has four home runs in his last five games, and although I wouldn’t expect that trend to keep a very much longer, I will be riding him while he is swinging a hot bat. This isn’t your typical catcher who just puts together a nice two-week stretch and then disappears for the season. This is a guy that was an incredible offensive prospect when he first came into the big leagues but could just never piece it together. Saltalamacchia bounced around for a few different teams and now finds himself hitting in one of the best lineups in all of baseball.
Ryan Zimmerman, WAS, $2,700 - Zimmerman has always been a guy that could hit the ball. The only thing that ever held him back was injuries. Even more than that, he is always been a guy that can absolutely destroy left-handed pitching. Now Zimmerman’s healthy and in the middle of a potent offense. He takes on a left-hander tonight and has a very modest price tag of only $2,700 on FanDuel.
Neil Walker, NYM, $2,900 - Walker has really acclimated himself to his new team very nicely. He hit another two home runs last night and that gives him six for the year. Vegas has given the New York Mets the highest implied team total on the MLB odds board at 4.7 runs versus Jeremy Hellickson. If last night was any indication of what the Mets could do offensively, I would expect even more production tonight when they are feeding off of each other against a weak pitching staff in a small ballpark. There should be plenty of hits to go around this lineup, and Walker has been as hot as anybody on this team.
Maikel Franco, PHI, $2,900 - I don’t know how Bartolo Colón is able to still be incredibly effective in the major leagues at his age. He’s old, out of shape and really only throws fastballs, yet somehow he goes out there for the majority of his starts and shuts the other team down. He does have the occasional start though where the opposition is locked in on that fastball and they run them out of that game early. I look at Franco in this Philadelphia lineup and he’s clearly the best hitter on this team. If I’m choosing one player out of this lineup to make an impact tonight, or any night for that matter, it’s going to be Franco. So, if this Philadelphia team is able to muster up anything off of Bartolo tonight, I think Franco will be at the center of it.
Corey Seager, LAD, $3,400 - Seager showed signs of being a very good major league hitter last year. This year he’s taking it to the next level and has become one of the better shortstops out there. He is extremely good against right-handed pitching and he takes on Julio Teheran tonight. Teheran has always been a pretty solid pitcher since day one but has also been extremely susceptible his entire career to left-handed hitting. That is his Achilles’ heel. Tonight Corey Seager is in a really good spot; he hits in the top of the order for the LA Dodgers, mashes right-handers and faces a right-hander that is terrible against lefties. Once again, this is baseball, so the absolute best players on the board could all bust tonight. All we want to do is make sure that everybody we roster on our team can be looked at as being in a favorable situation to thrive. Seager meets that criteria.
Ryan Braun, MIL, $4,200 - Braun is at home in an extreme hitter’s park to take on a left-handed pitcher. Over the last couple of seasons Braun has amassed a .410 wOBA against left-handers. He’s always crushed southpaws his entire career and that makes him a very solid option tonight, even in the high price range. There’s going to be a lot of love tonight for Bryce Harper as he continues to tear the cover off the baseball, so you may be able to get a guy like Braun at much lower ownership in tournaments.
Josh Reddick, OAK, $3,300 - My three outfielders are all in very nice split platoons tonight. Reddick is a left-handed hitter who is always in play against marginal right-handed pitching. Tonight he takes on a hard throwing right-hander in a very small ballpark. This could be a monster game for Reddick. He has massive upside at a $3,300 price point. The number one home run park for left-handers in Major League Baseball over the past several seasons has been the new Yankee Stadium. Now this is baseball, and a 0-for-4 game is just as likely as an individual hitting a home run, so all you can ask to do is to put guys on your team that are in very favorable positions and hope it pays off. Reddick is in a very favorable position tonight.
Matt Kemp, SD, $3,800 - Just like Ryan Braun, Kemp is a right-handed hitter taking on a left-handed pitcher tonight. Also similar to Braun, but on a slightly lesser level, Kemp has destroyed left-handers in his career. Over the past two+ seasons, he has a .362 weighted on base average and a .226 isolated power against left-handers. The only time I really look to roster Matt Kemp anymore is when he faces off against a left-handed pitcher that I do not consider an elite guy. Tonight falls under that umbrella.