A great-looking MLB slate awaits us on Wednesday night. Let’s dive into the top FanDuel picks at each position.
Felix Hernandez, SEA, $11,000 - Felix Hernandez has had his struggles this year. He definitely doesn’t look like the same dominant guy that he has been in years past. Giving up six earned runs last outing to Minnesota will leave a sour taste in people’s mouths. And although I personally would have wanted to avoid him for a couple of outings, matchups just don’t get better than taking on San Diego in their gigantic, pitcher friendly ballpark. Vegas seems to agree with that notion as they have assigned San Diego a team total of 3 on the MLB odds board. King Felix is in a phenomenal position to rebound in this game.
Danny Duffy, KC, $6,800 - Listen, don’t take this as me telling you to run out and load up on Danny Duffy in your lineups. The truth is that your number one option should come down to Max Scherzer or Felix Hernandez. They are the clear-cut number one options for tonight, in my opinion. However, if you’re looking to save some money and be different then the crowd in tournaments, take a look at Danny Duffy. He came back from injury on a pitch count and in his three starts has gone from three to four innings and then from four to five. In his last start against Chicago he was very effective until he made one bad pitch and gave up a grand slam. So, there is risk in taking Danny Duffy on your roster and the upside isn’t the same as you’re going to get with those other elite starters, but there is reason to believe that Danny Duffy can be a very effective pitcher on tournament teams tonight.
Evan Gattis, HOU, $3,300 - Evan Gattis is another Houston player that I am going to feature in this article. He is the one that almost didn’t make the cut though. What is very intriguing about him is his position. Typically catcher is an extremely weak hitting spot and there’s no reason to spend money on it, for the most part. However he is priced very fairly and is in a fantastic matchup against a left-hander tonight. He’s also a designated hitter with catcher eligibility. You’re not really getting a player who has to squat down behind the plate for 9 innings calling the game for his pitcher and worrying about defense. You’re getting a player whose sole purpose is to hit the ball.
Chris Johnson, MIA, $2,200 - The overall numbers don’t look great for Chris Johnson, but there was a point in his career when he was a left-handed killing specialist. I think his overall numbers in this split don’t look very effective over the past couple years because of general lack of playing time. I still remember the guy in Houston and Atlanta who would smash left-handed pitching whenever he got a chance. So for $2,200 on FanDuel, I think this is a great place to save money and stack up the rest your roster.
Jose Altuve, HOU, $4,000 - One place I would really like to spend money at tonight is second base with Jose Altuve. I am going to be all over several Houston Astros players tonight and Altuve is at the top of the list. They have a matchup against left-hander Robbie Ray. I’m not going to bore you with the numbers of .400+ wOBA against left-handers and all that jazz. He flat-out might be the best offensive second baseman in baseball, and this is a good matchup.
Others to Consider: D.J. LeMahieu, Joe Panik
Nolan Arenado, COL, $4,400 - Sometimes a player and matchup come along and they become an instant play in your cash game lineup. Tonight all roads converge on Nolan Arenado. He’s historically destroyed left-handed pitching, crushes the ball at home and tonight gets both of those factors in his favor. Arenado owns a .231 ISO versus left-handed pitching over the last couple years. In tournaments it’s always a very good strategy to avoid guys like this, who are going to have extremely high ownership. After all, this is baseball and anybody can take and 0-for-4 game. However, in cash games I don’t think you can fade him.
Carlos Correa, HOU, $4,000 - Shortstop has upgraded itself over the past couple of seasons. It used to be a position you could strictly punt because there just wasn’t that much available power out there. But with the insurgents of some of the youth that’s come into the MLB, the balance has shifted a bit. Now shortstop is a place you can achieve power in your lineup. It doesn’t get much better than Carlos Correa. He’s an absolute stud that does everything with the bat. He’s another Astro that hits very well against left-handed pitching and I think he has to be the clear-cut option as number one shortstop going into tonight.
Andrew McCutchen, PIT, $4,100 - Andrew McCutchen is another right-handed hitter who has shown to be extremely effective against left-handed pitching in his career. Tonight he takes on a slightly above average left-handed pitcher in Miami. Over the last several games the results haven’t necessarily been there for McCutchen. However he starting to hit the ball much better as he has recorded a hard-hit rate of over 44% the last two weeks. If that metric turns out to be accurate, at some point some of these hard-hit balls should start finding gaps.
George Springer, HOU, $3,800 - George Springer has been the Astros best hitter over the past few weeks. The surge in his performance has coincided with him being moved to the leadoff spot. I’m not sure we will ever really know if those two things are correlated, but the fact is that he’s been hot as fire since that move. He’s also another one of these Astros that typically dominates left-handed pitching over his career. The guy has 10 hits in his last four games. Streaky hitters like this should be played continuously until they show signs of slowing down. There will come a point in this season when Springer struggles at the plate and goes on a month long slump. When that happens you will want to avoid him no matter what the matchup is, but for now you want to play him every opportunity that you can.
Giancarlo Stanton, MIA, $3,500 - Stanton has long been known as a guy who destroys lefties. Although he has struggled lately, he has shown signs of turning that around. This matchup is very intriguing as it pits him against a soft tossing left-handed pitcher. He’s had 29 career at-bats against Jon Niese, and that’s resulted in a .414 batting average to go along with four home runs. His track record versus left-handed pitching plus his track record versus this particular pitcher puts him at the top of the list for outfielders tonight. As an added bonus, due to his recent struggles, the price tag has dropped down to $3,500 on FanDuel. This is a guy that is borderline $5,000 player when he is hitting well.