MLB Sim Sports Picks for 4/7/20 on FanDuel
Do you miss baseball? Yeah, we do, too.
Maybe you can't quite fill that sports void in your heart, but FanDuel has been coming up with new contests to keep us entertained during these strange times.
Enter MLB Sims Sports, a new free-to-play format that simulates the baseball games that were originally scheduled for play each day. Starting pitchers and batting orders are announced in advance, and then games will play out through numberFire's custom simulator.
Starting pitchers will have a simulated pitch count that we won't know beforehand but should be roughly based on their performance last season. Hitters will play the whole game, so there's no fear of pinch hitters and the like.
Best of all, the simulation is meant to replicate real life, so all the usual things you typically analyze in MLB DFS -- player skills, matchups, park factors, and platoon splits -- are in play here, so you can approach this in much the same way you would on a real baseball slate.
Below are the starting pitchers for Tuesday's slate, which locks at 7:05pm ET. Stats are from 2019 and limited to just games started, so you may see slight changes in the overall numbers of some players who made appearances out of the bullpen. Opposing strikeout rate and wRC+ are last year's numbers against a given pitcher's handedness using updated active rosters, per FanGraphs. Note that Corey Kluber, Johnny Cueto, and Matt Shoemaker were held to single-digit starts in 2019.
|Pitcher||Salary||Opp.||SIERA||K %||BB %||Opp. K%||Opp. wRC+|
|Justin Verlander (R)||$11,000||NYM||2.95||35.4%||5.0%||21.5%||109|
|Clayton Kershaw (L)||$10,000||@STL||3.77||26.7%||5.8%||22.4%||96|
|Robbie Ray (L)||$9,300||@SFG||4.02||31.5%||11.2%||22.2%||92|
|Charlie Morton (R)||$8,900||@BOS||3.54||30.4%||7.2%||19.9%||105|
|Jack Flaherty (R)||$8,700||LOS||3.68||29.9%||7.1%||20.2%||122|
|Matthew Boyd (L)||$8,500||@KAN||3.61||30.2%||6.4%||21.7%||88|
|Yu Darvish (R)||$8,200||@PIT||3.55||31.3%||7.7%||20.1%||94|
|Chris Archer (R)||$7,700||CHC||4.38||27.2%||10.5%||23.5%||108|
|Corey Kluber (R)||$7,500||@COL||4.68||22.6%||8.9%||22.5%||86|
|Mike Foltynewicz (R)||$7,400||SDP||4.71||21.4%||7.5%||25.0%||88|
|Dylan Bundy (R)||$7,100||OAK||4.54||23.1%||8.3%||22.8%||109|
|Frankie Montas (R)||$7,000||@LAA||3.76||26.1%||5.8%||20.3%||109|
|Jake Arrieta (R)||$6,900||TOR||4.82||18.5%||8.6%||25.2%||85|
|German Marquez (R)||$6,800||TEX||3.85||24.3%||4.9%||25.5%||89|
|Johnny Cueto (R)||$6,700||ARI||5.49||19.4%||13.4%||21.8%||96|
|Matt Shoemaker (R)||$6,500||@PHI||4.54||22.2%||8.3%||24.5%||90|
|Nathan Eovaldi (R)||$6,400||TAM||5.33||21.6%||12.9%||24.3%||99|
|Michael Wacha (R)||$6,300||@HOU||5.19||18.3%||10.1%||16.3%||129|
|Jorge Lopez (R)||$6,000||DET||5.01||18.4%||8.0%||25.6%||82|
|Zach Davies (R)||$5,700||@ATL||5.43||15.2%||7.6%||22.4%||100|
To help get you started, let's go through some of the top pitchers and stacks on today's slate.
Justin Verlander ($11,000) is expensive and doesn't have the greatest matchup, but he's easily the most talented arm on the board, besting everyone in both SIERA and strikeout rate. He posted a stellar 2.58 ERA and 0.80 WHIP in 2019 and produced similar numbers the year prior, so any way you shake it, the simulation should look upon Verlander fondly. The Astros ought to also provide plenty of virtual run support against Michael Wacha. The salary might be tough on a Coors Field slate, but high-priced hurlers do tend to pay off.
Robbie Ray ($9,300) offers a sizable discount from Verlander, and while that ugly 11.2% walk rate isn't ideal, a matchup at virtual Oracle Park against the Giants sure is. He has the next highest strikeout rate on the slate, and the favorable park should help limit the damage.
Yu Darvish ($8,200) was a numberFire favorite for season-long drafts, and he's arguably the slate's best value. Darvish was one of MLB's best pitchers in the second half of last year, and while we shouldn't expect the simulation to focus solely on a partial season, his overall peripherals were still pretty damn good. The downside is his matchup against Pittsburgh isn't a great one for punchouts.
We have Coors Field in play tonight, but with Corey Kluber and German Marquez taking the mound, it's not necessarily a must-play situation. Still, even an imaginary Coors should have some blow-up potential, and between the two hurlers, attacking Kluber might be the way to go after a lost 2019 campaign.
I actually thought Kluber had a chance for a solid bounce-back 2020, but my guess is the simulation will knock him down several pegs after getting rocked for a 5.80 ERA and 1.65 WHIP over seven starts last season. Whoever you can fit from the trio of Nolan Arenado ($4,100), Trevor Story ($3,900), and Charlie Blackmon ($3,800) is preferably where you want to start. But if you're paying up at pitcher, then David Dahl ($3,500), Ryan McMahon ($3,400), and Daniel Murphy ($3,100) are easier ways to gain exposure and all bat left-handed.
The previously mentioned Michael Wacha makes for a prime stacking target for the Astros, who are all priced pretty reasonably, with no batter hitting the $4K mark. Prior to 2019, Wacha wasn't a guy who gave up many dingers, but that all changed with the juiced ball, leading to him coughing up 1.85 homers per nine innings. I doubt the simulation knows or cares about what ball was used last year, so we should feel comfortable attacking Wacha.
You can roster pretty much anyone in this deep lineup, with Alex Bregman ($3,800), George Springer ($3,600), and Yordan Alvarez ($3,500) among the guys who stand out. Carlos Correa ($3,200) is a steal at his salary, and Michael Brantley ($3,300) and Yuli Gurriel ($3,000) won't break the bank, either.
Zach Davies has some of the worst 2019 peripherals of the slate, so the Braves are also firmly in play. Davies was much worse against lefty sticks in 2019 -- nothing new for him -- posting a 13.2% strikeout rate, 5.10 FIP, and 5.74 xFIP in the split. The pretty much makes Freddie Freeman ($4,000) a shoo-in if you're going here.
The author of this article has no involvement with the MLB Sim Sports simulations powered by numberFire and has no knowledge of the results of tonight’s contest.