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Daily Fantasy MLB picks for Sunday, May 21

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Heath explores the ten-game Main slate on FanDuel.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Baltimore Orioles
With a career .209 ISO and 139 wRC+ against southpaws, Zimmerman is an easy choice today.
Patrick McDermott-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles and Alex Avila were the goods yesterday. Sometimes it pays to be chalky. Especially if you had Zack Wheeler at six percent...unfortunately I only had that lineup in cash games yesterday (no time to get crazy with GPPs). So it goes.

Anyway, today I aim to be different. There are some potential land mines in the upper-echelon of starting pitching, so if I’m not using Stephen Strasburg then I’m dropping way down the list of pitchers to find my guy.

Chris Archer has a rough matchup against the Yankees, who are sixth in ISO (.189) against right-handed pitching. Jake Arrieta is actually appealing as a tournament play, but the Brewers are tops in the league in ISO (.199) against right-handers and Arrieta does like to serve up the longball. Danny Salazar appears to have a good matchup against Joe Musgrove, but the Astros only strikeout 18.7% of the time against RHP (third-lowest mark in the MLB). Musgrove is a slight home favorite (-110) so it’s not just me that is afraid for Salazar. Wade Miley is slightly appealing against the Blue Jays, but he’d have to curtail his free passes (27 in 8 starts) in order to be effective. The Blue Jays are top five in walk rate against southpaws, so that’s a sketchy play to me. Basically, when I survey the list, there is one tournament option that keeps standing out to me...

Target: C.C. Sabathia ($7,200) @ Tampa Bay Rays

I love that C.C. may get overlooked due to a tough opponent in Chris Archer. He has an elite offense behind him and a pristine matchup against the Rays, who strikeout a whopping 28.3% of the time against left-handed pitching (worst mark in baseball). Tropicana Park is also a safe haven for pitchers and should help to further nullify an already weak Rays team—their. 138 ISO against LHP is 19th in the MLB. It’s worth noting that Tropicana Field saps power to right-handed hitters, too. That’s good news since those guys have the platoon advantage against Sabathia. In short, the Rays strikeout a ton and the park is ideal.

Sabathia himself is allowing a .313 wOBA to left-handed hitters, and a .258/.371/.300 slash line. Lefty bats have zero home runs off him this season, due in large part to a healthy 60% ground ball rate and an extremely low hard contact rate (11.1%). Seriously, you could double the rate of hard contact Sabathia has allowed and it would still be a great mark. Nuts. Any lefty-on-lefty crime would be a major surprise today.

Against Sabathia, right-handed hitters are slashing .262/.337/.409 with a .338 wOBA and six home runs over 38 innings. The 1.42 HR/9 to RHH is not good, but we already discussed the park factor being a benefit today. Against RHH at home, C.C. has allowed four of those home runs and a .369 wOBA...against RHH on the road those numbers drop to two home runs and a .298 wOBA. You get the idea. I love Sabathia’s spot today.

Stack Against: LHP Jaime Garcia with Washington Nationals

Besides being one of the (sneakier) hitting environments today, the Nationals are a way to be slightly more contrarian than the chalky Rockies. And the Nats have more upside anyway. Against southpaws the Nationals boast a .230 ISO (2nd), .382 OBP (1st), .545 SLG (1st), .927 OPS (1st), .391 wOBA (1st), and 139 wRC+ (1st). That 139 wRC+ mark is illuminating—Washington scores runs almost 40% more than average against left-handed pitching. The next highest mark against LHP are the Brewers (114). The Nationals are far and away the best team in baseball against lefty pitchers. They have an implied run total of 4.81 today, which is tied with Colorado for the highest total on the slate.

I’ll take the big four bats in Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy. Trea Turner is a candidate to fade against the lefty Garcia, as Turner has a paltry .075 ISO and 87 wRC+ against LHP over his young career. Matt Wieters is an intriguing option but I am hoping he gets the day off and I can focus on the big four. If not, if I can find a way to sub in some similar upside at a position I might try to get Wieters into my Nats stack and be a little more off the beaten path. Wieters has a career .199 ISO and 117 wRC+ against southpaws.

Various and Sundry:

I love working in some Buster Posey ($3,800) against a bad pitcher in Adam Wainwright. I know it sounds like blasphemy to say Waino is bad, but he is. Some of the cheap lefty bats for San Francisco make nice lineup fillers, too. Denard Span ($3,000) is cheap and eternally-underrated.

The Blue Jays and their recent offensive barrage seems like smoke-and-mirrors to me, but while they are hot and facing a guy who gives up tons of walks I am interested. Joey Bautista tops the list, of course. Justin Smoak ($3,700) probably won’t be highly-owned with his rising price but he is a sneaky play against LHP. The only downside for me is that he doesn’t work with my Nationals. I guess I could sub him in for Zimmerman and get Wieters into my lineup, but I hate losing Zimmerman if I’m using Washington.

Alexi Amarista ($2,400) has been on fire for the Rockies with Trevor Story sidelined, and gets the very hittable Bronson Arroyo today. He’s a great way to get exposure to the COL/CIN affair. Eugenio Suarez ($3,100) is too cheap and bashes southpaws (.202 ISO, 121 wRC+). Both of these guys fit just fine with the aforementioned Washington stack...

Be sure to check the weather today, ladies and gents. A few games look dicey but I am no weatherman. Hit up your preferred outlet for that information prior to locking in those lineups, though. Good luck today!