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Daily Fantasy MLB picks for Monday, May 22

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Heath explores Monday’s main slate of games on FanDuel.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday my best lineup was a last minute Cubs stack that I joined to Stephen Strasburg. I didn’t write either of those commodities up because they were the obvious choices. Sometimes the chalk just attacks, eh? Wilmer Difo ($2,100) emerging as a last-minute punt made it all work, as did an under-priced Carlos Gonzalez (only $2,800).

My C.C. Sabathia pick held up pretty well against the Rays, but my Nationals stack was a disappointment against the lefty Jaime Garcia. But that’s why they call it daily fantasy sports, people. Today is a new start.

At the time of this writing (early Monday morning) the run total for Giants and Cubs does not exist. You’ll need to check the weather and the wind sometime closer to lock. John Lackey could conceivably emerge as a cash game option if the weather cooperates, but he only has three quality starts to his name and the Giants have a slim K-rate against RHP (19.6%). That’s a top-five mark in strikeouts, even if the other marks are terrible (.119 ISO and 68 wRC+). I’d consider Lackey if the wind was in—and honestly, with that offense behind him and on such a small slate, he has to be considered. I don’t have to like it, though.

Similar to yesterday, I am avoiding the guy who is facing the Astros. Houston has a tiny 18.9% K-rate versus RHP and that limits the upside of Michael Fulmer. The Astros and Brad Peacock are slight home favorites in this one. I just see Fulmer’s upside as “not very high” which is about as qualitative as analysis can get. I don’t mind Tigers bats, though...

If you are looking for safety among the pitching ranks, there is really only one guy. Zack Greinke gets the White Sox, who are literally bad in every offensive category. The only reason to like them today is the park factor. That’s it. But that same park factor applies to the Arizona Diamondbacks, who get to tee off against Miguel Gonzalez. Even if Greinke gets sloppy he should be in line for a quality start and a win.

Target: Jake Odorizzi ($8,300) vs. Los Angeles Angels

I’m crazy, right? The Angels just put 12 runs on the Mets and now I’m recommending a pitcher against them? Welp, that outburst was against a washed-up southpaw named Tommy Milone. Today’s game is against a far better pitcher in Odorizzi. Odorizzi is a fly ball pitcher who has shown reverse splits over the course of his career. This season, his numbers are a bit funky, though. He has allowed a .306 wOBA to LHH but only 22.9% hard contact. Apparently a lot of the medium contact (62.5%) is to blame for this phenomenon. Against RHH, Odorizzi has allowed a shiny .258 wOBA but a sketchy 37.9% hard contact rate. Perhaps far less medium contact (48.3%) has been to his benefit.

What I like about Odorizzi is his career 7.2% walk rate and this season’s 4.9% walk rate. And while his strikeout rate is only slightly above average (21.9%) he still has a good chance at going fairly deep into this game. Remember, after that offensive outburst the Angels had to board a plane and get from New York all the way down to Florida. Tropicana Field isn’t exactly the Taj Mahal for hitters. I’ll take a slightly above-average pitcher against a generally weak offense in this park...the Angels can boast about having the best baseball player on the planet, but that doesn’t make them good. Their collective .139 ISO ranks 28th in the MLB, the .300 wOBA ranks 25th, and they score runs less than average with a 92 wRC+ (21st). Lastly, the 8.3% walk rate ranks 20th in the league. Against a pitcher who is really good at limiting the free pass this season, they’ll have to hit the ball to make something happen.

Stack Against: Ubaldo Jimenez with Minnesota Twins

Jimenez has not been good against RHH to the tune of a .250/.347/.356 slash and a .315 wOBA. Against LHH, though, he has been horrible with a .270/.378/.710 slash and a .443 wOBA. Left-handed bats are making hard contact 40.4% of the time, which is insane. For what it’s worth, right-handed bats are still doing okay at 30.7 percent...but it is lefty bats we like the most.

So who is there? Max Kepler (.184 ISO, 137 wRC+) and Kennys Vargas (.436 ISO, 184 wRC+) are the obvious guys. Kepler has a 40.0% hard contact rate against right-handed pitching, so it seems like a given that he’ll be cranking a home run or making some loud outs today. Vargas is at 31.0% hard contact. Both are cheap today.

I’m not running out a Twins stack without Miguel Sano, I don’t care what the split is. So after those three, it’s decision-making time between Brian Dozier, Eddie Rosario, and Jason Castro. Since Dozier is expensive ($3,800) and we prefer him against southpaws, I am inclined to roll with Eddie Rosario ($2,800) instead. Rosario has been on a bit of a cold streak, but the park boost is nice and recall that Ubaldo has been really terrible against lefty bats. Rosario’s .185 ISO against RHP is just fine, too. I’ll take it in a game-stack, even if I wouldn’t love it in a vacuum. If it shakes out the way I think it will, the grouping of four mentioned here would be the 3-4-5-6 hitters in this order—fading Dozier and Mauer in the top two spots. Who is up for a two-out rally?

Quick Hitting

Remember to check the wind in Wrigley. That can make all this planning go for naught in a hurry.

Josh Tomlin loves to give up longballs and is a reverse splits guy, so don’t avoid your Reds right-handed bats today.

The Orioles should be far chalkier than the Twins, which is another reason why I love Minnesota today. But Kyle Gibson is a ground ball guy and is fighting for a rotation spot...it’s conceivable that he stymies the Orioles enough to make the full stack not worth it. I love the Twins side in this one.

I can’t make any sense out of Jason Vargas this season, and I have never been able to make sense out of Michael Pineda. Either of them could enter full beast mode on any given night, but inside Yankee Stadium is enough to make me look elsewhere. I’d have some interest in Pineda in GPPs, but I wouldn’t touch Vargas.

Good luck out there today and don’t be afraid to share who you like in the comments section!

Poll

Who is your top pitcher in GPPs today?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Zack Greinke ($10,300) vs. CWS
    (7 votes)
  • 21%
    Gerrit Cole ($9,800) @ ATL
    (7 votes)
  • 6%
    John Lackey ($8,900) vs. SFG
    (2 votes)
  • 28%
    Michael Pineda ($8,700) vs. KAN
    (9 votes)
  • 21%
    Jake Odorizzi ($8,300) vs. LAA
    (7 votes)
32 votes total Vote Now