All picks are based off the slate of games starting at 12:10 PM ET / 9:10 AM PT and are selected from Fanduel.com. All picks are subject to change depending on various things that happen in life.
Oh, Wednesday. You come to us with promise of the weekend only to make us realize it’s still the middle of the week. Cheer up though, because it’s me and I got words formed into sentences to fill 10 minutes of your so called life with fantasy baseball stuff. Before I dive into my picks of the day that are probably wrong, as usual, I really have this need to talk a little about young Stephen Strasburg and the negative chatter surrounding him.
As of today, Strasburg is 3-5 with an ERA north of six and a 1.69 WHIP through nine starts. Not really what you were hoping for from a guy that was drafted in the 2nd or 3rd round in most drafts. If you did draft him, you were probably counting on him to be your ace, the anchor of your rotation, but he hasn’t played up to these expectations. Hell, you’ve probably picked up guys off the waiver wire that have performed better than Strasburg. He is tentatively being dropped in ESPN leagues (95.8% ownership) to which I say erroneous! Do not, for all that is good and right in this world, drop Strasburg. If I may, lay forth information that sounds like I know what I’m talking about.
We can first take a look at that unsightly .390 BABIP (highest in the league) to see he has been quite unlucky. League average for 2015 is .293 and Strasburg’s career average is .305 so we can assume that is going to settle back down. We can also take a look at his 57.8 LOB% (left on base) and can assume that number will rise, as league average and Strasburg’s career average are almost identical at 72.5% and 72.6% respectively. Not convinced? Let’s take a look at his pitch type and pitch f/x data. Nothing really to see here as the speed of his pitches this year practically matches his career numbers, and it’s not like he’s throwing his fastball more, his curve less, or trying a new pitch. Yet, he’s inducing swing and misses (7.2% SwStr) at almost four percentage points less than his career average (11% SwStr). And his contact rate (84.4%) is almost 10 percentage points above his career average (76.1%).
Furthermore, nobody in the league has a higher difference between their xFIP (3.67) and ERA (6.50) than Strasburg (2.83 runs). This *sabr stuff* isn’t exact science but it’s been proven enough to make it valid. I’m not smart enough to tell you the exact reason why he’s not doing well. I just know, with this evidence, that it’s more than likely not going to last. Oh yah! I almost forgot, I got picks for you! As always this is my disclaimer stating I am a self-proclaimed expert, so that basically means I have a computer and internet access. Enjoy!
LWOS DAILY FANTASY BASEBALL PICKS (AND MORE) 05-27-15
Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates, $10,000
Cole has been the ace the Pirates expected from him when they drafted him in 2011 as the #1 overall pick. His 2.05 ERA is backed up by his 2.63 xFIP and he’s making batters swing and miss at a career high. His opponent? A Miami Marlins team that is 26th in the league with an 83 wRC+ against RHP.
Russell Martin, Toronto Blue Jays, $3,200
Martin has been good for the Blue Jays so far in the beginning of his 5-year contract. His 137 wRC+ ranks 3rd in the league among catchers with at least 130 PA. He’s facing off against the shark Jeff Samardzija who he’s 6-for-19 against and he’s playing at home in hitter friendly Toronto.
Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds, $3,200
The knee injury looks like a thing of the past as Votto is slashing a strong .286/.378/.478 this season. The line is a little below his career numbers but age and injuries will catch up eventually. His May line has not been so hot but I like the righty-lefty matchup against the extremely hittable Kyle Hendrick and his 6.58 ERA/4.98 xFIP.
DJ LeMahieu, Colorado Rockies, $2,900
LeMahieu seems intent on riding his BABIP to new heights. He’s riding a .333 AVG on a .395 BABIP so far this season and I know the power is minimal but as long as he’s getting on base and stays hot, it’s good enough for me.
Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees, $3,200
I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a huge Rodriguez fan for reasons it would take another article to write about but I’m a level-headed kind of guy. As of right now, Rodriguez has been displaying power (.283 ISO) unlike anything since his 2008 season. Common sense dictates some regression for the 39-year-old, but his 154 wRC+ in May makes this a no-brainer for me. Also his opponent, Chris Young, is due for a rude awakening (0.78 ERA/5.04 xFIP). I’ll risk the 40% rain chance.
Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants, $2,900
I picked Crawford last week and he let me down but that won’t stop me from picking him again. I’m stubborn as hell. Power at the shortstop position is rare and I like the lefty-righty matchup against Mike Fiers. He may strike out but he may also hit a 3-run shot as well.
Brett Gardner, New York Yankees, $3,600
Gardner’s looking like last season was not a fluke as his numbers are easily on par for a 15/30 season. I like the lefty-right matchup against Chris Young and again I believe Young is due for a rough outing. I mean you remember what happened to Jeremy Guthrie against these same Yankees right?
Hunter Pence, San Francisco Giants, $3,000
I picked Pence last week as well last and he decided to go hitless for only the third time since he returned from the DL. As long as this bona fide star is still cheap and swinging a hot bat though (.342/.390/.500), I’m all aboard the Pence Express. Also he has the lefty-righty matchup advantage.
Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox, $3,000
Mookie. What a cool name. You may think different and that’s your opinion. But your opinion is wrong and mine is right, so let’s move on. I have a good feeling against a hittable Phil Hughes and that .248 BABIP is not going to continue. Betts shows great contact skills (career 88.5%) and an outstanding feel for that bat. This kid is prime for a big game any day he steps on the field.