The Starting 5: Featuring pitcher and hitter MLB DFS picks for FanDuel & DraftKings cash game lineups on Friday, April 20, 2018 (4/20).
Sharing articles with picks and advice to help you build winning MLB lineups on FanDuel (FD) and DraftKings (DK).
Welcome to the Starting Five MLB edition. In this article, we will give you a pitcher to consider and three hitters in each salary range. The hitters will be broken down into the following categories stud ($4,000 plus in salary), midrange ($3,000 to $3,900 in salary) and value hitter (below $3,000 in salary). We will use FanDuel’s pricing as a reference. To end the article we will give you our top player of the day regardless if that player is a hitter or pitcher. These picks will also come from the main slate of games on FanDuel each day and may not include all games played that day.
Manning the Mound
SP to Target: Justin Verlander, HOU
This is the best slate of baseball we have had this season. There are so many ways you can go on this slate starting on the mound where we have several aces taking the bump. While I love both Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw facing each other neither of those guys is my favorite pitcher. That honor belongs to Verlander who has been excellent this season. In his four starts, Verlander has allowed a total of four earned runs while striking out 34 in 26.2 innings of action. Verlander has pitched at least seven innings in back-to-back games and has struck out at least nine in three straight. Not only is Verlander pitching well but I am a huge fan of the match-up against the White Sox who don’t have the best lineup and have a high team K rate of 24.8% against right-handed pitching this season.
The Batter’s Box
Stud Bat to Target: OF, Kyle Schwarber, CHC
We have a game at Coors Field tonight and of course, you are going to want to target hitters in that game. I am not sure you can afford the hitters in that game if you also pay up at the pitcher position. With that being said I am going to be picking my spots with Coors Field tonight and only playing a couple of hitters in that game. My favorite hitter in that game is Schwarber for two reasons. The first is due to a right-handed pitcher taking the mound for the Rockies. While Jon Gray is a solid pitcher he has struggled this season especially against lefties as lefties are slugging .582 with a .391 wOBA against them. Schwarber for his career has eaten right-handed pitching up and has an OPS of .864, an ISO of .275 and a wOBA of .367 against them. The second reason why I Schwarber is my favorite hitter in Coors is that he is hot. Schwarber has reached base multiple times with at least a run scored or RBI in five of his past six games.
Mid-Range Bat to Target: 1B, Eric Thames, MIL
I still don’t know what to make of Trevor Richards as a pitcher as he has shown flashes of being an elite pitcher. With that being said instead of focusing on Richards and whether he is good or not I am going to just focus on Thames numbers against right-handed pitching and they are great. Since coming back to the majors, Thames has an OPS of .944, an ISO of .308 and a wOBA of .393 against righties. Thames is also as hot as they come with six home runs in his past 11 games including a home run in each of his past two starts.
Bargain Bin Bat to Target: OF, Austin Jackson, SF
I am a big fan of Andrew Heaney as an SP2 today as he has big time K upside but he is a pitcher who can give up some runs and struggles against right-handed hitting. In his career, righties are slugging .503 with a .359 wOBA. Those struggles make Jackson a player to look at tonight at his salary as Jackson killed lefties a year ago. Last season, Jackson had an OPS of 1.013, an ISO of .221 and a wOBA of .429. The OPS and wOBA rank in the top 15 of all hitters with a minimum of 120 plate appearances last season.
Top Play of Day
OF, Mookie Betts, BOS
Betts is in a zone and is a tough fade right now. In his three games against the Angels, Betts had seven hits with four home runs, six runs scored and four RBIs. This season, Betts is slashing .391/.481/.797 with an ISO of .406 and a wOBA of .529. Betts has 22 runs scored and 14 RBIs. Kendall Graveman has been one of the worst pitchers in baseball this season and I don’t see Betts slowing down at all in this one.
Best of luck in your contests today!