FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: World Series Game 4
Game 4 gives us a pitching clash between southpaws Julio Urias and Ryan Yarbrough. Both pitchers will likely be on a short leash, though each is capable of working a decent chunk of innings if they're throwing well.
Per FanDuel Sportsbook, the Los Angeles Dodgers are 1.5-run favorites, and the total is at 8.0 runs, implying a score of 4.75-3.25 in favor of LA. Our model likes the Tampa Bay Rays more than oddsmakers do, projecting a 4.39-4.28 win for the Dodgers.
For those unfamiliar with the single-game daily fantasy baseball format, scoring is identical to its full roster cousin, except you only roster hitters, and lineups consist of five flex spots. The one twist? One of the five roster spots is your designated "MVP," who receives 2-times his total fantasy points, along with a "STAR" slot that gets 1.5-times the points. Naturally, it's crucial that you choose your MVP and STAR carefully if you want to be at the top of the leaderboards when it's all said and done.
On that note, let's highlight some of the top options for today's FanDuel single-game slate.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Ryan Yarbrough threw more than 90 pitches in just two of his 11 starts/bulk-guy appearances this season, and we've seen the Rays yank starters pretty early, at times, in these playoffs. So we shouldn't put too much stock into hitter-pitchers matchups when picking LA bats. It is a factor, though.
Righties Mookie Betts ($9,500), Justin Turner ($7,000), Will Smith ($6,500), Enrique Hernandez ($4,000), Chris Taylor ($5,500) and A.J. Pollock ($6,000) all started versus lefty Blake Snell earlier in the series. Hernandez and Pollock are the two most at risk of being pinch-hit for if they come up against a righty.
Turner tagged southpaws for a .397 wOBA, 52.6% hard-hit rate and 47.4% fly-ball rate this year. Betts is better versus right-handers -- Smith, too -- but Mookie's power-speed combo speaks for itself. I love these two as MVP plays.
Pollock is a lefty killer as he mauled them to the tune of a .468 wOBA and 56.3% hard-hit rate in 2020. Those are amazing numbers for a guy at his salary, but he got just two plate appearances in the Game 2 matchup with Snell.
Left-handed sticks Corey Seager ($9,000), Max Muncy ($7,500) and Cody Bellinger ($8,500) should be in the lineup and aren't a pinch-hit risk. They hit second, fourth and sixth, respectively, versus Snell.
Bellinger -- who generated a mere .294 wOBA against lefties this season -- is the one of this trio I'll have the least exposure to. Muncy is on the opposite end, and I like him as a contrarian MVP play. He had a .350 wOBA, 15.0% walk rate and a slightly better homer-per-plate-appearance clip in lefty-lefty matchups this year. Seager had a .347 wOBA in the split and is red-hot this postseason (.464 wOBA).
Tampa Bay Rays
It feels like Julio Urias has been around a long time. He did debut in 2016, but he's only 24 and has thrown just 239 big-league frames in his career. He's got a 4.32 SIERA and 23.2% strikeout rate for his career, but his 2020 numbers (4.88 SIERA and 20.1% strikeout rate) were underwhelming.
The Rays had the sixth-best wOBA (.343) against lefties this past regular season, and they could pounce on Urias. With that said, Urias might not pitch for long even if he's throwing well with LA having a fairly rested 'pen behind him, so we shouldn't focus all our energy on pitcher-hitter matchups.
Randy Arozarena ($7,500) can't stop hitting taters, and he'll have the platoon advantage. He's launched four dingers over his last seven games and has a .493 wOBA across 73 postseason plate appearances. The negatives are that he's been pretty homer-or-nothing lately -- four of his last five hits have been jacks -- and he'll likely be the most popular MVP choice on the Rays.
Tampa Bay platoons as much as anyone, and they have a few low-salary guys who could be in today's lineup against the left-handed Urias. Versus Clayton Kershaw in Game 1, Yandy Diaz ($6,000) led off and played the whole game while Hunter Renfroe ($5,000) hit cleanup and logged two plate appearances before getting yanked for a pinch-hitter. In the regular season, Michael Brosseau ($4,500) also got a lot of starts against lefties, but he didn't start the series opener.
Diaz is my top pick of that bunch -- mostly because I think he's got the best shot of staying in the game once the Dodgers' bullpen gets involved. Diaz produced solid numbers against both lefties (.356 wOBA) and righties (.372 wOBA) this campaign. Brosseau has a .389 wOBA, 46.3% hard-hit rate and 45.1% fly-ball rate against southpaws for his career. Renfroe hit more dongs against lefties (five) than right-handers (three) in 2020 despite having 37 fewer plate appearances versus lefties.
Left-handed hitters have actually fared a little better against Urias than righties have, although lefties strike out more often. Over his career, Urias has surrendered a 38.5% hard-hit rate and 42.9% fly-ball rate to lefties. That means we can feel perfectly fine going to Brandon Lowe ($8,000) and Austin Meadows ($7,000), especially since Urias may not go all that deep.
Against southpaws in 2020, Lowe mashed his way to a .467 wOBA, 50.0% hard-hit rate and 47.2% fly-ball rate -- all juicier marks than what he did with the platoon advantage. Meadows is better against righties, but going back to 2019 to get a bigger sample (Meadows played only 36 games this year), he had a .346 wOBA and 48.2% hard-hit rate versus left-handed pitchers. In the Game 1 matchup with Kershaw, Lowe hit second while Meadows was out of the starting nine before getting two plate appearances off the bench.