FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Friday 5/28/21
Ugly weather forecasts will unfortunately be a theme on Friday, as East Coast contests between the Brewers-Nationals, Braves-Mets, and Marlins-Red Sox could all get washed out tonight, and there's also rain expected for Blue Jays-Indians and Orioles-White Sox. That's a whole mess of games to keep track of, so hopefully, some spots improve or we get some early postponements in the afternoon.
Luckily, with this being a large slate, there are plenty of other directions we can go, and the night's top hurler should be pretty safe weather-wise with only some light precipitation presently expected.
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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Gerrit Cole ($12,200): It's one of the best pitchers in baseball against one of the worst offenses, so it really doesn't get much more straightforward than this. After a rare stumble in a good spot versus the Rangers, Cole bounced back for 52 FanDuel points against a tough White Sox lineup, so we should have all the confidence in the world in him against the lowly Tigers. Detroit's active roster has produced a 27.6% strikeout rate and 87 wRC+ against righties this season, and the last time Cole faced them, he racked up 12 punchouts on his way to 64 FanDuel points. For the year, the Yankees' ace boasts a 2.11 SIERA, 38.5% strikeout rate, and 3.3% walk rate.
Walker Buehler ($11,000): Buehler is the only other hurler with a five-digit salary, but he has zero weather concerns on the West Coast and comes at a sizable drop in salary compared to Cole. Buehler can't hang with Cole in terms of strikeouts, but he's settled into a rock-solid 3.28 SIERA, 26.6% strikeout rate, and 3.6% walk rate, and his matchup checks out against San Francisco. The Giants are neutral offense versus right-handed pitching, but they fan in bunches with an active roster striking out 27.8% of the time. However, note that Buehler is getting far fewer punchouts versus left-handed bats this season (23.1%), which could put a damper on his upside if the Giants load up on lefties.
Sean Manaea ($7,100): Ian Anderson would easily be my top value pick tonight, but the dreary weather in New York makes it look unlikely that they play. If things improve, he's firmly in the mix, but if we assume he's out, Manaea is a serviceable choice due to his bargain bin salary. Manaea isn't a guy I typically like rostering for DFS due to his middle-of-the-road 23.6% strikeout rate, but he's posted a 3.73 SIERA and doesn't issue many free passes (4.8% walk rate). If anything, he's gotten a little unlucky with a .340 BABIP, explaining a slightly worse 4.17 ERA. Manaea probably won't post a huge strikeout game against an Angels lineup with few lefties, but they have a paltry 3.51 implied total in a pitcher-friendly ballpark with mild temperatures. On a night where there might not be a ton of high-scoring pitchers if the top two have down games, Manaea could do enough to get by while you load up on high-salaried star bats.
Others to Consider: Hyun-jin Ryu ($9,600), Ian Anderson ($9,000)
Minnesota Twins: Not only are the Twins in a locale without any rain to worry about, but they're showing one of the top implied totals on the board (5.06) against left-hander Kris Bubic. Although Bubic has bumped up his ground-ball rate to 53.1% and has a sparkling 1.52 ERA this season, that's about where the good news ends. You see, that ERA is riding a trifecta of luck stats between a .234 BABIP, 85.2% strand rate, and 0.0% homer-to-fly-ball rate -- all well off league averages -- and a 5.00 SIERA is likely a better indicator of how he's really performed.
Minnesota can attack him with a lineup made up almost entirely of right-handed batters, too, and Bubic is showing a poor 5.42 xFIP, 14.1% strikeout rate, and 14.1% walk rate in the split. While the high ground-ball rate is annoying, opposing batters didn't have trouble hitting dingers against the young left-hander in 2020, and the Twins have plenty of thump between guys like Nelson Cruz ($3,700), Miguel Sano ($3,100), Josh Donaldson ($2,900), and Mitch Garver ($2,800).
And as you can see by those salaries, they aren't a difficult team to fit in, either, and others like Kyle Garlick ($2,300), Robert Refsnyder ($2,200), and Jorge Polanco ($2,100) will make it far easier to set aside enough space for Gerrit Cole.
Chicago White Sox: The White Sox earn a top spot again tonight (weather permitting, of course) against a way-past-his-prime Matt Harvey. After a decent start to the season, Harvey has been wrecked in three straight outings, and there isn't any reason to think he turns this thing around.
However, the one downside to this spot is that Harvey has been significantly worse versus lefties (5.79 xFIP, 12.9% strikeout rate, and 31.1% ground-ball rate) compared to righties (3.67 xFIP, 20.2% strikeout rate, and 51.8% ground-ball rate), which doesn't benefit a Chicago lineup where most of the guys we want bat right-handed. Still, the strikeout rate is low against all comers, and if recent history is any indication, Harvey's underlying numbers against righties will only worsen over time.
Switch-hitters Yoan Moncada ($3,500) and Yasmani Grandal ($3,200) benefit the most from this spot, but all the usual righty bats can go alongside them in Jose Abreu ($3,900), Tim Anderson ($3,700), Yermin Mercedes ($2,800), and Andrew Vaughn ($2,500).
Toronto Blue Jays: Eli Morgan is making his MLB debut tonight, and it's a tall order to expect him to hold up against the formidable Blue Jays. As always, we're venturing into the unknown when minor leaguers are called up, but there's isn't much of anything to suggest that Morgan is ready for the bright lights. He has only four Triple-A starts under his belt, and in his three outings this season, he's posted a 5.15 xFIP, 23.2% strikeout rate, 14.3% walk rate, and 31.4% ground-ball rate.
An unimposing strikeout rate, high walk rate, and lack of ground balls all sound great for a Toronto stack. The only issue is the top four in the order -- Marcus Semien ($3,800), Bo Bichette ($3,500), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($4,600), and Teoscar Hernandez ($3,700) -- are getting up there in salary, with Guerrero being especially difficult to roster if you're playing Gerrit Cole. The good news is we have Randal Grichuk ($2,800), Lourdes Gurriel ($2,300), and Rowdy Tellez ($2,000) in the bottom half for some much-needed salary relief.