MLB Mobile Sports Betting Toolkit
The MLB Pulse is constructed to give daily fantasy enthusiasts insight to the most popular picks in a game slate, assessing their viability along the way. In other words, this column is designed to gauge the daily fantasy world's opinion as a whole. We will then take it a step further, telling you when to “join the herd" and when to pivot elsewhere.
Buzz is calculated on a 1-10 scale by considering numerous daily fantasy media outlets picks and general conversation on forums/twitter.
-Any time Felix Hernandez takes the mound, the buzz around the slate centers on him as the pitcher. He faces one of the league's worst hitting teams in the Twins tonight and that gives him some fantastic upside both in terms of efficiency and strikeouts. He's far and away my top pitching option despite his price. He had some tightness last game, but convinced his manager to let him stay in the game to strike out the side in the seventh inning. He should be all systems go tonight.
-Zack Greinke is the other true ace on this slate, as he heads to PetCo Park, one of the most pitcher-friendly destinations in all of baseball. The Padres offense is much improved, so that's going to take some of the shine off this park all year, but he has huge strikeout upside. With Hernandez in such a good spot, he feels more like a GPP play though.
-Scott Kazmir comes into tonight's game with a 29.9% strikeout rate on the season, while also sporting a groundball rate over 50%. Houston is in the bottom five of most categories against lefties so far on the young season and really the only guy in their lineup hitting lefties well is Jose Altuve. Kazmir struck out eight Astros in an earlier meeting this year and offers massive strikeout upside once again in this one.
-Jordan Zimmerman has not looked like himself yet, but his depressed price on DraftKings is creating some major buzz. The problem is his strikeout rate is at a paltry 10%, while his groundball rate is just 35%, creating an awful combo, especially when you add his 7.4% walk rate. He'll get it going soon, but I don't think I'm going to count on it tonight with a plethora of high upside pitching options out there.
-Michael Pineda has been terrible from an observation perspective so far this season, but some of his peripheral numbers suggest a quick turnaround. He has a 26.7% strikeout rate, which offers some nice upside, while he's kept his walk rate below 3%. His groundball rate is 54.7% and his total xFIP is a really impressive 2.33 on the young season. There is a lot of potential in those numbers and the only downside is the Mets lineup has been pretty imposing so far this year.
-Buster Posey is a heavily owned catcher most of the time no matter where he's playing due to the lack of great hitters at the position overall. Put him in Coors Field tonight and there's no telling how high his ownership will be. He's an elite cash game play and only limited in GPPs by his likely high ownership rate, the buzz is deserved.
-Anthony Rizzo is getting hyped by basically everyone today and there's a lot to like. He's facing a pitcher in Mike Leake who gave up a .352 wOBA to left-handed hitters last season and they will be squaring off in the hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark. Rizzo hasn't shown off the .253 ISO he had against righties last year yet, but his wOBA against them is sitting at a decent .361 on the season.
-Matt Carpenter has been red hot and is always one of my favorite cash game plays, as well as many others. That's why when he's as hot as he has been, his ownership percentage skyrockets, as he's being touted by nearly everyone at a fairly weak third base position tonight in terms of cash game options. He's nearly a must for cash games, but you can take some chances on power at the position in GPPs.
-Jose Abreu is a great GPP alternative to Rizzo tonight as he'll likely be much lower owned due to his price and lesser buzz because of it. Abreu has crushed lefties in his short career, sporting a .309 ISO against them last season and despite some struggles and small sample size this season has posted a .286 ISO in 2015.
-Jose Altuve will continue to be touted against each and every left-hander he faces thanks to his impressive splits against them. However, I'm not a huge fan tonight as he faces Scott Kazmir, more because I just don't trust the rest of the Astros lineup to get it going around him.
-Josh Donaldson had some beyond video-game type numbers against lefties last season and he'll face Drew Smyly in his first start of the year tonight. Those numbers I was talking about were a .429 wOBA and a .353 ISO versus lefties in 2014 and he currently has a .565 wOBA against them in 2015. The hype is real.
-Mike Trout is topping the list for most people tonight in the outfield, and I'm not the guy who is going to disagree as usual. There are really no standout outfielders due to matchup and therefore Trout is the logical default option, facing a lefty that isn't going to blow him away. He'll only be decently owned because of his price, so he's a great option in all formats.
-Bryce Harper is hyped up almost daily at this point due to his incomprehensibly low price on DraftKings. He makes a solid play at that price, so it's hard to argue with and the price on FanDuel isn't bad either. Harper has nice upside in basically every category and if Zimmerman isn't right yet, he'll need some run support.
-Gregory Polanco's hot start has flown under the radar a bit, but he's looked great on the young season and he's looking at one of his best matchups yet with Josh Collmenter, who basically strikes out no one. Polanco has seven extra base hits and five steals already on the season and is quickly becoming one of the top speed/power combos in the game.
-Lorenzo Cain has been hot against everyone, but he's been absolutely mashing lefties to the tune of a .517 wOBA and a .292 ISO. Couple that with Jose Quintana's dismal .445 wOBA allowed to righties this season and you have the makings of another great game from Cain.
-Travis Snider has a fantastic price on FanDuel tonight and he's been hitting in the top half of the order against right-handers on the young season. He's had an impressive .348 wOBA against them and Rick Porcello has had his struggles with lefty bats. Snider is hitting in the middle of an excellent lineup right now and he gets the major benefit of playing in Camden Yards as a lefty.