Daily fantasy baseball: Bryce Harper, David Ortiz among best Friday picks
For the first time this season, we have a full 15-game slate all taking place at night, giving us plenty of time to get DFS lineups set. The aces leave a bit to be desired, and bandboxes in Colorado, Toronto and Cincinnati are all hosting games. It might not be a bad night to load up on offense.
Starting pitcher: Matt Moore ($7,900) @ New York Yankees and Aaron Sanchez ($7,200) vs. Oakland
We’re eschewing the likes of Felix Hernandez, Matt Harvey and Jon Lester to go with a pair of affordable starters with high ceilings on Friday. Moore is healthy and dealing, helping give the Rays one of the deepest rotations in baseball. In three starts this season, he has surrendered just six runs on 15 hits while striking out 21 in 18 1/3 innings. Remember, this guy was an All-Star in 2013 and appeared to be on track to turn into a frontline starter before Tommy John surgery derailed him in his mid-20s. Now 26, he’s picking up where he left off in 2013. The Yankees, meanwhile, have just a .290 wOBA against lefties this season.
After an up-and-down season mostly as a reliever in 2015, Sanchez earned a spot in Toronto’s rotation this spring. He has allowed three runs in three starts and fanned 20 batters in the same number of innings. He’s going to run into issues with his control every now and again, but his DFS ceiling is unlimited thanks to his strikeout ability. The A’s are 25th in wOBA this season and have a 20.4% strikeout rate, making them a willing foil for the talented young righty.
Catcher: Russell Martin ($3,300) vs. Oakland, Sonny Gray
Gray isn’t typically the sort of pitcher we want to target, but anytime you’re getting a player like Martin, a catcher with legitimate pop, for a nice price at the Rogers Centre, you have to at least consider the option. We have money to spend after saving on the mound, but we’re going to splurge on premium positions. Martin fits nicely behind the dish.
First base: David Ortiz ($4,400) @ Houston, Collin McHugh
The seemingly ageless Ortiz is up to .292/.414/.646 with three homers and eight doubles on the year. He’s always an attractive player in the second price tier of first basemen, regularly coming in cheaper than Paul Goldschmidt, Anthony Rizzo, Chris Davis and Edwin Encarnacion. McHugh has really struggled this season, allowing nine earned runs and a whopping 21 hits in 12 2/3 innings. Ortiz is a great play at the middle of a Boston stack on Friday.
Second base: Dee Gordon ($4,200) @ San Francisco, Jeff Samardzija
Gordon hasn’t quite matched his hot start from a season ago, but we’re looking at him on Friday because of his speed. Gordon has been on base 19 times and has four steals on the year, while getting caught two times. He’s basically free to run whenever he wants, and he can make life tough on Samardzija. The righty has tweaked his motion this season that has him turning his back to the plate, thus making him a bit slower to unleash a pitch. He has allowed two steals in 19 1/3 innings, which is about double the rate he surrendered them at a year ago.
Third base: Nolan Arenado ($4,600) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, Scott Kazmir
The Rockies are back home, which means you’re going to want to take a look at everyone in their series opener with the Dodgers. Arenado is a good choice regardless of ballpark or opponent, and is a must-have in any Colorado stack against Kazmir. The Blue Jays are also at home so Josh Donaldson is an understandable pivot, but he’s $200 more expensive and has a much tougher matchup with Sonny Gray. Arenado is the best play among the big four at third base (Arenado, Donaldson, Manny Machado and Kris Bryant) on Friday.
Shortstop: Corey Seager ($4,100) @ Colorado, Jon Gray
Gray is set to make his 2016 debut after a pair of rehab starts with High-A Modesto. The right-handed fireballer has yet to find any traction in the majors, and throwing him into the fire at Coors against the Dodgers seems like cruel and unusual punishment. Seager is off to a slow start this year, but he continues to hit at the top of the Dodgers lineup. If they get after Gray, he’ll likely come to the plate five times.
Outfield: Bryce Harper ($5,400) vs. Minnesota, Kyle Gibson; Mookie Betts ($4,600) @ Houston, Collin McHugh; Yasiel Puig ($4,300) @ Colorado, Jon Gray
Here’s where all those resources we’ve saved along the way have been hiding. Harper is apparently getting even better, a terrifying prospect for the rest of the majors. He hit his eighth homer of the season on Thursday, and is now slashing .321/.406/.849 on the year. Gibson doesn’t stand much of a chance. Betts is off to a relatively slow start, but he does have four homers and three steals, so he has been making the most of his success. Like Ortiz, he can take advantage of a struggling McHugh. Finally, Puig completes a mini-Dodgers stack against Gray in Colorado. Puig has always loved hitting at Coors, slugging .527 in 60 career plate appearances.