MLB DFS action on Thursday, April 1, aka Major League Baseball Opening Day starts at 1:05 p.m. ET with giant contests on Yahoo, DraftKings and FanDuel. Before locking in lineups, make sure to check out Awesemo’s daily fantasy baseball top stacks, picks, rankings and projections. Let’s dig into some MLB DFS and daily fantasy baseball stacks including the Padres, Red Sox and more.
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Also, Yahoo is offering a massive $40K MLB Baller contest with a $5K Vegas Getaway bonus to first for Opening Day. With a $15 entry fee and only 3,000 entries to compete with, it’s the best bang for your buck across the daily fantasy industry on Thursday. Enter here now for your chance to win!
MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Hitters and Stacks, Thursday, April 1st
Yahoo Play of the Day — San Diego Padres vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner – 5.2 implied runs
Opening Day generally brings us the best pitcher taking the mound for each team. However, not all aces are created equal. Madison Bumgarner has been an excellent pitcher through much of his career, but this is his age-32 season and he has been in decline from his days as a fireballer. While the results of last season can be taken with a grain of salt given the start/stop and abbreviated schedule due to the pandemic, the numbers reaching back two-plus seasons are a little worrisome.
Over his last 1,252 lefty/righty matchups, Bumgarner has ceded 1.55 HR/9 with a 44.9% hard hit rate and a .200 ISO. The matchup against the Padres this season is going to be a daunting one, particularly for southpaws. Over the last 18 months of baseball, Fernando Tatis Jr. (.203 ISO), Manny Machado (.246 ISO), Tommy Pham (.200 ISO) and Wil Myers (.314 ISO) have all found great success against opposite-handed pitchers. It is going to be another perfect day in San Diego with a first pitch temperature in the upper-70s. This is one of the better hitting environments today and San Diego batsmen are not going to break the bank, particularly on Yahoo.
Boston Red Sox vs. LHP John Means – 5.4 implied runs
It is going to be a long season for Baltimore fans, as they have to watch their pitching staff play home games in the cozy confines of Camden Yard, and then the majority of their road games will be against the impressive offenses assembled by the rest of the American League East in hitting-friendly venues.
John Means has been a bright spot for the Orioles, however, categorized as a crafty lefty with a nice changeup. It should be no surprise that he struggles against opposite-handed hitters, having allowed a 1.80 HR/9 rate in his last 626 lefty/righty matchups, with a .200 ISO. Thus far he generally has done a decent job of limiting the damage by operating with the bases clean. However, his career 5.55 xFIP against righties does indicate he has been lucky in this regard compared to his 4.50 ERA.
Boston has revamped their lineup, and they will be formidable against left-handed hurlers this season. Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez are phenomenal hitters who excel particularly well against lefties. They will be joined this year by Enrique Hernandez, who will likely leadoff against southpaws, and Hunter Renfroe will hit after the big boppers most days when a lefty is on the bump. Hernandez and Renfroe are both well known by daily fantasy baseball gamers for their sustained success in righty/lefty matchups. If you are looking for some differentiation to this core four, Christian Vasquez and Bobby Dalbec will likely be overlooked batting at the bottom of the order. They can be utilized as part of a wraparound stack with Hernandez, Martinez and Bogaerts.
Late Slate Stack
Seattle Mariners vs. RHP Kevin Gausman – 4.0 implied runs
There are some large late-slate contests for Opening Day. Looking at the six pitchers to target, none appear to have any major deficiencies. The Mariners do not have many household names on their roster, which in turn will lead a lot of gamers to feel safe rolling with Kevin Gausman.
Getting out of the AL East was a key move for Gausman, who has been among the league leaders in home runs allowed over the last few seasons. While his performance in Atlanta was improved, it was still uneven. After moving to the Reds midway through the 2019 season and then pitching for the Giants last year, there is a clearer picture of Gausman’s talent. In these 82.0 innings he posted a 3.73 ERA and a 1.134 WHIP with 11.9 K/9 and just 11 home runs allowed.
It is going to be a cool night in Seattle with a first pitch temperature in the low-50,s and T-Mobile Park is one of the venues that now has a humidor to help moderate the effect of pitching next to Puget Sound, along with the general rainy weather in Seattle. It will be interesting to see how this all bears out, but understand that the humidors were employed in Colorado and Arizona in an effort to keep the baseballs from drying out, which allowed them to fly farther. The initial thought is that in Seattle this may help the balls from getting heavy, though it is unclear what actual settings are being used by MLB.
In spring training Gausman made three appearances, pitching eight innings, striking out seven and allowing seven total runs and two home runs. Since he is a veteran pitcher, there is not much to take away from this. Seattle is welcoming Mitch Haniger back after he missed all of last season and most of 2019 with an injury. He was an All-Star for the Mariners all the way back in 2018 and collected enough votes to finish 11th in the AL MVP race that season. Haniger should be leading off, and he is a fine option on all slates today.
Gamers will be familiar with Kyle Seager, who will be playing in his 11th season for the Mariners. Though he is not particularly flashy, he does have some pop in his bat, especially against opposite-handed hurlers. Taylor Trammell is one of the top prospects for Seattle, and while he will likely be batting at the bottom of the order, he provides some nice salary relief where he is available in the player pool. Dylan Moore, J.P. Crawford and Evan White are the other Seattle batsmen with a little pop, and they can be sprinkled in for differentiation.
Final Thoughts for the Opening Day MLB DFS Slate
After just having three months of Summer/Late-Fall MLB DFS action last year, remember that the cooler weather of early spring is going to suppress run totals. It is also important to note that the National League will not have the designated hitter slot like last year and pitchers will have to take their turn at the plate. Finally, keep in mind that salaries and scoring formats differ across the various fantasy sites, and a home run play on Yahoo may be a below-average MLB DFS pick on DraftKings or FanDuel.
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