Thursday, April 7, brings MLB Opening Day with a variety of slates across Yahoo, DraftKings and FanDuel. Let’s get into the top MLB DFS picks for pitchers and stacks for Yahoo, DraftKings and FanDuel daily fantasy baseball lineups. As always, you can head over to the Awesemo MLB DFS & Fantasy Baseball home page for all the fantasy basketball content you need for any given slate.
MLB DFS Picks Today: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks | Thursday, April 7
Yahoo Stack of the Day: St. Louis Cardinals vs. RHP JT Brubaker — 4.8 implied runs
Things have already thinned out, with games between the Seattle Mariners at the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees being postponed due to inclement weather. Not to fear, seamheads; there are still plenty of teams prepared to play ball!
Rolling with the Cardinals against Pittsburgh hurler JT Brubaker is not going to be a sneaky strategy by any stretch. It is important to remember that baseball is an event-based sport with plenty of variance and unexpected outcomes. Over two-thirds of the time batters will fail to get a hit, yet one poorly thrown pitch can easily turn a sterling performance from a pitcher into a disaster.
Brubaker is by no means a bad pitcher, but he is not exactly the ace that fans hope to see taking the mound for their squads on Opening Day. Over the last two seasons, the 28-year-old righty has been solid with a 4.3 xFIP, 23.3% strikeout rate and 44.4% ground ball rate while allowing a 38.1% hard-hit rate. He is of course most effective against same-handed batsmen, striking out 25.1% with a 6.4% walk rate. Lefties have more success with a 21.5% strikeout rate and 8.8% walk rate. In this timeframe across 35 appearances spanning 171.2 innings, batters from both sides of the plate have compiled a .210-plus ISO, which indicates he is ceding extra-base hits at an above-average pace.
One thing working in his favor is that the Redbirds will be once again featuring a right-handed-heavy lineup. The only lefties projected to be in the starting nine are likely switch-hitters Dylan Carlson ($19) and Tommy Edman ($19). The other lefty we are likely to see somewhat frequently in the lineup will be rookie Nolan Gorman, who could see time at second and third base. It remains to be seen if he will be in the lineup card on Thursday afternoon.
The designated hitter is now being employed in both leagues, which allows for Albert Pujols ($11) to come back to where his storied career all started as he looks to tack on a few more home runs before hanging up the cleats. While he is not likely to be an everyday fixture, it is hard to see him not starting on Opening Day. Depending on his slot in the batting order, he is in the mix as a discount dandy, though the opportunity cost will be giving up all of the other excellent options at first base.
In addition to the lefties, Paul Goldschmidt ($24), Nolan Arenado ($20), Tyler O’Neill ($21) and Paul DeJong ($13) are the core four to target. Looking to the players in the bottom third of the lineup will allow for a St. Louis stack with less popularity than the top half of the order and provide differentiation in the large-field tournaments.
San Diego Padres at LHP Madison Bumgarner — 5.1 implied runs
The other big wrinkle this season in addition to the universal designated hitter is that every venue in the league will be employing a humidor this season. While everyone knows that Colorado and Arizona have had them for some time, most fans are not aware that over the last couple of seasons half a dozen other stadiums also have used this method to help normalized the effect of humidity impacting baseballs. Some of the locations were known, a couple other were kept under wraps. Though the full impact is yet to be determined, at least we know how things play out in Chase Field. For the first three games of this homestand, the roof will be open so fans can enjoy the 90 degree spring weather.
Contrary to popular belief, Madison Bumgarner is not actually older than dirt. In fact, MadBum is going to turn 33 in August, which means he is younger than Jacob deGrom, Stephen Strasburg, Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish and Kyle Gibson, while being only one year older than Gerrit Cole. Bumgarner was solid in Spring Training with a 4.09 ERA across 11.0 innings, but that of course was against inferior competition than what he will face tonight. If he can keep the bases clean, Bumgarner likely will be good able to go four innings and potentially work his way into the fifth. However, he no longer has the strikeout stuff to work out of jams, and at this point his best path to any semblance of success will be to become an innings eater who can at least keep his team in ballgames.
Keep in mind that Fernando Tatis Jr. is going to miss the first couple months of the season as he recovers from a fractured wrist. Regulars Adam Frazier and Tommy Pham are no longer with the Padres, though Luke Voit will be stepping in to fill the power void after leading the league in home runs during the brief pandemic season. Take advantage with Voit when he has the platoon advantage against southpaws, but just know his track record is that of a barely above-league-average power source.
Manny Machado and Wil Myers are both outstanding options against Bumgarner, and by skipping Voit in stacks, differentiation can be achieved on the late slate. Trent Grisham has had success against fellow lefties, and he is a strong option at the top of the order. Eric Hosmer also can hold his own in same-handed matchups, and if Austin Nola is behind the dish as expected, he can knock out the pesky catcher requirement on DraftKings and Yahoo.
Top MLB DFS Picks Target: RHP Shane Bieber at Kansas City Royals — 3.9 implied runs
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $48 | FanDuel $10,400 | DraftKings $8,300
Shane Bieber will be making the first start for Cleveland while in a Guardians uniform. The 26-year-old was solid as a rookie in 2018 before taking things up three notches in his sophomore campaign. Last year a shoulder injury limited the electric righty to just 96.2 innings, though he threw just 4.2 innings this spring with a 13.50 ERA across two appearances. The first was early on and he was knocked around while recording only four outs. The second start on April 2 was far better, and he logged half a dozen strikeouts in 3.1 innings where the wheels came off in the fourth inning. When healthy, Bieber regularly throws 100 to 105 pitches in his starts, though 80 to 85 is a more realistic expectation on Thursday.
Secondary MLB DFS Picks Target: RHP Adam Wainwright vs. Pittsburgh Pirates — 3.4 implied runs
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $38 | FanDuel $8,000 | DraftKings $7,500
Last year during his age-40 season, Adam Wainwright completed 206.1 innings, which was the third most in the league, while finishing with 17 wins, which ranked second. While the strikeouts are average on his best days, he still has a top-notch curveball and is a master at inducing weak ground balls to work his way out of trouble. This offseason, Pittsburgh continued to trade anything of value, and aside from Ke’Bryan Hayes and Bryan Reynolds, the regular lineup will be featuring a bunch of unproven youngsters or veterans who are hanging on for one last moment in The Show. This early in the season a quality start is likely off the table, but there is a decent chance that Wainwright could complete the fifth inning with a little luck and be in line for a win if his teammates can put some early runs on the board.
Final MLB DFS Thoughts for the Thursday, April 7 Fantasy Baseball Slate
The games in Arizona and Anaheim are looking at sunny weather in the upper-80s at first pitch, while it is cold in the rest of the Opening Day locations. Kansas City and St. Louis are looking at temperatures in the upper-40s, albeit with a brisk breeze in the 17 to 20 mph range. Washington is the only game with any significant precipitation risk, though it does lessen in the evening hours.
MLB Data Central
📽️ MLB Daily Fantasy Baseball: Live Before Lock for DraftKings and FanDuel | 5/25
MLB DFS Tournament Picks & Home Runs 5/25
MLB DFS Cheat Sheet: DraftKings Fantasy Baseball Picks Today 5/25/22
MLB DFS Cheat Sheet: FanDuel Fantasy Baseball Picks Today 5/25/22
MLB DFS Picks Wednesday 5/25: Spotlight Pitchers & Top Stacks Today
MLB DFS Ownership Projections: Express Slates
MLB DFS Early Slate Ownership Projections