Welcome to another edition of the 2013 Daily Fantasy Baseball Season Preview – Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy.
With the baseball season just a couple of months away, we’ll go through the roster of every MLB team and break it down from a daily fantasy standpoint. Which players can help your team win, and which ones will you want to avoid in the first couple of weeks?
Next in our previews are the upstarts in the NL Central, the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Pirates won 79 games last year, their 20th consecutive losing season. This offseason, they’ve made a couple of changes in signing free agent pitcher Francisco Liriano and catcher Russell Martin. They also shipped closer Joel Hanrahan out to Boston and resigned Jason Grilli to be his replacement. The Pirates have some talented young players led by All-Star Andrew McCutchen, but the team has yet to take advantage of that talent and put together a winning season so far. They hope 2013 will be that year.
Andrew McCutchen – CF: McCutchen’s MVP-caliber 2012 season was good for third place in MVP-voting. He hit .327/.400/.553 and even better against left-handers at .392/.464/.677. His price will be sky high, but you can’t go wrong with a star like him.
Neil Walker – 2B: Walker is a pretty good, consistent hitter for a second baseman. He hit .280/.342/.426 last year with 14 HRs and 69 RBIs. You will want to target him against right-handed pitchers because he has much more power from the left side of the plate where he hit all 14 of his HRs vs. RHP. Walker has a very solid upside for daily fantasy lineups if he is in the middle salary tier.
A.J.Burnett – SP: Burnett was a pleasant surprise for the Pirates last season. He performed much better than during his last two seasons with the Yankees, where his 5.20 ERA over that span labeled him a bust. Last year in Pittsburgh, he posted a respectable 3.51 in 31 starts, performing especially well early on. April has been one of his best months in every season over the last three years. His strikeout numbers are above average at 8.0 K/9 last year. He can be one of the best pitching plays in April if the price is right.
YOU SHOULD AVOID
Russell Martin – C: Martin might look like a good play because of his solid power numbers (21 HR last season), but I advise you to look elsewhere. His average went down each year beginning in 2008, bottoming out at just .211/.311/.403 last season. On top of that, he leaves the hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium to pitcher-friendly PNC Park. I expect his power numbers to take a hit and thus no real value for daily fantasy.
Pedro Alvarez – 3B: Alvarez is three years removed from being one of the best prospects in baseball, but his career hasn’t started out as well as expected. He struggled in 2011 and was sent down for 40 games. While he was somewhat better last year, managing a solid 30 HRs and 85 RBIs, his average was only .244 and he struck out once every 2.92 at bats. A slow starter, Alvarez should be avoided in your daily fantasy lineups in April.
Travis Snider – RF: Snider is another great prospect who has not yet panned out. In fairness, he hasn’t had a chance to show his abilities for a full season with a career best 298 ABs in 2010. He is only 24 years old, so he still has a chance to turn his career around, but you should avoid him until he shows some progress in 2013.
Wandy Rodriguez – SP: I consider Wandy one of the most overrated pitchers in Major League Baseball at this point in his career. He pitched almost 200 innings per season over the last four years, but he had a down season in 2012 with an ERA of 3.76 and a K/9 that decreased dramatically from 7.8 in 2011 to 6.1 last season. I don’t expect his price to be low enough to make him a good play.
Francisco Liriano – SP: Liriano couldn’t keep up with his rookie season in 2006 when he was an All-Star and third in the Rookie of the Year voting. He has really struggled the last two years with a 5.23 ERA in 52 starts over that span. There is a chance that a move to the NL and a pitcher’s park in Pittsburgh could help improve his numbers, but he is not an option for daily fantasy until he proves something this season.
PITCHER/HITTER MATCHUP TO WATCH
Garrett Jones – 1B: Jones is another left-handed power hitter who has a big problem against southpaws. However, he is solid versus RHP, hitting .289/.332/.556 with 25 of his 27 HRs against them. He is a good play for daily fantasy, but you need to make sure his matchup dictates that usage.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this Pittsburgh Pirates MLB season preview. Stay tuned for other MLB 2013 season previews, and don’t forget to check out our other articles Daily Fantasy Radio!