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 baseball standpoint. Which players can help your teams win and which ones will you want to avoid in the first couple weeks?
The Washington Nationals are the defending NL East champions and the last team in our MLB preview from that division.
Washington won a Major League-best 98 games last season, but they exited early in the playoffs after sticking to Stephen Strasburg’s innings limit and shutting him down. This offseason, they’ve added free agents Dan Haren and Rafael Soriano, resigned Adam LaRoche, and finally found their everyday center fielder in Denard Span. If things go right this season, the Nationals looks like one of the NL’s teams to beat- and this time, they should have Stephen Strasburg in the postseason rotation.
Denard Span – CF – Span is an interesting player for daily fantasy. He had a solid season after his down year in 2011. He can steal a base for you, has a little power, and won’t hurt you with strikeouts. He is also very solid vs. LHP even as a left-handed hitter. He started out well last April, hitting .330/.378/.418. He will have to adjust to the National League, but if you feel like the matchup and the price are right, he is a good play.
Adam LaRoche – 1B – LaRoche had one of his best seasons last year when he hit .271/.343/.510, and his stats were even better in April. He struck out 138 times last season, but this shouldn’t be a big concern for a power-hitting first baseman. His lefty/righty splits are almost identical, so he is going to produce regardless of the matchup. He could be a very nice cheaper alternative at 1B.
Stephen Strasburg – SP – Strasburg recovered nicely from Tommy John surgery and was named to an All-Star team. He has tons of upside for fantasy players with a K/9 ratio of 11.1. The Nats limited his innings to 160 last year, so he should be fresh and good to go. I expect his price to be really high, but sometimes you need to pay for the premium talents. Strasburg should be worth it.
Gio Gonzalez – SP – Gio is simply another solid play in a great young Washington rotation. He had a great 2012 season, with 21 wins and a 2.89 ERA that placed him 3rd in the NL Cy Young award voting. His April splits were excellent, and he struck out more than one batter per inning last year. Like Strasburg, you won’t get him for a discounted price, but you know exactly what you’re paying for.
Jordan Zimmermann – SP – The third member of the rotation and the third good play, Zimmermann is kind of an under-the-radar guy. He has excelled the last two seasons, with a combined ERA of 3.05 over that span. He doesn’t strike out as many people as Strasburg and Gonzalez, but he is one of the best No. 3 starters in the league. Depending on the price, he may represent the best value from the Nationals “Big 3.”
YOU SHOULD AVOID
Dan Haren – SP – Haren has had two subpar seasons in last three years, and even though his move to the NL might help him, I wouldn’t count on him helping your daily fantasy teams. If he can return to form, the Nats will have one of the best rotations in baseball, and daily fantasy players will have an interesting option for what should be a lower price. You should wait at least 4-5 starts until you can trust him in your lineup.
Ian Desmond – SS – Desmond had a breakout season in 2012, hitting .292/.335/.511 which was good enough for an All-Star appearance and the Silver Slugger Award, but he isn’t the player you want to target at the start of the season. He is a slow starter with April being one of his worst months over the last three years. His price should be in a higher tier, and there will likely be better options around that price range.
Danny Espinosa – 2B – Espinosa is one of the best second basemen when it comes to power numbers, but he has more ways to hurt your team than to help it. His average hasn’t reached .250 in the last two years, and last season he led the NL in strikeouts with 189. He will get his home runs, but you can’t afford to play this type of player who can kill you, especially on sites with high penalties for strikeouts like DraftKings.
PITCHER/HITTER MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Jayson Werth – RF – Players like Werth are really hard to predict. He had a great season in 2010 which helped him get the big contract; then he struggled mightily in 2011 but returned to form in the 81 games he played in 2012. Interestingly enough, he was killing LHP all last year with a slash line of .395/.471/.566 against them. His splits are so different from his 2010 and 2011 numbers, so it’s really anyone’s guess what he is going to do this coming season. Think twice before putting him into your daily lineups in April.
Ryan Zimmerman – 3B – Zimmerman could easily end up in the ”Good Plays” section, but he was off to a bad start in 2012 so that’s what we should keep an eye on. He is consistently solid against LHP, with a .321 average during last three seasons. His home/away splits are skewed to show much more success at home. Zimmerman may be a safe high pick in yearly fantasy, but daily fantasy players should watch his start. His price will likely be high, but if you want him in your lineup, the best time to do so will be at home and against left-handed starters.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this Washington Nationals MLB preview. Stay tuned for other MLB 2013 season previews, and don’t forget to check out our other articles on Daily Fantasy Radio!