Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks for Opening Day – April 1

Alex Avila

For our very first daily MLB lineup, we’re going with players who had a solid spring, and a few no-brainers. Putting it simply, all we have is spring training numbers to go on, so this inaugural lineup for the 2013 season will feature players who are hot, and players with track records.

Andy Dirks
August 18 2012 Detroit MI USA Detroit Tigers left fielder Andy Dirks 12 hits a single during the fifth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Comerica Park Rick Osentoski USA TODAY Sports

The Tiger in me is clear and present in this Opening Day lineup; I promise I’ll leave my homerisms at home for my subsequent entries. Alas, three Tigers appear on this lineup for reasons other than my allegiance. Indulge me.

This is very much a work in progress, and as the season progresses, we’ll have a better idea of who to play. At this point, we can only hope that spring training wasn’t a fluke for some of the players who came out of camp swinging a hot bat.

(P) Justin Verlander DET@MIN $9,800: Here’s the first of our no-brainer picks. Verlander used spring training to toy around with batters. He routinely pitched himself into hitters’ counts, just to see if he could get himself out the jam, and for the most part, he did. He is a horse, and should have a field day against a weak Twins lineup, (except for, perhaps, the M&M boys).

(C) Alex Avila DET@MIN – $2,900: While Posey is the ideal choice here, Avila has been the hotter catcher during the spring, and he matches up well against RHP Vance Worley, who’s scheduled to take the mound for the Twins.

(1B) Brandon Belt SFG@LOS – $3,200: Not in a million years would I have found myself adding Brandon Belt to any lineup, anywhere. Lo, here he is. Belt has had an astounding spring, leading all of baseball with 19 runs driven in. He went 32/78 in at-bats this spring. We’ll stay with the hot hand at first base.

(2B) Chase Utley PHI@ATL – $3,900: Utley also had a good spring, knocking in 17 runs with 5 HR.

(3B) Mike Moustakas KAN@CWS – $3,200: Moustakas fared well against Chris Sale in 2012, batting .308 against him. I expect his OBP to go up this year, and his strikeouts to go down. Consider this a litmus test for Moose.

(SS) Brandon Crawford SFG@LOS – $2,400: Crawford’s ability to flash the leather was overshadowed by his .248 BA in 2012, but he has been one of the top hitters throughout spring training, so we’ll give him a shot against Kershaw. The question is whether or not he can keep the momentum.

(OF) Brett Gardner BOS@NYY – $2,500: Gardner comes in at a decent price. It was either he or Aaron Hicks in the DET@MIN matchup, but I don’t believe Hicks will fare well against Verlander.

(OF) Andrew McCutchen CHC@PIT – $4,000: Another no-brainer. McCutchen’s not going anywhere.

(OF) Andy Dirks DET@MIN – $3,100: Another lefty on righty. Dirks is a bit of an dark horse in the outfield, this year. If he comes anywhere close to his .322 BA from 2012, he will appear in many a lineup during the first few weeks of baseball. Why just the first few weeks? His price will surely go up as his batting average does.

Total FanDuel Salary: $35,000

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Tomas Laverty
Tomas Laverty, frequent contributor to the MLB section, runs a Detroit web design company called Detroit Spaces.