We were in the right with Woodruff as a cost-efficient cash pitcher last night, and our Dodgers stack did fine, but a miss from the Angels was costly to our lineup.
Woodruff threw six innings of one-run ball with six strikeouts against the Cubs, and was in line to win when he left the game. However, reliever Brent Suter served up an eventual game-winning, two-run homer to Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, costing our pitcher the win.
Mookie Betts and Corey Seager both homered from our Dodgers stack, and Seager added a double to his ledger. However, AJ Pollock and Will Smith didn’t do much for us as they combined for just a single, a walk and a run scored.
Our Angels stack proved most costly, however. Mike Trout and David Fletcher only delivered singles, and Justin Upton actually didn’t start due to back stiffness. Perhaps the fate of your lineup depended on what you did what an extra outfield/utility spot, but the Angels scoring just two runs hurt.
We’ll look for improved results with some more cash picks on this seven-game main slate!
FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – April 14, 2021
P – David Peterson (NYM) – $6,400 vs. PHI
Now, I don’t usually like to do this. I was deciding between Charlie Morton and Dustin May as my top pitchers of the slate, but after I got my bats into my lineup, I just had to pay down at pitcher here and go with Peterson who takes on the Phillies for the second consecutive time to start his 2021 season.
The first outing didn’t go well, however, as Peterson lasted just four innings, allowing six earned runs on seven hits and two homers, although he did strike out five. That said, there’s something to work with here.
For one, the Phillies not only rank 21st with a .312 wOBA on the season versus left-handed pitching, but they’re also striking out in a whopping 30.4% of their plate appearances against southpaws, the fifth-highest mark in the league.
Prior to making his big-league debut in the 2020 season, Peterson posted a 3.19 FIP/2.91 xFIP with a solid 9.47 K/9 clip at the Double-A level in 2019 and has posted massive ground-ball rates throughout his minor-league career. He worked to a 3.44 ERA in his 2020 rookie season, allowing more than three earned runs in a game just once in nine starts, and two runs or fewer in six of those nine starts.
What I’m looking for here is five or six quality innings and perhaps a win as the Mets’ offense is due to wake up any time now.
C/1B – Freddie Freeman (ATL) – $4,100 vs. MIA
There are two irresistible matchups on tap here on offense tonight, one of which is the Braves taking on right-handed rookie Nick Neidert and the Miami Marlins.
Neidert’s 2021 debut was fine on the surface as he allowed just one earned run across 4.1 innings of work, but he also walked five in that one. His resulting 5.22 FIP/6.84 xFIP and 5.59 xERA from that start are far less encouraging, as is the 5.05 ERA/5.02 FIP he posted at the Triple-A level in the 2019 season. He’s just 24, but he’s running into a lethal Braves lineup in this one and I believe they’ll rake him.
Therefore, we’ll begin our four-man stack with the reigning NL MVP Freddie Freeman who may not be off to the best start by way of his .179 average, but he does have four homers, seven runs, eight RBI and a stolen base in 11 games so far. Also, his BABIP is currently sitting at just .103 at the moment, less than one-third of his .340 career mark while FanGraphs has his hard-hit rate at a whopping 45.5% this season, well above his 40% career mark.
Additionally, Statcast has him in the league’s 94th percentile in xSLG, 84th in barrel rate, 88th in average exit velocity, 87th in hard-hit rate and 82nd in expected batting average. In other words, more hits are going to start falling for Freeman in addition to the massive power he possesses against right-handed pitching. Lock this guy in while the positive regression is on the horizon.
2B – Ozzie Albies (ATL) – $2,900 vs. MIA
Albies’ bat has been better against left-handed pitching for his big-league career on the whole, but last season all six of his homers came against right-handed pitching along with four of his five doubles from the shortened season. Now, you could certainly look at Jose Altuve in this spot as the Astros are my other stack, but I re-arranged my stack to add more power to the lineup than I think Altuve brings to the table at this point.
Albies has clubbed a pair of homers in the early going — one against a lefty, one against a righty — while all three of his doubles have come off a a righty so far. He’s posted a powerful .209 ISO on the season while he too had been bitten hard by poor batted-ball fortune as he owns a tiny .139 BABIP on the season. FanGraphs has him with an excellent 39.5% hard-hit rate on the season and Statcast’s mark is 42.1% while his xBA is in the league’s 72nd percentile at .296 while he’s hitting just .163 on the young season.
We also get some stolen-base upside here. He’s 29 bases between the last two full seasons and swiped another three in just 29 games last season. Freeman also has some stolen base upside and while Neidert hasn’t allowed a steal in his 12.2 big-league innings so far, we’ll need to see a bigger sample to suggest he shuts down the run game completely.
Again, let’s hop on the positive regression train with Albies tonight.
3B – Alex Bregman (HOU) – $3,800 vs. DET
Another stack that I couldn’t lay off is the Astros as they take on right-hander Michael Fulmer and the Detroit Tigers.
The Tigers have held the Astros in check across the first two games of this series, but I believe it’s a different story today. Their white-hot start on offense was unsustainable, but the Astros still rank third with a .350 wOBA on the season and their .204 ISO checks in at second in baseball behind only the Cincinnati Reds and their .229 mark.
This also marks the first start of the season for Fulmer after beginning the season in the bullpen. He failed to earn a rotation spot in spring training with a few rough outings, and is coming off a disastrous 8.78 ERA/7.98 xERA from the 2020 season following Tommy John surgery. He won’t be fully stretched out for this one either, so expect to see plenty of a Tigers bullpen that ranks dead last with a 7.07 ERA and 2.57 HR/9 on the season.
Enter Bregman who dealt with some hamstring issues in spring training, but is off to a fine start to his season with a .286 average, two homers, a .200 ISO and 129 wRC+ on the season. He also boasts an expected wOBA of .380 and a massive 50% hard-hit rate as per Statcast, so he’s swinging it well.
Let’s look for a breakout game for the third baseman as he’s slumped a bit since a hot start to his season.
SS – Carlos Correa (HOU) – $3,300 vs. DET
Here’s where I made my switch. I had Altuve at second and Atlanta’s Dansby Swanson at short, but switched those up to Albies and Correa as I believe these guys offer more home run power than the Altuve/Swanson combination while I also opened up additional salary for my utility spot.
After all, Correa has already launched three homers on the season and posted a big-time .273 ISO thanks to an additional three doubles as well. He’s also hitting .295 with a .395 wOBA and 159 wRC+, so the dude is having a season so far and at the right time as he approaches free agency.
Statcast has his hard-hit rate of 52.9% in the league’s 85th percentile at the moment while he’s also in the league’s 85th percentile in average exit velocity in addition to yet another 85th percentile in expected batting average.
He’s certainly one of the more controversial players in baseball these days, but he’s picking up where he left off from a big postseason last fall to a red-hot start to his 2021 regular season this spring.
OF – Ronald Acuna Jr. (ATL) – $4,600 vs. MIA
The most expensive player on the slate, we had to make some adjustments in order get Acuna into our lineup, but he’s an absolute must in this matchup given how the start of his 2021 season has gone.
All Acuna has done so far is slug four homers, stolen three bases, posted a massive .452 ISO thanks to five doubles and a triple, posted a ridiculous 1.371 OPS, .559 wOBA and 251 wRC+ on the young season. Sure, his .438 BABIP is not going to last, but his Statcast numbers are insane.
Acuna is currently ranking in the league’s 100th percentile in expected batting average, 98th in xwOBA, 96th in xSLG, 96th in average exit velocity, 95th in hard-hit rate and 86th in barrel rate. Oh, and he also ranks in the league’s 98th percentile in terms of sprint speed, so he’s indeed not only one of the very, very best hitters in the game but also one of the fastest.
He’s well on his way to a 40-40 season, something he came just three steals shy of in the 2019 season when he homered 41 times and stole 37 bases. In 324 career games — the exact number of two full, 162-game seasons, he’s homered 85 times and stole 64 bases. That’s about 42 homers and 32 steals per season.
He’s perhaps the best bat in baseball right now. He’s also a bat not only taking on a suspect starter, but also a Marlins bullpen that sits 20th with 4.54 ERA, but also 27th with a 5.26 FIP and 28th with a 1.82 HR/9. This Braves group should take this pitching staff tonight.
OF – Michael Brantley (HOU) – $3,800 vs. DET
Technically leading off our three-man Astros stack in this one is Brantley who has seen Fulmer the most among this Astros team and has fared quite well against him in the past.
In his career against Fulmer, Brantley has gone 5 for 12 (.417) with a homer as he’s the only current Astro to record more than six plate appearances against the right-hander. That said, Fulmer is far from being the only righty Brantley has terrorized throughout an impressive career despite a plethora of injuries.
The 33-year-old has two homers on the young season, but is also hitting .310 with a monstrous .414 ISO thanks to also collecting four doubles and a triple so far this season. He also owns a 1.079 OPS, .450 wOBA and 196 wRC+ on the season. He’s actually raked lefties in a small sample this season, but owns a career .835 OPS, .359 wOBA and 127 wRC+ against right-handed pitching. He posted a .331 average, .927 OPS and 159 wRC+ against righties last season and a .323 average, .928 OPS and 147 wRC+ against righties in the 2019 season.
He’s one of the most professional bats and all-round top hitters in the sport, and out of the two-hole against a weak pitching staff he could have himself a night in this one.
OF – Yordan Alvarez (HOU) – $3,500 vs. DET
In terms of cost and production, I believe Alvarez carries the most value for this four-man Astros stack tonight.
He’s not cheap by any means, but neither is his power. Alvarez has slugged a pair of homers in 11 games so far and posted a .217 ISO in the process. However, this is a guy that burst onto the scene in 2019, slugging 27 homers in just 87 big-league games, posting a monster .342 ISO in the process. However, keep in mind he also clubbed 23 homers at Triple-A prior to arriving, giving him 50 home runs in 143 games between Triple-A and the big leagues in the 2019 season.
That’s after posting monster ISO numbers previously in his minor-league career. The baseball world was robbed of an encore in the truncated 2020 season as Alvarez played just nine games before a pair of knee surgeries cost him the remainder of the season, but the 23-year-old certainly seems to be in fine form with a 124 wRC+ on the season so far.
The power is massive and Fulmer has dealt with home run issues of late, so let’s cap this high-ceiling Astros stack with some light-tower power.
UTIL – Travis d’Arnaud (ATL) – $2,600 vs. MIA
This final piece of my lineup re-jig is d’Arnaud who I was able to afford given my switch from Altuve/Swanson to Albies/Correa at the second base and shortstop positions. I originally had Austin Riley in this spot which would have given us a projected 1-2-6-7 stack in the lineup, but being able to afford d’Arnaud now gives us a 1-2-4-5 stack, a much better fit from a stacking perspective.
While Riley is struggling at the plate, it’s not like d’Arnaud is raking. He’s coming off a career-year that saw him hit nine homers with a .212 ISO and career-high 144 wRC+ from last season. He hasn’t been terrible in posting a . 257 average, a homer and an 89 wRC+ on the season, but he also carries an expected wOBA of .389b which is miles above his .306 actual mark. That xwOBA puts him in the league’s 73rd percentile, but he also ranks in the 94th percentile in average exit velocity and 83rd in hard-hit rate with a mark of 52.2% as per Statcast, so his underlying numbers are far better than his work on the surface so far.
One added icing on the cake here for this stack is a 10 mph breeze blowing out to left field in this one, which is Acuna and d’Arnaud’s pull field. Freeman can certainly go opposite field with his power as well, so there is major home run power to left field upside here while we’ll take the power/speed combination of Albies in this one as well.
I feel real good about these two stacks to the point where I rostered Peterson. It’s risky in cash games, but I believe the bats will more than make up for anything Peterson can’t accomplish this evening.