Welcome to a jam-packed day of Major League Baseball!
There are 16 games on today’s MLB schedule — the A’s and Twins play a double-header — but our focus will be on the eight-game main slate as we look to bank some dough off of some cash-aimed picks and get some early-week profits under our belt!
FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – April 20, 2021
P – Chris Paddack (SD) – $6,900 vs. MIL
Leading off our lineup tonight will be Padres right-hander Chris Paddack as he enters this lineup with a quality, all-round matchup against the Milwaukee Brewers.
For their part, the Brewers have largely struggled on offense this season with high K-rates across the board. Overall, they rank 24th with a .290 wOBA on the season and are tied for 26th with an elevated 27.9% K-rate on the season. Again right-handed pitching, their wOBA sits at 26th with a mark of just .283 while their K-rate versus righties is still elevated at 26.8%.
Keep in mind this is a Brewers lineup that struggled to hit righties last season with a sky-high K-rate to boot. They added some left-handed bats to combat those issues, however they are currently without their best left-handed hitter and clear-cut best hitter in Christian Yelich who resides on the IL at the moment.
Enter Paddack who has posted a 4.15 ERA on the young season across three starts, but also owns a 2.94 FIP and 3.77 xERA. He’s certainly due to strand more base runners as his 52.6% strand rate on the season is more than 20% below his career mark while his 9.35 K/9 for his career is far more encouraging than his 6.92 mark here so far in 2021.
Add in the spacious confines of Petco Park where Paddack owns a career 3.46 ERA/3.63 FIP with a 9.53 K/9 against a 1.78 BB/9 and we should be in business here at a low cost.
C/1B – Josh Bell (WSH) – $3,000 vs. STL
While there is a Coors Field game on this slate, projected run totals of 5.4 for the Astros and 5.2 for the Brewers are more or less in line with the five projected runs from the Nationals tonight as they take on right-hander Adam Wainwright who has scuffled in two of his three starts on the season.
While his peripherals are much better than his 7.11 ERA on the young season, I believe he’s a targetable pitcher on this slate. Wainwright has long been noticeably worse on the road than at home in his career, posting a 2.87 ERA at home and a 4.01 mark on the road. That said, he’s been far worse on the road over the last couple of seasons, posting a 6.22 road ERA in the last full season from 2019 and was tagged for six runs in just 2.2 innings in his lone road start of the 2021 season at Cincinnati.
Additionally, a 10 mph wind blowing out to left field isn’t going to help his cause despite three of our four Nationals hitters swinging from the left side. That said, he’s also been noticeably worse against lefties in his career and has yielded a .360 average, .928 OPS, .413 wOBA and 50% hard contact against lefties here in 2021.
Enter Bell who is off to a rough start to his Nationals tenure, although one that started late due to MLB protocols. He’s hitting just .120 on the season with zero homers across 29 trips to the plate. That said, he also had a tiny .176 BABIP despite a big 47.1% FanGraphs hard-hit rate while Statcast has him pegged with a 52.9% hard-hit rate. That poor batted-ball fortune is going to get turned around.
The switch-hitting Bell has fared much better against righties in his career, posting a very strong .212 ISO, .839 OPS, .353 wOBA and 120 wRC+ versus righties in his career. Additionally, he’s a career .304 hitter off of Wainwright (7 for 23) with a homer, a double, an .871 OPS and .377 wOBA in this matchup. Sign me up to kick off a four-man Nationals stack.
2B – David Fletcher (LAA) – $2,900 vs. TEX
Another team projected to score five runs on this slate is the L.A. Angels who take on right-hander Jordan Lyles in this one, but also a beat up and struggling Rangers bullpen that absolutely needs to be targeted.
For his part alone, Fletcher has struggled this season. In addition to hitting just .254, he’s without a homer or a steal and his .016 ISO is brutal as he has just one extra-base hit this season in 14 games and 66 trips to the plate. That said, here’s a career .290 hitter with a solid .342 OBP for his career as well. That’s important because he’s in this lineup to get on base and score some runs and/or steal a base or two rather than hit for home-run power.
Fletcher takes on right-hander Jordan Lyles who owns a 4.70 ERA/5.57 FIP with a big 2.35 HR/9 against as well. He’s already allowed two steals in just 15.1 innings so far and has a track record of allowing steals. There’s certainly some stolen-base upside here, but I would like to see him simply get on base for the thunder behind him.
After all, he’s the leadoff hitter for a team projected to score five runs against a brutal pitching staff. In addition to Lyles’ subpar work so far, the Rangers’ bullpen ranks 28th with a 5.34 ERA and 24th with a 4.56 FIP as well. Their 1.69 HR/9 also ranks 29th and their elevated 40.7% hard-hit rate agaisnt ranks 20th, as per Statcast. It’s a group that’s already lost several key arms and one that will continue to struggle throughout the 2021 season.
Add it up and there’s value in Fletcher this evening despite his early-season struggles.
3B – Jean Segura (PHI) – $2,500 vs. SF
After getting my pitcher and main stacks into this lineup I had $2,500 left for a third baseman and Segura is my pick of the litter at or under that price tag.
After all, the guy is hitting .345 on the season with a homer, a steal and a 124 wRC+ across 62 trips to the plate. Sure, his .396 BABIP is going to come down and he’s only making hard contact on 26.5% of the balls he’s put into play, so some batting-average regression is going to be had.
That said, I’m targeting a stolen base angle in addition to whatever his bat can produce in this one. Segura only has the one steal on the season, but Giants right-hander Logan Webb enters this one having already allowed three stolen bases in just 11.1 innings of work this season. Furthermore, he allowed seven in just 54.1 frames last season and 12 across just 105.1 big-league innings for his career. That’s about a 21-steal pace in a full starter’s workload of 180 innings across a full season. A very targetable stolen-base rate to be sure.
I am aware that he doesn’t run as much as he used to. Segura stole a career-high 44 bags in the 2013 season, and at least 20 across the first six full big-league seasons of his career. He’s stolen just 13 now in 214 games since the beginning of the 2019 season.
That said, the stolen base potential remains simply from Webb’s numbers in that department and the guy is carrying a 10-game hitting streak into action with four multi-hit games in that time. He also has four doubles over his last four games, so there would appear to be notable value here with the red-hot Segura who can bring some cross-category production to the table tonight.
SS – Trea Turner (WSH) – $4,100 vs. STL
Getting back to our Nationals stack here with Turner who, of course, brings a wealth of cross-category production to the table.
It’s been a big season so far for the 27-year-old. Turner has homered four times with three steals in his 14 games, posting a .273 ISO, .388 wOBA and 141 wRC+ as well. I will note that his numbers are significantly superior versus left-handed pitching, but his career splits are identical by way of his .356 wOBA and 119 wRC+ agaisnt both lefties and righties while holding a significant power advantage versus righties with a .196 ISO mark versus a .155 mark against southpaws.
While Wainwright doesn’t give up many steals and Yadier Molina remains one of the best catchers in the game when it comes to controlling the run game, but Turner is one of the few players in the league that can steal bases off anybody.
He’s also had success against Wainwright in a small sample, going 3 for 7 (.429) with a pair doubles in his time against the veteran, posting a 1.143 OPS and .286 ISO in the process.
He’s another leadoff man from a team projected to produce some offense in this one tonight, so Turner seems like an excellent look as his red-hot season continues.
OF – Juan Soto (WSH) – $4,200 vs. STL
Of course, we’re not about to leave Soto out of any Nationals cash stacks as he continues to rake as one of the very best hitters in baseball.
From a power standpoint, he’s actually scuffling by his standards as his two homers and two doubles so far in 14 games has led to just a .160 ISO, but the good news is that his career mark sits nearly 100 points higher at .257. Need not worry folks, the Statcast metrics are absolutely unreal.
Soto ranks in the 90th percentile or better in barrel rate, hard-hit rate, average exit velocity, expected batting average, expected wOBA and expected slugging. He’s actually in the 95th percentile or better in all but one of those categories.
We’re obviously here for the power, but let’s also note his 16.4% walk rate is well above his 11.5% K-rate as he remarkably displays some of the best plate discipline in the league despite still being just 22 years of age here in the 2021 season.
He doesn’t need much of an explanation here as Soto is in an elite matchup here against the right-handed Wainwright.
OF – Kyle Schwarber (WSH) – $3,300 vs. STL
Schwarber is another National whose saw the start of his season delayed, but we’re all about the light-tower power here in an excellent matchup.
Now, Schwarber is just 5 for 23 (.217) with a homer and a double in his career against Wainwright, but man does this matchup ever add up. Wainwright has struggled mightily over the last few seasons against left-handed hitters, and we also noted he’s been struggling on the road here as well. And there’s also the fact that Schwarber mashes right-handed pitching.
The work has been better agaisnt lefties in a tiny 2021 sample, but Schwarber has crushed right-handers to the tune of a monster .272 ISO as well as an .853 OPS, .355 wOBA and 121 wRC+ — number that obliterate his work against lefties for his career on the whole.
He still owns a quality 45.8% hard-hit rate on the season despite hitting just .235 with a 78 wRC+ at the moment, but to me, this matchup is about as good as it gets when we combine the situation here with Wainwright and Schwarber’s elite power versus righties. He’s in this stack all day long for me.
OF – Mike Trout (LAA) – $4,500 vs. TEX
With the current state of that Rangers bullpen and the fact that Lyles has both scuffled and failed to get deep into games and there’s no way I’m leaving this guy out of my lineup tonight.
Trout’s start has been insane so far. He’s already homered four times, but he’s also hitting .354 with a 1.180 OPS, .487 wOBA and 225 wRC+ across 14 games and 61 trips to the plate. Like has been the trend throughout his Hall of Fame career, he’s posting reverse-splits on the season and hitting righties better than he’s hitting lefties, especially from a power standpoint.
All four of his homers and three of his four doubles on the season have come against a righty while he’s posted a .417 ISO, 1.255 OPS, .517 wOBA and 247 wRC+ on the season against right-handers. For his career, Trout owns a .293 ISO, 1.022 OPS, .426 wOBA and 177 wRC+ versus right-handed pitching, all of which are superior to his work against lefties, although he still sports Hall of Fame credentials off of lefties as well.
He doesn’t run nearly as much as he used to, but throw in some stolen-base upside given Lyles’ track record in that department.
He’s gone just 3 for 12 (.250) in his career against Lyles, but also has a homer and a double in that time, good for an .891 OPS and .333 ISO off of the righty. Plug and forget type of play here with Trout.
UTIL – Jared Walsh (LAA) – $3,600 vs. TEX
While Trout is raking and Shohei Ohtani has earned plenty of attention early this season, there isn’t a more pleasant surprise on the roster right now than Walsh who has broke out early here in 2021.
All he’s done so far is hit .341 with four homers himself, posting a massive .364 ISO, .479 wOBA and 220 wRC+. The good news here is that the lefty-swinging Walsh has pounded right-handed pitching to the tune of a .400 ISO, 1.193 OPS, .498 wOBA and 233 wRC+ on the season while he’s actually fared excellent versus lefties as well, so he’s been a matchup nightmare as well.
For his career, Lyles has yielded an .827 OPS and .356 wOBA versus left-handed bats to go along with a 1.27 HR/9 against them. While two of our three Angels are right-handed hitters, we’re not leaving Trout out of the lineup and Fletcher is a table-setter for this stack.
He’ll cool off some as the season moves along, but he has two doubles, a homer, four RBI and a pair of runs scored over his last three games, so get him while he’s hot in an elite home matchup this evening.