We have an eight-game main MLB slate going on this Wednesday evening, so let’s dive into some GPP picks and see where the money will be made!
FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – July 21, 2021
P – Adam Wainwright (STL) – $8,800 vs. CHC
The likes of Robbie Ray and Lance McCullers Jr. headline this slate, but we’ll slide down to veteran right-hander Adam Wainwright as he gets a fine home matchup tonight with the NL Central rival Chicago Cubs.
For their part, the Cubs have disappointed at the plate this season. They’ll enter this one ranked 21st with a .305 wOBA on the season, but the good news for a GPP tonight is the fact that their 26.4% K-rate on the season is the third-highest mark in baseball. Against right-handed pitching, it gets even worse to a 23rd-ranked .298 wOBA while that K-rate increases ever so slightly to 26.7%, good for the worst mark in the big leagues.
Finally, the Cubs are also one of the worst offenses in baseball on the road where they are tied for 24th with a .289 wOBA on the season while the strikeout rate rises once again to 27.1%, once again sitting as the third-highest mark in baseball. To me, this stat is particularly key against a guy like Wainwright.
At 39, Wainwright is having a real nice season as he’s turned in a 3.71 ERA/4.07 FIP to go along with a solid 8.54 K/9 clip. Obviously, the strikeouts aren’t enormous and never have been for the career-long Cardinal, but clearly the Cubs help raise that strikeout upside.
For me, however, it’s the home/road splits. On the road, Wainwright owns a 5.35 ERA, but that number shrinks all the way to a 2.84 ERA at home where he’s yielded just a .264 wOBA while walking just 1.97 batters per nine innings. He’s long been better at home and that’s been the case again this season.
HE’s run into some trouble against a quality Giants offense over his last two starts, but I am loving the value upside we’re getting in a favorable home matchup tonight.
C/1B – Brad Miller (PHI) – $2,400 vs. NYY
We’ll go with a couple of main stacks in this lineup tonight to go along with a high-ceiling one-off in the utility spot, and we’ll begin a three-man Phillies stack here with Miller as they take on the Yankees and right-hander Asher Wojciechowski tonight.
This marks Wojciechowski’s first MLB start of the season, but his body of work at this level has not been good. Across 198 big-league innings in parts of four seasons, Wojciechowski owns a 5.95 ERA/5.42 FIP to go along with a rather large 2.00 HR/9 clip. He’s made three starts and four appearances at the Triple-A level this season and has been touched up for a 5.68 ERA in that sample. He pitched the 2020 season with the Orioles and turned in an ugly 6.81 ERA/6.68 FIP and 2.68 HR/9 in 37 innings.
Enter Miller who does his best work against righties. While Wojciechowski has yielded a .952 OPS, .394 wOBA, 6.02 FIP, 5.68 xFIP and 2.19 HR/9 in his career against left-handed hitters, Miller has hit right-handed pitching for a .207 ISO, .828 OPS, .356 wOBA and 122 wRC+ this season. He also owns a .202 ISO, .775 OPS, .333 wOBA and 112 wRC+ off righties for his career as he’s made his MLB living off of hitting right-handed pitching for notable power.
Of course, Yankee Stadium is a left-handed hitter’s dream given the short porch in right field. Not that it’s a large sample, but Wojciechowski has allowed two home runs in just 2.2 career innings at this venue, so let’s look for some Phillies lefties to tee off in this one.
2B – Jonathan Schoop (DET) – $3,400 vs. TEX
The Tigers are rolling with five straight wins coming out of the All-Star break and get a fantastic shot at a sixth in this one tonight as they take on Rangers right-hander Jordan Lyles.
Lyles’ struggles this season have been of the season-long variety as he’s been touched up all year long. He’ll enter this one sporting a 5.20 ERA/5.40 FIP to go along with a 5.58 xERA, 5.00 xFIP and 4.89 SIERA. He’s once again dealing with home run issues in the form of a 1.88 HR/9, which isn’t a big surprise considering his 42.2% hard-hit rate against, 8.6% barrel rate against and 41.1% fly-ball rate to boot.
Schoop has been one of the best hitters in baseball dating all the way back to May as he continues to deliver for this Tigers team. After a dismal April into early May, Schoop has raked ever since and enters this one sporting a .288 average and 17 homers as part of a .187 ISO, .343 wOBA and 117 wRC+ at the dish. Since May 11, however, Schoop has hit .336 with 15 homers, a .243 ISO, .957 OPS, .404 wOBA and 158 wRC+. That’s a 270 plate-appearance sample, so dude has been on fire while he’s also rattled off five multi-hit games over his last six as part of a 10-game hitting streak.
The work has been superior versus lefties, but he’s hitting everything right now. For the season, he owns a .274 average, .158 ISO, .748 OPS, .322 wOBA and 102 wRC+ off righties, but also a .185 ISO, .807 OPS, .344 wOBA and 117 wRC+ against righties at Comerica Park in Detroit this season.
Add it up and Schoop should be in for yet another productive night tonight.
3B – Jeimer Candelario (DET) – $2,700 vs. TEX
Next man up in what will amount to a four-man Tigers stack is Candelario who has fared much better at the plate of late himself.
Candelario hasn’t brought much home-run power to the table this season with just six long balls, but he has laced 22 doubles despite an underwhelming .125 ISO. Nonetheless, he’s also hitting .268 with a .330 wOBA and 108 wRC+, so the bat has indeed been above league average in terms of overall production.
Like Schoop, the production has been superior versus left-handed pitching for the switch-hitting Candelario, but given his 101 wRC+ against righties he’s been a hair above league average off righties. That said, it’s his work at the plate of late that I am liking most here.
In the month of July, Candelario has raked for a .226 ISO, .941 OPS, .401 wOBA and 156 wRC+ coming ofd a dismal month of June. Over his last three, Candelario has gone 5 for 11 with two doubles, a homer, two runs scored and four RBI. He’s homered twice and doubled six times so far across 15 games in the month of July.
Out of the projected five-hole, Candelario will technically act as the cleanup hitter for this four-man stack, so a big night for him could mean a big night for this Tigers stack.
SS – Did Gregorius (PHI) – $2,700 vs. NYY
As a left-handed-hitting former Yankee, Gregorius spent his best offensive seasons in the Bronx and consistently put the ball into the seats in right field as a dead-pull hitter throughout his entire Major League career.
He’s not exactly enjoying his best season here in 2021 as he’s hitting just .214 with eight homers, a .179 ISO, .282 wOBA and 75 wRC+. His .252 xwOBA certainly supports his rather weak work at the plate to this point in the season. However, as noted, it’s his left-handed bat we’re after here.
From 2016-2018, Gregorius posted three consecutive 20-homer seasons with the Yankees, maxing out at 27 homers in the 2018 campaign. He played in just 82 games with the team in 2019 as he missed the first half, but launched 16 homers in that time, a 30-homer pace in a full season. He’s still hit 18 homers in 106 games with the Phillies over the last two seasons, but let’s look at the splits.
Against right-handed pitching this season, Gregorius has still produced a very strong .205 ISO. Seven of his eight homers have come to the pull field and the other homer was to center. When he pulls the ball, he’s posted a monster .407 ISO, 1.045 mOPS, .431 wOBA and 171 wRC+. That most definitely bodes well for this matchup at Yankee Stadium.
Finally, it’s not a big sample at all, but he’s also 1 for 3 with a homer in his career off Wojciechowski. Bottom line: we have a left-handed, dead-pull hitter hitting in one of the most friendly MLB venues for left-handed bats facing off against a pitcher that allows plenty of home run to left-handed bats. Love this matchup.
OF – Bryce Harper (PHI) – $3,900 vs. NYY
Completing this three-man Phillies stack is Harper who could have a field day himself a left-handed hitter.
It’s been yet another big season for the 2015 NL MVP. Harper enters this one hitting .286 with 15 homers, a .233 ISO, .903 OPS, .384 wOBA and 141 wRC+. It does not appear to be a fluke either as he owns a .400 xwOBA that ranks in the league’s 97th percentile while he also ranks in the 96th percentile in xBA, 95th in xSLG and 94th in barrel rate, as per Baseball Savant’s Statcast data.
He’s able to handle himself against left-handed pitching as well, but Harper is mashing righties to the tune of a .297 average, .291 ISO, .972 OPS, .405 wOBA and 154 wRC+ on the season. More good news is that he’s posted a eye-popping .581 ISO, 1.467 OPS, .605 wOBA and 284 wRC+ this season when pulling the ball, so man does that short porch in right look awfully appetizing here.
He’s coming off a two-hit effort in last night’s contest and rides a four-game hitting streak into this one with a pair of doubles in that time, although we’ll certainly be looking for his first homer since July 6 in this one tonight.
OF – Akil Baddoo (DET) – $3,100 vs. TEX
For some reason, Baddoo isn’t getting much AL Rookie of the Year love on a national basis despite putting up some fantastic numbers out of nowhere.
Detroit’s Rule 5 pick from the Twins, Baddoo made the leap from A-ball in 2019 to the big leagues in 2021. He raked in Spring Training while displaying a power/speed combo that looked awfully dynamic, but it was likely he would regress given his lack of work in the upper minors.
Well, hold that thought. Baddoo will enter this one hitting .273 with seven home runs, 14 stolen bases, a .198 ISO, an .821 OPS, .352 wOBA and 122 wRC+. He does have some home-run pop, but uses the vast outfield in Comerica Park to his advantage given his speed as he’s not only logged 14 doubles but also five triples that ties him for the second-most in baseball among players with at least 250 plate appearances under his belt.
As a left-handed hitter, he’s absolutely mashing righties to the tune of a .302 average, .251 ISO, .932 OPS, .394 wOBA and 151 wRC+. I noted his speed works to his advantage in this spacious venue, and we’ll also note that he’s clobbering righties for a massive .300 ISO, 1.024 OPS, .426 wOBA and 173 wRC+ at home this season.
He slumped a little earlier in July, but has logged three multi-hit games over his last five with two homers and a double in that time.
Now, the stolen base upside here is significant. He’s logged those 14 steals this season and 13 have come off a righty. He’ll look to make that 15 or more tonight against a righty in Lyles who has yielded eight steals in 100.1 innings this season, an elevated number to be sure. If Baddoo gets on first base with no one ahead of him, I’d be surprised if he doesn’t attempt a steal here while Rangers catcher Jonah Heim is just 4 for 19 (21%) in cutting down attempted base-stealers this season.
The cross-category here is fantastic out of the leadoff spot tonight.
OF – Robbie Grossman (DET) – $3,200 vs. TEX
Completing this four-man Tigers stack is Grossman who also brings a fantastic combination of power and speed to the group tonight.
In fact, Grossman is hitting home runs and stealing bases at rates never seen — or approached — before in his big-league career. In short, his 14 homers and 11 steals this season are both already career highs and we’re just 91 games into his season. He’s hitting just .229, but given his 15.2% walk rate and rock-solid .177 ISO, he’s also posted a .342 wOBA and 111 wRC+ at the plate this season.
Now, I will admit that the work has been far superior against lefties this season as he’s absolutely mashing them here in 2021. We’ve seen that before from him. That said, he still has nine of his 14 homers and eight of his 12 doubles against right-handed pitching while 10 of his 11 swipes have come at the expense of a righty. For what it’s worth, he hit an absolute bomb off a right-handed pitcher in last night’s 4-1 win over the Rangers., giving him four home runs over his last 10 games.
The Rangers’ bullpen was solid last night, but the Tigers destroyed that group in a 14-0 rout in game one of the series on Monday. The Rangers’ bullpen sports a 4.56 ERA that sits 20th in the big leagues while that number sits at 6.46 over the last seven days.
Baddoo and Grossman certainly bring a dynamic power/speed combination into this matchup and I’m looking forward to what they can do in a wildly favorable home matchup tonight.
UTIL – Juan Soto (WSH) – $4,400 vs. MIA
Truth be told, I had a utility spot open in this lineup and a whole bunch of money left to fill it, so GPP or not I am taking the white-hot Juan Soto who credited his scorching start to the second half of the season to his participation in the Home Run Derby.
His first half was subpar by his lofty standards (but better than the vast majority of the league), but his second half has started with a bang.
In five games coming out of the break, Soto has launched five home runs including a pair of multi-homer games. He’s also logged a pair of doubles in that time with eight runs and 12 RBI to boot. Just digest those figures for a moment. If that’s not enough, he’s posted an .850 ISO, 2.040 OPS, .785 wOBA and 398 wRC+ over his last five games.
Honestly, we don’t even know who is going to start this game tonight for the Marlins. It could be a Triple-A promotion or it could be a bullpen game. It could be anything. That said, I don’t even care.
If it’s a lefty, to be it. The lefty-swinging Soto actually owns a superior .248 ISO this season to his .187 mark to righties. Against righties, however, his .979 OPS, .418 wOBA and 161 wRC+ are far superior to his mark against southpaws.
At the end of the day, I just want his sizzling bat in this lineup, ownership be damned.