It’s another jam-packed, 15-game MLB main slate going down tonight, so let’s check into some GPP-aimed picks and see if we can get our weekend started on the right note!
FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – July 30, 2021
P – Lance Lynn (CWS) – $10,700 vs. CLE
I actually like some of the cheaper pitching options on this slate as arms such as Seattle’s Logan Gilbert and the Tigers’ Tarik Skubal are solid options, but with the way the bats played out in my stacks I had plenty of money to spend on an arm and Lynn is in a real nice matchup tonight.
I mean, if Gerrit Cole doesn’t win the Cy Young it should probably be Lynn’s to lose. The veteran right-hander enters this one sporting a 1.91 ERA on season, although you could say that his 3.15 FIP, 2.71 xERA and 3.96 xFIP spell some form of regression moving forward. Still, he’s punching out the opposition at a 9.98 K/9 clip against just 2.78 walks per nine.
He’s been particularly dominant at home where he’s authored a 1.50 ERA and slightly increased 10.09 K/9, but also with a 4.63 K/BB ratio that greatly outweighs his 2.56 mark on the road.
As for the matchup, Lynn gets the light-hitting Cleveland Indians, a club that sits in a three-way tie for 22nd with a .298 wOBA on the season against right-handed pitching. Their K-rate has ticked up this season to a 23.9% clip, but the team also sits 23rd with a .293 wOBA on the road where their strikeout clip elevates to 24.5%.
Lynn hasn’t been quite as dominant against the Indians this season, allowing five earned runs across 11 innings and two starts, both of which came at Guaranteed Rate Field in back-to-back starts that bookended a short trip to the IL in mid April into early May.
Nonetheless, I have no problem rolling with the Cy Young contender in what is still a very favorable matchup.
C/1B – Miguel Cabrera (DET) – $2,500 vs. BAL
The Tigers are a team that should see some ownership tonight in a favorable home matchup, but I’m not so sure about Cabrera. With sluggers such as Jonathan Schoop and Eric Haase at the C/1B position, Cabrera could go overlooked.
Let’s hope that’s the case as Cabrera is swinging a hot bat at the moment. As he approaches 500 career home runs, Cabrera smacked home run number 496 and 497 in last night’s win over the Orioles, not only getting him into double digits with 10 homers on the season now but the two-homer night gave him three dingers over his last three games. All three were opposite-field shots into right field, otherwise known as vintage Miguel Cabrera home runs.
In addition to the long ball, he now has a five-game hitting streak entering this one and back-to-back multi-hit games under his belt. He’s now gone 8 for 20 (.400) with three homers, a double, five runs scored and seven RBI over his last five.
As for the matchup, it’s a good one against Orioles righty Matt Harvey. Harvey enters this one sporting a 6.65 ERA on the season, and despite some improved peripherals he also owns a 6.56 ERA on the road where he’s allowed a .330 average, .845 OPS and a .364 wOBA against right-handed hitters.
Additionally, Cabrera has gone 3 for 5 with a double in his career off Harvey.
Obviously, we’re not dealing with prime Cabrera here. That said, while he’s swinging a hot stick and taking much better swings in his march towards 500 career home runs, let’s get him into this GPP lineup and look for more power output from the future Hall of Famer.
2B – Jonathan Schoop (DET) – $3,400 vs. BAL
Here’s where we’ll have to monitor the trade deadline until the 4 pm ET trade freeze as Schoop is the Tigers’ top tradable asset and certainly fits the needs of many contending clubs given how he’s hit since a slow start to the season.
Since May 15, Schoop is hitting .328 with 15 home runs, a .930 OPS, .230 ISO and 151 wRC+. He ranks 22nd in league-wide fWAR in that time with a mark of 2.3, ahead of players such as Nick Castellanos and Mookie Betts in that time.
In total, Schoop has hit 17 home runs on the season while hitting .286 with a .179 ISO and 114 wRC+ as he flirts with a career-year at the plate. The work has been superior versus left-handed pitching as he’s mashed southpaws, but at last the bat plays up at home where he’s posted a .179 ISO and .820 OPS on the season, including a .180 ISOm .776 OPS and 108 wRC+ at home against right-handed pitching.
Schoop had a 16-game hitting streak snapped on Tuesday against the Twins, but came back out last night and went 2 for 5 with a double, an RBI and a pair of runs scored.
Few players have been as good or as consistent at the plate as Schoop over the last 10-plus weeks, so let’s ensure we get him into this four-man Tigers stack tonight.
3B – Ke’Bryan Hayes (PIT) – $2,700 vs. PHI
Another GPP stack I like tonight is the Pirates as they take on Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez in this one tonight.
For his part, it’s been a tough season for Velasquez. He sports a 5.54 ERA on the season while his 5.59 FIP, 4.83 xERA, 4.93 xFIP and 4.78 SIERA aren’t exactly much to write home about either. On the road, Velasquez has struggled even more not only to a 6.17 ERA, but also a 7.30 FIP and 5.51 xFIP that don’t exactly spell poor luck on Velasquez’s part.
What we’re after here against Velasquez is home runs and stolen bases. On the road this season, Velasquez has been brutalized for a monster 2.83 HR/9 and 6.17 BB/9. There should be lots of traffic on the bases here with multi-run homers up for grabs. Secondly, Velasquez has allowed eight steals in just 79.2 innings this season, certainly an elevated number.
Enter Hayes whose sophomore season has been limited to just 49 games due to injury. He’s been league average at the plate this season as evidenced by his 100 wRC+ as he’s hit four homers and swiped two bases in 200 plate appearances. He doesn’t have a long track record of hitting for a ton of power in the minors, but he did hit five homers as part of a whopping .306 ISO in his 24-game debut last season.
What he has done in the minors is steal plenty of bases as he notched a pro career-high of 27 steals back in the 2017 at High-A ball.
Hayes has been a little better against righties this season as his .733 OPS, .324 wOBA and 103 wRC+ off righties are all superior to his work off lefties, but also note that he owns an .833 OPS and 128 wRC+ at home versus righties this season.
Like the upside here at what should be low ownership.
SS – Rodolfo Castro (PIT) – $2,900 vs. PHI
Here’s a name that should go extremely low owned which is a huge plus considering what he’s done at the plate while bursting onto the scene at the MLB level.
Just 22 years old, Castro has launched five home runs through his first 10 big-league games, good for a cool .625 ISO, .442 wOBA and 179 wRC+ here in the early going. Castro has skipped the Triple-A level entirely en route to the bigs as he hit 11 homers with six steals, a .227 ISO, .876 OPS, .372 wOBA and a 131 wRC+ across 53 games at the Double-A level this season.
He’s hitting just .208, but has a pair of two-homer games under his belt already as we await his first career MLB stolen base and this is a matchup that could allow him to notch that milestone as well.
The switch-hitting shortstop will obviously hit from the left side off Velasquez, so let’s note that Velasquez owns a 6.99 FIP and 6.12 xFIP on the road against left-handed hitters this season while allowing walks at a 6.75 clip and home runs at a 2.25 HR/9 rate.
Let’s look for him to bring his power/stolen base upside to the dish in this one tonight.
OF – Akil Baddoo (DET) – $3,600 vs. BAL
Where is the Rookie of the Year love for Akil Baddoo?
Among MLB rookies, Baddoo is tied for second with a 1.9 fWAR, sixth with a 125 wRC+ and first with 14 stolen bases while sitting comfortably in the top 10 across multiple other categories. At 22 and coming out of nowhere, the lefty-swinging Baddoo has had a tough time with left-handed pitching, but man is this matchup ripe for the cross-category youngster.
Agaisnt right-handed pitching this season, all Baddoo has done is hit .298 with a .283 ISO, .956 OPS, .401 wOBA and 156 wRC+. At home against lefties the body of work plays up to a .306 ISO, .994 OPS, .413 wOBA and 164 wRC+. Clearly, the power potential here is immense.
That said, the stolen-base upside is gargantuan. I noted Baddoo’s 14 bags on the season, but let’s also make strong note of the fact that Matt Harvey has allowed a whopping 12 steals in just 88 innings pitched. Only Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes has yielded more among starting pitchers with 13, but he’s also thrown 14 more innings than Harvey. Also, 13 of Baddoo’s 14 stolen bases have come against a right-handed pitcher while nine of the 14 have come at home where he’s at his best.
Add it up and we’ll look for the multi-category budding fantasy star to have a big night in what boils down to an elite matchup.
OF – Robbie Grossman (DET) – $3,200 vs. BAL
Just like Baddoo, Grossman brings an excellent combination of power and speed to the dish tonight. In fact, he’s enjoying a career-year in both departments.
He’s already blown past his previous career-high of 11 homers from the 2016 season with 16 so far through 100 games this season. As for the stolen-base side, Grossman twice stole nine bases from the 2014 and 2019 seasons, but had posted a career-high 12 steals this season.
Despite hitting just .229, Grossman’s 15.5% walk rate could give him the opportunity to steal second base in this one. The work is superior versus lefties for the switch-hitting veteran, but Grossman has been good at home versus righties where he’s worked to a .175 ISO, .774 OPS, .342 wOBA and 116 wRC+.
He’s also enjoying a big month and has come out of the All-Star break hot. In July, he’s posted a .247 ISO, .938 OPS, .409 wOBA and 161 wRC+. Since the break, Grossman has posted a .250 ISO, .868 OPS, .376 wOBA and 139 wRC+. He has four hits — including a homer — with three walks, four runs scored and three RBI over his last four games.
I’m really looking forward to what Baddoo and Grossman can deliver with the bat and their legs tonight.
OF – Bryan Reynolds (PIT) – $3,200 vs. PHI
One of the breakout stars of the 2021 season, Reynolds looks to be a real nice play here against the right-handed Velasquez.
As a rookie in 2019, Reynolds hit .314 with a .189 ISO, .371 wOBA and 130 wRC+. This came after he enjoyed a stellar albeit somewhat brief minor-league career, so while the results were big they weren’t entirely out of nowhere. That said, he endured a disastrous 2020 season that saw him hit just .189 with a .278 wOBA and 72 wRC+.
So, whether we call this a breakout year or a bounce back year is up to you. Whatever we call it, he’s having another big season as he’s hitting .309 with 18 homers, three stolen bases, a .213 ISO, .390 wOBA and 145 wRC+. His 3.5 fWAR is among the league leaders and with Adam Frazier moved to San Diego he’s clearly the team’s best player at this point.
The switch-hitter has had more success against lefties, but certainly his .209 ISO, 884 OPS, .380 wOBA and 139 wRC+ against righties this season is nothing to sneeze at while 14 of his 18 long balls have come at the expense of a right-handed pitcher.
There’s no way we can leave him out of a Pirates stack tonight.
UTIL – Gregory Polanco (PIT) – $2,600 vs. PHI
Completing this lineup and our four-man Pirates stack is Polanco who is hitting right-handed pitching for substantial power this season.
Obviously, his career has been a major disappointment and largely derailed by injuries, most notably a bad shoulder. He’s hitting just .202 with a .286 wOBA and 78 wRC+ this season, but has put a power/speed combination together rather nicely.
Polanco has 11 homers and 11 more stolen bases on the season. He owns a .179 ISO overall, but also a .229 ISO off right-handed pitching while struggling mightily with lefties. All 11 of his homers, both of his triples and seven of his eight doubles this season have come against a righty. The work against right-handers isn’t entirely surprising given his above-average 102 wRC+ in his career off righties.
I also love how he’s swinging it coming out of the All-Star break. Polanco owns a .290 ISO, .840 OPS, .352 wOBA and 121 wRC+ so far in the season’s second half along with three stolen bases to boot.
We’re also targeting a couple of weak bullpens in this lineup. The Tigers will face a 25th-ranked Orioles bullpen and the Pirates a 21st-ranked Phillies ‘pen. Both have been better of late, but wildly inconsistent for the season.
This lineup has a ton of home run/stolen base upside throughout, so let’s get across that cash line with authority tonight.