I hope everyone enjoyed the first NFL Sunday of the season yesterday, and despite Monday Night Football on tap tonight, we do have a seven-game MLB slate on our hands as well.
With the 2021 MLB regular season winding down, there are some critical games on this slate as we look to cash in with some GPP-aimed picks!
FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – September 13, 2021
P – Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS) – $8,500 vs. SEA
To me, it’s clear who the top GPP pitcher on this slate is tonight and that would be the Red Sox Eduardo Rodriguez, one of the unluckiest pitchers in baseball this season.
Sure, E-Rod brings an elevated 5.15 ERA into this one, but also a rock-solid 3.54 FIP, 3.67 xERA, 3.48 xFIP and 3.65 SIERA. He’s struck out the opposition at a quality 10.50 K/9 clip on the season while walking just 2.57 batters per nine as well, hence the quality peripherals. Home runs have been a little bit of an issue with a 1.25 HR/9 on the season, but that figure isn’t egregiously above his 1.15 career mark in that department.
Despite a 34.5% hard-hit rate that ranks in the league’s 80th percentile, his .348 BABIP against on the season is easily a career-worst figure, as is his 66.9% strand rate despite quality K-rates and a lack of hard contact.
The good news is that he’s been better on the road this season where he’s pitched to a 4.41 ERA/3.56 FIP with a 10.11 K/9, so there’s certainly upside here while his second-half 4.44 ERA/3.63 FIP is solid as well.
As for the matchup, it’s a dandy. The Mariners enter this one ranked 26th with a .299 wOBA on the season off left-handed pitching, and 27th with a 25.2% K-rate off lefties as well. Additionally, they are the worst home offense off lefties as per their .284 wOBA in such scenarios while their big 27.5% K-rate off lefties at T-Mobile Park this season ranks dead last in baseball as well.
Sign me up for this matchup all day long.
C/1B – Paul Goldschmidt (STL) – $3,600 vs. NYM
Perhaps this isn’t the most GPP-aimed stack of all time as the Cardinals should see some ownership, but the real reason it’s not a cash lineup is the fade of the Astros in Texas. Otherwise, it’s more of an optimal lineup built around St. Louis as they take on the Mets in a critical Wild-Card-themed matchup from Citi Field.
The Cardinals offense was suffering big-time earlier in the season, but they tied for sixth with a .332 wOBA in the month of August and despite a 20th-ranked .306 mark so far in September, I like their chances against Rich Hill in this one. The lefty has posted a 3.82 ERA/4.41 FIP on the season with a 1.23 HR/9, and also a 3.71 ERA/4.10 FIP as a Met in 43.2 innings.
So why target Hill? It just has more to do with how this stack handles left-handed pitching. For his part, Goldschmidt has long been superior off left-handed pitching and despite not being the same hitter he was in Arizona, he owns a .327 average, .236 ISO, .959 OPS, .405 wOBA and 158 wRC+ off lefties this season.
The news keeps getting better as well. Goldy has been even better on the road against lefties with a .246 ISO, 1.046 OPS, .440 wOBA and 180 wRC+ off lefties away from home, and after a mediocre first half (by his standards), he’s mashed for a .244 ISO, .942 OPS, .396 wOBA and 152 wRC+ so far in the season’s second half.
Add in the fact he’s 9 for 19 (.474) with a homer in his career off Hill and we should feel real good about this play tonight.
2B – Tommy Edman (STL) – $2,900 vs. NYM
Edman’s numbers aren’t going to blow you away, but he’s been an excellent table-setter for this Cardinals lineup off left-handed pitching and his power is more geared towards doubles than home runs.
I mean, Edman does have 10 homers on the season as part of a .130 ISO, but his 37 doubles on the season ties him for second-most in all of baseball alongside Marcus Semien and J.D. Martinez. While his 93 wRC+ on the season tells us his bat has been below league average by 7% overall, that’s not the case against left-handed pitching.
Edman will carry a .240 ISO, .845 OPS, .358 wOBA and 127 wRC+ off lefties into this matchup tonight. The better news? He’s crushed lefties to the tune of a monster .301 ISO with a .967 OPS, .405 wOBA and 158 wRC+ against lefties on the road. He’s actually been quite poor against lefties at home but for whatever reason, he’s crushed them on the road.
The icing on the cake here is some quality stolen-base upside. Edman has swiped 25 bases on the season which ties him for sixth in all of baseball, but Hill has also yielded nine steals in his 139 innings. Hill’s figure isn’t a massive one, but it’s certainly an elevated one for a left-hander and he has a history of allowing a lot of steals (as many as 23 in a season). Given Edman’s 25 steals alone, there’s upside here.
You have to love the cross-category upside here at an extremely reasonable cost for Edman.
3B – Nolan Arenado (STL) – $3,500 vs. NYM
Questions loomed on how Arenado’s bat would hold up in a full season outside of Coors Field for the first time in his career, but Cardinals fans have to be satisfied — at the very least — with his production in year one.
The guy was an All-Star first of all, and while playing elite defense once again at third base he’s homered 31 times as part of a .247 ISO, .338 wOBA and 114 wRC+ at the dish. His .255 average and subpar 7.1% walk rate drag down some of the wOBA and wRC+ figures, but the power is what we’re here for and that has come in spades, especially against lefties.
Arenado has long been a lefty-masher, and that’s been the case again this season with a .280 average, .290 ISO, .891 OPS, .370 wOBA and 135 2RC+ off lefties this season. The overall production ticks down only a little bit on the road off lefties, but the power trends up to a .315 ISO alongside an .886 OPS, .363 wOBA and 130 wRC+ outside of Busch Stadium versus left-handed pitching.
We also have a guy swinging a nice bat at the moment. After going 0 for 11 with a walk in a three-game span, Arenado is 3 for 7 with two homers, a triple, three runs and five RBI over his last two games. He’s also gone 3 for 8 with a homer in his career of Hill.
Add it up and there’s zero chance I’m leaving Arenado out of any Cards stack tonight.
SS – Nick Ahmed (ARI) – $2,500 vs. LAD
Ahmed certainly carries some risk but he’s most definitely a GPP option tonight as he takes on the Dodgers and left-hander Clayton Kershaw tonight in L.A.
Now, Kershaw is returning from the 60-day IL for his one, and he’s likely to be limited to around 60 pitches in this one after throwing less than 50 in a three-inning rehab start. So, we’ll have to proceed with caution is rostering lefty-mashers such as Ahmed, but given his spot atop the lineup he’s probably going to see Kershaw twice at least in this one, so I’ll take my chances.
Ahmed has been quite poor off righties this season, but has brought his lumber to the table once again off lefties with a strong .212 ISO off southpaws to go along with a .790 OPS, .333 wOBA and 107 wRC+. Now, the numbers are well up at home off lefties, but Ahmed still brings pop against them on the road with a .183 ISO.
Despite having just five homers on the season (three off a lefty), he’s actually collected 29 doubles (14 off a lefty) and three triples, all of which have come off a lefty.
He’s just 6 for 31 (.194) in his career off Kershaw, but he has got to him for three doubles in that time. If we’re truly looking to get near or at the top of GPPs, we’re going to need to differentiate somewhere and Ahmed is a reasonable choice in doing so.
OF – Tyler O’Neil (STL) – $3,200 vs. NYM
Completing my four-man Cardinals stack is O’Neil, the fourth and final member of this group that has mashed left-handed pitching this season.
For the season, O’Neil has clubbed 25 home runs as part of a .244 ISO, .367 wOBA and 133 wRC+. Strikeouts continue to be an issue at 31.9% of his plate appearances, but the guy has been fantastic when making contact, posting a .364 BABIP on the heels of a massive 53.8% hard-hit rate and 17.4% barrel rate, numbers that rank in the league’s 96th percentile in both departments.
His work off lefties has been tremendous. He’s hit .304 with an eye-popping .319 ISO, 1.033 OPS, .430 wOBA and 174 wRC+ on the season. He’s also the fourth member of this stack to rake righties on the road as per his surreal .429 ISO alongside a 1.080 OPS, .436 wOBA and 178 wRC+. In layman’s terms, O’Neil has hit .283 (10 for 35) with four homers and three doubles off lefties on the road this season. Not a huge sample, but a powerful one to put it lightly.
There’s also the fact that he’s stolen 11 bases and ranks in the league’s 98th percentile in terms of sprint speed. We’ll note that he spent time on the IL and has appeared in 118 games on the season, so his home run and stolen-base numbers would certainly be well up there if he hadn’t missed time.
He’s homered twice and doubled twice over his last six games, so let’s look for the power to continue in this one tonight.
OF – Ketel Marte (ARI) – $3,500 vs. LAD
Marte does his best work at home, but we’ll take a roll of the dice on his road production tonight as he’s been a beast off left-handed pitching for quite some time and should hit right behind Ahmed at second in the D-backs’ lineup tonight.
For the season, Marte has mashed lefties for a .388 average, .341 ISO, 1.170 OPS, .481 wOBA and 203 wRC+. In other words, he’s been 103% better than league average off left-handed pitching this season. While the numbers are downright silly at home off lefties, he’s also mashed them for a .283 ISO, 1.023 OPS, .424 wOBA and 166 wRC+ on the road, nothing to sneeze at to be sure.
This is not new. Even during a down shortened 2020 season, he hit lefties for a .423 average, .231 ISO and 1.098 OPS after posting a .333 average, .297 ISO and .998 OPS off them during his MVP-caliber 2019 season.
He’s 5 for 23 (.217) in his career off Kershaw, but has a homer and a triple to his credit in that time as well. He also homered last night to get out of a cold streak, so let’s look for a hot one to continue in this one tonight.
OF – Kyle Schwarber (BOS) – $3,600 vs. SEA
While I have nothing against the Mariners’ Logan Gilbert, I had a ton of salary to work with here and I’m simply going to get a couple of righty-mashers into this lineup from the Sox tonight.
After all, Gilbert does own a little bit of an elevated 1.32 HR/9 on the season and has actually allowed nine homers over his last eight starts, good for a 2.12 HR/9 in that time. So, let’s play some long ball with a couple of left-handed hitters that know how to do so against right-handed pitching.
For his part, all Schwarber has done this season is mash 29 homers despite playing in just 98 games. He’s posted a .286 ISO with a .383 wOBA and 140 wRC+, a good sign for the free-agent-to-be that he should get paid after what has easily been a career-year.
I mean, this isn’t the first time Schwarber has destroyed right-handed pitching, but his monster .355 ISO off of them can help a lot of clubs while he’s also posted a .969 OPS, .402 wOBA and 152 wRC+ off righties as well.
Now, the numbers haven’t been quite so good since joining the Red Sox with a .198 ISO overall with four homers and six doubles across 92 at-bats with his new club, but he’s still hitting .283 with an .899 OPS for Boston, so it’s not as if he’s not producing.
He’s in a bit of a rut at the moment, but with the way Gilbert has been yielding the long ball of late I’ll take his raw power any day of the week in this matchup.
UTIL – Rafael Devers (BOS) – $4,000 vs. SEA
Completing this lineup and Red Sox mini-stack is Devers who has absolutely taken it to right-handed pitching this season, as per usual.
A name that will remain in the AL MVP conversation for many years to come, Devers has mashed 33 homers on the season to go along with a .260 ISO, .369 wOBA and 132 wRC+, numbers that are just below his career year (so far) from 2019.
That said, the work against righties is all I care about and Devers has posted an unreal .328 ISO, .947 OPS, .388 wOBA and 144 wRC+ off lefties this season. The power actually ticks up on the road against righties where he’s mashed for a .348 ISO to go along with a .934 OPS, .383 wOBA and 141 wRC+.
Now, he too has scuffled of late with just one hit over his last three games and zero extra-base hits over his last six starts. That’s probably the good news as you simply don’t keep a guy like Devers down for long, and keep in mind Gilbert owns a 6.75 ERA in the season’s second half where home runs have been the foremost of issues.
Add it up and I’m comfortable with the Schwarber/Devers mini-stack despite the struggles over the last few games.