Last night’s GPP-aimed FanDuel MLB DFS Picks didn’t cut it.
Our pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez did a solid, if unspectacular job in pitching six innings of one-run ball (two total runs) with six punchouts, but left the game with the score tied at two and thus earned a no-decision despite the quality start.
Our best bat was Paul Goldschmidt who homered, singled, walked, stole a base, knocked in two and scored a pair of runs himself. Tyler O’Neil also stole a base, singled twice, walked and scored a run. Otherwise, Nolan Arenado and Tommy Edman combined for about 19 FanDuel points. Not elite results, but satisfactory to be sure.
Rafael Devers homered in Seattle and Ketel Marte doubled off Clayton Kershaw in the first inning of last night’s contest in L.A., but our sub-2% owned D-backs mini stack combined for just 9.2 FanDuel points which hurt and was the ultimate dagger in not cashing.
We’ll put that night behind us and aimed for some GPP success on tonight’s 12-game main slate!
FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – September 14, 2021
P – Gerrit Cole (NYY) – $11,400 vs. BAL
If we’re going by pure strikeout upside tonight, it’s Gerrit Cole we need on the mound as he takes on the Orioles tonight in Baltimore.
Now, the Orioles do their best offensive work at home, but much of that damage comes against left-handed pitching. Off righties overall this season, the Orioles are tied with the Mariners for 24th with a .298 wOBA on the season while their 24.6% K-rate off righties is the ninth-highest in baseball. That work improves greatly to a .323 wOBA that’s tied for 11th at home against righties and the K-rate drops to 23%, but let’s just say Cole brings plenty of upside himself into this tilt.
For the season, the AL Cy Young front runner has turned in a 2.78 ERA/2.65 FIP to go along with a dynamite 12.31 K/9 against just 1.93 walks per nine as well. His resulting 6.38 K/BB is the third-best mark in all of baseball among qualified pitchers.
The work on the road is fantastic as well as he’s posted a 3.02 ERA/2.63 FIP to go along with a 12.53 K/9 and 1.62 BB/9 outside of Yankee Stadium while his road 7.73 K/BB is superior to his 5.32 mark at home.
Now, his most recent outing wasn’t exactly his best with 3.2 innings of two-run ball at home against the Blue Jays, but Cole has allowed all of one earned run over his previous starts and 19 innings with 30 strikeouts in that time. He’s made just one start against the Orioles this season, but hurled seven frames of shutout ball with 13 punchouts in his second start of the season way back on Apr. 6 at Yankee Stadium.
He owns a 1.36 ERA for his career in six starts against the Orioles with a 13.09 K/9 in 39.2 innings with a 2.41 ERA across three starts at Camden Yards with a 10.38 K/9 in 18.2 innings. Also, he’s a career 2.47 ERA pitcher across 167.1 innings with projected catcher Kyle Higashioka behind the plate with a 12.01 K/9 in that span.
This is the best pure upside pick on the slate.
C/1B – Jose Abreu (CWS) – $4,000 vs. LAA
Bear with me here as I certainly realize the White Sox are going to attract some attention given their near six-run projected total on this slate as they take on Angels left-hander Packy Naughton. We’ll see some seriously low-owned picks later in the show.
For his part, Naughton has turned in a 2.57 ERA/3.38 FIP in two starts, four appearances and 14 innings on the season at the MLB level, and he’s yet to allow a homer in that time. However, he’s striking out just 5.79 batters per nine innings and walking 4.50 per nine which adds up to a 5.20 SIERA that’s rather exposable. Add in the fact he posted a less-than-inspiring 4.76 ERA/4.39 FIP across 13 appearances (nine starts) in 56.2 innings at Triple-A this season and we have something to work with, especially with the White Sox bats we will use this evening.
Obviously, Abreu is firmly in the discussion as one of the top run-producing bats and baseball and a certified lefty-masher. All he’s done against southpaws this season is post a monster .313 ISO to go along with a .946 OPS, .397 wOBA and 156 wRC+ off southpaws. The overall production drops to a tad at home, but let’s not scoff at a .306 ISO, .886 OPS, .374 wOBA and 141 wRC+ at home versus lefties this season. After all, it’s the power we’re after and he has that in spades regardless of where he plays versus left-handed pitching.
He’s in a little bit of a rut in going hitless in each of his last two games, but it would appear he is in a nice spot to bounce back in this one tonight.
2B – Romy Gonzalez (CWS) – $2,000 vs. LAA
Here’s a White Sox bat that is going to see low ownership should he get the nod as Gonzalez is projected to appear in just his seventh career MLB game after what was a rather rapid climb through the minor leagues.
He’s split this season between Double and Triple-A, hitting 20 homers and stealing 21 bases as part of a .234 ISO, .374 wOBA and 136 wRC+ at the Double-A level in just 78 games. Move onto Triple-A and he turned in three homers, one steal, a monster .406 ISO, .472 wOBA and 193 wRC+ across just nine games and 34 trips to the plate. Despite the small Triple-A sample, the 2018 18th round pick certainly appears big-league ready.
Now, he’s hitting just .188 with one run scored and one RBI across his first 16 career MLB plate appearances. That said, he hit left-handed pitching for a .290 average and .931 OPS across his Double-A work this season, so he’s capable of hitting lefties to be sure despite an unproven MLB track record.
At the minimum price, we’ll go ahead and give the low-owned Gonzalez a shot, but follow me on Twitter @BKemp17 to ensure he’s in the starting lineup tonight.
3B – Jeff McNeil (NYM) – $2,300 vs. STL
The New York Mets have been exceedingly disappointing at the plate this season as pretty much everyone is having a down year across the board. That said, I don’t mind the matchup tonight with the Cardinals and right-hander Jake Woodford.
Woodford has been decent in posting a 4.28 ERA across four starts, 22 appearances and 48.1 innings pitched, but I’m not sold on the righty. We’ll see a good chunk of the Cardinals’ bullpen in this one as he’s maxed out at just 5.1 innings this season, but Woodford also owns a 5.o9 ERA in his four starts while his 5.00 FIP, 4.85 xERA, 4.85 xFIP and 4.61 SIERA aren’t exactly anything to write home about. He’s also allowing hard contact at a 41.9% clip that sits in the league’s 25th percentile, otherwise known as the bottom quarter of the league.
McNeil, a guy who’s hit .300 with a .354 wOBA and 125 wRC+ for his career, is hitting just .248 with a .296 wOBA and 89 wRC+ this season. He has just six homers, two steals and a .101 ISO as he’s added 17 doubles to his ledger, but we’ll note that he also missed notable time and hgas appeared in just 106 games.
The good news? Woodford has been touched up by left-handed hitters to the tune of a .333 average, .949 OPS, .390 wOBA and 1.99 HR/9 on the season. As for McNeil, he’s hitting righties far better than he has lefties — not uncommon for left-handed hitters — and all six of his homers and 16 of his 17 doubles have come off right-handed pitching. He also does his best work — by far — at home against righties where he’s posted a .179 ISO, .853 OPS, .368 wOBA and 136 wRC+ on the season.
We have a sneaky-good play here at the hot corner.
SS – Jazz Chisholm (MIA) – $3,300 vs. WSH
Personally, I’m a very big fan of Chisholm and his upside tonight as he takes on Nationals right-hander Erick Fedde tonight in D.C.
Let’s start with Fedde. He’ll carry a 5.31 ERA/4.56 FIP into this one with a 1.46 HR/9. At home against lefties, it’s a 5.43 FIP/4.81 xFIP and 1.54 HR/9, which are his worst splits of them all. Also of significant importance when it comes to Fedde vs. Chisholm is the fact Fedde has allowed a whopping 16 steals in his 117 innings, seventh-most in baseball among pitchers with at least 110 innings pitched.
Enter Chisholm who brings solid power and speed potential to the lineup while he brings additional value to the table given his spot atop the Marlins’ lineup tonight. For the season, he’s clubbed 15 homers with 21 steals as part of a .177 ISO, .317 wOBA and 103 wRC+. A subpar 6.7% walk rate and .253 average brings some of his advanced numbers down, but the power and speed remains as the ranks in the league’s 94th percentile in terms of top sprint speed.
For a left-handed hitters, his overall splits are rather even. He owns a .179 ISO against righties overall and the exact same .179 ISO both at home and on the road off righties, which I’ll gladly accept in this matchup. He’s also swiped 18 of his 21 bags off a righty, a key ingredient in this matchup.
He singled, stole a base and scored a run in last night’s contest, his third steal in five games. Let’s also note he’s stolen two bases off Fedde this season — and been caught once — in just five plate appearances against him, so let’s look for the run game to continue in this one tonight.
OF – Michael Conforto (NYM) – $2,600 vs. STL
We’ll cap our Mets exposure here with Conforto who should come in at low ownership given the down year he’s having, but the power is still there against right-handed pitching.
Conforto has spent the last few seasons setting himself up for a nice free-agent contract after the 2021 season, but his value has declined due to just 12 homers, one steal, a .150 ISO, .320 wOBA and 104 wRC+ in his 110 games. His season has been marred some by injury, but that type of production is well below career norms despite being slightly above league average on the back of a healthy 12.4% walk rate.
That said, we’re here for the work against right-handed pitching. In layman’s terms, all 12 of his dingers and 15 of his 17 doubles have come off righties as he’s struggled off lefties. However, the lefty-swinging Conforto has hit righties for well-above-average power with a .202 ISO off them to go along with a .791 OPS, .342 wOBA and 119 wRC+, so he’s been well above average off righties. The numbers are somewhat down at home, but I’m not concerning myself with that given Woodford’s work versus left-handed hitters this season.
Let’s also note that he’s been far more productive since the All-Star break. He’s posted an overall .199 ISO, .792 OPS, .341 wOBA and 118 wRC+ since the break and he carries a four-game hitting streak into this one with a pair of two-hit games in that time.
This cost-efficient mini-stack is nicely set up for success this evening.
OF – Jesus Sanchez (MIA) – $2,900 vs. WSH
I was going to go with a three-man Marlins stack with Bryan De La Cruz as well, but Fedde has been at his best versus righties at home this season and De La Cruz hasn’t hit righties for hardly any power, so I dialed up Conforto to mini-stack with McNeil and Sanchez to cap a Marlins mini-stack with Chisholm.
Agaisnt lefties at home this season, Fedde has yielded a .302 batting average, .840 OPS, .352 wOBA and 1.54 HR/9. Sanchez has also been very good for the Marlins since a mid-season promotion.
Just 23 years of age, Sanchez has slugged 10 homers with a .230 ISO, .329 wOBA and 110 wRC+ across 49 games, adding six doubles and a pair of triples in that time. He certainly earned his big-league promotion thanks to 10 homers, a monster .305 ISO, .348 average, .448 wOBA and 177 wRC+ across only 37 games at the Triple-A level.
For a lefty-swinger, his splits actually lean towards southpaw pitching. That said, I love the .226 ISO he brings to the table against righties, even if that mark slips to .164 on the road. I mean, he’s made just 62 plate appearances on the season against righties on the road, so it’s a small sample. Let’s keep in mind he hit .347 with a 1.035 OPS and seven homers in 98 at-bats off righties at Triple-A, so I’m not worried about the road split here.
When it comes to this matchup, it’s worth noting that we’re also taking on a bullpen that ranks 26th overall with a 4.85 ERA and 29th with a gross 6.07 mark since the All-Star break, so let’s keep the runs flowing once Fedde departs this one tonight.
*OF – Andrew Vaughn (CWS) was in this spot but has been placed on the IL. Twitter updates to follow.
UTIL – Yasmani Grandal (CWS) – $3,800 vs. LAA
He’ll see some ownership, but with Abreu at first, folks will have no choice but to roster Grandal in the utility spot and his ownership will decrease as a result.
Besides, he’s clobbering left-handed pitching. Despite hitting just .238, Grandal has been a beast art the plate, mashing 20 homers with a 23.5% walk rate that’s identical to his K-rate while he owns a .407 wOBA and 163 wRC+, a figure that puts him 63% above league average while hitting .238. Astonishing.
He’s a switch-hitter, but the work has been far superior versus left-handed pitching despite some fantastic numbers off righties as well. Grandal has absolutely pounded southpaws to the tune of a .346 ISO, 1.179 OPS, .485 wOBA and 215 wRC+ on the season, and a .321 ISO, 1.094 OPS, .468 wOBA and 204 wRC+ against left-handed pitching at the homer-friendly Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago.
He had a knee operation that cost him about six weeks and he’s only made 56 trips to the plate in the season’s second half, but has homered six times in that span while hitting .452 with a .500 ISO, 1.524 OPS, .600 wOBA and 293 wRC+. I think we’ll take that.
We have enough low-owned GPP assets in here to use guys such as Vaughn and Abreu to give our lineup a monster foundation this evening.