We have a 10-game main MLB slate going down on this Wednesday night, so let’s dive into the picks and see if we can continue to line our pockets!
FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – September 2, 2020
P – Jose Berrios (MIN) – $8,800 vs. CWS
There’s certainly a wealth of pitching options on this slate as I gave notable consideration to the likes of Max Scherzer, Walker Buehler, Triston McKenzie, Kyle Hendricks and Dinelson Lamet, however I ended up on Berrios despite a seemingly tough matchup with the White Sox.
There’s little doubt Chicago has a capable offense, however they are far better against left-handed pitching. While they have made out fine against righties with a 12th-ranked .325 wOBA against them, they also endure their fair share of strikeouts against them with a 25.6% K-rate that ranks 23rd league wide.
For his part, Berrios has worked to a 4.75 ERA on the season, but also a solid 4.37 FIP and identical xFIP while striking out 9.75 batters per nine innings. That said, he’s almost always a better option at home. This season, he owns a 3.00 ERA/3.29 FIP with a 12.00 K/9 at home compared to a 7.20 ERA/5.88 FIP with a 6.60 K/9 on the road.
Berrios was shelled in his Opening Day start against these White Sox, but that outing came in Chicago. Against the White Sox for his career, the 26-year-old has worked to a tidy 2.76 ERA in 15 career starts while posting a 3.64 career ERA at Target Field in Minnesota.
There’s some risk here to be sure, however the matchup with the White Sox at home tonight is far better than it may seem on the surface.
C/1B – Freddie Freeman (ATL) – $3,900 vs. BOS
Once again, the Boston Red Sox will send a mostly unknown starter to the mound tonight as left-hander Mike Kickham gets the ball for the first time in a big-league uniform since his two innings of work with the 2014 San Francisco Giants. In 30.1 MLB innings, Kickham has been rocked for a 10.98 ERA/6.02 FIP with a 2.67 HR/9, so it would appear there’s plenty of potential here with the Braves.
Additionally, a watered-down Red Sox bullpen enters this one ranked 27th with a 5.55 ERA on the season, so let’s go ahead and stack some Braves, beginning here with Freeman.
The all-world first baseman is hitting .314 with a .231 ISO, .416 wOBA and 161 WRC+ on the season with five homers and 22 runs knocked in on the campaign. He hasn’t displayed much power against lefties this season, but still owns a 105 wRC+ against them, but perhaps more importantly a massive 66.7% hard hit rate against southpaws as well.
While some could fade the lefty-on-lefty matchup here, I am fine with it while he will almost certainly see at least a couple at-bats against a right-handed Red Sox bullpen arm in this one.
2B – Mike Brosseau (TB) – $2,500 vs. NYY
The Rays and Yankees left-hander Jordan Montgomery get together to renew hostilities after some late-game fireworks last night, events that actually included Brosseau.
Rather than any sort of revenge angle here, he appears in this lineup solely for his lefty-bashing ways in his MLB tenure to this point.
For the season on the whole, Brosseau is hitting .319 with a big-time .277 ISO, .404 wOBA and 162 wRC+. That said, almost all of that damage has come against left-handed pitching. The 26-year-old has managed a respectable 99 wRC+ versus righties, but he’s tattooed left-handers to the tune of a .406 ISO, 1.121 OPS, .451 wOBA and 194 wRC+ on the campaign. All three of his homers and all four of his doubles have come at the expense of a lefty.
Last season, he came up from the minors and hit lefties for a .300 average, .200 ISO and .829 OPS, so we knew the power was there, and he’s solidified himself as a lefty-masher with a white-hot stretch against them here in 2020.
3B – Josh Donaldson (MIN) – $2,600 vs. CWS
I expect plenty of run support for Berrios in this one tonight as the Twins are projected to score 5.4 runs in this one against right-hander Reynaldo Lopez.
While the White Sox bullpen has been solid this season, Lopez has been touched up for a 9.00 ERA/7.02 FIP with a massive 6.75 BB?9 and 2.25 HR/9 in his eight innings of work across three starts. This comes on the heels of a 2019 season in which he posted a 5.38 ERA/5.04 FIP, so he’s clearly still struggling to find it again this time around.
Donaldson is expected to return from an IL stint stemming from a calf issue that costed him the entire month of August. He wasn’t off to a scorching start prior to the injury, but he obviously has a lengthy track record of excellence at the plate.
The owner of a career .236 ISO and 139 wRC+, Donaldson is hitting just .182 with a 69 wRC+ and one homer in his seven games this season but he did hit righties better in a small sample before hitting the shelf. His career-long splits favor left-handers, but he owns a career .219 ISO, .853 OPS, .366 wOBA and 133 wRC+ against righties as well.
Given his projected spot in the two-hole tonight, I believe Donaldson has plenty of value potential to be captured in this one.
SS – Dansby Swanson (ATL) – $3,500 vs. BOS
Tonight’s likely leadoff hitter for the Braves – a team projected to score a slate-high six runs – is Swanson who loves himself some left-handed pitching.
There’s a power/speed element to be had here as Swanson has hit five homers and swiped four bases on the season while hitting .305 with a .357 wOBA and 122 wRC+. This season, the numbers have been superior versus righties, but last season his numbers were far better against lefties with an .803 OPS, .340 wOBA and 108 wRC+ against them, all of which stood well above his figures off of righties.
Like Freeman, however, Swanson is going to see right-handed pitching in this one. He owns a .328 average, .216 ISO, .914 OPS, .388 wOBA and 142 w RC+ versus righties this season while three of his four steals have come against a righty. Statcast has Swanson’s top sprint speed in the league’s 91st percentile, so there’s speed to burn here.
At the end of the day, grabbing a power/speed combination atop a lineup that’s projected to rake is never a poor idea.
OF – Marcell Ozuna (ATL) – $3,400 vs. BOS
It’s probably fair to say that we’re getting Ozuna at a time when he’s feeling it at the plate.
He went deep not one, not twice but three times in last night’s throttling of the Red Sox, his second three-hit night over the last three times while he’s recorded at least one hit in every game since way back on August 15.
Ozuna has displayed reverse-splits tendencies at times, but the truth is I trust him regardless of a pitcher’s handedness. This season, he’s smashing left-handers to the tune of a .333 average, .630 ISO, 1.434 OPS, .550 wOBA and 250 wRC+ on the season. He’s still bashing righties for a .225 ISO, .866 OPS, .368 wOBA and 129 wRC+ on the season, so in a game where he will see both sides from the mound, the fact he’s raking both is a big plus.
I’ll simply look for Ozuna to take aim at the Green Monster again in this one tonight.
OF – Max Kepler (MIN) – $3,000 vs. CWS
Next man up in our four-man Twins stack is Kepler who should handle the leadoff duties against Lopez in this one tonight.
One of the game’s better right fielders these days, Kepler is hitting just .215 this season, but also with a .215 ISO and seven home runs to go along with an above-average 103 wRC+. His breakout was last season when he clubbed 36 home runs as part of a .267 ISO and 121 wRC+.
While the overall numbers are a little down this season, that’s not the case against righties. Kepler has mashed righties for a big-time .294 ISO, .923 OPS, .390 wOBA and 148 wRC+ this season as the lefty-swinging outfielder has struggled mightily against lefties.
He is hitting just .167 in his career against Lopez across 18 at-bats, but has also homered twice in that time while also doubling as part of his .389 ISO and .556 SLG versus the right-hander.
Additionally, Lopez’s 27 stolen bases allowed from 2018-2019 are tied for the seventh-most in baseball over that span, and combined with Kepler’s three steals this season, go ahead and give him some stolen base upside out of the valuable leadoff spot tonight.
OF – Nelson Cruz (MIN) – $4,000 vs. CWS
Don’t be using a Twins stack and not rostering the ageless Nelson Cruz.
Cruz is all the way up to 13 home runs on the season as part of a massive .352 ISO, 1.101 OPS, .450 wOBA and 189 wRC. If you’re expecting a notable drop in production, I’m not so sure that’s going to be the case as his numbers from 120 games last season – while lower – aren’t much worse than what he’s done through 36 games this season.
The numbers against lefties are absolutely off the charts as per usual, but he’s also posted a .275 ISO, .915 OPS, .384 wOBA and 144 wRC+ against righties this season and is coming off an effort last night in which he went 3 for 3 with a double, a walk and a run scored.
Cruz has also had his way with Lopez over his time against him, going 5 for 10 with a homer and two doubles, good for a .500 ISO and 1.500 OPS in that time.
Not much else to say other than he is a lock in any Twins stack these days.
UTIL – Eddie Rosario (MIN) – $2,900 vs. CWS
Completing our four-man Twins stack is Rosario who the team would really like to get going at the plate.
His numbers aren’t awful as he’s still homered seven times and stolen two bases with a .194 ISO on the season, but coming off a 32-homer season last year in which he posted a .224 ISO, Rosario needs to deliver more moving forward.
That said, the power has simply played way up against right-handed pitching. Rosario owns a big .264 ISO on the season versus righties while all seven of those long balls and three of his four doubles have come against a righty.
Like Cruz, Rosario is coming off a nice night at the plate in which he went 2 for 4, and although it was without an extra-base hit, it’s a start.
Also like Cruz and fellow teammate Kepler, Rosario has hit Lopez for power in his career, going 4 for 17 (.235) but with a homer and a double off him, good for a healthy .235 ISO versus his division rival.
I continue to like the power and stolen base upside in this matchup with Rosario at a cheaper price than we’ve seen him in a long time.