Talk about wasting a pitching performance.
Jacob deGrom hurled seven innings of two-run ball while racking up a whopping 14 strikeouts against the Rays, but once again he was the victim of little run support as he exited the game down 2-1 while that would also be the final score. His 61 FanDuel points gave us a huge floor that we simply couldn’t capitalize on.
The Marlins four-man stack got off to an excellent start as they knocked around starter Huascar Ynoa for three runs in the first inning, but that would be just about it for the Marlins offense as they fell 5-4 in that one.
The real disappointment was the Pirates as they managed just four hits and scored zero runs in a 5-0 loss to Jon Lester and the Cubs. Ke’Bryan Hayes had two of those hits, but that would be it for that three-man stack.
Finally, our one-off Dylan Moore was unable to get too involved in the Mariners’ 6-1 win over Lance McCullers and the Astros as he managed just one run scored on the night.
It stinks wasting such a great pitching performance as we will certainly look to get the sticks going on tonight’s much-bigger 11-game main slate!
FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – September 22, 2020
P – Tarik Skubal (DET) – $7,500 vs. MIN
This lineup is a mix of cash and GPP plays and can certainly be used in both formats. While Skubal has had his ups and down in his first tour through the big leagues, I believe he’s a solid play on a slate that isn’t exactly loaded with quality starting pitching options.
The matchup is also a whole lot better than it may seem on surface. While the Twins have mostly had their way with right-handed pitching this season, they’ve struggled mightily with lefties as they rank 26th with a .286 wOBA on the season with southpaws. While they don’t strike out a ton against lefties at just 20.9%, Skubal brings plenty of strikeout potential with him all by himself.
Entering this one, Skubal sports a quality 9.64 K/9 on the season, but look at his minor-league strikeout rates. At Double-A last season, he struck the opposition out at a monster 17.43 K/9 as a starting pitcher in nine starts and 42.1 innings. Throughout his minor league career he’s never had a K/9 below 10.87 and has mostly been at 12.75 K/9 or higher across his minor-league stops. He also worked to a 2.13 ERA/1.26 FIP in his Double-A work a season ago.
Of course, the big leagues is a different monster, but Skubal should be in for some positive regression from his 6.17 ERA. He also owns a 4.99 FIP, 4.75 xFIP and a quality 4.34 SIERA. He’s also allowed just 32.8% hard contact so far.
He’s already hurled six innings of one-run ball with six strikeouts against the Twins this season and is coming off six innings of two-run ball with eight strikeouts his last time out. I like the value potential here with Skubal.
C/1B – Freddie Freeman (ATL) – $4,000 vs. MIA
The cash portion of the lineup is going to be a four-man Braves stack that should absolutely rake in their matchup with right-hander Jose Urena and the suspect Marlin bullpen.
First, Urena enters this one sporting an ugly 6.00 ERA/5.79 FIP/6.10 xFIP with a 6.02 SIERA in his three starts and 15 innings on the season. A small sample, sure, but he posted a 5.21 ERA last season, a mark he’s been at or above in four of his six MLB seasons, including this one. He’s also not fooling anyone with a career 6.13 K/9.
Second, the Marlins bullpen ranks 26th with a 5.17 ERA, 27th with a 5.44 FIP and 29th with a 5.31 xFIP.
Third, the Braves absolutely clobber right-handed pitching as they own a league-best .365 wOBA versus righties this season with a second-ranked .230 ISO off them.
Fourth, the Braves are the second-best home offense in baseball by way of their .375 wOBA at SunTrust Park while they also owns a big .232 ISO and .885 OPS at home as well.
In other words, they should absolutely rake on offense and I’m not sure they are worth fading on this slate.
Enter Freeman, the MVP candidate that’s touched right-handers up to the tune of a .375 average, 1.230 OPS, .500 wOBA and 216 wRC+ on the season with a .477 ISO, 1.451 OPS, .577 wOBA and 267 wRC+ at home against right-handers to boot.
Finally, he’s gone 12 for 28 (.429) with four homers, four doubles and a triple in his career against Urena, good for a .643 ISO, 1.587 OPS and .630 wOBA in this matchup is what is a rather sizeable sample. I think we should get this guy into any and all lineups tonight.
2B – Jazz Chisholm (MIA) – $2,200 vs. ATL
The GPP portion of the lineup arrives here with the youngster Chisholm as I can see the Marlins generating some offense in this one as well.
As I mentioned while stacking the Marlins yesterday, they are a far better offense on the road this season while this is a fine matchup with right-hander Bryse Wilson. Wilson won’t go deep into this game and the Braves have a real good bullpen, so I’m keeping my exposure to a mini-stack here, but Wilson enters this one sporting a 7.04 ERA/7.75 FIP in his four relief appearances this season spanning 7.2 innings. In 34.2 career big-league frames, he’s worked to a 7.01 ERA/6.20 FIP.
Enter Chisholm who brings power and speed to this lineup. He’s homered once and stolen two bases in his 18 games this season, although he’s hitting just .125 with a 30 wRC+. Nonetheless, he hit 18 homers with 13 steals at Double-A last season while posting a 112 wRC+ and hit right-handers for a quality .807 OPS with 17 of those 18 homers and 12 of those 13 steals coming against a right-hander. He also posted a huge .966 OPS against righties at High-A in 2018, for what it’s worth.
He’s struggling a bit in his first taste of big-league action, but Wilson is struggling mightily and I think we’ll get the 22-year-old future star at low ownership on a big slate.
3B – Brian Anderson (MIA) – $2,900 vs. ATL
Anderson was part of my Marlins exposure last night and he delivered a first-inning RBI single, but that would be it for him. Nonetheless, he’s sporting some attractive reverse splits and has been hitting right-handed pitching quite well here in 2020.
Anderson is currently sporting a .237 ISO, .840 OPS, .361 wOBA and 130 wRC+ on the season against right-handed pitching. It’s actually a career-long trend as he’s hit for more power against righties for his career and his 118 wRC+ against them outweighs his solid 101 mark against left-handed pitching.
Wilson hasn’t allowed many steals in his brief big league tenure with just two allowed in his 34.2 innings of work, but Anderson did steal five bases last season, so I’m not ruling out any potential stolen bases for him and Chisholm in this one.
While Wilson through four innings of one-run ball in his best outing of the season against these Marlins, at least they now have the book on him and should fare better in this one tonight.
SS – Adalberto Mondesi (KC) – $2,900 vs. STL
The Royals are another team that should see fairly low ownership as they too take on an opener in the Cardinals’ Austin Gomber.
The left-handed Gomber has a 2.37 ERA on the season, but also a 3.87 FIP, 5.01 xFIP and a massive 6.16 BB/9. His 4.94 SIERA also confirms that he should be in for some notable regression moving forward.
Additionally, I like the opportunity against this Cardinals bullpen. They too should regress moving forward as their 4.16 ERA ranks 10th, but their 4.87 FIP sits 23rd, as does their 4.90 xFIP. They also sit 21st with a 4.58 BB/9 but all this has been hidden by a fortunate .237 BABIP – the lowest mark in baseball – despite ranking 21st with a 37.7% hard-hit rate against, as per Statcast.
The cross-category potential here with Mondesi is attractive as a result, He’s hit lefties for power in the form of a .233 ISO, which bodes well for an at-bat or two against Gomber. When he faces a right-handed Cardinals reliever, that’s where the stolen base potential kicks in as Mondesi leads all of baseball with 20 steals on the season and 17 against right-handed pitchers.
Add in his spot out of the two-hole in the lineup and Mondesi seems like an excellent play on this slate.
OF – Whit Merrifield (KC) – $3,400 vs. STL
Like with the Marlins, I’m keeping my Royals exposure to a mini-stack but we get the 1-2 punch atop the lineup here with Merrifield and Mondesi.
Merrifield brings an attractive power/stolen base combination into action as he’s hit nine home runs on the season to go along with 11 doubles while he’s swiped 10 bases as well. Considering he will see both lefties and righties to be sure in this matchup tonight, it’s nice to see that he’s hitting both well this season.
Against lefties, he owns an .827 ISO, .357 wOBA and 125 wRC+. That bodes well for his matchup with Gomber. Against righties, he’s posted a superior .174 ISO to go along with a solid .780 OPS, .335 wOBA and 110 wRC+ on the season. He’s been at least 10% above league average against both pitchers’ handedness this season.
The power and speed have played up versus righties this season, but Merrifield continues to be one of the toughest outs in all of baseball and I believe he’ll give this Cardinals pitching staff fits in this one.
OF – Ronald Acuna Jr. (ATL) – $4,500 vs. MIA
Like with Freeman, Acuna is a dangerous fade on this slate given his work versus righties, his work at home and his work against Urena in their history against one another.
Acuna simply owns the best power/speed combination in all of baseball. He missed time with injury this season, but he’s still managed to slug 13 home runs while stealing six bases in 41 games on the heels of a 41-homer, 37-stolen base 2019 season, falling just three steals shy of the exclusive 40-40 club that only a handful of players have achieved in baseball’s lengthy history.
The good news is that the vast majority of his damage this season has come against right-handed pitching, and at home. He’s posted an eye-popping .398 ISO, 1.086 OPS, .448 wOBA and 182 wRC+ on the season versus righties. He’s also posted a superior .451 ISO, 1.269 OPS, .514 wOBA and 226 wRC+ against righties at home this season. He’s mashed 12 of his 13 homers and seven of his 10 doubles on the season against righties while also swiping five of his six bags on the season off of a right-hander.
Add in the fact that he’s gone 4 for 14 (.286) with a homer, a double and two steals in his career against Urena and Acuna is nearly a must on this slate tonight.
OF – Marcell Ozuna (ATL) – $4,200 vs. MIA
To say that the Braves have the best 1-2-3 punch in baseball atop their lineup is probably an understatement. It’s also a vast understatement to suggest Ozuna is enjoying his first – and possibly only – season in Atlanta.
He’s hitting .316 with a .416 wOBA and 161 wRC+ on the season while already launching 15 home runs. While the numbers are superior and, quite frankly, out of this world against lefties, his numbers against righties will play here. He’s posted a .210 ISO, .896 OPS, .382 wOBA and 138 wRC+ on the season versus righties. Add in his monster 241 wRC+ on the season against lefties and the guy has simply been matchup-proof here in 2020.
He’s one of the few Braves bats that’s fared better on the road this season, but let’s also not scoff at his .851 OPS, .367 wOBA and 128 wRC+ at home versus right-handed pitching this season.
While he doesn’t have any extra-base hits in his career off Urena, he has gone 3 for 6 against the right-hander, so I’m not about to fade Ozuna in this matchup and don’t let his traditional splits talk you out of rostering him in any Braves stack tonight.
UTIL – Travis d’Arnaud (ATL) – $3,300 vs. MIA
Completing this four-man Braves stack tonight is d’Arnaud who, aside from Freeman and Acuna, owns the best numbers among Braves bats versus right-handed pitching this season.
Entering this one, the formerly oft-injured backstop has punished righties to the tune of a .288 ISO, 1.084 OPS, .456 wOBA and 187 wRC+ on the season. This comes after sporting some serious traditional splits in 2019, but the splits have clearly been reverse this season as he’s struggled mightily with lefties while absolutely pummelling righties.
Like Freeman and Acuna, d’Arnaud has also punished righties at home as he owns a massive .353 ISO, 1.137 OPS, .472 wOBA and 198 wRC+ versus righties at SunTrust Park this season.
He too doesn’t have an extra-base hit in his career off Urena, but he has gone a healthy 3 for 7 with a walk against him.
To recap, Urena isn’t good, the Marlins bullpen is one of the very worst in baseball, the Braves are baseball’s best offense versus righties and they are the second-best offense at home this season. Sounds like a recipe for another monster night for this Braves offense.