Despite a wildly disappointing effort from Corbin Burnes, last night’s FanDuel MLB DFS Picks were on the money and enjoyed a big night.
Burnes went just 3.2 innings in last night’s start against the Cardinals, allowing three earned runs and striking out five. He is dealing with a back issue apparently, but his ownership was so high that his 17 FanDuel points didn’t even hurt us that much as he was upwards of 45% owned in my GPPs.
The bats went crazy last night as both the Royals and Orioles raked. Salvador Perez hit yet another home run and knocked in three, Adalberto Mondesi had a monster night that included four singles, two RBI, two runs scored and two stolen bases. Whit Merrifield also stole a base as part of his 12.2 FanDuel points and with Jorge Soler not in the lineup, I simply went with Hunter Dozer who provided a single, a walk and a run scored.
Austin Hays gave up big-time value with a home run, a double, a single, three runs scored and an RBI. Hanser Alberto also mashed as he singled, doubled, knocked in three, stole a base, scored a run and was hit by a pitch for good measure. Ryan Mountcastle added a single and an RBI.
Finally, our one-off third base punt Isaac Paredes did fine in recorded a single and a walk at just 2.2% owned.
Again, we could have used a better outing from Burnes for sure, but our bats absolutely raked their way near the top of GPPs on last night’s slate.
Let’s keep it going on tonight’s larger nine-game slate!
FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – September 25, 2020
P – Carlos Carrasco (CLE) – $10,800 vs. PIT
There’s a quartet of pitching options at the top of the board that make sense in Carrasco, Yu Darvish, Clayton Kershaw and Jose Berrios, but the best combination of safety, matchup and strikeout potential has to be Carrasco.
For one, he takes on the worst offense in baseball against right-handed pitching in the form of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates rank last in baseball in wOBA, OPS and wRC+ against righties this season and their K-rate has steadily climbed as the season has gone along and now sits at 25.2% against righties, tied for the eighth-highest mark in baseball against them.
For his part, it’s been a wonderful season for Carrasco. The veteran right-hander is once again dealing as he’ll enter this one sporting a 2.90 ERA/3.52 FIP on the season while strikeout out the opposition at a stout 10.74 K/9 clip. Carrasco is also coming off a dominant outing against another struggling offense versus righties as he hurled seven shutout innings against the Tigers his last time out, allowing just one hit while striking out 10.
Carrasco is backed by one of the better bullpens in baseball and the Indians are huge -240 moneyline favorites in this one, so look for Carrasco to deal while locking in the quality start and win in this one tonight.
C/1B – Salvador Perez (KC) – $3,700 vs. DET
As noted in the intro, dude is just raking right now.
After his home run last night, Perez has now played long ball not only 11 times in just 34 games this season but also three times over his last two games and seven times over his last 10. Over his last two games – one against the Tigers and one against the Cardinals – Perez is 5 for 9 with two homers, a double and eight runs driven in. Not too bad.
Now, the matchup with Tigers right-hander Spencer Turnbull isn’t great from a home run standpoint. He’s allowed just 0.35 HR/9 this season and has a long tack record in preventing home runs in the minors and allowed just 0.85 HR/9 in his rookie year last season – the season of the juiced ball, in fact.
That said, there’s things working against Turnbull here. His 5.1% HR/FB rate is unsustainably low and there appears to be an 11 mph wind blowing out to left field at Kauffman Stadium tonight. Given those two factors, I’m a believer in the long ball for the Royals in this one.
Perez’s power has been against both lefties and righties, but he’s also hitting .380 with a .306 ISO, 1.078 OPS, .449 wOBA and 188 wRC+ on the season against right-handed pitching.
Add it up and there’s no way I’m about to fade Perez in this matchup tonight.
2B – Jon Berti (MIA) – $2,900 vs. NYY
This is where the lineup gets its GPP differentiation as Berti and the Marlins take on Yankees left-hander J.A. Happ tonight.
Happ has been solid this season, but his 4.36 FIP, 4.17 xFIP and 4.39 SIERA are all well above his 3.25 ERA. Additionally, he’s allowing an elevated 1.42 HR/9 on the season, a 1.50 mark to right-handed hitters and he also owns a 4.82 FIP and 5.54 xFIP at home versus righties this season as well as a 4.49 FIP and 4.82 xFIP against righties in general.
To the surprise of some, these Marlins wOBA figures rank ninth versus left-handed pitching and tied for eighth on the road. I can see them doing some damage against Happ and Yankees bullpen that ranks 21st with a 4.71 ERA on the season while their 4.71 FIP and 4.55 xFIP certainly agree with that result.
Berti hasn’t hit for a ton of power this season, but he’s posted a nice .194 ISO, .803 OPS, .346 wOBA and 118 wRC+ in his brief MLB career to this point against lefties and owns a 112 wRC+ versus lefties this season.
He also brings a stolen base element. While Happ doesn’t allow as many steals these days as he used to, Berti has eight stolen bases this season and 26 in his 113 MLB games so far. That includes seven against a left-handed pitcher – a very attractive number. He also stole 22 bases in just 95 games between the big leagues and Triple-A last season.
Add it up and I can see Berti contributing here at low ownership.
3B – Brian Anderson (MIA) – $3,000 vs. NYY
Continuing with our Marlins stack here is Anderson who has hit for more power against right-handed pitching this season, but almost all of his other splits are nearly identical and some are identical.
For instance, he’s hit righties for a .223 ISO and lefties for just a .151 mark. That said, his .819 OPS versus lefties outweighs his .807 mark against righties while he owns an identical .348 wOBA and 122 wRC+ against both pitchers’ handedness on the season.
He’s hit 10 home runs this season and doubles seven times. Two of those homers and two of those doubles have come against lefties, but he’s also hitting north of .300 versus southpaws as well.
Additionally, like many of his teammates, Anderson’s work on the road has been far better than at home. He owns a solid .184 ISO and .763 OPS at home, but also a .223 ISO, .859 OPS, .366 wOBA and 129 wRC+ on the road as well as a .318 ISO, 1.044 OPS, .417 wOBA and 168 wRC+ on the road versus lefties, albeit in a small 22 at-bat sample size.
Still, there appears to be reason to roster Anderson in GPP lineups against a lefty on the road tonight.
SS – Adalberto Mondesi (KC) – $2,900 vs. DET
Mondesi saw massive ownership in excess of 50% in my GPPs last night, and don’t be surprised to see sky-high ownership again tonight. That said, I’m just not about to fade him in this Royals stack.
One reason is his work of late. He hasn’t put much extra-base power on display against right-handed pitching this season, but the switch-hitting shortstop only needs to reach first to do damage. A single or walk will almost certainly be accompanied by at least a stolen base attempt, and that’s the kicker in this matchup with Turnbull.
In just 51.2 innings this season, Turnbull has allowed a whopping eight stolen bases. That’s the fifth-most in baseball among pitchers with at least 50 innings pitched this season behind only (and interestingly) Jacob deGrom (12), Dylan Bundy (10) and Tyler Glasnow and Corbin Burnes, both with nine. All four of those players have pitched at least 5.2 more innings than Turnbull as well.
When we combine that factor with the fact Mondesi paces all of baseball with 22 stolen bases this season, Mondesi could absolutely run wild in this one. The icing on the cake is that Tigers catcher Austin Romine has caught just 20.1% of attempted base-stealers this season.
I’d love some pop – and Mondesi certainly has that – but I’m here for the stolen base potential all day. Oh, and he’s gone 4 for 11 (.364) with a double and two stolen bases in his career against Turnbull.
OF – Whit Merrifield (KC) – $3,600 vs. DET
You know what I’m going to say here, right? Whit Merrifield is a Tiger killer with a .976 career OPS in a big 328 plate-appearance sample against his AL Central rival. He also brings the power/speed combination we covet so much in MLB DFS.
Last night’s stolen base was Merrifield’s 11th of the season as he sits tied with Fernando Tatis Jr. for fifth in all of baseball in that department.
He’s also certainly bringing some power into this one as he’s homered nine times this season to go along with 11 doubles as well.
The splits here are about dead even. Merrifield’s home run power has shown up more versus righties as he’s clubbed eight of his nine long balls versus righties, and of course he’s bringing more stolen base potential to the table against righties, especially against Turnbull. His .166 ISO versus righties is superior to his .146 mark versus lefties, and while most of his splits slightly favor lefties, it’s nothing to worry about.
Again, the stolen base aspect is most intriguing here despite the attractive pop as well. I also like the fact that he’s gone 4 for 14 (.286) in his career against Turnbull with a triple and a stolen base.
The cross-category potential here is electric out of the ever-so-valuable leadoff spot.
OF – Jorge Soler (KC) – $3,000 vs. DET
I would assume Soler gets back into the lineup tonight and it would be a nice opportunity for him if he does so as he’s crushed right-handed pitching since the beginning of last season and has gotten to Turnbull in the past as well.
Entering this one tonight, Soler has launched eight home runs as part of his .215 ISO on the season – all eight of which have come at the expense of a right-handed pitcher. For the season, he’s posted an increased .223 ISO against right-handed pitching.
This on the heels of a monster 2019 season versus righties. He crushed lefties too, but Soler hit 39 of his AL-leading 48 home runs off a right-handed pitcher last season, turning in a monster .318 ISO, .939 OPS, .384 wOBA and 140 wRC+ on the season against same-handed pitching. The reverse-splits are more of a recent thing, but it’s been with authority in 2019 and 2020. His numbers are a little down this season – compared to 2019 – in part due to battling injuries.
And then there’s his work against Turnbull. He’s gone 5 for 13 (.385) with a homer and three doubles in his career against his divisional foe, good for a .462 ISO, 1.231 OPS and .512 wOBA.
Let’s also note that this Tigers bullpen ranks 25th with a 5.10 ERA on the season along with a 24th-ranked 1.52 HR/9 clip, and Turnbull has surpassed five innings pitched in just five of 10 starts this season. We’ll see a good chunk of that bullpen in this one as this Royals stack looks mouth-watering again in this one after scoring 20 runs over their last two games – both against right-handed starters.
OF – Lewis Brinson (MIA) – $2,100 vs. NYY
After coming over as a highly-touted Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers prospect, Brinson has largely flopped with the Marlins as he’s hit .192 with a .241 wOBA and 49 wRC+ for his career through 249 MLB games. That said, all I care about right now is that he’s crushed left-handed pitching this season. For what it’s worth, he’s raked minor-league pitching in a big way whenever he hasn’t been in the big leagues, so there’s that.
The now 26-year-old Brinson has pummelled lefties for a .234 ISO, .844 OPS, .358 wOBA and 128 wRC+ in 47 at-bats this season. He’s actually seen 47 at-bats against both lefties and righties, but five of his six doubles and two of his three homers this season have come against southpaws.
It’s basically his first lefty-mashing season in the bigs, but Brinson crushed lefties for a .960 OPS when demoted to Triple-A last season as well.
Additionally, if you want to give him some stolen base upside, I’m not going to talk you out of it. Happ has allowed just one steal in 44.1 innings this season but had some elevated stolen base numbers in the past, but Brinson has four steals in 100 plate appearances this season – one against a lefty – and swiped 17 bases in 156 games between 156 games between Triple-A and the big leagues last season. It’s not much, but it’s there.
Let’s get some value out of Brinson at a near-minimum price tonight.
UTIL – Garett Cooper (MIA) – $3,000 vs. NYY
Of all the Marlins on this list, it’s Cooper who’s enjoyed the most success this season against left-handed pitching.
A little bit of a late bloomer, the 29-year-old Cooper homered 15 times in his 107 games as a rookie last season, and the former Yankees’ farmhand has five in 32 games this season – a 25-homer season in a full 162-game MLB campaign.
From a power standpoint, his .207 ISO this season is a big step over his .165 mark last season, but the damage has been against lefties. He’s absolutely clobbered left-handed pitching to the tune of a .378 ISO, 1.130 OPS, .466 wOBA and 200 wRC+ on the season. It’s just a 37 at-bat sample but five of his eight doubles and three of his five homers have come against lefties despite seeing exactly double the number of at-bats against righties than he has lefties.
He hasn’t seen much of Happ (current Marlins players have combined for just 16 plate appearances against Happ), but he has gone 2 for 2 with an RBI in his brief history against the veteran left-hander.
To be honest, I originally had the Twins’ Josh Donaldson and Miguel Sano in the third base and utility spots, respectively, but decided to go full Marlins four-man stack for GPPs despite them being projected to score just 3.8 runs tonight.
I believe they’ll surpass that number while I’m all for rostering four players who have mashed lefties against a southpaw with elevated numbers versus righties and at home this season.