As I noted on Twitter (@BKemp17) yesterday’s picks essentially needed to be completely re-arranged as Josh Donaldson was left off the Twins’ Wild Card roster and the third base position was not a deep one with mostly high-priced options only available.
I ended up going with a completely different four-man Rays stack and a three-man Twins stack along with a one-off in Randal Grichuk. I mostly played cash games and has some success as Gerrit Cole was absolutely dominant in hurling seven inning of two-run ball with a whopping 13 strikeouts as the Yankees routed the Indians in Game 1.
Cole’s 64 points accounted for much of my 97.4 points on the night, and somehow I managed to cash that lineup in some double ups despite my bats going eerily quiet on the night.
With the rosters now set, let’s get back at it and tackle this larger six-game main slate!
FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – September 30, 2020
P – Chris Paddack (SD) – $8,500 vs. STL
Unlike last night, there are some lower-cost pitchers that allow us to spend up on bats and while that might make someone like Paddack a popular pick, that not the entire season why I’m using him.
There appears to be some serious wind on this slate, including in San Diego. That said, the wind in San Diego appears to be blowing in from left field, making a pitcher’s park even friendlier for the arms in this game. It’s also a reason to fade the Padres bats aside from facing a pitcher with good numbers this season.
For his part, Paddack took a step back this season, working to a 4.73 ERA/5.02 FIP in his 12 starts. That said, he also worked to a 3.77 xFIP and 3.91 SIERA while retaining his elite command in the form of a 1.83 BB/9 and allowed less hard contact than he did in his Rookie of the Year-caliber 2019 season. He also posted superior numbers nearly across the board at home.
The matchup is certainly a favorable one as Paddack takes on a Cardinals team that tied for 23rd with a .305 wOBA on the season against right-handed pitching while their 24.3% K-rate against righties ranked 19th.
There’s certainly superior strikeout upside on this slate, but considering current Cardinals hitters have combined to hit .087 with a .459 OPS in 29 plate appearances against Paddack and everything else mentioned, I’m striving for more safety and win potential than strict strikeout upside on this particular slate.
C/1B – Miguel Sano (MIN) – $3,000 vs. HOU
We still don’t know who the Astros are going to roll out in a potential elimination game tonight, but the smart money is on one of Jose Urquidy or Lance McCullers Jr., both of whom I’d be fine with.
Urquidy posted a 2.73 ERA this season, but his 4.71 FIP, 5.36 xFIP and 5.41 SIERA point towards massive regression. For McCullers, he worked to a 3.93 ERA this season, but also a 7.33 mark on the road where he’s been far worse throughout his career while he dominates at home. He also allowed a 5.51 FIP, 5.10 xFIP, 5.01 BB/9 and 1.54 HR/9 on the road.
There is also a 15 mph wind blowing directly out to right field in this one, making this a dangerous situation for all pitchers involved tonight. While Sano hits from the right side and is a pull hitter, he crushed right-handers this season. Sano posted a monster .303 ISO to go along with an .819 OPS, .341 wOBA and 115 wRC+ versus righties. He made hard contact a whopping 48% of the time against righties and ranked in the league’s 100th percentile in terms of barrel rate and exit velocity as well as the 99th percentile in hard hit rate, as per statcast.
While he’s a pull hitter, if Sano were to hit a fly ball to right, considering those percentile rankings, there’s a real chance he could flip one over that right field wall in this one today.
2B – Mike Brosseau (TB) – $2,600 vs. TOR
This pick here, as well as Brosseau’s stacking partner later in the lineup, has far more to do with their ability against left-handers than it does the Blue Jays’ Hyun-Jin Ryu who has a real nice first season with the Blue Jays.
Ryu worked to a 2.69 ERA/3.01 FIP on the season while he allowed just a .652 OPS to right-handed bats to go along with a quality 0.83 HR/9 rate. That’s all well and good to be sure.
But we also have to consider the work Brosseau put in versus lefties this season.
All he did versus southpaws was crush them to the tune of a .333 batting average, .405 ISO, 1.121 OPS, .455 wOBA and 198 wRC+. Indeed, it appears his bat was 98% above league average versus left-handed pitching this season. We’re talking about a fairly small 42 at-bat sample, but he clubbed nine extra-base hits, including four homers, in those at-bats.
Let’s also keep in mind that Brosseau hit lefties for a .300 average, .200 ISO, .829 OPS, .347 wOBA and 120 wRC+ in 70 at-bats last season, so it’s fair to say he’s a lefty masher early in his MLB career
Add it up and I see value potential despite the tough matchup.
3B – Jose Ramirez (CLE) – $4,100 vs. NYY
After the Yankees put the boots to the Indians last night, I wouldn’t be surprised to see plenty of ownership on that side of this matchup. That said, sign me up for the fade in GPPs and some Indians exposure against Masahiro Tanaka whose career-long home run woes continued this season.
Tanaka had a fine season with a 3.56 ERA, but also a 4.42 FIP and 1.69 HR/9. Furthermore, he also allowed a 2.03 HR/9 to left-handed hitters this season and while that had a lot to do with Yankee Stadium’s short porch in right, I don’t think his high 39% fly-ball rate from this season will work for him in this one.
There is a massive 19 mph wind tonight at Progressive Field, and the wind is to right field, which benefits lefties or switch-hitters in this matchup, such as Ramirez. The wind doesn’t appear to be directly to right but towards the foul pole some, but it’s going to help fly balls carry to right field tonight.
So, enter Ramirez, the white-hot hitter who put his team on his back down the home stretch and clobbered the Indians into the postseason. Ramirez absolutely demolished left-handers this season, but also hit righties for a .235 ISO, .847 OPS, .362 wOBA and 126 wRC+ as well. There’s also the fact that Ramirez has absolutely owned Tanaka in the past, going 9 for 14 (.643) with a double, a triple and a homer in that time. He doesn’t have a stolen base against him and Tanaka doesn’t allow many, but Ramirez did swipe 10 bases this season, so the potential is there. He was a perfect 7 for 7 against righties, as well.
Add it up and I am paying up for the Indians’ third baseman tonight.
SS – Francisco Lindor (CLE) – $3,600 vs. NYY
I’m also going to pay up for the Indians’ shortstop as the switch-hitting Lindor could also benefit from the hitter-friendly conditions for left-handed hitters in this one tonight.
The power/speed combination is real here as well as Lindor hit eight homers and stole six bases this season while almost all of his power came against right-handed pitching. Some of his figures are superior versus lefties, but Lindor hit all eight of his homers against right-handers while his .180 ISO off them greatly outweighs his .086 mark off lefties. Of course, the stolen base potential is superior versus righties as he stole five of his six bases off righties as well.
Of course, adding to his value is the fact that he’s the Indians’ leadoff hitter, but once again I’m loving the huge wind gust blowing to right in this one, so I’ll look for Lindor to elevate that baseball into the right field seats as well.
OF – Max Kepler (MIN) – $3,000 vs. HOU
Kepler saw huge ownership on last night’s four-game slate, but I wonder if folks will be off the Twins in this one after that one-run performance last night. Regardless, I don’t think there’s anyone else in this ball game that benefits more from that big 15 mph wind blowing to right field in this one.
The problem for the Astros in this particular game is they used their left-hander Framber Valdez (to great success) in last night’s game. Valdez won’t be pitching in this one and the Astros have just one other lefty in Blake Taylor on their postseason roster. I would therefore expect a steady diet of righties in this one, and the Twins ranked ninth with a .330 wOBA off righties, but also fourth with a .213 ISO off them as well.
Plenty of that production off righties has to do with Kepler who mashed righties to the tune of a .274 ISO, .904 OPS, .383 wOBA and 144 wRC+ on the season. He also posted a superior .962 OPS, .414 wOBA and 165 wRC+ at home versus righties this season.
He had some patient at-bats and drew a pair of walks in yesterday’s loss, but it’s time for the Twins to flex some muscle in this one and I will look for Kepler to take advantage of the hitter-friendly conditions today at Target Field.
OF – Nelson Cruz (MIN) – $4,000 vs. HOU
Not that I could have afforded him anyway, but my fade of Cruz in last night’s three-man stack did not work as he drove in the lone Twins run with an RBI double while he also walked in that one too.
Nonetheless, he’s not coming out of this lineup tonight as Cruz has power to all fields. The righty-swinging Cruz pulled the ball 34.6% of the time this season, hit it up the middle 37.8% of the time and went to right field 27.6% of the time. He certainly has power to right field as his double off the right field wall yesterday would show.
So, let’s look for him to flip one out today. While he posted video-game numbers versus lefties this season, Cruz also mashed righties for a .246 ISO, .850 OPS, .360 wOBA and 128 wRC+ on the season. Again, his RBI double yesterday came off a righty.
I like that his double yesterday also snapped a cold streak that saw him register just one hit – a single – over his final four regular-season games and 17 trips to the plate.
Add it up and paying up for Cruz would appear to be a wise decision on this slate tonight.
OF – Eddie Rosario (MIN) – $3,200 vs. HOU
Rosario had a forgettable day at the plate as part of an 0-4 afternoon yesterday, but as a left-handed power hitter he’s an absolute lock in my lineup tonight.
Rosario launched 13 home runs this season, all of which came against right-handed pitching. As a result, he posted a .284 ISO, .882 OPS, .365 wOBA and 132 wRC+ on the season against right-handed pitching. Additionally, he mashed righties for a superior .926 OPS, .380 wOBA and 142 wRC+ at Target Field this season.
While we don’t know who will start this one at the time of this writing, there is also a stolen base aspect to Rosario’s game as he swiped three bases on the season and was caught just once while going 2 for 2 against right-handed pitchers. He’s not a burner, but it’s a nice little icing on the cake on top of what I believe is fantastic power potential.
Add it up and Rosario is actually one of my favorite players on this slate right up there with Kepler.
UTIL – Randy Arozarena (TB) – $3,000 vs. TOR
As part of my re-jig of my lineup last night, I had to bump Arozarena from my lineup. So naturally, he triples and scores the first run of the game. That said, he’s back here tonight and it should be at far lower ownership.
The kid came up from the team’s alternate training site and absolutely mashed while displaying some serious speed on the basepaths as well. The good news is that he did serious damage against both lefties and righties.
Against lefties, all he did was hit .400 with a monster .600 ISO, 1.478 OPS, .591 wOBA and 291 wRC+. That’s just a 20 at-bat sample, so in layman’s terms, Arozarena went 8 for 20 with four home runs this season against lefties. While he hit righties quite well – and that’s where his stolen base potential comes in later when Ryu exits – he did serious damage in the minors against both lefties and righties, actually hitting righties for a superior 1.043 OPS to his still-dominant .971 mark versus southpaws.
He also posted a 1.754 OPS in his 17 at-bats against Double-A lefties last season, for what it’s worth.
Out of the projected three-hole, let’s ensure we get Arozarena into this lineup tonight despite the tough matchup with Ryu.