The Tampa Bay Rays held up their end of the bargain, but the L.A. Dodgers did not and our lineup fell short of the cash line in cash formats last night.
Our pitcher also gave us a nice foundation to work with. Kenta Maeda went 6.2 innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out five. He earned a quality start and a win in the process. We’re still in search of that big strikeout game, but that’s pretty much what was expected out of Maeda last night.
The Rays also delivered in a big way. Brandon Lowe enjoyed a monster night with a homer, a double and a single to go along with two RBI and three runs scored. Austin Meadows wasn’t far behind, hitting a home run himself while adding a single, a walk, an RBI and three runs scored himself. Yandy Diaz contributed a trio of singles and an RBI to boot. Excellent production here.
Our one-off Gleyber Torres chipped in a single and an RBI but is still largely scuffling at the plate.
Finally, our Dodgers stack struggled. Max Muncy posted a zero, as did Joc Pederson. Mookie Betts singled and scored a run while Cody Bellinger had the best night with a double, an RBI and a run. Still, that quarter combining for 18.9 FanDuel points was a dud despite the Dodgers scoring six runs on the night.
One stack cost us what could have been a huge night, but we’ll take our lumps and move onto tonight’s small four-game main slate that excludes the Padres/Dodgers game later on.
FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – August 13, 2020
P – Yu Darvish (CHC) – $9,600 vs. MIL
I used Maeda against the Brewers yesterday looking for some strikeout upside given Milwaukee’s strikeout ways so far this season, but Darvish is far more likely to deliver a big punchout effort in this one tonight.
Indeed, the Brewers rank 28th with a 27.5% K-rate against right-handed pitching this season, but keep in mind they also rank 26th with a .293 wOBA against righties as well. Therefore, it would appear Darvish has some serious strikeout potential to go along with some nice run-prevention upside as well.
After a sizzling second half to the 2019 season, Darvish hasn’t skipped a beat this time around, posting a 2.12 ERA/1.71 FIP, although his strikeouts haven’t quite some around with an 8.47 K/9 on the season, but I would expect they will given his 11.08 K/9 for his career as well as his 11.54 mark from last season. This is nearly the best opportunity possible for that positive regression to kick in.
Darvish has posted those excellent ERA and FIP numbers on a normal .283 BABIP and 75% stand rate, both of which are right in line with career numbers. He’s also displayed impeccable command in the form of a 1.06 BB/9 on the season.
Add it all up and Darvish is far-and-away my top pitcher on this small slate.
C/1B – Joey Votto (CIN) – $3,200 vs. PIT
AL Central rivals get together tonight in Cincinnati as the Reds and Pirates do battle from the hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park.
Right-hander Trevor Williams gets the call tonight for the Pirates as he’s posted a nice 3.52 ERA on the season, but also a 4.50 FIP and 5.03 xFIP that would suggest some regression moving forward. Williams is coming off a 5.38 ERA/5.12 FIP from a season ago.
After regressing in each of the last two seasons, Votto has shown some increased power early this season with three homers and a .192 ISO on the year, while he’s posted a .340 wOBA and 113 wRC+ as well. His splits have been just about even against lefties and righties and he’s never had too much trouble hitting left-handed pitching, but I like him in this matchup with Williams.
In his career, Votto has gone 10 for 25 (.400) with three doubles in his career against the right-hander while striking out just once in 26 plate appearances against him.
The hits haven’t come in bunches yet, but Votto appears to be in a nice matchup to get things turned around tonight.
2B – Mike Brosseau (TB) – $2,600 vs. BOS
The Red Sox are calling up left-hander Kyle Hart from their alternate training site to face the Rays in his big-league debut, and while Hart had solid numbers in the upper minors last season, he’s in tough against a Rays offense that has crushed Red Sox pitching in this series.
Brosseau got in on that action on Tuesday night, homering to lead off the game before adding a double to his resume as well. He scored a pair of runs to boot. Brosseau has now gone 5 for 8 with two homers, two doubles, three RBI and three runs scored over his last three games (two starts).
The guy has done nothing but obliterate left-handed pitching in his MLB experience so far. It’s just a 93 plate-appearance sample size, but Brosseau has pounded lefties to the tune of a .322 average, .289 ISO, .955 OPS, .396 wOBA and 155 WRC+. That includes a .400 average (8 for 20) with a massive .600 ISO, 1.400 OPS, .576 wOBA and 282 wRC+ plus in the 2020 season so far.
Now, two cautions: One, Brosseau saw huge ownership the other night and that should only be increased on such a small slate. Secondly, despite mashing on Tuesday, he was pinch-hit for by the white-hot Brandon Lowe who shares his position. While Hart should last a few innings as he’s stretched out as a starter, it’s still possible Lowe pinch-hits for Brosseau against a right-handed reliever. Brosseau pinched-hit for Lowe earlier in the series against a lefty.
That said, he fits nicely into this lineup and it didn’t take him long to make an impact the other night and I’ll look for something similar tonight.
UPDATE: With Lowe confirmed in the starting lineup, the pinch-hit downside is almost erased from Brosseau’s outlook.
3B – Yandy Diaz (TB) – $2,600 vs. BOS
I used Diaz last night against a righty despite his career numbers leaning heavily towards left-handed pitching given his value potential at his price and his spot in the batting order, but this is where Diaz should truly make a big-time impact against a lefty.
I mean, he’s heating up at the plate overall, collecting five hits over his last two games, but he boasts more power and hits the ball a lot harder against left-handed pitching.
In his breakout 2019 season, Diaz hit left-handers for a .311 average, .272 ISO, .976 OPS, .402 wOBA and a 158 wRC+. Furthermore, he posted a monster 50% hard hit rate against them.
He hasn’t hit the ball as hard this season as of yet in a small sample, but it’s worth noting that both of his extra-base hits – both doubles – have come against a lefty.
Hitting third in the Rays’ lineup tonight, I would expect some damage from Diaz, the owner of a career .836 OPS, .359 wOBA and 126 wRC+ against left-handed pitching.
SS – Didi Gregorius (PHI) – $3,300 vs. BAL
At 5.6, the Phillies sport the highest projected run total on the slate tonight so let’s get some exposure beginning here with Gregorius against right-hander Tom Eshelman.
Eshelman makes his third appearance and second start of the season tonight as he owns a 3.68 ERA through 7.1 innings, but also a 6.20 FIP and 4.98 xFIP to go along with a minuscule K-rate of 3.68 and a huge home run rate of 2.45. Eshelman has induced ground balls on just 31.8% of his contact this season and has allowed a 1.067 OPS and .447 wOBA to left-handed hitters this season, so I would expect some damage from Gregorius in this one.
In his first season with the Phillies, Gregorius is off to a fine start with a .200 ISO and 107 wRC+ with three homers and a stolen base through 13 games. While two of his three homers have come against a lefty, he’s been far more productive against righties, hitting .345 with an .835 OPS, .366 wOBA and 132 WRC+ against righties. He’s hit righties far better in his career than he has lefties plus Eshelman has been raked by left-handed hitters.
One reminder is to keep an eye on the weather in Philadelphia as there’s possible rain around 6 p.m. ET, but looks like that will clear up around 8. Maybe it’s a delayed start to this one, but I certainly believe they’ll get it in.
OF – Jesse Winker (CIN) – $2,500 vs. PIT
We’ll get back to our Reds stack here with Winker who looks like a quality value play here given Williams’ splits, his success against him, success against righties in general and the hitter-friendly confines in Cincinnati, especially for left-handed bats.
This season, Winker has handled right-handers for a .314 average, .200 ISO, .956 OPS, .417 wOBA and 165 wRC+ on the season. He’s homered three times in total and twice against a righty while stealing his lone base on the season against a righty. While he’s hit lefties well in a very small sample, Winker is a superior bat versus right-handed pitching.
For example, Winker homered 16 times last season, doubled 17 times and tripled twice. All 35 of those extra-base hits came against a righty while he hit just .163 against lefties compared to .285 against righties. In 2019, he hit righties for a .234 ISO, .887 OPS, .371 wOBA and 127 wRC+.
In his career against Williams, Winker has gone 4 for 6, although none of those hits have been of the extra-base variety.
Nonetheless, he sees the ball well from Williams and he’s mashed righties since coming to the big leagues. Add in the hitter-friendly dynamics of Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati and Winker appears to have monster value potential as part of this three-man stack tonight.
OF – Nick Castellanos (CIN) – $4,000 vs. PIT
He absolutely raked after being dealt to the Cubs from the Tigers last season, and Castellanos has pretty much picked up right where he left off in his new digs with the Reds.
Signed to a four-year deal prior to this season, Castellanos has put his name into the NL MVP discussion thanks to his massive .409 ISO, 1.050 OPS, .433 wOBA and 175 wRC+ on the season. He’s homered seven times, doubled 12 times and tripled twice in just 18 games this season. Talk about some extra-base upside.
While he’s taken his game to a whole new level after last year’s trade deadline, Castellanos has long been a productive bat. He led all of baseball with 58 doubles, the most in a single season since Todd Helton doubled 59 times with the 2000 Rockies.
He owns a career 113 WRC+ and .801 OPS, but he’s clearly taken his power game to a new level, and getting away from the pitcher-friendly Comerica Park in Detroit and into the hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati has helped him skyrocket his game in a hurry.
OF – Hunter Renfroe (TB) – $2,800 vs. BOS
We can choose between Jose Martinez and Hunter Renfroe in this lineup and while Martinez is hitting second in the Rays’ lineup tonight, it’s Renfroe who has the superior power.
Martinez is off to a powerful start, but I’m not about to ignore the light-tower power than Renfroe brings to the table against left-handed pitching.
He doesn’t have a book on Hart, but Renfroe hit left-handed pitching for an eye-popping .336 ISO last season. He also posted a .364 ISO at Petco Park last season, widely regarded as one of the toughest hitter’s parks in baseball. That’s impressive.
He hit lefties for a .240 ISO in the 2018 season and a massive .368 ISO, 1.077 OPS, .439 wOBA and 175 wRC+ in the 2017 season.
All told, Renfroe owns a career .297 ISO, .897 OPS, .370 wOBA and 133 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. It’s nice that he also owns a .240 career ISO against righties for when Hart exits this one, but to start he has mammoth home run upside in this matchup.
UTIL – Bryce Harper (PHI) – $4,300 vs. BAL
Completing this lineup and our Phillies mini-stack is Harper who should be in line for some big-time production tonight.
He’s off to a scorching-hot start at the dish, hitting .341 with a massive .317 ISO, 1.150 OPS, .483 wOBA and 211 wRC+ on the season. That’s absolute insanity. He’s homered four times, stolen two bases and his walk rate of 18.9% matches his K-rate.
The left-handed hitting Harper hits lefties and righties both extremely well. Lefties do not both him one bit as he’s hit two of his four homers off of them this season and has unworldly numbers against southpaws, but he also owns a .222 ISO, .893 OSP, .392 wOBA and a 150 wRC+ against righties. Given Eshelman’s struggles with left-handed hitters, the odds are quite high that Harper does some damage in this one.
The Phils should be in for some offense tonight, but I feel real good about what this mini-stack can bring to the table in a fantastic matchup.