Chalk up another night of MLB DFS profits as last night’s FanDuel MLB DFS Picks were good enough to cash in both GPPs and cash games.
As expected, Yu Darvish had himself a night. He had a no-hitter going through 6.1 innings, but a Justin Smoak solo home run broke that up and accounted for the lone damage off the right-hander in seven innings of work. Darvish struck out 11 Brewers on the night and netted a whopping 61 FanDuel points. Right now, a case can be made that Darvish is the best pitcher in the bigs at the moment.
Our Rays stack did plenty to support our pitcher. Rolling with Hunter Renfroe over Jose Martinez as indeed the right choice as Renfroe launched two home runs as part of his three hits while he knocked in three runs and scored three himself. Yandy Diaz stayed hot at the plate with three hits, a walk, three runs and an RBI. Mike Brosseau singled, walked twice and scored a run to complete a productive three-man stack.
Our Reds didn’t do as much damage as Jesse Winker led the way with a double, a single and a run scored while Joey Votto singled, walked and scored a run. Finally, Nick Castellanos doubled as his lone damage of the night.
Finally, our Phillies mini-stack was okay as Bryce Harper doubled, tripled and a scored two runs, but Didi Gregorius’ single was his lone damage on the night.
All told, that lineup crossed the 200-point barrier as we move onto tonight’s much bigger 13-game main slate!
FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – August 14, 2020
P – Sonny Gray (CIN) – $10,800 vs. PIT
There’s some attractive pitching options on this slate tonight with names such as Jacob deGrom, Gerrit Cole, Aaron Civale, Dinelson Lamet and Clayton Kershaw worthy of consideration, but sign me up for Gray in this one tonight.
For what it’s worth, deGrom and Lamet are facing team that owns the lowest and third-lowest K-rates against right-handers, respectively, so I wanted a little more strikeout upside in this one tonight.
Gray enters this one sporting a 2.25 ERA/2.50 FIP on the season, but has been absolutely carving up the opposition to the tune of a 13.13 K/9 clip on the season, striking out at least seven in all four of his starts and as many as 11 in his second start of the season against the Cubs.
His last start wasn’t the best when he surrendered four earned runs in 5.1 innings to the Brewers, but his matchup tonight is fantastic.
The Pirates enter this one ranked dead-last in the league with a .247 wOBA against right-handed pitching this season to go along with a .559 OPS that also ranks last. They enjoyed some positive regression off of Anthony DeSclafani last night when they scored eight early runs against him, but they’ll haver their hands full with Gray who is an NL Cy Young candidate at this juncture.
With a wealth of high-end pitching options available, it could very well be Gray who provides the best combination of safety and strikeout potential.
C/1B – Carlos Santana (CLE) – $2,900 vs. DET
While the Pirates are the worst team in the majors against right-handed pitching, the Indians aren’t great themselves as they rank 28th with a .270 team wOBA but also last with a .090 ISO, hitting for very little power against righties. Such a happening could have them sporting low ownership tonight, but they get an excellent matchup against right-hander Ivan Nova while most of these guys absolutely destroy Detroit Tigers pitching.
Entering this one, Nova sports a 5.74 ERA/5.06 FIP on the season while he strikes out nobody with a 4.60 K/9 that is barely superior to his 4.02 BB/9 clip. He also owns a 5.52 SIERA. He’s just not a good pitcher at this stage of his career and was simply brought in to eat innings on a Tigers team that wasn’t expected to contend, especially in a 162-game season as was the thought when they signed him this winter.
Enter Santana who has crushed Nova in his lifetime and brings nice power and on-base skills to the table. He has just one homer and a .073 OPS on the season and is hitting .182, but still owns a massive 30.5% walk rate and .430 OBP, .341 wOBA and 114 wRC+. Over his career, the switch-hitter has hit for more power against righties, but look no further than his numbers against Nova here. He’s gone 8 for 21 (.371) with two homers and three doubles against Nova across 24 plate appearances, good for a .429 ISO, 1.268 OPS and .523 wOBA against him.
Sign me up.
2B – Josh VanMeter (CIN) – $2,100 vs. PIT
The Reds take on Pirates right-hander Chad Kuhl in this one tonight, and while Kuhl has been good in a small sample, The Reds are still projected to score 5.1 runs as Kuhl will not be getting deep into this game in just his second start of the season while the Pirates bullpen has struggled for the most part this season.
Kuhl is also a little bit susceptible to the stolen base, so I’m going to grab a trio of players who have a history of hitting righties well with some speed to boot.
VanMeter hasn’t hit well this season and we just recently recalled from the team’s alternate training site after being sent down, but he hit a pinch-hit homer on Wednesday and crushed righties in the minors. At Triple-A last season, VanMeter pounded righties for a 1.051 OPS while hitting 14 homers and stealing eight bases in just 49 games. He then hit eight homers while stealing nine bases in 95 MLB games, hitting righties for a nice .181 ISO in the process. All eight of his homers came against righties.
His homer this season came against a righty while Kuhl has allowed an .869 OPS and .367 wOBA to left-handed hitters in his career.
Add it up and I can see VanMeter delivering big-time value at this price.
3B – Jose Ramirez (CLE) – $3,800 vs. DET
Much of Ramirez’s success this season has come against left-handed pitching, but there’s a lot to like about the switch-hitter tonight.
He’s hit for nice power to this point with four homers and a .236 ISO on the season and he certainly brings stolen base potential to the table despite just a single steal on the season. He stole 24 bases last season and 34 the prior season with at least 17 in each of his last four seasons.
He also destroys Tigers pitching. Ramirez enters this one sporting an even 1.000 career OPS against the Tigers, and that’s in a rather large 333 plate-appearance sample size against them. The only AL club he’s hit better against is the New York Yankees who he owns a 1.058 OPS in 153 plate appearances. For good measure, he owns an .850 OPS in his career at Comerica Park in Detroit.
He’s gone 45 for 13 (.308) with a double in his career against Nova, but this guy is a Tigers killer and my bet is he continues to rake against his AL Central rivals tonight.
SS – Francisco Lindor (CLE) – $3,600 vs. DET
Much of the same goes for Lindor.
Also a switch-hitter, Lindor isn’t having a great season with a .160 ISO, .287 wOBA and 76 wRC+ on the year. He’s homered three times, but has yet to steal a base after swiping 22 last season and 25 the season prior.
That said, this guy has homered at least 32 times in each of the last three seasons and posted a minimum .232 ISO in that time, so we know he’s going to get it turned around.
Like much of his team, Lindor has fared better against left-handed pitching on the whole, but all three of his home runs have come against righties. Last season, he was far better against right-handed pitching than he was lefties, posting a .263 ISO, .893 OPS, .359 wOBA and 121 WRC+ against righties on the season. His overall career numbers favor lefties, but he’s hit for superior power against righties while the stolen base potential is also exponentially superior against righties, and we are here for those two assets.
Last season, Lindor hit Tigers pitching for an .876 OPS with three homers and five steals in 16 games while hitting for a .962 OPS with two homers and three steals in six games at Comerica Park. Another Tiger killer that should produce in a wildly favorable matchup tonight.
OF – Franmil Reyes (CLE) – $2,700 vs. DET
One of the team’s top bats against right-handed pitching this season, I’m looking forward to the value potential that Reyes brings to the table.
This season, he’s posted a .309 average and 103 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, which for this team this season is some quality production. That said, we’re here for the home run power and while that hasn’t quite been there so far, be sure that Reyes boasts plenty of it.
Last season between the Padres and Indians, Reyes clubbed 37 long balls after debuting with 16 dingers in his 87 games from the 2018 season. The guy has monster power numbers in his minor-league career, but he’s homered 55 times in just 255 big league games and is just 25 years of age with a career .239 ISO under his belt while posting an identical .239 ISO against both lefties and righties in that time. For what it’s worth, both of his home runs have come against a righty this season.
The young slugger is going to clean up for this stack tonight, likely out of the five-hole, so a big night from Reyes could mean a big night for this stack tonight.
OF – Jesse Winker (CIN) – $2,600 vs. PIT
Winker’s assault on right-handed pitching continued last night as this guy has just been brilliant versus righties since making his MLB debut while his hot start to the 2020 MLB season continues.
Since making his debut in the 2017 season, all Winker has done against righties is post a .309 average, .204 OPS, .387 wOBA and 139 wRC+ against them. Last season, Winker produced a .234 ISO, .887 OPS, .371 wOBA and 127 wRC+ against right-handed pitching and has turned in a .342 average, .211 ISO, 1.009 OPS, .435 wOBA and 176 WRC+ against righties.
Now, there’s not a ton of stolen base potential here as Winker has just two big-league steals in his 268 games played, but one of those has come in his 19 games this season.
He owns an unsustainable BABIP on the season, but his .379 mark against righties isn’t totally outrageous while he ranks in the league’s 93rd percentile in exit velocity, 90th in expected batting average, 94th in xwOBA, 80th in xSLG and 74th in hard-hit rate. All of those figures suggest his hot start isn’t exactly a fluke.
Add it up and I want Winker in my Reds stack at what is a steal of a price.
OF – Nick Senzel (CIN) – $2,800 vs. PIT
Leaving Nick Castellanos out of a Reds stack isn’t ideal, but we are getting the 4-5-6 hitters in the lineup with this stack tonight as Senzel is confirmed to hit fifth the batting order in this one.
I like that we’re getting a real nice power/speed combination with Senzel. In his MLB debut last season, Senzel hit 12 home runs and stolen 14 bases in 104 games. This season, he’s homered twice and stolen two bases, but he’s also doubled five times and owns an excellent .262 ISO on the season to go along with a .358 wOBA and 125 wRC+.
He also had himself a night last night, going 3 for 4 with a homer and a double while driving in four of the six runs his team scored. That effort came after he recorded just one hit – a single – across his last five games spanning 20 plate appearances.
The good news is that almost all of his production has come against righties this season as he’s hitting .333 with a .267 ISO, .994 OPS, .418 wOBA and 165 wRC+ against right-handed pitching this season.
He broke out of a slump last night, so I’ll look for Winker to deliver more power and hopefully a stolen base or two tonight.
UTIL – J.D. Martinez (BOS) – $3,600 vs. NYY
I had $3,700 left to full my utility spot, and there’s certainly no shortage of options when you have that much cake to work with.
That said, this is a GPP-aimed lineup and I wanted to get a low-owned bat with big-time potential and I believe I will get that combination with Martinez tonight.
The low ownership could come by way of his tough matchup against right-hander Gerrit Cole. The public is simply going to fade the Red Sox in a big way tonight, and while I don’t suggest a stack, Martinez is a perfect one-off here.
He struggled mightily to open the season, but Martinez has hits in three of his last four games with two homers in that time including a grand slam on Wednesday. He’s 2 for 6 with a double, a homer, two walks, three runs scored and five RBI over last two games. He’s clearly seeing the ball much better right now.
After all, this is a guy who has been one of the top overall and power bats in the league for the last several seasons. Since his breakout 2014 season, Martinez is tied for sixth alongside Cody Bellinger with a .273 ISO. His 209 homers in that time rank fifth and his wRC+ of 150 ranks third behind Mike Trout and Aaron Judge. The bottom line is one of the best bats in the world is heating up and still has plenty of positive regression moving forward as his .280 BABIP is still well below his .345 career mark while he ranks in the league’s 82nd percentile in barrel rate.
Finally, he’s enjoyed previous success against Cole. He’s gone 4 for 12 (.333) with a double and a homer in his career against the right-hander with four walks in 17 plate appearances, good for a .333 ISO, .1.137 OPS and .462 wOBA in that sample.
Tally it up and I believe we get some big-time upside at what should be low ownership in this matchup tonight.