FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – August 19, 2020

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It’s not as if last night’s lineup wasn’t productive as we crossed 160 FanDuel points, but the high-scoring slate left us behind in GPPs.

While Kenta Maeda was the top pitcher on the slate, Yu Darvish stayed white-hot. The right-hander hurled six innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts while earning the win over the Cardinals. He allowed eight hits in that time, but the 46 FanDuel points he netted us were quite alright.

We got our four-man Braves stack at low ownership, and they did just fine. Freddie Freeman hit a two-run homer while leading the way for our stack. Dansby Swanson doubled, singled and score two runs while Travis d’Arnaud notched an RBI double. Marcell Ozuna hit two singles while we got all four of these players at 6.6% owned or less.

Our Mets stack wasn’t as good. Brandon Nimmo had a big night that included a leadoff homer and a triple as part of his three-hit night and Michael Conforto singled, walked, was hit by a pitch and scored two runs. Robinson Cano doubled and scored a run, but Jeff McNeil stayed cold with a goose egg that really hurt our lineup.

Again, not a terrible lineup whatsoever, but missing the cash line is always a failure in this business.

Let’s search for improved results on another 11-game main slate this evening.

FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – August 19, 2020

P – Gerrit Cole (NYY) – $10, 900 vs. TB

There are some solid pitching options on this slate, but at the end of the day I believe it’s a good night to pay up for pitching for the likes of Cole or Jacob deGrom, but Cole is my pick of the litter.

deGrom has a nice matchup in Miami against the Marlins, but has has yet to pitch more than six innings this season and was scratched from his last start with a stiff neck, so durability issues are present with the reigning two-time NL Cy Young winner.

Cole, however, logged seven innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts his last time out after going just 4.2 innings in his previous start. That shortened outing also came against this Rays team as he allowed three runs in that time, but he also punched out 10.

The Rays are certainly a capable offense, however they are projected for just 3.4 runs in this one as Cole sports a 2.76 ERA/3.66 FIP on the season to go along with a 10.43 K/9 and tiny 1.53 BB/9 on the season. His stuff hasn’t been as electric as it was with the Astros over the last two seasons, but I’m not about to argue with the numbers he’s put forth to this point.

At the end of the day, we’re getting one of the best pitchers on the planet here, so let’s just lock in Cole and move onto our bats.

C/1B – Carlos Santana (CLE) – $2,800 vs. PIT

It seems to be like the Indians have arguably the best matchup on the slate. The Pirates will send left-hander Steven Brault to the hill to start this one off, but he’s an opener and certainly not stretched out as a starter, so we will see plenty of a Pirates bullpen that ranks 24th with a 5.62 ERA and 26th with a 4.92 BB/9 on the season.

While the Indians have generally struggled offensively this season, we’re certainly getting their best bats into this stack while these guys have raked left-handed pitching and should touch up Brault early.

For his part, Santana has pounded lefties for a .389 ISO, 1.122 OPS, .461 wOBA and 195 wRC+ on the season. Both of his homers on the year have come against lefties and he’s been a superior bat versus lefties in his career on the whole.

He will see right-handed pitching to be sure tonight, but he’ll get an at-bat or two against Brault to start things off, so look for Santana to do some early damage before using his elite on-base skills to contribute later on in the game.

2B – Max Muncy (LAD) – $3,400 vs. SEA

Speaking of elite on-base skills, Muncy is cut from a very similar cloth to Santana in that regard.

The lefty-swinging Muncy takes on Mariners right-hander Taijuan Walker and a brutal bullpen tonight, so look for the Dodgers to generate far more offense than they did in a 2-1 win last night.

Walker owns a 4.05 ERA on the season, but also a 4.24 FIP, 5.10 xFIP and a 4.79 SIERA that all suggest some regression moving forward. In addition, he’s pitched just 20 innings in four starts, so we’ll see a good chunk of a Mariners bullpen that ranks 29th with a 6.38 ERA on the season in this one.

For his part, Muncy enters this game sporting a disappointing .170 average and 88 wRC+ on the season, but he’s still walking 13.2% of the time and has launched five home runs in his 24 games on the campaign. He’s shown an ability to hit lefties quite well in the past and he owns superior numbers against them in a small sample this season, but he also raked righties for a .267 ISO, .887 OPS, .372 wOBA and 134 wRC+ on the season in 2019.

We’ll see where he lands in the Dodgers’ batting order as we approach lock, but Muncy is certainly one of the top second-base options on this slate tonight.

3B – Jose Ramirez (CLE) – $4,000 vs. PIT

Ramirez struggled out of the gate last season before exploding in the second half, but that’s not the case this time around.

The switch-hitting third baseman is bringing his usual power/speed combination into this matchup tonight as he’s homered five times with three steals as part of his .253 ISO, .880 OPS, .372 wOBA and 135 wRC+ on the season.

He’s also been the team’s best hitter against left-handed pitching, posting a .550 ISO, 1.281 OPS, .517 wOBA and 234 wRC+ against them in a small 21 plate-appearance sample on the season. While those video game numbers aren’t sustainable, it certainly appears he is feeling it against left-handed pitching early on.

For his career, Ramirez has generally been a little bit better against righties, but once again, he’s going to see at least a couple at-bats against a right-hander tonight. Nonetheless, he’s the team’s top offensive player at the moment and someone that is a must in any Indians stack tonight.

SS – Francisco Lindor (CLE) – $3,500 vs. PIT

Let’s keep rolling with this Indians stack here with Lindor, another player that brings some quality power and stolen base potential into this matchup tonight.

He’s actually yet to steal a base this season, but it’s only a matter of time before he gets his first. Lindor swiped 22 bases last season and 25 in the 2018 campaign, so while it’s pretty surprising to see him go 23 games without one this season, we know it’s going to happen sooner or later.

The power hasn’t been off the charts either as he’s homered four times but his .185 ISO is below his .205 career mark and well below his totals from the last three seasons, all of which included an ISO of .232 or better.

He owns just a .100 ISO against lefties this season, but also an .859 OPS, .378 wOBA and 139 wRC+ against southpaw pitching. Lindor, a switch-hitter, has been better against lefties in his career which bodes well for his matchup with Brault, but he has hit for a little more power against righties, and obviously the stolen-base potential increases against righties, which bodes well for his matchup against the Pirates’ bullpen.

Add it up and Lindor should be a big-time contributor to this lineup tonight.

OF – Franmil Reyes (CLE) – $2,800 vs. PIT

The last time we got Reyes into a lineup he rewarded us with a two-homer effort including a monster 462-foot blast against the Tigers as he’s enjoyed a powerful season to this point, especially of late.

Reyes has now homered five times and owns a .225 ISO on the season, but is also hitting .300 with an .870 OPS, .367 wOBA and 131 WRC+ on the season as well. He’s homered three times over his last four games and all five of his home runs have come over his last 12 games.

When I think about rostering Reyes my immediate thought it that he’s a reverse-splits hitter who fares better against righties. That’s because he hit 30 home runs versus righties last season and posted a .271 ISO against them, but the truth is his bat is more productive against lefties. His .881 OPS, .364 wOBA and 126 wRC+ versus lefties last season were all superior marks to the same numbers against righties while his .240 ISO versus lefties is certainly nothing to scoff at.

At the end of the day, however, Reyes crushed 37 home runs last season and is certainly one of the best young power hitters in baseball as he has homered 58 times in 259 career games and owns a career .246 ISO at the age of 25. He smashes both lefties and righties, so I believe we’re getting big value here at this price.

OF – Joc Pederson (LAD) – $2,600 vs. SEA

We will complete our four-man Dodgers stack here, beginning with Pederson as he takes on a right-hander in Taijuan Walker, a pitcher he’s enjoyed success against in the past while he simply clobbers right-handed pitching.

For his career, Pederson has posted a .262 ISO, .852 OPS, .361 wOBA and 129 wRC+ against right-handed pitching. Last season, he put forth a monster .319 ISO, .920 OPS, .377 wOBA and 137 wRC+ versus righties while all 36 of his home runs from the 2019 season came at the expense of a right-handed pitcher.

He struggles against lefties and hardly gets any at-bats against them (6 this season so far), but he’s facing a righty that he’s owned in the past.

Pederson has gone 6 for 12 (.500) in his career against Walker with two of those hits coming in the form of a double. He hasn’t homered against him in that time and he’s struggling at the plate with a .158 average and .589 OPS against righties this season, but given his success against right-handers throughout his career, we know Joc will get things turned around and a matchup with a terrible Mariners’ pitching staff should do the trick.

OF – A.J. Pollock (LAD) – $2,900 vs. SEA

Pollock has been excellent at the dish so far this season and his stolen base upside intrigues me in this matchup as well.

At the plate, he’s hitting .284 with a .270 ISO, .892 OPS, .374 wOBA and 140 wRC+ on the season. He’s homered five times and swiped two bases in his 22 games to this point.

He’s clobbered both lefties and righties this season, but owns a .275 ISO, .900 OPS, .379 wOBA and 143 wRC+ on the season against right-handed pitching while he’s stolen a base of both a lefty and righty on the year.

That said, I like the speed potential here. This season, Walker has allowed a stolen base three times in just 20 innings. He pitched just 14 innings between the 2018 and 2019 seasons, but he allowed 15 steals in 157.1 innings in 2017 and 16 steals in only 134.1 innings in 2016. Despite missing almost all of two of the last four seasons, Walker’s 34 stolen bases allowed since 2016 are tied for 42nd while he’s thrown far fewer innings than all of the names above him on that list.

The power and stolen base potential with Pollock is quite high in this matchup.

UTIL – Austin Barnes (LAD) – $2,100 vs. SEA

I had $2,100 left to fill in my utility spot and while I liked a couple of names in that range, we might as well complete a four-man Dodgers stack here with Barnes.

Additionally, the guy is having a really good season at the plate and enter this one hot.

After struggling mightily last season, Barnes is hitting .304 with a 107 wRC+ on the season while he’s homered once and stolen one base in his 15 games so far. His .087 ISO is certainly nothing to write home about and his batting average is elevated due to a bloated .419 BABIP, but Barnes is making hard contact 47.1% of the time which is by far a career-best number. While that number will likely drop, it’s a big reason why he’s off to a nice start.

Barnes will bring a seven-game hit streak into this one tonight while he’s recorded two hits in five of those seven games. Last night, he went 2 for 2 with a walk, two runs scored and a stolen base.

He’s hitting at the end of this stack, so if he can contribute the same way he did last night, Barnes could deliver some massive value to this lineup tonight.

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Brenton Kemp / Author

Brenton is a lifelong sports fan who resides in Ontario, Canada. Brenton is a fan of most all sports but specializes in hockey, baseball, football, basketball, and golf. He’s a fierce researcher with a strong appetite to deliver accurate and relevant facts that in turn have led to past success with picks and DFS advice across the board. Brenton’s biggest goal is to deliver readers with the picks and advice that can build their bankroll. He takes great pride in his success and loves nothing more than to share that success for the benefit of everyone involved.

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