I’ve been away camping since Friday morning, so while it’s been a few days since my last FanDuel MLB DFS Picks piece, let’s get right into tonight’s lineup and get this week off to a nice start!
FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – August 5, 2020
P – Yu Darvish (CHC) – $9,500 vs. KC
Darvish’s first start to the season didn’t exactly continue his lights-out work from the second half of 2019 when he posted a 0.77 ERA and an eye-popping 16.86 K/BB ratio, but his second start did.
Darvish allowed three runs in four innings to begin his season against the Brewers before bouncing back and hurling six shutout frames with seven strikeouts in a win over the Pirates his last time out.
After two starts and 10 innings of work, Darvish owns a stout 2.70 ERA but also with a 1.20 FIP, 2.08 xFIP, 10.80 K/9 and a tiny 0.90 BB/9 on the season. He’s already worth 0.5 fWAR at this point.
Much of his first-half struggles last season were due to command and home run issues, but he worked to a tiny 0.77 BB/9 in the second half, and while the home runs remained elevated at 1.43 HR/9, he clearly turned a corner after a very rough and injury-filled start to his Cubs tenure. He looks very much like the dominating hurler from his hey day with the Texas Rangers and I would expect that to continue tonight against a Royals team that ranks 26th with a .291 wOBA on the season.
C/1B – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR) – $2,800 vs. ATL
This lineup is going to be built for cash more than it is GPPs, but not because of Guerrero who kicks off a Blue Jays mini-stack that shouldn’t see a ton of ownership with plenty of options on this 10-game slate.
The Blue Jays do seem like a nice GPP-type look tonight, however, or a value play depending on how you want to look at it. Braves left-hander Sean Newcomb’s 2020 season is off to a disastrous start as he’s worked to an 8.22 ERA/7.04 FIP with a 2.35 HR/9 clip through his first two starts and 7.2 innings to this point. A small sample size to be sure, however he clearly has not found it as of yet.
That gives Guerrero a nice opportunity to get his bat going after a slow start to the season. He didn’t hit lefties well in his first taste of big league action in 2019 but rather posted reverse-splits. Still, the righty-swinging 21-year-old mashed lefties in both Double-A and Triple-A in the 2018 season – his last full season in the minor leagues.
All signs point to him being able to handle bother pitchers’ handedness as he continues to develop at the big-league level.
2B – Danny Mendick (CWS) – $2,000 vs. MIL
This play here is more of a punt play as I had to find someone at the minimum price to fill in at second base given my high-priced stack I’m about to roll out here.
After Nick Madrigal injured his shoulder last night, Mendick came in to replace him as the team is also without Tim Anderson at shortstop with Leury Garcia moving over to handle that position in his absence.
Adrian Houser takes the ball for the Brewers tonight and while he’s only worked five innings this season, his peripheral numbers from that outing were poor despite allowing just one hit – a homer – in a win over the lowly Pirates.
Houser should have his hands full tonight with a White Sox lineup that ranks second with a .348 wOBA on the season, something that could give Mendick some RBI opportunities in this one. It’s not as if the 26-year-old can’t hit as he hit 17 home runs as part of a 108 wRC+ at Triple-A last year and he also stolen 19 bases to boot. All told, he’s hit 31 homers and swiped 39 bases over the last two seasons between Triple-A and Double-A.
At the minimum price, that doesn’t seem too shabby with some power/speed upside at the minimum price.
3B – Nolan Arenado (COL) – $4,000 vs. SF
Now we can get into what I’ve been hinting at earlier. The Rockies are home at Coors Field tonight and are projected to score a slate-high 6.5 runs as they take on the rival Giants and right-hander Logan Webb.
For his part, Webb has scuffled early on underneath the surface. His 2.35 ERA is well and good, but his 5.87 FIP, 6.02 xFIP and 5.87 BB/9 rate are not. His skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) of 5.50 is also not boding well for the righty moving forward after he posted a 5.22 mark in 39.2 big-league frames a season ago.
Webb will have his hands full with this lineup. Arenado isn’t off to the hottest of starts with a .243 average and 89 wRC+ on the season, but he does have a pair of homers and owns a walk rate higher than his strikeout rate. Let’s also keep in mind that this is the same guy that hit .351 with a .294 ISO, 1.057 OPS, .427 wOBA and 137 wRC+ at home last season, a place where he’s hit both of his homers so far this season.
If we’re rolling out a cash Rockies stack tonight, Arenado is a must.
SS – Trevor Story (COL) – $4,100 vs. SF
The high-priced Rockies stack moves along to the shortstop position where Story brings a wealth of power/stolen base potential to the lineup tonight.
While Arenado isn’t off to the best of starts here in 2020, the same cannot be said for Story. The all-world shortstop has four homers and two stolen bases to his credit already while hitting .306 with a huge 1.071 OPS, .449 wOBA and 173 wRC+ in 10 games. He’s also the owner of a .333 ISO, 1.095 OPS, .464 wOBA and 169 wRC+ at home this season.
Story is a lefty killer to be sure, but he’s hit two of his four homers off of righties and managed to hit .286 with a .264 ISO, .911 OPS, .377 wOBA and 119 wRC+ against them last season. Interestingly, his numbers at home against righties were his best split from last season as he posted a .346 ISO, 1.118 OPS, .454 wOBA and 169 wRC+ off of southpaws at Coors Field a season ago.
He hit 35 homers and stole 27 bases last season with downright elite numbers at home, so let’s make sure to get this guy in our cash lineups as well.
OF – David Dahl (COL) – $3,800 vs. SF
The one player that could be left out of a Rockies stack tonight is Dahl, however if he’s going to hit in the leadoff spot as projected, I want him in my stack hitting ahead of Story and Arenado along with our fourth and final player from this stack.
Dahl is off to an extremely slow start to the season, hitting .262 with a .668 OPS and zero home runs through the first 10 games and 45 plate appearances of his season with a 72 wRC+ to boot.
That said, here’s a guy that’s hit .295 with an .857 OPS and .360 wOBA for his career, so I’m certain he gets it going sooner than later. Additionally, he’s hit well at home this season, hitting .300 with a triple and four runs scored in a small 20 at-bat sample size so far.
Like his teammates, he was a monster at home last season, posting a .249 ISO, 1.000 OPS, .413 wOBA and 128 wRC+ at Coors Field in 2019. He’s also fared okay against righties this season, hitting .281 with all three of his extra-base hits coming against right-handed pitching to this point.
Dahl’s start isn’t quite like him, however as the leadoff hitter for a team projected to score 6.5 runs tonight, he should strongly be considered as part of this stack.
OF – Charlie Blackmon (COL) – $4,200 vs. SF
Completing this high-cost, four-man Rockies stack is Blackmon who is projected to hit third in the lineup this evening.
At 34, he’s probably not going to be an MVP candidate as he was a few times some years back, but he’s off to an excellent start at the plate and continues to bring plenty of power to the table.
Blackmon is coming off a 32-homer season in which he posted a .262 ISO and .387 wOBA from a season ago and has one homer with a .370 wOBA so far this season, but he’s also hitting .366 with an .860 OPS in the early going.
He’s sporting some severe reverse-splits early on this season, but still owns an .810 OPS against righties while posting a .200 ISO, 1.176 OPS, .496 wOBA and 190 wRC+ at home so far this season in 20 at-bats.
Last season, all he did against right-handed pitching at home was post a .359 ISO, 1.187 OPS, .476 wOBA and 184 wRC+. The good news is he actually has similar numbers against lefties at home, meaning he’s essentially been matchup-proof in case the Giants want to challenge him with a left-handed reliever later on in the contest.
The one department that’s slowed significantly for Blackmon is the stolen base area as he had just two steals all of last season and has seen that number steadily drop over the years. While his stolen base potential has regressed significantly, he brings plenty of power to the dish and is no doubt a part of my stack tonight.
OF – Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (TOR) – $2,500 vs. ATL
One of my favorite plays on this slate, Gurriel brings a wealth of value potential to this lineup at this price.
He’s off to a fine start this season, hitting .308 with a 118 wRC+, but I love the potential against the lefty Newcomb specifically.
I noted Newcomb’s early-season struggles above, but this has more to do with Gurriel’s work against lefties last season. The 26-year-old smashed lefties to the tune of a massive .364 ISO, .994 OPS, .403 wOBA and 155 wRC+ in the 2019 season. In case we were looking for regression, I’m not sure there’s a ton to be had as he posted a typical .333 BABIP versus lefties while making hard contact a whopping 48% of the time against them.
Projected to hit cleanup and one spot ahead of Guerrero in the Jays’ lineup tonight, look for Gurriel to provide plenty of value in this matchup tonight.
UTIL – Jo Adell (LAA) – $2,100 vs. SEA
Adell made his highly-anticipated MLB debut last night and collected an infield single, but we’ll look for more value in this matchup tonight.
He takes on Mariners left-hander Marco Gonzales who is the team’s best starter, but he’ll also face a Mariners bullpen that ranks 27th with a 6.35 ERA on the season and 29th with a 6.51 FIP.
Adell scuffled in his small Triple-A sample last season, but absolutely clobbered Double-A pitching for a .424 wOBA and 173 wRC+ to go along with a strong .245 ISO. The 21-year-old’s lone struggles throughout his minor-league career were indeed at Triple-A where he hit for a .300 wOBA and 67 wRC+ in a 27-game sample, but clearly the Angels think he’ll hit in the big leagues at this point.
That’s because it’s been reported that Adell is set for full-time right field duties this season, meaning the team has chosen him over Justin Upton who will not share left field in a platoon with the lefty-swinging Brian Goodwin.
Nonetheless, we’re getting one of the top prospects in all of baseball at a near-minimum price against a terrible bullpen tonight, and I’m excited to see what value he ends up bringing to the table.