Our night got off to a fine start with last night’s FanDuel MLB DFS Picks, however too many duds as the night went on cost us dearly.
Yu Darvish did a fine job in tossing seven innings of one-run ball, however he struck out just four and had plenty of two-strike counts in which he was unable to put Royals hitters away. That was our first speed bump as he left plenty of points off the board.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. doubled and scored early at low ownership, but that’s all he would accomplish on the night while Lourdes Gurriel Jr. delivered just one walk.
Our four-man Rockies stack was the main disappointment outside of Nolan Arenado who homered. David Dahl had an RBI and a run scored, Charlie Blackmon had an RBI single, but Trevor Story posted a zero, which really hurt.
Our one-off players in Danny Mendick and Jo Adell did okay, but Mendick delivered big-time value. While Adell singled and scored a run, Mendick went 3 for 3 with a double, however the White Sox were unable to drive him in to score any runs in a 1-0 loss.
It was a night full of potential, but one in which points were left off the board, so we’ll move on to this smaller five-game main slate tonight.
FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – August 6, 2020
P – Nate Pearson (TOR) – $7,500 vs. ATL
Pitching is pretty scarce on this five-game slate with names such as Tyler Chatwood and Zac Gallen at the top of the board ahead of Pearson, but I like the Jays’ rookie over those two arms.
Chatwood has a long history of command issues that have yet to rear their head this season and the Royals, as they proved last night, aren’t easy to strike out. Gallen is up against a tough Astros offense and owns a 5.40 BB/9 and 1.80 HR/9 on the season with a .250 BABIP and 98.2% left-on-base rate that is nerve-wracking against that lineup.
Therefore, I’ll go with Pearson who impressed in his MLB debut last week against the Nationals, turning in five shutout innings with five strikeouts while putting his electric fastball on display. Pearson tore his way through the minor leagues after being a first-round pick in 2017, and while injuries were present in his minor league career, Pearson had little trouble getting hitters out throughout the minors.
He’ll take on a capable Braves offense, but one that’s disappointed to this point. Additionally, it’s a Braves offense that ranks 29th with a huge 29.4% K-rate on the young season.
Pearson didn’t post eye-popping strikeout numbers in his minor league career, however he has the stuff to deliver punchouts as he did against the Nationals last week, so let’s give him another shot at a more than reasonable price tonight.
C/1B – Anthony Rizzo (CHC) – $3,700 vs. KC
The Cubs will look for the four-game sweep of the Royals tonight after getting to the Royals’ bullpen last night following the departure of starter Kyle Bubic who did a fine job in his second big-league start.
Rizzo got in on that action with two hits and two runs scored to continue his hot start to the season. Rizzo owns a .225 ISO, .909 OPS, .407 wOBA and a 164 wRC+ on the season to this point with three homers to his credit.
He and the Cubs will take on right-hander Brad Keller who makes his season debut after dealing with an illness in summer camp and into the season. Keller’s been solid in his big league work to this point, posting a 4.19 ERA/4.35 FIP last season, but that came after a 3.08 ERA/3.55 FIP in his rookie season. That said, he doesn’t strike out many at all with a 6.42 K/9 and his command isn’t great with as 3.53 BB/9 clip in his career.
Keller doesn’t figure to go deep into this one in his first start of the season and the Cubs will therefore look to get back on the Royals’ bullpen. That’s a bullpen that has more regression to be had as their 11th-ranked 3.47 ERA is not supported by their 4.48 FIP, 4.24 xFIP, 3.92 BB/9 and -0.1 fWAR.
I’ll look for the Cubs to do more damage tonight with a slate-high 5.1 projected run total.
2B – Jose Altuve (HOU) – $3,700 vs. ARI
The Astros and D-backs scored a ton of runs in last night’s contest, and while the Astros ended up on the wrong side of the final score, their seven runs scored certainly wasn’t the issue.
With such a cost-efficient pitcher in this lineup, I can pay up for bats throughout the group as Altuve comes in at the same price as Rizzo.
It certainly hasn’t been a prosperous start to the 2020 season for Altuve as he’s hitting just .146 with a .251 wOBA and 65 wRC+ on the campaign, although he does have a pair of homers and a stolen base to his credit.
Besides, let’s be honest here. We’re talking about a guy who is a career .313 hitter with an .824 OPS, .354 wOBA and 126 wRC+. The guy is going to start hitting at some point and while we probably should not expect him to hit for as much power as last season when he posted a career-best .252 ISO, the power/stolen base potential is there.
The Astros go up against the aforementioned Gallen who sports some iffy peripheral numbers in a small sample so far, and while he’s coming off a nice rookie season, I’ll look for the Astros to get to the youngster in this one tonight.
3B – Kris Bryant (CHC) – $3,700 vs. KC
I was all over Bryant as an MVP candidate sporting nice value to do so, but he didn’t get off to a great start, but may have turned a corner last night.
He’s hitting just .194 on the season, but Bryant also had to base knocks and two runs scored in last night’s win, giving him two multi-hit games over his last three including his lone home run on the season.
Like with Altuve, we’re talking about a guy with positive regression written all over him. Bryant is a career .283 hitter with a .231 ISO, .384 OBP, .898 OPS, .381 wOBA and a 138 wRC+ to his credit through the first five-plus seasons of his big-league career.
An added feather in the DFS cap of Bryant this season is the fact that he’s been tabbed as the Cubs’ leadoff hitter thanks to his high OBP ways. Therefore, we’re getting the leadoff hitter for the team that’s projected to score the most runs tonight. The Cubs are tied for third with a .341 team wOBA on the season, so despite his slow start, he’s still scored seven runs in 10 games and I’ll look for him to build off last night’s effort in this one tonight.
SS – Javier Baez (CHC) – $3,500 vs. KC
Like his teammates Bryant and Rizzo, Baez enjoyed a two-hit night in last night’s 6-1 win, however he was the one driving the runs in with a pair of RBI as he hits in the three-hole behind his two teammates above.
He hasn’t hit for a high average or gotten on base much this season, but it’s been a productive start nonetheless as Baez has posted a strong .229 ISO to this point with three homers, six runs scored and nine RBI in 12 contests so far.
We got a nice combination of power and stolen base potential with Baez as he hit 29 home runs last season while stealing 11 bases with 34 homers and 21 steals in the 2018 season in which he played in a career-high 160 contests. He’s yet to steal a base this season, but it’s only a matter of time at this point with a 75th percentile sprint speed this season, as per Statcast.
He does more damage against lefties, but again, Keller isn’t likely to last long tonight so we aren’t quite sure who he will face thereafter. I’ll simply take his power/speed combination out of the three-hole and run.
OF – Kyle Schwarber (CHC) – $2,800 vs. KC
The cheapest of the four Cubs in this stack, Schwarber probably has the most raw power among the group.
He’s hit a pair of homers in the early going with a .190 ISO as well, but here’s a guy with a career .253 ISO and one thats hit or surpassed the 30-homer barrier twice over the last three seasons with a 26-dinger campaign sandwiched in the middle.
You’re not going to get a high batting average with Schwarber, but he knows how to get on base with a big 13% career walk rate despite some issues with the strikeout.
We’ll hope he gets most of his reps tonight against right-handed pitching as he posted a .298 ISO, .900 OPS, .367 wOBA and 127 wRC+ off of righties last season, although he also posted a healthy .220 ISO against lefties as well in 2019 while he’s homered off of both pitchers’ handedness so far this season.
That said, over the course of his career he’s been far better against righties and I’ll look for him to hop on Keller early and tee off on the Royals’ bullpen as the game moves along.
OF – George Springer (HOU) – $3,400 vs. ARI
Springer is another bat who has gotten off to a slow start this season, as he too is below the Mendoza Line with a .195 average, however he does have three long balls on the season, one of which came last night, a two-run shot.
His batting average is about the only area he’s struggled, however, as he’s knocked in 12 runs out of the leadoff spot in 11 games while he owns a .244 ISO, .339 wOBA and 126 wRC+ on the season as well. Also of note is the fact that his batting average on balls in play (BABIP) sits at just .172 on the season and is likely to regress positively towards his .308 career mark in a hurry. Coupled with the fact that Springer’s 38.7% hard contact rate exceeds his 36.7% career average, we should certainly see more hits fall, however we are here for the power and that hasn’t been an issue so far this season.
The D-backs’ bullpen has been decent with a 4.26 ERA on the season, but they’ve had serious command issues with a 5.48 BB/9 and some home run issues in the form of a 1.42 HR/9, so there’s room for damage once Gallen leaves the game this evening.
OF – Kyle Tucker (HOU) – $2,700 vs. ARI
He’s going to hit down in the order, probably somewhere in the 6/7 hole while the remainder of this stack is 1-3 in the Astros’ batting order, but there’s a chance Tucker could form a wrap-around stack with Springer atop the order or simply have his teammates above (and below) on base for his plate appearances tonight.
Nonetheless, Tucker put his power on display with his first homer of the season in last night’s contest while his counting stats are off to a nice start to the season with nine runs scored, eight RBI and two steals in his 10 games of action.
In fact, the power/speed potential here is quite intriguing – especially at this cost – as Tucker homered 34 times and stole 30 bases in his 125 games at the Triple-A level last season, posting a .289 ISO in the process.
The power didn’t let up in the big leagues across a 22-game sample in 2019 either as he hit four homers, stole five bases and posted a .269 ISO in doing so. He had an .856 OPS, .349 wOBA and 122 wRC+ at the big-league level last season to boot.
Interestingly, the lefty-swinging Tucker has fared far better against left-handed pitching in the majors so far, but hit 24 homers with a .911 OPS against righties at Triple-A last season, so it’s only a matter of time before he gets to some more righties moving forward at the game’s highest level.
UTIL – Alex Bregman (HOU) – $3,900 vs. ARI
Completing our lineup and our four-man Astros stack is Bregman who had the best 2019 season of the group as only Mike Trout was a superior all-round player in the American League a season ago.
Once again, it hasn’t been the best of starts in a small sample to this point for Bregman as he’s hitting just .213, however he’s hit for some power with two homers and a .191 ISO while he also owns a 107 wRC+ to this point.
That’s a far cry from his MVP-caliber 2019 campaign, but like Springer, Bregman has suffered from some poor batted-ball fortune to this point as he owns just a .211 BABIP on the season, a figure that will climb towards his .284 career mark moving forward.
We don’t get much stolen base upside with Bregman, but plenty of power potential with a career .240 ISO. While he hits better against left-handed pitching, the power is very much present against right-handers as well.
Hitting third in the lineup behind Springer and Altuve should give Bregman ample opportunities to get his numbers trending towards last season’s figures in this one tonight.