It wasn’t a great night for our FanDuel MLB DFS Picks outside of an Astros stack that had themselves an evening.
Josh James was unable to get remotely deep into his start against the Mariners despite being nearly fully stretched out as a starter. James last just three innings – largely due to walking five batters – while he struck out five and gave up three earned runs. I wanted much more there.
Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman both homered and combined for five RBI and four runs scored as part of the Astros’ 8-5 win over Seattle, but George Springer remained cold at the plate by going 0 for 5 with three strikeouts.
Our three-man Tigers stack didn’t get in on the action despite the club scoring six runs on the night. Niko Goodrum walked, singled and scored a run, but Jonathan Schoop was limited to only a sac fly while C.J. Cron had a bad night in the form of an 0 for 4 with four strikeouts.
You know things are going bad when you roster the likes of Christian Yelich and J.D. Martinez and neither produces despite the teams combining for 10 runs.
Yelich had an RBI and a walk while Martinez walked and scored a run. We left plenty on the table there.
We’ll need to get things turned around in a hurry on tonight’s 12-game main slate!
FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – July 28, 2020
P – Josh Lindblom (MIL) – $6,100 vs. PIT
Quality, reliable pitching options are few and far between on this slate as teams round out their rotation while others go with bullpen days before we likely see more aces on the mound on tomorrow’s slate.
That said, I’m pretty excited about the value potential Lindblom brings to the table tongiht against the Pirates in what will be his first MLB action since 2017.
A former MLB reliever, Lindblom went over to Korea and turned himself into a dominant starter in the KBO, most recently spinning a 2.50 ERA/2.83 FIP with an 8.74 K/9 and 1.34 BB/9 in a 2019 season in which he went 20-3.
He’s pitched just 147 innings in his big league career, but this wouldn’t be the case of a pitcher reinventing himself overseas as Miles Mikolas has made a successful transition back to the big leagues himself.
The matchup is a quality one for Lindblom as the Pirates aren’t going to field a dynamic offense this season and that’s certainly been the case early on as their .238 wOBA is the worst in the big leagues so far and while they haven’t struck out a ton, I am looking for safety and win potential over anything else as the Brewers are roughly -170 favorites to win this one tonight on the moneyline.
On a day where the pitching options are paper-thin, Lindblom brings plenty of value potential to the table against the lowly Pirates.
C/1B – Ryan Braun (MIL) – $2,900 vs. PIT
In support of Lindblom, the Brewers are projected to score 5.7 runs tonight against starter Derek Holland and the Pirates’ bullpen, so let’s get a three-man Brewers stack going here, beginning with the veteran Braun who has shifted to first base this season.
While the 36-year-old is no longer the MVP-caliber player he was almost a decade ago, he actually remained quite productive last season, hitting .285 with 22 home runs, 11 stolen bases, a .220 ISO, .354 wOBA and 117 wRC+. For a “declining” player, hitting 17% above league average seems rather productive to me.
Even better is the fact that he mashed left-handed pitching in 2019. Braun posted a big-time .287 ISO, .933 OPS, .384 wOBA and a 136 wRC+ versus southpaws last season, continuing what has been a career-long trend for the former outfielder.
Additionally, Braun has enjoyed success against Holland in the past, going 3 for 7 (.429) with a triple and a homer against the veteran lefty.
Not that we need a ton of cost efficiency in this lineup with such a cheap starter, but Braun would appear to be bringing real nice value potential to this lineup tonight.
2B – Keston Hiura (MIL) – $3,300 vs. PIT
Likely leading off this three-man stack tonight is Hiura who is projected to hit in the two-hole this evening against the southpaw Holland.
This season will mark his first full campaign in the bigs after he logged 84 games and 348 plate appearances in the bigs last season while also appearing in 57 contests at the Triple-A level.
Hiura absolutely raked against both left and right-handed pitching in Triple-A last season, but against lefties he hit .290 with a huge 1.061 OPS and seven homers in just 62 at-bats versus southpaws.
In the big leagues, Hiura actually struggled against southpaws, but only in a 75 at-bat sample. When we dig into his numbers throughout his minor league career versus lefties, it’s clear that he enjoyed plenty of success against them.
What we also get with Hiura is some stolen base potential as he swiped nine bases in his 84 MLB games a season ago and 16 total between the minors and majors. He has a steal already this season while three of his nine from last season came against a lefty.
I feel confident in Hiura setting the table for this stack tonight.
3B – Matt Chapman (OAK) – $3,500 vs. COL
There’s plenty of places to go on this slate and I really like the Royals against a bullpen day for the Tigers after K.C. obliterated the Tigers’ bullpen in last night’s game.
That said, there was a positional fit with the A’s tonight against the Rockies as Oakland is projected to score 5.4 runs against right-hander Anthony Senzatela and what has been a shaky Rockies bullpen in recent seasons.
All-world third baseman Matt Chapman seems to have his way with both lefties and righties as the righty-swinging star actually posted an .848 OPS against both pitchers’ handedness last season while almost all of his splits were nearly identical. In other words, the guy is essentially matchup proof.
Furthermore, if we got back to the 2018 season, Chapman actually posted superior marks against righties across the board, so at the end of the day we do not have to worry one bit about his ability against same-handed pitching.
The 25-year-old Senzatela is coming off a disastrous 2019 season in which he posted a 6.71 ERA/5.44 FIP in his 25 starts while the 2019 Rockies bullpen ranked 28th with a 5.18 ERA a season ago. That ‘pen is off to a hot start this season, but I’m more than comfortable attacking this Rockies staff with a powerful A’s four-man stack tonight.
SS – Marcus Semien (OAK) – $3,600 vs. COL
Leading off our four-man A’s stack tonight will be Semien who battled for an MVP last season but ultimately fell short behind Mike Trout and his third MVP.
Nonetheless, there’s intriguing potential here with Semien again this season thanks to a power/speed combination that went to a whole other level last season. We probably shouldn’t expect him to hit 33 homers again while his .237 ISO from last season was miles above his .172 career mark, however he also hit 27 as recently as 2016 and has at least 15 in each of his last four fully-healthy seasons.
The speed factor is also present coming off a 10-steal season while Semien has racked up five consecutive double-digit steal seasons, including 12 in 2017 despite missing nearly half the season.
Like Chapman, Semien’s lefty/righty splits from last season were fairly equal while the power played up ever so slightly against righties.
At the end of the day, the power, speed and run-scoring potential appears to be substantial out of the leadoff spot in this matchup tonight.
OF – Christian Yelich (MIL) – $4,400 vs. PIT
Rostering Yelich and his huge salary didn’t pay much in terms of dividends last night, but let’s give the 2018 NL MVP another kick at the can against another lefty this evening.
I noted in yesterday’s piece that Yelich fared better against righties – as to be expected for a lefty-swinging player – but he also did his fair share of damage against lefties as well, posting a .277 ISO, .936 OPS, .383 wOBA and 136 wRC+ against southpaws in 2019 with the latter figure representing a number 36% above league average versus lefties.
Like with Semien, we got a power/speed combination as Yelich homered 12 times and stole nine bases off of left-handed pitching last season and has 55 steals over the last two seasons combined.
Yelich gives us a 2-3-4 projected stack for this Brewers club tonight against Holland, and I’ll take it in support of our starter Lindblom.
OF – J.D. Martinez (BOS) – $4,100 vs. NYM
I also rostered Martinez last night and while the results were disappointing, I’m looking for increased production against a bullpen day for the Mets, one that will begin with a left-handed opener in the former of David Peterson.
Peterson will actually be making his MLB debut tonight and has not thrown a pitch above the Double-A level and is merely getting the start due to the Mets’ injuries to their rotation. He turned in a 4.19 ERA in 24 Double-A starts a season ago.
That said, this play has much more to do with Martinez than it does Peterson as Martinez is arguably the best bat in the game against left-handed pitching.
While his first season with the Red Sox in 2018 saw him post reverse splits, Martinez was nearly unstoppable against lefties in 2019, hitting .404 with an eye-popping .482 ISO, 1.381 OPS, 539 wOBA and 242 wRC+. Indeed, Martinez’s bat was 142% above league average against lefties last season, by far the best in the big leagues while his OPS, ISO and wOBA were also the best marks against lefties among qualified bats a season ago.
So, it would appear Martinez should be a lock in your lineup tonight.
OF – Ramon Laureano (OAK) – $3,300 vs. COL
Once again, we are getting power and stolen base potential in our lineup in the form of Ramon Laureano who is projected to hit second in the A’s lineup tonight.
The 26-year-old is a quality all-round player who plays elite defense in center field, but he’s also off to a white-hot start to the season with a .417 average, 1.279 OPS and .515 wOBA with a homer and a double as well. He’s currently sporting a dynamite .529 OBP, which is why we should find him hitting behind Semien for this one tonight.
Last season, Laureano cemented himself as a full-time big leaguer with 24 homers and 13 steals while hitting .288 with a .356 wOBA and 126 wRC+. This is after he showed up for just 48 games in 2018 but still managed a 2.1 fWAR. For what it’s worth, he finished last season with a 3.9 mark in 123 games. The dude is a player.
The good news is that his big-league splits actually favor right-handed pitching as the righty-swinging outfielder has displayed reverse-splits tendencies to this point, a positive against the right-handed Senzatela.
Let’s run with the youngster while he’s hot.
UTIL – Matt Olson (OAK) – $3,500 vs. COL
Cleaning up our four-man A’s stack tonight is Olson who I like to compete for the AL MVP this season despite a little bit of a slow start.
He hit a walk-off grand slam to open the season last week, but Olson is hitting just .154 to open the season, but this guy won’t stay cold long.
After all, it’s a guy that hit 36 home runs last season to go along with a .277 ISO, .368 wOBA and 134 wRC+. While he’s able to hit lefties for power, Olson produced a .288 ISO, .956 OPS, .391 wOBA and 150 wRC+ against right-handed pitching a season ago.
He didn’t produce nearly as well at home against righties at the O.Co Coliseum in Oakland – a pitcher-friendly venue – but the A’s hit well at home as a team and that’s one stat that can be volatile from season-to-season.
When it’s all said and done, we have a wildly powerful cleanup hitter hitting behind some dynamic bats in this Oakland lineup. With Olson, we likely get a 1-4 stack in the batting order if the projected lineups hold true.
That’s certainly good enough for me against a pitcher coming off a terrible season and a bullpen due to regress in a hurry.