Picking pitchers at the back end of rotation is a completely crapshoot right now as almost all of them have struggled to pitch even four innings at this point.
Even Walker Buehler, by far the most expensive pitcher on last night’s slate, failed to reach the four-inning mark in his start versus the Astros.
Our pitcher, Josh Lindblom, also failed to get to four innings as he pitched just 3.2 innings, giving up two earned runs but also striking out five. His three walks and three hits allowed limited his ability to get deeper into the game.
Our three-man Brewers stack was okay, but once again we got nothing from Christian Yelich. Ryan Braun recorded a single and a walk, but Keston Hiura had himself a night with a two-run homer and also added a sacrifice fly to his total.
Our A’s stack largely disappointed as they failed to get to Antonio Senzatela for any extra-base knocks.
Ramon Laureano had a solid night with two singles and two runs scored while Matt Olson also enjoyed a two-hit night with a walk and a run scored. Matt Chapman singled and walked and Marcus Semien also singled, but I paid up for much more damage than this as the Rockies bullpen once again pitched very well as they have to open their season.
We’re still in search of that big lineup as we take a look through tonight’s nine-game main slate!
FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – July 29, 2020
P – Matthew Boyd (DET) – $8,400 vs. KC
We are back to the aces on this slate as the likes of Gerrit Cole and Jacob deGrom get set for their second turn of the season, however for GPP purposes I will turn my attention to the Tigers’ Matthew Boyd as he takes on the division-rival Royals tonight.
Boyd’s first start of the season did not get well as he battled serious command issues with his off-speed stuff in the first inning and wound up allowing four earned runs with two walks and two hit-by-pitches in his five innings of work.
That said, while that effort could turn the general public off of him on such a loaded slate, I like his chances of a rebound at the pitcher-friendly Comerica Park tonight against a weak Royals offense that the Tigers’ bullpen largely stymied last night.
Keep in mind that Boyd’s massive 11.56 K/9 last season was the sixth-highest mark among qualified pitchers and the Royals have endured some early-season strikeout issues, punching out in 30.1% of their plate appearances so far, the fourth-worst mark in the league.
He hasn’t enjoyed the most success against Royals hitters in his career as they’ve combined for an .813 OPS against him, but Boyd’s a determined pitcher and I have plenty of confidence in the strikeout artist bouncing back in a big way tonight at home.
C/1B – C.J. Cron (DET) – $3,100 vs. KC
While Boyd does his thing against the Royals, I’ll look for the Tigers to give him some run support off of Royals lefty Danny Duffy.
Although the Tigers scored six runs on Monday off of left-handed starter Mike Montgomery and the Royals’ bullpen, Cron had a terrible night at the plate and delivered a goose egg. However, given his prowess against left-handed pitching and Duffy specifically, I think he’ll bounce back in this one tonight.
In 2019, Cron demolished left-handed pitching to the tune of a .326 average, .310 ISO, 1.020 OPS, .412 wOBA and 160 wRC+. That’s some serious damage with the latter number suggesting he was 60% above league average at the plate against lefties a season ago. It’s not a one-off situation either as Cron has largely punished lefties over the course of his big-league career.
He’s also given Duffy fits in their history against one another as Cron has gone 5 for 14 (.357) with a double and two homers off of the left-hander with just two strikeouts in 15 plate appearances off of him.
Look for Cron to find his stroke in a favorable matchup tonight.
2B – Jonathan Schoop (DET) – $2,500 vs. KC
I love the value potential Schoop brings to the table tonight against Duffy for many of the same reasons that I like Cron who should hit two spots behind him in this lineup.
While Schoop had a decent opening series against the Reds last weekend, he had yet to get in on the early-season home run parade the Tigers have been on as they share the league lead with 10 homers to this point. That changed last night when Schoop blasted a 442 blast to dead-center field, something I believe gives him confidence in the power department moving forward.
While that bomb came off of a righty, Schoop fares much better against lefties after hitting them for a big-time .286 ISO, .917 OPS, .376 wOBA and 136 wRC+ last season. While Schoop’s splits have been back-and-forth over the course of his career, his best seasons have included monster numbers against lefties.
He too has hit Duffy well in the past as he has gone 7 for 20 (.350) against him, but unfortunately none of those seven knocks have gone for extra-bases. Still, given the blast last night and his success against lefties recently, I believe Schoop carries some serious value potential into this matchup tonight.
3B – Anthony Rendon (LAA) – $4,000 vs. SEA
Rendon made his Angels debut in last night’s blowout win over the Mariners and it didn’t take long to make his presence felt as he hit a home run, walked twice, scored two runs and knocked in a pair as well.
It was a monster return for the MVP-caliber Rendon after he dealt with an oblique injury and I’ll look for that success to carry over into this matchup tonight with rookie right-hander Justin Dunn.
Dunn pitched 6.2 innings at the big-league level last season, and while he posted a 2.70 ERA, he also posted a 5.76 FIP, 8.15 xFIP and a massive 12.15 BB/9 clip in his only work above the Double-A level.
The Angels are therefore projected to score 5.8 runs tonight – the most on the slate as per FantasyLabs – after putting a 10-spot on the Mariners last night. Furthermore, the Mariners’ bullpen has pitched to an MLB-worst 7.90 ERA so far this season while their 6.02 FIP ranks 28th.
Rendon’s lefty-righty splits from last season were almost even as he posted a .271 ISO, .996 OPS, .411 wOBA and 153 wRC+ against righties last season and walked almost as often as he struck out against them.
In other words, we should have no problem paying up for Rendon on this slate tonight.
SS – Niko Goodrum (DET) – $2,500 vs. KC
Completing our three-man Tigers stack in support of Boyd is the shortstop Goodrum who is a switch-hitter and should hit in the leadoff spot for this one tonight.
This is actually the same three-man Tigers stack I used on Monday. If you read that piece, you’ll know that Goodrum hits for more power against right-handed pitching, but his bat is far more productive on an overall basis against lefties. While we want to strive for as much power as possible, I’m okay with Goodrum’s productive bat kicking off this stack out of the leadoff spot even if the home run potential is lessened.
Last season, Goodrum hit .361 with a .927 OPS, .388 wOBA and 143 wRC+ versus left-handed pitching. Only one of his 12 home runs came against a lefty, however, and his .155 ISO against them could use some improvement.
However, we also get some stolen base potential with Goodrum as he’s stolen 12 bases in each of the last two seasons with nine of those 24 steals coming against a left-handed pitcher. That said, it should also be noted that Duffy allowed just one steal in 130.2 innings last season and Salvador Perez is one of the best behind the plate, so don’t rest your hat on Goodrum’s stolen base upside.
Still, I like the all-round potential Goodrum brings to the table as a leadoff hitter on a team projected to score a healthy 5.1 runs tonight.
OF – Mike Trout (LAA) – $4,500 vs. SEA
Trout should see some ownership tonight because, well, he’s Mike Trout. But the matchup with a rookie pitcher and a terrible bullpen should make Trout one of the higher-owned players on the slate.
Nonetheless, I’m not about to leave him out of a four-man Angels stack that has a ton of potential against this pitching staff.
Although he’s homered in the early going, Trout is off to a cold start with a .211 average and 77 wRC+ on the season so far, but all that means is that someone is about to take a licking, and soon.
The good news with Trout is that he actually hit right-handers better than lefties last season, posting an all-world .379 ISO, 1.124 OPS, .449 wOBA and 188 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, all of which are superior to the same figures versus lefties. For good measure, his enormous 17.3% walk rate against them nearly matched his 19.5% K-rate versus righties.
Of course, we get some stolen base potential as well as Trout stole 11 bases last season, nine of which came against righties. He’s not running as much these days, but I’ll take that speed as the icing on the cake in a wonderful matchup for the three-time MVP tonight.
OF – Shohei Ohtani (LAA) – $3,100 vs. SEA
Ohtani was rocked in his return to the mound as he failed to record an out while giving up five runs, but his return to the plate hasn’t been much better.
Through a tiny 14 plate-appearance sample, Ohtani is hitting just .143 with one double through the first four games of the season. That said, given his brief MLB history, it shouldn’t take long for the two-way player to get going at the plate, especially against right-handed pitching.
Last season, Ohtani clobbered righties for a .238 ISO, .868 OPS, .358 wOBA and 127 wRC+, although he actually did a solid job against lefties too which could help for when the bullpen enters this game tonight. In his rookie 2018 season, Ohtani was even better against righties, hitting them for a massive .344 ISO, 1.043 OPS, .433 wOBA and 181 wRC+.
He’s been moved down the lineup a little bit to the fifth spot in the order, so he will technically clean up our four-man Angels stack and a return to form would come at a good time tonight.
OF – Justin Upton (LAA) – $2,800 vs. SEA
Completing our four-man Angels stack tonight is Upton who is projected to hit in the cleanup spot in this order tonight, one spot ahead of Ohtani and one behind Rendon.
Like Ohtani, Upton is off to a cold start at the dish as he’s hitting .100 with a -14 wRC+ to this point. Yes, terrible start.
That said, he does have a homer to his credit and, of course, is due to bounce back in a big way as he’s been one of the more consistent bats in baseball in his big league career.
He dealt with injuries last season, but hit 12 homers in just 63 games and posted a .201 ISO that was pretty much in line with his career .210 mark. That said, 2019 was a reverse-splits season for the righty-swinging Upton who posted a .222 ISO, .804 OPS, .337 wOBA and 112 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, all of which were superior to the same figures against lefties. In fact, it was the second consecutive reverse-splits season for the slugging outfielder, so we know he can certainly handle right-handed pitching.
Although he stole just one base while battling injuries in 63 games last season, he recorded 22 over the previous two seasons, so we get a pinch of stolen base potential here as well.
UTIL – Nelson Cruz (MIN) – $4,000 vs. STL
There’s choices to be made at the end here with $4,100 left to spend as that can net you power bats such as Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton as one-offs in Baltimore, however I will go with the ageless Nelson Cruz as he takes on the Cardinals and right-hander Daniel Ponce de Leon.
Unlike Ohtani and Upton, Cruz is off to a scorching-hot start to the 2020 season, already with three home runs, seven runs scored and 10 RBI through just four games while hitting .412 with a cool 1.503 OPS to this point. Of course, that’s a wildly unsustainable start, but you have to love the upside darn near every time you can get your hands on this guy.
Cruz demolishes left-handed pitching, but he’s off to a torrid start versus righties as well and hit them for a .283 ISO, .971 OPS, .401 wOBA and 153 wRC+ in the 2019 season. His splits have almost always favored lefties, but there’s hardly anything to dislike about his work against righties, either.
The Twins are once again one of the very best lineups in baseball while Cruz continues to bash baseball regardless of his age.