We’re on quite a roll here with our FanDuel MLB DFS Picks as last night was yet another profitable one for some cash-aimed picks.
That’s not to say that our lineup lit it up across the board, but it was a low-scoring slate to be sure. Our pitcher Rich Hill didn’t have a great night as he worked just five innings with five strikeouts, but allowed four earned runs for a subpar 18 FanDuel points on the night.
Our lineup was led by Giancarlo Stanton who hit the lone homer from our group, but man that stack could have been far better. Aaron Judge went just 1 for 4 with a walk, but had the bases loaded with Miguel Andujar and Tyler Wade on base and missed a hanging slider to strikeout. Stanton also had a chance to drive in Wade but struck out himself. Wade ended up posting a zero and Andujar a 6.5, but a hit here and there could have blown this slate wide open for that Yankees stack.
The Braves also didn’t accomplish much as John Gant’s regression will have to wait another day. Ronald Acuna Jr. did notch a single, a walk, a run, an RBI and a stolen base to lead the group and both Freddie Freeman and Abraham Almonte doubled, but we wanted far more from this group as the Braves managed just four runs in that one.
Finally, our one-off Taylor Walls posted a zero despite being in a fantastic spot to succeed against right-hander Justin Dunn and the Mariners. You wouldn’t have seen Walls in our lineup yesterday, which is why following me on Twitter @BKemp17 is important. Rougned Odor was scratched from the lineup so I used Wade and Walls instead of Odor and Willi Castro at the 2B and SS positions, but that was communicated via Twitter.
At any rate, I was able to easily cash double ups and win all of my head-to-heads once again as we look towards a far bigger 15-game main slate tonight. Let’s keep the cash-aimed picks coming and see if we can stay hot!
FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – June 18, 2021
P – Alex Cobb (LAA) – $7,500 vs. DET
My favorite pitcher on this slate tonight is Trevor Bauer as he takes on the D-backs in Arizona, but as has been the case when we’ve easily cashed in each of the last two nights, there are just too many high-end bats in spots to succeed on this slate. So, we’ll kick it off with Cobb who not only has a real nice matchup on tap but should be in for plenty of positive regression moving forward.
Cobb will enter this one sporting a 4.98 ERA on the season and has actually yielded five earned runs in each of his last two starts. However, Cobb also owns a 3.43 xERA, 2.54 FIP, 2.67 xFIP and a 3.12 SIERA. His strikeout rate sits at an impressive 10.80 K/9 and his walk rate is a quality 2.91 BB/9 and he’s induced ground-balls at a 60% ground-ball rate. I mean, aside from the ERA figure, Cobb’s peripherals are flat-out elite.
According to Statcast, Cobb ranks in the league’s 75th percentile in hard-hit rate, 71st in average exit velocity, 72nd in both xwOBA and xERA, 81st in xSLG and a whopping 97th percentile in terms of barrel rate which helps explain his tiny 0.42 HR/9 figure.
And then there’s the matchup. The Tigers have swung the bats much better of late and are better versus right-handed pitching, but still sit 18th with a .303 wOBA versus righties and also sit dead last with a 26.9% K-rate versus righties as well. Cobb has never been a high-strikeout pitcher, but he certainly has been through 43.1 innings this season.
Add it up and there would appear to be plenty of value in the right arm of Alex Cobb this evening.
C/1B – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR) – $4,600 vs. BAL
This Blue Jays stack costs a pretty penny, but given the cheap rate we’re getting with Cobb and some value bats in this lineup, I’m willing to pay up for some Toronto bats versus Orioles left-hander Bruce Zimmermann.
For his part, it’s been a tough season for Zimmermann despite some improved results of late. The 26-year-old has posted a 4.83 ERA/5.11 FIP on the season to go along with a 6.01 xERA, although his 4.25 xFIP and 4.42 SIERA are more palatable figures. He hasn’t missed many bats with a 7.99 K/9 on the season and the control is solid at 3.02 BB/9, but he’s been bit by the long ball with a 1.81 HR/9 on the season and a 26.5% line-drive rate is simply too high to have success at this level. Zimmermann owns a solid 4.11 ERA at home this season, but also a 5.64 FIP and 2.35 HR/9 rate at the hitter-friendly Camden Yards in Baltimore, so it would appear the Jays have him right where they want him in this one.
For his part, the MVP front runner should mash in this matchup. It’s interesting that Vladdy owns a subpar .125 ISO against left-handed pitching, but also an .866 OPS, .397 wOBA and 153 wRC+. He owns a far superior .182 ISO in his career against left-handed pitching, so the power will arrive against lefties at some point.
Perhaps some may think it’s foolish to invest this much money into a player who hasn’t powered up versus left-handed pitching this season, but are we seriously going to leave the MVP front runner out of a four-man Blue Jays stack in a hitter-friendly ball park? I’m not about to, so let’ get him into this lineup tonight.
2B – Marcus Semien (TOR) – $3,800 vs. BAL
Next man up in this stack is Semien who has been everything the Blue Jays could have hoped for when they signed him to a one-year deal in free agency this winter.
All he’s done so far with the Jays is hit .290 with 16 home runs, nine steals, a .234 ISO, .378 wOBA and 140 wRC+ across 301 trips to the plate out of that leadoff spot for Toronto. We’ve seen Semien post reverse-splits in the past, and that’s been the case again this season as he’s hit righties better than he has lefties. That said, he still owns a strong .189 ISO, .802 OPS, .346 wOBA and 119 wRC+ on the season against left-handed pitching. Zimmermann has yielded just two steals this season in 59 innings and Semien has just one steal against lefties this season, but I’m still giving him some stolen base upside in addition to the power potential in this matchup.
He carries a three-game hitting streak into this one with a homer and a steal in that time, but also has a home run in three of his last six games, so he’s certainly feeling it at the moment. Add in the fact he has at least one hit in 21 of his last 23 games and it appears we have a very consistent player worth of a cash game tonight.
3B – Miguel Andujar (NYY) – $2,500 vs. OAK
We have two players in this lineup that are not part of any stack, and one is Andujar who lines up against Oakland and right-hander James Kaprielian tonight.
This really doesn’t have much to do with Kaprielian as he’s been good this season while working to a 2.51 ERA/3.88 FIP with a 3.68 xERA to boot. He’s allowed just 0.84 HR/9 on the season, but also a monstrous 49.4% fly-ball rate and 43.4% Statcast hard-hit rate, so the home runs should come for the righty as his 7.3% HR/FB rate is quite low relative to his peers.
Nonetheless, despite hurting us in last night’s slate, Andujar has had success against right-handed pitching not only this season but throughout his MLB career. In 2021, Andujar has hit righties for a .29o average, .188 ISO, .784 OPS, .334 wOBA and 113 wRC+, the latter figure indicating that he’s been 13% better than league average versus right-handed pitching this season. For his career, Andujar has hit right-handers for a .292 average, .199 ISO, .808 OPS, .343 wOBA and 117 wRC+, so his work off righties has certainly been real good since entering the league.
An 0 for 4 night with a walk doesn’t exactly say he’s hit and he has just two singles over his last four games, but the truth is that the 3B position was one of the last two positions I filled and funds were limited. That’s certainly not to say that Andujar is not in a good spot as he’ll go overlooked despite quality numbers versus right-handed pitching, so he’s certainly a key cog in this lineup tonight.
SS – Bo Bichette (TOR) – $4,100 vs. BAL
Like with Semien, we have some quality power/speed upside here with Bichette who is turning into one of the game’s best shortstops despite some elite talent at that position across the league.
On the season, the 23-year-old is hitting .283 with 14 homers, nine steals, a .210 ISO, 353 wOBA and 123 wRC+. Unlike Guerrero and Semien, Bichette owns some traditional splits and has raked left-handed pitching this season.
Against lefties here in 2021, Bichette owns a .250 ISO, .945 OPS, .404 wOBA and 157 wRC+ against left-handed pitching this season, continuing a career-long trend, even if it’s a 637 plate-appearance sample. In his career against lefties, all Bichette has done is hit .340 with a .252 ISO, .979 OPS, .409 wOBA and 159 wRC+. The stolen base upside isn’t the best with just two steals against lefties in his career, but he’s running more this season than ever before, so we certainly cannot rule out the speed aspect here.
As is the case with Semien and Guerrero, we’re getting a real consistent hitter here. Bichette has at least one hit in seven straight games and in 15 of his last 16, so zero’s just aren’t part of his DFS game these days. He also has three homers and two steals over his last six games, so let’s look for that cross-category upside to rear its head again tonight.
OF – Randal Grichuk (TOR) – $3,000 vs. BAL
We’ll go ahead and complete this four-man Blue Jays stack here with Grichuk who has mashed left-handed pitching this season and has been an overlooked member of this dynamite Blue Jays offense this season.
Grichuk is hitting .264 with 13 homers, a .205 ISO, .326 wOBA and 105 wRC+ on the season. While those numbers are solid but not raising many eyebrows, it’s his work against left-handed pitching this season that I am interested in. All he’s done against lefties this season is hit .313 with a monstrous .281 ISO, .917 OPS, .388 wOBA and 146 wRC+ while all of those figures are far superior to his work against lefties. When we factor in his .328 average, .262 ISO, .399 wOBA and 154 wRC+ versus lefties in the shortened 2020 season, he’s been feeling it off southpaws for quite some time now. His work against lefties has been a little better throughout his career, but the splits have rarely been this wide. That said, we’ll take it against a struggling Zimmermann.
It’s the home run power we’re here for. Grichuk owns a very, very strong .235 ISO in his career against left-handed pitching, so while he’s never been one to hit for much average, I’m totally on board with the power potential at a price I deem more than reasonable tonight.
OF – Steven Souza Jr. (LAD) – $2,000 vs. ARI
The second one off in this lineup is Dodgers outfielder Steven Souza Jr. who is obviously an integral part to this group even if only from a cost standpoint. That said, I love the matchup on deck against D-backs left-hander Caleb Smith.
Injuries have derailed what once looked like a promising career, but given how Smith has fared this season, I like his chances. Smith enters this one sporting a 3.61 ERA on the season, but also a 4.09 FIP, 4.69 xERA, 4.66 xFIP and 4.05 SIERA. While those numbers don’t appear to be too alarming, he’s worked to a 5.19 ERA/5.59 FIP/5.11 xFIP as a starter in his four starts this season compared to a 2.70 ERA as a reliever in 18 relief appearances. The Dodgers are projected to score 5.3 runs in this one, so clearly the oddsmakers believe the Dodgers will get to him in this one.
For his part, Souza has appeared in just one game this season two nights back, but mashed for a monstrous .324 ISO, 1.047 OPS, .439 wOBA and 155 wRC+ with six homers in 22 games at the Triple-A level this season. He’s been a solid contributor versus left-handed pitching in his career, working to a 108 wRC+ against southpaw pitching, but hit them for a .207 ISO in his last full season against lefties in the 2018 season before missing all of the 2019 campaign.
Given Smith’s struggles as a starter and Souza’s dominant work at the Triple-A level this season, let’s see if he can provide some big-time value at the minimum price tonight.
OF – Shohei Ohtani (LAA) – $4,000 vs. DET
Now, another matchup I want to target tonight is the Angels and Tigers as the Tigers roll out right-hander Jose Urena, a pitcher sporting some less-than-ideal figures here in the 2021 season.
Urena was solid early for Detroit, but still owns a 5.16 ERA on the season to go along with a 4.23 FIP, 5.35 xERA, 4.98 xFIP and 5.25 SIERA. He’s kept the ball in the yard at a solid 0.59 HR/9 rate thanks to a real good 53.2% ground-ball rate, but considering his 1.12 HR/9 mark for his career, I would suggest some home run regression moving forward.
Ohtani pitched in last night’s game and went 0 for 3 at the plate, but is right there with the aforementioned Guerrero for the AL MVP award. As a hitter, he’s slugged 19 home runs as part of a eye-popping .345 ISO, .969 OPS, .404 wOBA and 160 wRC+. His .424 xwOBA is above his current rate and ranks in the league’s 98th percentile, but he also sits in the 98th hard-hit rate, 96th in average velocity, 85th xBA, 100th in xSLG and 100th in barrel ratel. So, he’s literally been one of the top few hitters in baseball this season.
Urena has also been worse against left-handed bats, so when we factor this all together Ohtani would seem to be a worthwhile investment tonight.
UTIL – Jared Walsh (LAA) – $3,600 vs. DET
Completing this lineup and an Angels mini-stack is Walsh who is having himself a season.
Perhaps we should have seen this coming as Walsh hit .293 with a .393 wOBA, nine homers, a .354 ISO and 153 wRC+ across 108 trips to the plate last season. He’s followed that up with a .281 average, .375 wOBA, 15 homers and a .141 wRC+ across 268 plate appearances here in the 2021 season.
As a lefty-swinger, his figures against righties have been unworldly. Walsh is hitting .333 with a .302 ISO, 1.047 OPS, .437 wOBA and 182 wRC+ versus right-handed pitching this season. For his career, he’s hitting .289 with a .292 ISO, .944 OPS, .392 wOBA and 151 wRC+, so it’s certainly not surprising to see him raking righties again this season.
Another aspect to this entire lineup is the bullpens. All of Baltimore, Arizona and Detroit rank among the bottom nine bullpens in baseball with Detroit and Arizona ranking in the bottom four. These hitters don’t only face weak starting pitching, but also bullpens that are among the league’s worst which is a major factor in MLB DFS. Once again, I’m confident we have a lineup here worthy of cashing in double ups and head-to-heads across the board.