Our tough week continued with last night’s FanDuel MLB DFS Picks, although there was some improvement within last night’s group.
Our starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz surrendered just two earned runs, but he also allowed eight hits and a pair of walks and lasted just 4.2 innings as a result, falling one out shy of qualifying for what was eventually a Braves win. He struck out just three in the process to give us a lackluster foundation in the lineup.
Our four-man Twins stack left plenty to be desired despite the team scoring eight runs against Ross Detwiler and the White Sox bullpen. Mitch Garver was by far the best bat of the group as he homered as part of a three-hit night with two runs and two RBI as well. Nelson Cruz gave us just two walks, Miguel Sano knocked in a run and C.J. Cron delivered only a single on this night.
Our three-man Indians stack was carried by just one bat – Jason Kipnis. The Indians’ second baseman homered twice, once off of starter Jordan Zimmermann and once off of the poor Tigers bullpen. Franmil Reyes singled and walked while Yasiel Puig delivered a goose egg.
Finally, our one-off shortstop – Detroit’s Willi Castro – knocked in a run via a sacrifice fly.
We’re still looking to get the bats going this week and that will be the goal on tonight’s six-game main slate!
P – Jacob deGrom (NYM) – $11,300 vs. CHC
For GPP purposes I did some research on every pitcher on this slate, but at the end of the day I couldn’t justify not at least reaching for deGrom’s ceiling as he takes on the Cubs tonight. The Cubs can certainly hit right-handed pitching and current Cubs players have combined to hit .299 with a rock-solid .777 OPS against him, however the Cubs are a little strikeout prone as well and deGrom boasts double-digit strikeout upside regardless of who he faces in any given outing. Entering this one tonight, deGrom sports a 2.56 ERA, 2.67 FIP and a 3.20 xFIP on the season to go along with a bit-time 11.50 K/9 clip, numbers that have actually seen him climb back into the Cy Young race after a rough start to the season. In his most recent outing, deGrom faced a similarly dangerous Braves offense, however all deGrom did to Atlanta was hurl seven innings of one-run ball to go along with a whopping 13 punchouts. deGrom has allowed just two earned runs over his last three starts combined, spanning 19 innings of work. He hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs since back on June 28th and hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in a start since May 17th. Eight of his 26 starts this season have resulted in double-digit strikeouts and with the Cubs sporting the league’s 10th-highest K-rate versus righties at 23.6%, his ninth might not be far away.
C/1B – Pete Alonso (NYM) – $4,100 vs. CHC
Pete Alonso is enjoying a record-setting season with the Mets in 2019 as he’s already set the record for most home runs in Mets rookie history and is now the all-time home run leader for a single-season in Mets history. Next on the chopping block is the MLB rookie home run record, and there’s a solid chance he gets that done tonight against left-hander Jon Lester. After a lights-out start to the season, Lester has scuffled of late and has certainly been blowup prone as well. The veteran lefty allowed six earned runs in his last outing against the Nationals and allowed a whopping nine earned runs four starts ago against the A’s, one start after allowing five earned runs to the Cardinals. Not only is Lester blowup prone, but Alonso is embarrassing left-handed pitching at home this season to the tune of an unworldly .520 ISO, 1.173 OPS, .453 wOBa and 187 wRC+. Is that good? The guy has homered seven times in just 50 at-bats against lefties at home this season. He’s also cruising right along at the moment as Alonso has posted a big-time .319 ISO, .980 OPS, .395 wOBA and 150 wRC+ so far in the month of August. I think I’ll take this type of production and run with the man they call Polar Bear.
2B – Nick Solak (TEX) – $2,900 vs. SEA
The Texas Rangers face a familiar foe tonight as they take on right-hander Felix Hernandez in the veteran’s second start back from a length IL stint. While Hernandez posted a nice 3.38 ERA across five rehab starts and allowed just two earned runs across 5.2 innings in his return to the big leagues, he still owns a 6.09 ERA and a 5.80 FIP on the season after pitching to a 5.55 ERA and 5.18 FIP last season. As a result, I believe some Rangers exposure is in order as I’ll kick off a mini-stack with here with Nick Solak. The former Rays and Yankees farmhand has been red-hot at the plate since debuting in the big leagues with the Rangers this season as Solak owns a .357/.486/.536 slash line across the first nine games and 35 plate appearances of his career, good for a 166 wRC+. Obviously, this type of output isn’t going to be sustainable, but I like the upside against a pitcher that’s largely struggled over the last couple of seasons. After all, Solak has hit 27 home runs between the Rangers and Rays Triple-A affiliates this season and he’s stolen five bases to boot in the minors. He’s homered once and has yet to steal in the big leagues, but clearly the potential is there. I like Solak at this spot as opposed to the super low floor that fellow Rangers second base-eligible player Rougned Odor brings to the table.
3B – Starlin Castro (MIA) – $2,400 vs. CIN
Given the sky-high price we are paying for deGrom and the simple lack of options on a small six-game slate, I am going to lineup a Marlins stack in this lineup as well as they take on left-hander Alex Wood and the Cincinnati Reds tonight. While Wood has largely been a reliable MLB arm with a 3.39 ERA across 833 big league innings for his career, he’s actually struggling big-time this season after spending much of the year on the IL with a back issue. Across six starts this season, Wood has been knocked around for a 6.07 ERA, a number very much supported by his almost-identical 6.04 FIP. He’s also allowed home runs at an alarming 2.43 HR/9 rate, so I want to target Wood before he gets things straightened out. Castro, despite having a down year, is actually having a nice year against left-handed pitching with a .321 average, .172 ISO, .833 OPS, .347 wOBA and a 118 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. In other words, with park factors included, Castro has been 18% better than league average versus southpaws this season. He also owns a powerful .217 ISO at home versus lefties this season. Finally, he’s had plenty of success against Wood in the past as he’s gone 5 for 10 with a double against the veteran lefty. I’ll take all of the above at a bargain price versus a struggling Wood tonight.
SS – Amed Rosario (NYM) – $2,800 vs. CHC
Rosario brings nice tools to the table against Lester in this one tonight and the fact that he is very likely to hit in the leadoff spot just gives him all the more value at this reasonable price considering his numbers versus lefties and his career numbers versus Lester. On the season against left-handed pitching, Rosario has posted a eye-popping stat line of a .322 average, .235 ISO, .930 OPS, .385 wOBA and huge 143 wRC+. No wonder why he hits leadoff against lefties, right? Rosario also brings some nice stolen base upside to the table with 15 steals on the season to go along with his 12 home runs – five against lefties – but only two of his 15 steals have come against a southpaw. That said, Rosario does have two steals against Lester in his career as he’s also gone 5 for 9 against him, albeit with all of those five hits coming in single form. Lester has quieted the running game this season after years of an inability to throw over to first base as he once allowed a whopping 44 steals in a season. He’s allowed just seven to this point in the year, but Rosario very much remains a threat in this area. His big-time numbers versus lefties, his spot as the leadoff hitter, his numbers against Lester and his power/speed combination all give me plenty of optimism for Rosario to provide nice value tonight.
OF – J.D. Davis (NYM) – $2,900 vs. CHC
I will complete my three-man Mets stack right here with Davis, a stack I wanted to go one further with but we can only roster three Mets bats due to using deGrom as our pitcher. Nonetheless, it’s been a productive season for Davis in his first full big league campaign as he’s hit both lefties and righties for notable power. Against lefties, Davis is hitting .310 with a .195 ISO, .885 OPS, .369 wOBA and 133 wRC+. Those numbers are actually almost identical to his numbers against right-handed pitching as well, which is good as it makes him rather matchup-proof for when the Cubs’ bullpen enters the game. The one thing that I am loving about Davis tonight is his home/road splits. On the road, Davis owns a tiny .118 ISO, .692 OPS, .297 wOBA and 80 wRC+. However, at home, his bat simply explodes to the tune of a .318 ISO, 1.100 OPS, .446 wOBA and a 189 wRC+. I mean, with park factors included, Davis’ bat has been a whopping 89% (!!!) above league average at home this season. The home numbers favor left-handers as well, which is another tidbit of good news in this matchup against the southpaw Lester. Finally, Davis has homered in back-to-back games and is 5 for 12 in that time as well, so let’s ensure we get this lights-out bat at home into this lineup tonight.
OF – Willie Calhoun (TEX) – $3,700 vs. SEA
Calhoun was brought over from the Los Angeles Dodgers organization in the trade that sent Yu Darvish to the Dodgers in 2017. Afterwards, while Calhoun has always done damage in the minors, he struggled in his first taste of big league action in 2017 and once again scuffled when given a chance in 2018 as well. However, 2019 has been a different story. Calhoun has made good on the hype surrounding him at the time of the trade as he’s smacked 15 home runs and owns a .275 ISO across 56 games at the big league level this season. Interestingly, the lefty-swinging outfielder owns reverse splits and has hit left-handed pitching for a ton of power this season, something we’ve seen in the minors as well, however he still enters tonight sporting a .215 ISO, .813 OPS, .339 wOBA and 104 wRC+ on the season versus right-handed pitching. Again, since he hits both lefties and righties for power, I like his chances in the matchup game later on in this one. Calhoun has been feeling it at the plate in the month of August as well with a .301 ISO, .904 OPS, .370 wOBA and a 125 wRC+ so far for the month while he’s homered four times over his last nine games and went 2 for 4 with a double and a walk his last time out. He completes our Rangers mini-stack against Hernandez tonight.
OF – Harold Ramirez (MIA) – $2,200 vs. CIN
I did some research to see if I wanted Ramirez or Austin Dean involved in this stack, and Ramirez got the edge in my opinion as Dean has yet to put it together at the big league level despite some big-time minor league numbers against both lefties and righties. The 24-year-old Ramirez, while not exactly tearing the cover off the baseball at the big league level, does have a solid .741 OPS, .310 wOBA and 94 wRC+ on the season against left-handed pitching. Prior to getting the call to the big leagues in 2019, Ramirez posted an enormous 1.154 OPS with two homers and six doubles across 30 at-bats against left-handed pitching at the Triple-A level. Like many young bats in this league, Ramirez is certainly dealing with consistency issues, and given his price, that’s obvious. However, he does have a couple of three-hit games over the last 11 days and a two-hit game mixed in. While I certainly think there’s potential in his bat, especially against lefties, this also has something to do with the fact that Wood is allowing an .896 OPS to right-handed hitters this season as well as a 2.28 HR/9 rate. He also owns a 6.17 FIP versus right-handed hitters this season. Some production from the low-owned Ramirez would give this lineup a big shot in the arm tonight.
UTIL – Garrett Cooper (MIA) – $2,500 vs. CIN
Completing our lineup and three-man Marlins stack is Cooper who will technically lead off this stack tonight out of the projected three-hole. As a result, if the FantasyLabs lineup projection proves true, we will have a 3-4-5 stack with the trio of Cooper, Castro and Ramirez, an optimal stack to be sure. Cooper is a little bit of a late bloomer at 28-year-old and with just 120 big league games under his belt, but he’s shown some pop this season with 12 home runs and owns a 108 wRC+ that proves his bat has indeed been more productive than league average with park factors considered. His splits are reverse in the sense that his bat has been more productive on an overall basis versus right-handed pitching, but the power is increased versus lefties as he owns a .183 ISO versus lefties compared to a .143 mark against righties. Five of his 12 homers have come against lefties despite seeing them far less than right-handed pitchers. The good news is that Cooper owns a .211 ISO, .815 OPS, .338 wOBA and 111 wRC+ at homer versus left-handed pitching this season. He has largely scuffled in August, but is riding a modest three-game hit streak into tonight’s action and doubled in last night’s game, his first extra-base hit in a week and a half. Let’s see if this three-man Marlins stack can deliver some value against the struggling Wood this evening.