Last night’s FanDuel MLB DFS Picks got some nice results from the pitching but we didn’t get enough extra-base power from our bats to get into the money on this night.
Zac Gallen was real good for us, throwing five shutout innings, allowing just one hit while striking out six in a winning effort over the visiting Phillies. Certainly a nice impression to make for your new club.
While our pitcher was good, there wasn’t a ton of production to speak of with our bats.
In fact, our lone extra-base hit on the night came from Fernando Tatis Jr. as the polarizing rookie hit another leadoff home run, giving me plenty of hope that the Padres were going to be able to have a big night off of Yusei Kikuchi and a bad Mariners bullpen. Instead, we only managed a pair of singles and a walk the rest of the way from our stack, certainly a wildly disappointing result.
Our D-backs mini-stack combined to recorded three hits, but all went for singles. They did score three runs as well to give us some palatable results in the end.
Finally, our Red Sox mini-stack combined for just two singles in a game that had to be suspended in the top of the 10th inning.
After back-to-back profitable lineups, we fell short last night. Let’s look to turn things around on tonight’s eight-game main slate!
P – Jon Gray (COL) – $7,900 vs. SD
There are some names above Gray on this slate tonight, most notably Chris Sale. However, Sale takes on an Angels team that does not strike out much at all, so I think this might be an opportunity to slide down a bit and pay less for what could amount to similar production here with Gray against the Padres. Unlike the Angels, the Padres do in fact strike out a ton as their 26.2% strikeout rate versus right-handed pitching is the second-highest mark in all of baseball this season. That’s good news for Gray who enters this one tonight sporting a healthy 9.18 K/9 on the season, a number that actually jumps to 9.78 K/9 on the road outside of the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field in Colorado. For the season, he sports a solid 4.03 ERA, 4.15 FIP and a 3.94 xFIP while the ERA creeps up to 4.17 on the road, interestingly. Gray has seen a ton of the Padres this season as tonight will mark his fifth start of the season against them, but only one of his previous four has some at Petco Park in San Diego and it went swimmingly as he hurled seven innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts in a win back on April 16th. I’ll look for similar results with more strikeouts in this one tonight.
C/1B – Sam Travis (BOS) – $2,600 vs. LAA
As noted, the Angels and Red Sox open up a series tonight at Fenway and the Red Sox get a real favorable matchup with left-hander Dillon Peters getting the starting nod for the road side. Peters enters this one sporting a 3.20 ERA in two starts and seven big league appearances this season, but he also owns a 5.23 FIP, 5.00 xFIP and a 1.78 HR/9 clip that suggests some massive regression. Furthermore Peters posted a ghastly 6.47 ERA and a 1.74 HR/9 across 11 starts and 13 appearances at the Triple-A level this season, so we certainly have something to work with here. Enter Travis who hasn’t hit for a ton of home run power at either the MLB level or minor league level this season, but he does fare well against lefties. In fact, both of his big league homers this season are off of a lefty while he owns a .196 ISO and .734 OPS against lefties this season and an .809 OPS, .343 wOBA and 109 wRC+ at home against lefties. He also clobbered lefties for a big-time .955 OPS at Triple-A prior to his call up. We could have some nice value upside if Travis can continue his yeoman’s work against left-handed pitching this season.
2B – Michael Chavis (BOS) – $3,000 vs. LAA
Next man up in our three-man Red Sox stack is Chavis who does indeed hit for plenty of home run power with 18 long balls on the season, eight of which have come against left-handed pitching in significantly fewer at-bats than he’s had against righties. The batting average is higher against right-handed pitching, but the power is notably higher against left-handed pitching as he owns a big .267 ISO to go along with a .772 OPS against lefties on the season. His numbers are a little better on the road this year, but the power remains at home with a .234 ISO against left-handed pitching at Fenway Park this season. Chavis hasn’t been quite as productive in the second half of the season as he was in the first half, but he’s gone 5 for 10 with a homer over his last three games. The 23-year-old has a long history of hitting for power throughout the minor leagues and that power has transitioned well into the big leagues so let’s look for that to continue tonight in one of the best matchups on the slate.
3B – Kris Bryant (CHC) – $3,900 vs. CIN
The Cubs and Red renew NL Central hostilities tonight in Cincinnati and I’m liking me a three-man Cubs stack here. The Cubs will take on left-hander Alex Wood who is a good pitcher and has fared very well between the bullpen and rotation in his MLB career, but this is just his third start of the season after dealing with a long-term back issue. The Reds also have a good bullpen, but this is simply a case of rostering three players that clobber left-handed pitching. The Cubs do have a run projection of five tonight, so the oddsmakers believe they have some upside in this one as well. Enter Bryant who sports a .333 average to go along with a massive .369 ISO, 1.148 OPS, .463 wOBA and 190 wRC+ on the season against left-handed pitching. The numbers on the road against lefties are even better with a .421 IOS, 1.184 OPS, .475 wOBA and a 198 wRC+ on the road versus southpaw pitching this season. Furthermore Bryant has gone 3 for 8 (.375) with a double and a homer in his career against the veteran left-hander Wood. The confines of Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati are hitter-friendly as all signs point towards some power production from the lefty-mashing Bryant tonight.
SS – Javier Baez (CHC) – $4,400 vs. CIN
Next man up in the Cubs stack is Baez, who like Bryant hits both left and right-handed pitching well, but also like Bryant, the numbers against lefties are massive. Interestingly, Baez owns the same .333 average against lefties that Bryant posted, and he also owns a huge .356 ISO, 1.062 OPS, .428 wOBA and 167 wRC+ on the season against lefties. Again, the power numbers are superior on the road with a .378 ISO, 1.029 OPS, .417 wOBA and 160 wRC+ on the road against lefties this season. Baez hasn’t missed a beat since the All-Star break with a .276 ISO and .908 OPS since July 12th. The most interesting part of his splits comes when we take a look at the stolen base column. Baez has nine steals on the season, but in a turn of events, six of those nine swipes have come against a left-handed pitcher. This despite logging just 87 at-bats against a lefty compared to 367 at-bats against a righty. Not sure I’ve seen something like that all season given the fact he’s seen far more right-handers than left-handers. Finally, Baez is also 3 for 8 (.375) against Wood in his career with a double mixed in as well.
OF – Nicholas Castellanos (CHC) – $3,400 vs. CIN
Completing our three-man Cubs stack is Castellanos who just came to Chicago in a deadline deal from the Detroit Tigers. Castellanos has been tearing the cover off of the baseball since coming over to Chicago as he’s hitting .379 with a massive .310 ISO and 1.090 OPS across just 30 plate appearances with the Cubs. He has doubled six times and homered once over his seven games as a Cub to this point. Furthermore, he’s doubled four times and homered over his last three games. The white-hot bat should play well in this matchup tonight as Castellanos has long mashed left-handed pitching. This season, he owns a .354 average, .278 ISO, 1.049 OPS, .428 wOBA and a 170 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. Last season, he hit lefties for a .381 average, 1.004 OPS, .424 wOBA and 172 wRC+ He doesn’t hit for the most home run power in the world with 12 home runs on the season, but he is an absolute doubles machine with 43 doubles on the season and led the AL in doubles prior to moving to the Cubs. He should continue to rake tonight out of that valuable two-hole in the lineup.
OF – Andrew Benintendi (BOS) – $3,800 vs. LAA
Now, prior to this season, I would never have used Benintendi against a left-handed pitcher and I especially wouldn’t pay a price such as $3,800 to do so. However, I think this is a great opportunity to grab Benintendi at low ownership as most people won’t even look into his splits and look to roster solely right-handed bats against Peters. Well, a look at the splits tell us that he is hitting left and right-handed pitching fairly equally here in 2019. Benintendi enters this one sporting a .282 average, .173 ISO, .827 OPS and a 116 wRC+ on the season against left-handed pitching, numbers that are almost identical to his numbers against righties. Furthermore, Benintendi has been much better this season at home and his numbers are better against lefties at home as well as he’s posted a big-time .263 ISO, .926 OPS, .384 wOBA and a 137 wRC+ against lefties at Fenway this season. Finally, Benintendi has been red-hot at the dish since the All-Star break with a .252 ISO, .941 OPS, .390 wOBA and a 141 wRC+ in the season’s second half. Given the slight reverse splits, the hot second half and the sheer damage he’s done at home against lefties this season, I think we can get the high-priced Benintendi at low ownership against a left-handed starter tonight.
OF – JaCoby Jones (DET) – $2,900 vs. KC
Speaking of low ownership, I think we can get some more of that tonight as Jones and the Tigers take on right-hander Jorge Lopez and the Kansas City Royals. The Tigers are one of the worst-hitting teams overall this season and against right-handed pitching, but I think we have something to work with here nonetheless. Keep in mind Lopez enters this one sporting a brutal 6.19 ERA and 5.22 FIP on the season to go along with a big 1.81 HR/9 rate allowed. Jones’ bat has been one of the brighter spots in a dismal Tigers’ season and the righty-swinging Jones sports some reverse splits as well. Entering play tonight, Jones sports a .215 ISO, .784 OPS, .330 wOBA and a 105 wRC+ on the season against right-handed pitching. He’s also managed an increased .231 ISO at home against righties despite the pitcher-friendly nature of Comerica Park in Detroit. We also get some stolen base upside with Jones as he’s swiped seven bases in an injury-shortened season, six of which have come against a righty. He’s hit 10 of his 11 homers against righties, 15 of his 19 doubles and all three of his triples to boot. He’s also 2 for 5 with a pair of runs scored in his brief history against Lopez. Finally, Jones is projected to hit in that valuable leadoff spot tonight so let’s see if he can deliver some low-owned production as well.
UTIL – Brandon Dixon (DET) – $3,100 vs. KC
Completing our lineup and our Tigers mini-stack tonight is Dixon who has brought some considerable power to the table this season and is certainly the top power bat on the club this season. Like his teammate Jones, Dixon also sports some reverse splits as the right-handed Dixon sports a .236 ISO, .821 OPS, .340 wOBA and 112 wRC+ on the season against righties compared to a .190 ISO, .718 OPS, .301 wOBA and an 85 wRC+ against lefties here in 2019. Dixon has launched 14 homers on the year, 11 of which have come against a righty while nine of his 12 doubles and all three of his triples have come against a righty as well. Keep in mind Dixon has done all this damage in just 82 games as he didn’t debut this season until almost a month into the year and didn’t get full-time playing duties until later on. We also get some undercover stolen base upside with the 27-year-old as he has five steals on the season, all of which have come against a right-handed pitcher. He’s going to hit in the leadoff spot in this one tonight and the hope is both he and Jones can hit for power, or at least have Jones get on base for Dixon to flex some muscle against a pitcher that’s allowed plenty of home runs on the season.