We hit the nail on the head with our pitchers on last night’s FanDuel MLB DFS Picks piece, and while we did get some notable damage from out bats, it was tough to slip into the money on a high-scoring night in Major League Baseball.
Jack Flaherty delivered fantastic value at his $7,700 price tag as he hurled seven innings of one-run ball to go along with eight strikeouts against the Pirates. Unfortunately, Flaherty couldn’t land in the win column as his teammates provided just one run of support and Flaherty wound up with a tough-luck no decision in an eventual Cardinals loss.
Our Indians stack got off to a scorching hot start off of Ryan Carpenter before a rain delay set in and unfortunately, a bad Tigers bullpen actually held Cleveland in check after the third inning. Oscar Mercado led the way with a home run – his third over the last two games – and he stole a base as well. Francisco Lindor doubled, scored a run and had two RBI while Jordan Luplow knocked a pair of doubles and scored a run as well. Unfortunately, Carlos Santana dropped a goose egg in an eventual 8-0 Indians win.
Our four-man Reds stack didn’t quite deliver the low-owned value I had hoped. Eugenio Suarez did as he homered off of the rookie Alec Mills, however that is the only extra-base hit we received from our stack. Derek Dietrich was hit by two pitches, walked and scored a run. As a side note, Dietrich leads baseball with a whopping 20 hit by pitches this season in just 209 at-bats. Yasiel Puig only scored a run while Jesse Winker delivered a walk. We needed more here to complement a strong effort from Flaherty and our four-man Indians stack.
Let’s move on to a lighter nine-game main FanDuel slate and see if we can get into the money!
*We have serious weather concerns on this slate. I will be fading the TB @ NYY, TOR @ BOS and LAD @ PHI games as a result.
P – Chris Paddack (SD) – $8,900 vs. MIA
The top arm on the slate is Gerrit Cole of the Astros, however Cole faces an Angels team that leads baseball with a minuscule 18.2% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching on the season, so I can see this as an opportunity to fade the expensive Cole and slide down to either Mike Clevinger or Chris Paddack. Clevinger hasn’t been all that efficient since his return from a back injury, so I’ll roll with Paddack who enters this one sporting a sparkling 2.84 ERA on the season despite his 3.79 FIP and 3.91 xFIP suggesting some regression. Still, the strikeout upside here is rather large as Paddack sports a healthy 9.51 K/9 on the season and the Marlins enter play sporting a 25% strikeout rate versus right-handed pitching, the fifth-highest mark in baseball. Miami also ranks 29th with a .285 wOBA against righties and this one takes place at Marlins Park which is one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in baseball. With the Marlins projected to score just 3.4 runs and the Padres sitting around -150 to win this one on the moneyline, I like the all-round upside we get with Paddack at a reasonable price tonight.
C/1B – Jose Abreu (CWS) – $3,500 vs. KC
There is one stack that stood out to me right away as the White Sox take on left-hander Danny Duffy tonight in Kansas City. Duffy has struggled again this season as he enters this one sporting a 4.64 ERA, 4.92 FIP and a 5.27 xFIP and an elevated 1.39 HR/9 clip to boot. Interestingly, Duffy has allowed more damage to left-handed bats this season but in his career righties have done far more damage, so I am simply going to roster four right-handed White Sox bats, all of whom are mashing left-handed pitching this season. Abreau is among the top lefty-mashers in the league this year as he enters this one sporting a .356 average, .211 ISO, .956 OPS, .400 wOBA and a huge 155 wRC+ against left-handed pitching this season. The power gets cranked up a few notches on the road against southpaws as Abreu has posted a massive .303 ISO on the road against lefties this season. Finally, Abreu has excellent career numbers against Duffy as he’s gone 17 for 53 (.321) with two homers and two doubles against the left-hander. I am not hesitating to include him in this lineup tonight.
2B – Domingo Leyba (ARI) – $2,200 vs. TEX
After I completed my stacks in this lineup I had a spot open at second base and just $2,500 to fill it, and of that group I like Leyba who should be very low owned on this nine-game slate tonight. Keep an eye on the confirmed lineup as the day moves along for the D-backs as Keyba isn’t guaranteed to start, but if he does I love the value potential. The 23-year-old Leyba has logged just nine big league plate appearances this season, but he’s had an excellent season at Triple-A. Leyba owns a .254 ISO and .914 OPS to go along with 15 home runs at the Triple-A level this season. He managed to go 2 for 2 with a double and an RBI in his most recent start which came on the 14th of July against the Cardinals. I also like the matchup against right-hander Jesse Chavez who has been touched up for a 7.27 ERA with four homers allowed over his last three starts, spanning 16.1 innings. The cost is right, the ownership should be low and the matchup is attractive. Plenty to like about the youngsters upside in this one should he get the starting nod.
3B – Yoan Moncada (CWS) – $3,700 vs. KC
Next man up in the White Sox stack is Moncada who is flexing some serious muscle this season against both left and right-handed pitching. The switch-hitting former top prospects enters this one sporting an overall .222 ISO on the season with 16 home runs and he’s also swiped six bases to boot. The numbers are better against right-handed pitching, however he still owns a .194 ISO and .803 OPS with a 111 wRC+ on the season against southpaw pitching. His extra-base power against lefties have mostly come in doubles form as he has nine of his 18 doubles on the season against southpaws despite logging 138 fewer at-bats against lefties than righties. Keep in mind that these White Sox bats are going to see right-handed pitching tonight as well out of that Royals bullpen, a group that hasn’t been very good this season with a 4.81 bullpen ERA, good for 19th league wide. When this guy hits the ball hard it goes a long way so let’s look for some solid contact tonight against the left-hander Duffy.
SS – Leury Garcia (CWS) – $2,900 vs. KC
With Tim Anderson on the shelf Garcia has taken over everyday duties at shortstop and I love his cross-category upside tonight out of the leadoff spot against Duffy. Garcia enters this one sporting a .327 average, and .830 OPS on the season with a .354 wOBA and 124 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. He too has been hitting plenty of doubles against lefties with eight f them in just 101 at-bats against southpaws this season to go along with his two homers off of them. Of course with Garcia we also get some stolen base upside as he has eight steals on the season, two of which have come against left-handed pitching. He’s been almost equally as productive on the road this season than he has at home with a .167 ISO, .814 OPS, .344 wOBA and 117 wRC+ on the road against left-handed pitching this season. Finally, he owns some solid career numbers against Duffy has he’s gone 6 for 21 (.286) with a triple and a double against the southpaw. Let’s look for Garcia to do some damage out of that valuable leadoff spot tonight.
OF – Whit Merrifield (KC) – $3,800 vs. CWS
I think we have a high-scoring affair in store in this AL Central rivalry game tonight as the Royals should be able to get to right-hander Ivan Nova as judged by their 5.6 runs projection as well as the numbers Nova has put forth this season. The veteran righty sports a 5.60 ERA and a 5.44 FIP to go along with a huge 1.87 HR/9 rate and a tiny 5.96 K/9 clip. That 5.60 ERA ranks him 73rd out of 75 qualified pitchers in the big leagues this season. As a result, I am going to roster three of the Royals’ best hitters against right-handed pitching this season beginning here with Merrifield who has indeed been their best bat against righties. Merrifield is a solid power/speed threat as he has hit 12 homers and swiped 14 bases on the season. In terms of home-run power, he’s been better against lefties, but he owns a .161 ISO, .863 OPS, .363 wOBA and a 127 wRC+ mark against righties, the latter of which is better than his 123 mark against lefties. Merrifield is red-hot coming out of the All-Star break by going 8 for 20 (.400) with a triple, a double and a home run with the latter two coming in last night’s game against the White Sox. He’s also stolen a base in that stretch. Plenty of cross-category upside here with Merrifield out of the leadoff spot tonight.
OF – Alex Gordon (KC) – $2,900 vs. CWS
Next man up in the Royals stack is Gordon who if projected to hit out of the three-hole in this one tonight. Gordon has done some solid damage against right-handed pitching this season and also has some very strong numbers against Nova for his career. Entering play tonight, Gordon owns a rock-solid .186 ISO, .829 OPS and 116 wRC+ on the season against right-handed pitching. Those numbers get a ever-so-slight boost to a .190 ISO, .838 OPS and a 119 wRC+ at home against righties this season. In his career against Nova, Gordon has gone 4 for 17 (.267), but he’s homered and doubled in that time which also gives him a .267 ISO and .886 OPS for his career against Nova. We also some some stolen base upside with Gordon as he has swiped five bases on the season and Nova is susceptible to stolen bases with seven against him in 106 innings on the season. We get some more cross-category upside with Gordon in this lineup tonight.
OF – Jorge Soler (KC) – $3,500 vs. CWS
Completing our three-man Royals stack is Soler who probably brings the most home run upside into this lineup tonight. Prior to this season, Soler had a career-high of 12 home runs in a single big league season which came in 2016 with the Cubs in just 86 games. Soler has more than doubled that previous career-high already this season as he’s launched 25 long balls in 96 games to this point. He’s not going to hit for a big average or log big OBP numbers, but the power is not to be messed with. Entering this one tonight, Soler sports a massive .305 ISO and .880 OPS with a .362 wOBA and 126 wRC+ on the season against right-handed pitching. Those splits are actually quite reverse as the righty-swinging Soler sports just a .173 ISO, .692 OPS, .295 wOBA and 81 wRC+ on the season against left-handed pitching. Furthermore, Soler has destroyed right-handed pitching at Kauffman Stadium this season as he sports an eye-popping .349 ISO, .974 OPS, .396 wOBA and 149 wRC+ against righties at home this season. Look for some power from Soler against a pitcher in Nova who has allowed plenty of home runs this season.
UTIL – James McCann (CWS) – $3,300 vs. KC
Completing our lineup and four-man White Sox stack tonight is McCann who has been one of the best bounce back stories in baseball this season. He was cut loose by the Tigers prior to the season after a dismal 2018 that saw him produce a horrific .258 wOBA and 58 wRC+ to go along with a -0.5 WAR. Fast forward to this season and McCann is hitting .305 with a .187 ISO, .359 wOBA and 127 wRC+ and just took part in the All-Star festivities. He was most able to hit left-handed pitching quite well in most of his tenure with the Tigers and that is something that has continued into his first season with the White Sox. Entering this one tonight, McCann sports a .232 ISO and .948 OPS to go along with a .398 wOBA and 153 wRC+ on the season against left-handed pitching. Furthermore, he’s done some serious damage on the road versus lefties with a .292 ISO, 1.131 OPS, .468 wOBA and massive 201 wRC+ against southpaws on the road. Let’s look for his bounce back season to continue tonight in Kansas City as the projected cleanup hitter for the White Sox and this stack.