We received some big-time production from our bats in last night’s FanDuel MLB DFS Picks that helped us overcome a horrible pitching performance from Steven Matz.
Matz was inexplicably touched up for six earned runs in five innings of work while he struck out three. A pair of homer – including a grand slam – surrendered to Marlins catcher Jorge Alfaro was the major damage.
However, boy did we get some value from our bats. Alfaro’s grand slam wasn’t the only one of its kind in last night’s affair as our Amed Rosario also hit a grand slam to give us massive value at just $2,500. J.D. Davis also delivered value with a trio of hits including a double. Unfortunately, the pricey Pete Alonso gave us just a single.
Our four-man Blue Jays stack turned into just a mini-stack as shortstop Bo Bichette once again did not play with a concussion and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is out for the season after having his appendix removed. That said, we received a home run from Cavan Biggio while he added three walks, two runs and two RBI as well. Vladdy Guerrero Jr. singled twice, scored a run and added an RBI in the Jay’s 11-10, 15-inning walk-off win. What you did with the vacated spot from Biggio and Gurriel would go a long way towards whether you cashed or not.
The best performance of the night came from our one-off Austin Hays of the Orioles. Hays enjoyed a monster evening, slugging two home runs, singling, scoring two runs and driving in five. If that weren’t enough, he stole his first big league bag of the season. What a wonderful effort from the youngster and one of the best individual performances we have had all season.
Let’s keep the bats rolling into tonight’s 13-game main slate and see if we can find a pitcher to give us the foundation we need.
P – Gerrit Cole (HOU) – $12,300 vs. SEA
Well, turns out that pitcher is going to be Gerrit Cole as he takes on the Seattle Mariners tonight in the pitcher-friendly confines of Safeco Field. Given the current role he’s on, it’s hard not fade the right-hander as he’s reached double-digit strikeouts in each of his last last seven starts and at least 14 strikeouts in three of those seven which includes a start against the Mariners in early September. The Mariners are a team that can touch you up if you’re off, but that’s an absolute rarity for Cole. He enters this start sporting a 2,61 ERA, 2.74 FIP and 2.56 xFIP on the season to go along with a league-leading 13.57 K/9 rate. The K-rate could get yet another boost tonight against a Mariners team that enters play tied for 26th with a 25.6% K-rate versus right-handed piching this season. Furthermore, Cole has baffled the Mariners all season long from both a strikeout and run-suppressing point of view. In three starts against the Mariners this season, Cole owns a 1.71 ERA and has posted a gigantic 15.43 K/9 rate that includes a double-digit strikeout game in all three starts. I’m not sure there’s a whole lot more to add other than the fact that you could be missing out on a massive strikeout total with a Cole fade in this matchup tonight.
C/1B – Justin Smoak (TOR) – $2,800 vs. BAL
The Blue Jays have put the boots to the Orioles league-worst pitching staff a few times of late, including last night when they scored 11 runs against their lowly AL East rivals. Tonight they will take on right-hander Dylan Bundy, who hasn’t been as bad as he was in 2018 but he’s still sporting a 4.89 ERA, 4.76 FIP and 4.56 xFIP on the season with a 1.63 HR/9 against as well. Save for the xFIP, all of those numbers are improvements over a disastrous 2018 campaign, but the Blue Jays can flex plenty of muscle, the Rogers Centre in Toronto is a hitter-friendly venue and the Orioles bullpen allows the most home runs in baseball, so I am digging some more cost-efficient Jays exposure in this one tonight. Enter Smoak who has had a fairly disappointing season with just 19 homers and a 99 wRC+, something that made it difficult for Toronto to find a trade deadline suitor for the slugger. That said, his best work comes at home against right-handed pitching where he owns a .259 ISO, .846 OPS, .360 wOBA and 125 wRC+ against them. Keep in mind he’s a switch-hitter, but the power has been far, far superior versus righties and his work at home against them gives him some nice value upside.
2B – Ozzie Albies (ATL) – $3,600 vs. KC
The Braves and Royals do battle in some interleague action tonight from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City and I for one and liking some lefty-mashing Braves exposure against southpaw Danny Duffy. Duffy has been very good over his last three starts, allowing just two earned runs combined in those outings. While I’d like to target a struggling pitcher, Duffy’s last few seasons have been riddled with inconsistency and his 4.30 ERA, 4.76 FIP and 5.08 xFIP on the season is certainly nothing to write home about. Besides, I am strictly rostering lefty-mashers minus Ronald Acuna Jr. who was simply too expensive to fit in behind Cole. Albies is also a switch-hitter, but he is far better from the right side of the plate versus left-handed pitching. In such scenarios, Albies has posted a .394 average, .303 ISO, 1.109 OPS, .455 wOBA and 182 wRC+. Those are simply massive numbers. The production is a little better at home, but let’s not argue with his .308 ISO, 1.053 OPS, .432 wOBA and 163 wRC+ on the road against southpaws this season. We also get a touch of stolen base upside as he’s swiped 15 bases on the season, three of which have come against a lefty. With these numbers and his projected spot out of the two-hole tonight, sign me up.
3B – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR) – $3,200 vs. BAL
Next man up in our four-man Blue Jays stack is Guerrero who, as I mentioned in yesterday’s piece, sports some reverse-splits this season and owns better numbers against right-handed pitching – by far. Against righties, the former top prospect has posted a .298 average, .178 ISO, .838 OPS, .354 wOBA and 121 wRC+. Against lefties, he’s hitting just .219 with a tiny .133 ISO, .652 OPS, .285 wOBA and 75 wRC+. Given his gargantuan minor league numbers in recent years, you would expect some more production, but this league is just tough on left-handed bats. Still, I’m more than happy to use him in this stack against a right-handed starter. After all, he did record his fifth two-hit game out of his last six in last night’s extra-inning win and he will also carry an eight-game hitting streak into this one tonight. Although he has just two doubles and zero homers in that time, Orioles pitchers have ended plenty of homerless droughts this season and it would not be a shock to see that take place tonight.
SS – Tim Anderson (CWS) – $3,100 vs. CLE
After entering my pitcher, four-man Blue Jays stack and three-man Braves stack, I has $3,200 left over and I want to use Anderson who lines up as a quality GPP option tonight, in my opinion. Yes, the matchup is certainly a tough one as Anderson takes on right-hander Mike Clevinger and his 2.54 ERA on the season. However, there’s a few things that I like about Anderson’s potential tonight at what I assume will be very low ownership. First, the splits are reverse this season as Anderson has hit right-handers better than he has lefties. Against righties, Anderson has posted a .336 average, .183 ISO, .877 OPS, .367 wOBA and 132 wRC+ on the season against right-handed pitching. I mean, he’s hit lefties as well and owns a 122 wRC+ against them, but the numbers are better against righties. Second, Anderson also carries with some notable stolen base potential with 17 steals on the season, 13 of which have come against a right-hander. Third, the dude just knows how to hit. Anderson is leading baseball with a .334 batting average on the season. Lastly, he’s having a huge month of September that includes a .229 ISO, .993 OPS, .411 wOBA and 161 wRC+. He’s hit in 18 of his last 19, has two homers and a double over his last six and could give this lineup a big boost with some production at low ownership this evening.
OF – Adam Duvall (ATL) – $2,400 vs. KC
There’s going to be a couple of dirt-cheap Braves outfielders to complete our three-man Braves stack tonight, beginning here with Duvall who gives us a ton of value upside as he’s crushed lefties regardless of where he’s played this season. Duvall spent a big chunk of the season playing at Triple-A where he was absolutely obliterating left-handed pitching. In 99 at-bats against Triple-A left-handers, Duvall posted a massive 1.203 OPS thanks to clubbing 11 homers and seven doubles in those 99 at-bats. In the big leagues across a smaller sample, all Duvall has done against lefties is hit .379 with a .483 ISO, 1.303 OPS, .509 wOBA and 218 wRC+. Sure, it’s in a 29 at-bat sample size, but it’s hard to argue that Duvall isn’t white-hot against lefties at either level this season and I don’t see much reason why we should expect that to stop against Duffy. After all, the price is right and his price as a lefty-masher has allowed us to roster some higher-priced players in these stacks as well. Three of his last six hits have gone for home runs and I see some of the best value upside on the slate in his bat.
OF – Austin Riley (ATL) – $2,200 vs. KC
If Duvall doesn’t have the most value on the slate, perhaps Riley does as he is destroying some left-handed pitching in the big leagues despite not faring so well against them in the minors. Riley’s Triple-A splits were actually reverse as he posted a big-time 1.071 OPS against righties but just a .788 OPS against lefties. That said, it’s been a different story in the bigs as he’s pummeled left-handed piching to the tune of a .424 ISO, 1.048 OPS, .403 wOBA and 149 wRC+. I’d say those are some decent numbers versus lefties for the price we are getting him at. Again, we’re dealing with a small 59 at-bat sample size here, but this is a guy who was costing well over $3,000 earlier in the season during his red-hot start after his promotion, so the discount is unfathomable here. He’s been pretty quiet after missing more than a month with injury, but he did homer two starts ago and has two pinch-hit doubles over his last two pinch-hit opportunities. He should get the starting nod against a southpaw tonight and combined with the massive numbers from Albies and Duvall against lefties, completes a high-ceiling three-man Braves stack as well.
OF – Billy McKinney (TOR) – $2,200 vs. BAL
The value train continues here with McKinney who has assumed leadoff duties in the absence of Bo Bichette and he’s done a masterful job since earning the promotion to the top of the lineup. He’s actually only been in the leadoff spot for two games, however in that time he’s gone 4 for 10 with two homers, three runs and three RBI as well. A low batting average and iffy walk rates are destroying most of his advanced metrics, but there is no doubt that McKinney has notable pop in his bat. Against right-handed pitching this season, the former Yankees farmhand has posted a .201 ISO. For good measure, he owns a .204 mark against lefties. It’s not surprising in the least to see McKinney’s power reign supreme at the Rogers Centre. At home, McKinney owns a .212 ISO, but he’s also posted a .238 ISO at home against right-handed pitching this season. There’s something to be said about using a red-hot bat out of the leadoff spot as part of a four-man stack against a brutal pitching staff. That’s precisely the spot we find McKinney at a near-minimum price, so sign me up all day long in this spot tonight.
UTIL – Randal Grichuk (TOR) – $3,000 vs. BAL
Completing our lineup and four-man Blue Jays stack is Grichuk who stayed hot himself at the plate in last night’s win. Like McKinney and most of his Blue Jays teammates, Grichuk doesn’t hit for much average with dampens a lot of his numbers, but he hits for significant power and that’s what we want about a homer-happy Orioles pitching staff. Grichuk launched his 31st long ball of the season last night to give him five homers over his last eight games. Furthermore, each of his last three homers have come against these Baltimore Orioles. He’s recorded a hit in 14 of his last 14 games and has gone 4 for 10 with that homer, two runs and three RBI over his last two games. The bat has been more productive against lefties, but the power is slightly higher against righties with a .230 ISO against them. Furthermore, his best work comes at home where he’s posted a .269 ISO, .812 OPS, .334 wOBA and 108 wRC+ on the season. Given his overall .271 ISO, .817 OPS, .336 wOBA and 109 wRC+ at home, it would appear we’re in good hands with this play. Again, I have have high hopes for this four-man Blue Jays stack tonight.