It was certainly the right decision to go with Gerrit Cole, unfortunately our bats could not back him up and we also had some players who did not play, either.
Cole was absolutely lights out once again as he hurled seven innings of shutout baseball against the Mariners, striking out 14 in the process. Cole allowed just two hits and earned his 19th win of the season in the process. What a role this guy is on and he’s simply unfadable at this point.
It’s too bad that our bats couldn’t come through. Our four-man Blue Jays stack turned into a mini-stack as both Billy McKinney and Justin Smoak did not play in this one. Randal Grichuk and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. combined for zero points which put our lineup in a deep hole. It’s simply extremely hard to predict who will be in the lineup these days late in September, so make sure you are keeping an eye on confirmed lineups as lock approaches.
Our three-man Braves stack only got production from one player – Ozzie Albies. Albies doubled and homered as part of a three-hit night, falling a triple shy of the cycle. He scored two runs and knocked in two as well. Otherwise, Adam Duvall singled and Austin Riley posted a zero.
Finally, our low-owned Tim Anderson singled, but that was it.
A disappointing showing from our bats for sure, and a dominant pitching performance fell by the wayside. Let’s get the sticks going on tonight’s 12-game main slate!
P – Jacob deGrom (NYM) – $11,900 vs. MIA
Like I did last night, and for the better part of the last week, I have been rolling with an unfadable pitcher atop our lineup and tonight that is Jacob deGrom as he takes on the light-hitting Miami Marlins at Citi Field in New York. Over the second half of the season, deGrom has been attempting to take a late run at his second consecutive NL Cy Young Award as he has posted a 1.55 ERA across 87 second-half frames while allowing opponents just a .496 OPS off of him. That’s pretty good. DeGrom has also punched out 11.38 batters per nine in the second half, a number very much in line with the 11.33 mark he owns for the season as a whole. Of course, consistency has been the name of the game with deGrom of late. Over his last 12 starts, deGrom has pitched precisely seven innings in 11 of them. He’s allowed four runs on two occasions in that time, but has also allowed one run or less in nine of those 12 starts. He also has double-digit strikeouts in four of those 12 starts, or 33% of the time. Of course, the upside is massive against this Marlins offense that ranks dead-last in baseball with a .287 wOBA versus right-handed pitching while their 24.9% K-rate against them is the eighth-highest mark in baseball. No reason to be fading the top arm on the slate.
C/1B – Howie Kendrick (WAS) – $2,700 vs. PHI
The Phillies and Nationals get together tonight one night after the Nationals clinched a playoff berth, and the Nationals offer some value with their bats against left-hander Drew Smyly this evening. Smyly had a tough go at the start of the season with the Texas Rangers that led to his release and subsequent claim by the Phillies. He’s been a little better in Philadelphia, however he’s still an extremely targetable pitcher and very much blowup prone. He’s allowed seven earned runs across just six innings in his last two starts, and he’s facing a Washington team that hits left-handed pitching very well. Enter Kendrick who has mashed lefties to the tune of a .372 average, .221 ISO, 1.011 OPS, .420 wOBA and a 159 wRC+ on the season. The damage has been even better at home where Kendrick owns a .258 ISO, 1.065 OPS, .441 wOBA and 171 wRC+ as a whole. He’s mashing both lefties and righties at Nationals Park, however the numbers are slightly better against lefties with a .286 ISO, 1.087 OPS, .445 wOBA and 175 wRC+. Kendrick owns a .189 ISO, 1.069 OPS, .450 wOBA and 179 wRC+ for the month of September to this point, so clearly there’s some value to be had with the veteran tonight.
2B – Brian Dozier (WAS) – $2,400 vs. PHI
Next man up in our four-man Nationals stack is Dozier who brings a wealth of value to the table as he too has clobbered left-handed pitching this season, something we have seen from the veteran second baseman in the past. He had a strong summer and has slowed down since, however I’m not about to argue with Dozier’s .228 ISO, .888 OPS, .370 wOBA and 126 wRC+ against left-handed pitching this season. The good news is that the best split Dozier owns this season, by far, is his work against left-handers at home. Entering this one tonight, Dozier has clobbered lefties for a .255 ISO, 1.013 OPS, .421 wOBA and 160 wRC+. The best wRC+ number he has aside from at home versus lefties is the 95 mark he owns on the road versus lefties. It hasn’t been a pretty month of September for Dozier to this point, but he’s shown signs of late of late with two hits, two runs and two RBI over his last three games. Not elite production in any sense, but it’s something after not recording a run or an RBI since back on August 18th during a two-homer game. We don’t get the stolen base upside like we used to with Dozier, but I am here for the power potential against a struggling southpaw.
3B – Anthony Rendon (WAS) – $4,200 vs. PHI
Any Nationals stack starts and ends with Rendon as he is simply unfadable regardless of pitcher handedness. Although Cody Bellinger probably has the NL MVP in his grasp, there’s still a case to be made for Rendon who is probably still fairly underrated despite putting up some monster numbers this season heading into free agency. Rendon’s splits are quite similar between lefties and righties, however the power is increased against lefties as he owns a .304 ISO against them versus a .274 mark off of righties. Still, his 1.047 OPS, .416 wOBA and 156 wRC+ against lefties are quite similar to his marks against righties. Furthermore, his work at home is much better than his work on the road, at least from a power standpoint. At home, he owns a .319 ISO compared to a .245 mark on the road. Otherwise, he owns a 1.050 OPS, .426 wOBA and 161 wRC+ at home this season. His .390 ISO, 1.173 OPS, .464 wOBA and 188 wRC+ at home against lefties represents his best split of them all. By his standards, his 118 wRC+ for the month of September represents a down month, but you simply don’t keep this bat quiet long. It would not surprise me to see him end the season on a tear, and a matchup with Smyly is a good place to start.
SS – Xander Bogaerts (BOS) – $3,800 vs. TEX
I really had a tough time figuring out what I wanted to do at shortstop after filling out my four-man Nationals stack as most shortstops were either too expensive or simply not production in their spots tonight, so I am going to go with the reliable Bogaerts as he takes on left-hander Kolby Allard and the Texas Rangers at the hitter-friendly Globe Life Park in Texas. Allard hasn’t been too bad in the big leagues since coming over from the Atlanta Braves at the trade deadline with a 4.25 ERA and 3.74 fIP, but he also owns a 5.05 xFIP and has been bad at home. In 14.1 innings at Globe Life Park, Allard owns a ghastly 7.36 ERA, and while it’s a small sample, he has indeed been touched up in all three starts at home this season. Enter Bogaerts who is about as reliable as it gets at the shortstop position. He’s done work against both lefties and righties this season, although the numbers are better against righties. Still, he owns a .250 ISO, .868 OPS, .356 wOBA and 118 wRC+ against southpaws this season. He also owns a .277 ISO, .925 OPS, .383 wOBA and 136 wRC+ against lefties on the road this season. September hasn’t been kind as a whole, however he has picked it up of late with two-hit efforts in four of his last five starts with a double and a homer in that time. I’ll look for him to keep rolling tonight.
OF – Victor Robles (WAS) – $3,000 vs. PHI
Completing our four-man stack against Smyly is Robles who looks to be as advertised as a future superstar in this league. The power and speed combination is among the best in baseball as Robles as clubbed 17 homers on the season to go along with 26 stolen bases. The work against left-handed pitching has slid since earlier in the season when he began with some eye-popping numbers against them, however I like the aforementioned power/speed combo, something that’s been at its best at home against left-handed pitching. He owns a .145 ISO, .736 OPS, .322 wOBA and 95 wRC+ against lefties on the season as a whole. At home, however, Robles has posted a .217 ISO, .840 OPS, .355 wOBA and 117 wRC+ against lefties, which like his teammates, is the best split he owns this season. I also like the fact that of his 26 steals on the season, 11 of them have come against a left-handed pitcher despite logging just 153 plate appearances against them compared to 452 against righties. We’re paying for the cross-category upside that Robles carries with him, and I don’t mind doing so against a struggling pitcher and the league’s 18th-ranked bullpen.
OF – Adam Duvall (ATL) – $2,400 vs. KC
Hey, MLB DFS carries a lot of variance, and just because something didn’t work out one night doesn’t mean it won’t work out the next. I’m hoping that holds true tongiht as Adam Duvall and the Braves take on another left-handed in Mike Montgomery and the Kansas City Royals. One thing that I don’t like about this matchup is that Montgomery owns a 2.17 ERA at home this season, which would mean at either Wrigley Field in Chicago or Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. However, he also owns a 4.01 FIP and 4.38 xFIP at home, so there’s regression to be had, and considering Duvall’s success against lefties this season I like by chances of extracting some value from the veteran. As I noted yesterday, Duvall spent a good chunk of the season in the minors, but slugged his way back into the big leagues. Most of that slugging came against left-handed pitchers as he posted a massive 1.230 OPS against lefties across 99 at-bats at Triple-A this season. Since returning to the show, Duvall has posted a .364 average, .424 ISO, 1.209 OPS, .479 wOBA and 198 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. He also owns a .385 ISO, 1.072 OPS, .434 wOBA and 169 wRC+ in September. Sign me up all day for this value upside.
OF – Austin Riley (ATL) – $2,200 vs. KC
Again, I am not going to shy about from the value potential I see in Riley as he goes up against Montgomery who has been blow up prone this season, although it’s happened more often on the road. Over his last three starts – one at home and two on the road – Montgomery has failed to pitch more than five innings, meaning we will get to see the Kansas City bullpen quite a bit tonight as well. That’s good news as their bullpen ranks 25th with a 5.04 ERA on the season. Riley didn’t have a ton of success at the Triple-A level against lefties as he owned reverse splits in that area, but he has crushed them in the big leagues since his promotion. In a small 62 at-bat sample, Riley has posted a .403 ISO, .999 OPS, .386 wOBA and 138 wRC+ against lefties in the big leagues. The numbers are better at home, but his .333 ISO, .900 OPS, .354 wOBA and 117 wRC+ on the road versus lefties isn’t too bad, either. I don’t like the fact that Riley went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts in last night’s effort, but I will stick to my guns and attempt to extract some value out of the slugger at a near-minimum price again tonight.
UTIL – Sam Travis (BOS) – $2,300 vs. TEX
Completing our Red Sox mini-stack is Travis who, along with Bogaerts, is projected to start for a Red Sox team expected to score a whopping 6.6 runs tonight. Not only will the Red Sox face Allard, but also a Rangers bullpen that enters tonight’s contest ranked 20th with a 4.59 ERA. Travis plays primarily against left-handed pitching at first base with Mitch Moreland starting against righties. As a result, it’s possible Travis is lifted from the game in favor of Moreland, however with the Red Sox eliminated from postseason contention, perhaps they’ll give some more reps to Travis against righties, as well. The 26-year-old Travis has hit lefties for nice power with a .193 ISO against them this season and a solid .171 ISO against them on the road this season. In layman’s terms, he’s slugged five home runs and a pair doubles across 88 at-bats against lefties this season. In 69 Triple-A at-bats against left-handed pitching. Travis posted a big-time .955 ISO, which is why he was summoned to handle lefties for the big club again this season. He’s projected to hit fifth in this lineup tonight, a spot two behind Bogaerts and one that should give him plenty of RBI opportunities in this one.