I was bang on with my pitcher selection on last night’s FanDuel MLB DFS Picks, but unfortunately our bats couldn’t get a whole lot going despite the two stacks combining to score 11 runs on the night.
Zac Gallen was simply dominant in his start at home against the Padres, throwing seven innings of shutout ball while allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out eight, earning his third win of the season in the process.
That’s about where the success came to a halt. The A’s scored just four runs against the Angels, and two of those came on a two-run shot from Marcus Semien. However, we would receive just three walks combined from the rest of our stack – a very disappointing result indeed.
Our four-man Dodgers stack turned into a three-man group as A.J. Pollock didn’t get the starting nod, but that ended up being irrelevant. The Dodgers got to Antonio Senzatela as expected and they scored seven runs on the night, however all of the damage was done outside of our stack. In fact, an RBI from Matt Beaty was the only production we received as both Gavin Lux and Will Smith posted goose eggs. That’s MLB DFS variance at its best as I was shocked to see them underperform in a wonderful matchup.
It’s tough to waste such a wonderful pitching performance, but let’s put last night behind us and get the bats going on tonight’s seven-game main slate!
P – Kolby Allard (TEX) – $7,700 vs. BAL
Stephen Strasburg is hands down the top arm on the slate, however he runs into a rather tough matchup against a potent Braves squad that is still projected to score a healthy 4.7 runs in that game tonight. As a result, I am going to slide all the way down to Allard who takes on the Baltimore Orioles tonight on the road. Things have gone pretty well for Allard since coming to Texas at the trade deadline and entering the rotation shortly thereafter. The left-hander has posted a 4.33 ERA, but also a 2.81 FIP across five starts and 27 innings while he’s also sporting a healthy 9.00 K/9 clip as well. He gets a solid matchup against an Orioles team that hasn’t been an outright disaster on offense, but still a well below average one at the end of the day. Against left-handed pitching, the Orioles rank 22nd with a .312 wOBA and their 24.9% K-rate against southpaws is good for the sixth-highest mark in the big leagues. Unfortunately, the Rangers are the underdogs in this one and the win upside isn’t as big as I would usually like, however I believe Allard still has the upside to go six innings and strike out eight in this one tonight, so I’ll roll the dice with the young lefty in GPPs tonight.
C/1B – Josh Bell (PIT) – $4,200 vs. MIA
There are some strong offenses to take a look at on this slate as the Pirates, Astros, Rays, Red Sox, Twins and even Nationals are all projected to score at least 4.9 runs tonight, as are the Cubs. Of that group, I believe it’s the Pirates that will go overlooked as they take on right-hander Elieser Hernandez and the Miami Marlins. Hernandez has been brutal on the road this season where he’s been touched up to the tune of a 6.30 ERA, 6.98 FIP, 5.88 xFIP and a 2.70 HR/9 to boot. Hernandez has been particularly bad on the road against left-handed bats as he owns a 10.03 FIP, 6.78 xFIP and a massive 4.38 HR/9 versus opposite-handed hitting this season. As a result, I’ll be rolling out a Pirates four-man stack, three of which will hit from the left side. Enter Bell who is enjoying a career-year with 35 home runs after hitting just 11 all of last season. Bell is a switch-hitter, however his bat has been significantly better against right-handed pitching as he owns a .330 ISO, 1.022 OPS, .409 wOBA and 154 wRC+ on the season versus righties. He also owns a .365 ISO, 1.012 OPS, .399 wOBA and 147 wRC+ against right-handed pitching at home. He has a massive ceiling against a pitcher struggling mightily versus lefties on the road.
2B – Eric Sogard (TB) – $3,000 vs. TOR
Keep an eye on the starting lineups as we approach lock tonight as Sogard is questionable with a nose injury thanks to taking a pitch off the face on Tuesday. Sogard said himself that he dodged a bullet and isn’t seriously hurt and the Rays had an off-day yesterday, so perhaps he makes it back into the lineup out of the projected leadoff spot tonight. Sogard’s breakout season that actually began with tonight’s opponent continued after being dealt to the Rays as he sports a .298/.361/.469 slash line to go along with a 120 wRC+ on the season. He’s delivered some pop in the form of 13 home runs and some stolen base upside as well with eight steals on the season. Sogard’s bat as actually been more powerful and productive against lefties despite swinging from the left side, however he still owns an .819 OPS, .347 wOBA and 118 wRC+ against righties on the season. Sogard gas been one of the peskier leadoff men in the game and it would be really positive for this offense if he could find a way to get into the starting lineup for this one tonight.
3B – Colin Moran (PIT) – $3,200 vs. MIA
I had a tough decision between Moran and Jose Osuna in this spot. Osuna has by far been the more powerful bat of the two against right-handed pitching this season, but the overwhelming majority of damage done on the road against Hernandez has been done by left-handed bats, so I went with Moran as I could afford him over the cheaper Osuna. Morgan has held his own against righties to be sure with a .286 average, .169 ISO, .793 OPS, .331 wOBA and 103 wRC+ against them this season. However, the production has picked up at home against righties where he owns a .189 ISO, .846 OPS, .349 wOBA and 115 wRC+ against righties at PNC Park this season. Moran has been a consistent bat for the Pirates this season, however the .807 OPS he put up in the month of August represents the best number of the season for the 26-year-old. After a big game to open September, he’s gone hitless in each of his last two, but something tells me that will change tonight. At a loaded position despite the small slate, some production from Moran would go a long way for this lineup tonight.
SS – Willy Adames (TB) – $2,300 vs. TOR
Next man up in our Rays stack is Adames who has quietly been destructive this season against right-handed pitching despite hitting from the right side. Adames enters this one tonight sporting a .298 average, .175 ISO, .841 OPS, .356 wOBA and a real nice 126 wRC+ against them this season. The one issue I have with Adames is that he has been far more productive on the road against righties where he owns a .247 ISO, .999 OPS, .416 wOBA and a 167 wRC+ against them. At home against righties, he owns just a .097 ISO, .664 OPS, .288 wOBA and 80 wRC+. While I would certainly like to see those home numbers notably higher, his success in his career against the right-hander Trent Thornton helps his cause. It’s only a six at-bat sample size, but Adames has gone 2 for 6 with a home run in his brief history against the rookie right-hander. After three hitless games, Adames logged a multi-game game hit last time out against the Orioles. With 17 home runs and four steals on the season, we certainly have some power upside in this one to go along with a touch of stolen base upside to boot. At this price, I’ll take that.
OF – Brian Reynolds (PIT) – $3,500 vs. MIA
Reynolds has been a marvel this season for the Pirates after beginning the season in the minors. It didn’t take him long to get the call to the big leagues as he hit five home runs and stole three bases in just 13 games at Triple-A before getting the nod. Simply put, the production versus right-handed pitching has been flat-out dynamite. Entering this one tonight, Reynolds owns a .351 average, .202 ISO, .974 OPS, .408 wOBA and 154 wRC+ off of righties this season. The production has largely been the same at home versus righties where he owns a .178 ISO, .950 OPS, .400 wOBA and 148 wRC+. It was a massive month of August for the outfielder as Reynolds put together a .246 ISO, 1.006 OPS, .416 wOBA and 159 wRC+ for the month, success that has translated over into September as he’s gone 5 for 15 with a double, three runs scored and two RBI across three September games to this point. Projected to hit in the valuable two-hole tonight, Reynolds is the one who will lead off this stack, giving him a ton of cross-category upside in this one tonight.
OF – Starling Marte (PIT) – $3,900 vs. MIA
Completing our four-man Pirates stack is Marte who brings some nice power and speed to the lineup as the only right-handed bat in this stack. Not only is Marte projected to hit third in this lineup – one of the reasons he is in this stack – but he’s also been the team’s third-best bat against right-handed pitching this season among full-time player, behind only Bell and Reynolds. As a result, it wasn’t a tough decision to include him in this lineup as he’s hit 23 home runs on the season to go along with his 25 stolen bases as well. The splits are indeed reversed for the right-handed hitting Marte as he owns a .202 ISO, .866 OPS, .364 wOBA and 124 wRC+ against right-handed pitching this season. The numbers trend in the right direction at home against righties as he owns a .217 ISO, .882 OPS, .369 wOBA and 128 wRC+ against right-handers at home for the season. Of his 23 home runs on the season, 17 have come against a right-handed pitcher. Of his 25 steals, 18 have come against a right-handed pitching. Marte saw an 11-game hit streak snapped in his last time out on Tuesday, however there’s a good chance another one gets started tonight against a pitcher that he’s 1 for 1 with an RBI double against in his only plate appearance against the right-hander Hernandez.
OF – Austin Meadows (TB) – $4,000 vs. TOR
The final two players in this lineup will be from the Rays outfield as Austin Meadows takes on a right-hander in Thornton that he has enjoyed a ton of success against this season. The former Pirates farmhand has enjoyed a massive season in his first full season in the big leagues as he has clubbed 26 home runs to go along with 10 steals while appearing in 118 games this season. Meadows has handled lefties well, however the left-handed swinging youngster has destroyed right-handed pitching to the tune of a .270 ISO, .940 OPS, .386 wOBA and 146 wRC+. Unfortunately, the numbers are better on the road, however Meadows has still posted a .211 ISO, .831 OPS, .343 wOBA and 117 wRC+ on the season against right-handed pitching at home. It’s also worth noting that the stolen base upside is much higher against righties as nine of his 10 steals on the season have come at the expense of a right-hander. Meadows is off to a scorching-hot start to September as he’s gone 7 for 13 (.538) with two doubles, two homers, three runs, four RBI and a stolen base across four September games to this point. Finally, Meadows has absolutely owned Thornton as he’s gone 6 for 7 with three home runs against the right-hander this season. I think I’ll take all of the above and run with Meadows tonight.
UTIL – Avisail Garcia (TB) – $3,100 vs. TOR
Completing this lineup and our four-man Rays stack is Garcia who has done some damage against both left and right-handers this season, and unlike some of his teammates, has smashed right-handed pitching at home as well. Entering this one tonight, Garcia is the owner of a .279 average, .157 ISO, .764 OPS, .323 wOBA and 104 wRC+ versus righties this season. His best split of them all is against right-handers at home as he has posted a .235 ISO, .896 OPS, .373 wOBA and 138 wRC+ versus right-handers at Tropicana Field this season. Garcia brings notable power and speed to the table tonight as he has swatted 18 home runs and swiped 10 bases in an injury-shortened 111 games so far this season. The 10 steals are already a career-high for Garcia, by far, after his previous career-high of seven as previously set with the White Sox in 2015. Like Meadows, Garcia has also enjoyed success against Thornton in his rookie season as he has gone 4 for 6 with a home run against the rookie righty. There’s plenty of power and speed in this Rays stack tonight and they should be able to get to Thornton with a run projection of 5.3 this evening.