I have good news and bad news. The good news is, thanks to a clutch tip from someone who loves me, I was able to rescue this computer before throwing it out the window in frustration, meaning I won’t have to rebuild the home run model updates from last year’s version. The bad news is I’m completely exhausted after a long day walking around trying to get this thing fixed, and I have no idea what happened on the MLB DFS slate since I didn’t get to play, so it’s a short intro.
Maybe that’s two pieces of good news. Oh, Lucas Giolito threw the White Sox’ first no hitter since Philip Humber‘s perfect game in 2012, I did see that much, and how often do you get to mention Humber?
Tomorrow’s slate has a number of excellent pitchers to pay up for, as well as a few interesting values on the board that I think we can get creative with. EMac and I covered it top to bottom and inside out on the Early Bird, so get into the slate early with a listen over there.
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MLB DFS Quick Hits: Top HR Options, Stacks and Pitchers
Home Run Ratings
Home runs are our holy grail when making MLB DFS picks. Finding the right combination of sluggers who will knock one, or better two, out of the park to drive in the teammates you stack with them is critical to winning GPPs. Identifying the likely home run hitters is trickier than just looking at the big names. Using a model of my own design, based on a blend of several predictive statistics for the batter-pitcher matchup, I’m going to give one of the top choices from each team.
Scale: 5-10 Average; 10-20 Good; 20-25 Very Good; 25+ Great
Arizona Diamondbacks: Ketel Marte – 6.05
Atlanta Braves: n/a
Baltimore Orioles: Renato Nunez – 6.09
Boston Red Sox: Rafael Devers – 13.75
Chicago Cubs: Anthony Rizzo – 19.21
Chicago White Sox: n/a
Cincinnati Reds: Eugenio Suarez – 9.80
Cleveland Indians: Francisco Lindor – 8.42
Colorado Rockies: Trevor Story – 15.20
Detroit Tigers: Jeimer Candelario – 10.17
Houston Astros: n/a
Kansas City Royals: Jorge Soler – 10.81
Los Angeles Angels: n/a
Los Angeles Dodgers: Joc Pederson – 10.59
Miami Marlins: Matt Joyce – 3.04
Milwaukee Brewers: Justin Smoak – 5.16
Minnesota Twins: Eddie Rosario – 14.04
New York Mets: Michael Conforto – 9.93
New York Yankees: n/a
Oakland Athletics: Matt Chapman – 9.67
Philadelphia Phillies: n/a
Pittsburgh Pirates: n/a
San Diego Padres: Fernando Tatis Jr. – 11.58
San Francisco Giants: Wilmer Flores – 9.67
Seattle Mariners: Kyle Seager – 4.77
St. Louis Cardinals: Tyler O’Neill – 11.19
Tampa Bay Rays: Brandon Lowe – 12.55
Texas Rangers: Joey Gallo – 15.75
Toronto Blue Jays: Teoscar Hernandez – 4.93
Washington Nationals: n/a
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MLB DFS Stacks & Ownership Plays
(Quick note: if it says 1-5 it means hitters 1-2-3-4-5, otherwise I’ll specify spots)
We’re picking a few standout MLB DFS spots and teams to look at for potential plays here. Make sure to check out the ownership projections for critical updates and monitor the top stacks tool throughout the day for changes.
(FanDuel Only) Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays – Rays 1-4 – Meadows – Lowe – Diaz – Choi
This one appears to be a FanDuel exclusive with the slate kicking off at 6:35 p.m. EST tomorrow to accommodate the two earlier games. If it seems like I’m picking on Orioles pitcher Asher Wojciechowski this season, well, I am. The tinder box of a pitcher has yielded six home runs in just 22 innings so far in 2020, which brings his current mark to 1.91 career HR/9. The righty allows more power to the opposite side of the plate, as one would expect, with a career 2.02 HR/9 to left-handed hitters.
Same-handed hitting isn’t far behind at 1.81 in his career. So far this season Wojciechowski ranks in just the 36th percentile in exit velocity allowed, 47th in hard hit rate allowed, 30th in xwOBA, 28th in barrels and in just the 41st in strikeout rate. There’s a reason that the Polish-to-English translation of Wojciechowski is “punching bag.” Don’t Google that, it’s not true.
The Rays can throw a rash of powerful quality left-handed bats at this clunky right-handed pitcher to exploit this obvious vulnerability. The team looks very strong in my home run model tomorrow, and they’re drawing excellent projections. Leadoff star Austin Meadows is another one of my dynasty league darlings. The start to 2020 hasn’t been great at just .242/.307/.470, but the ISO is still strong at .227 and the WRC+ is still 9% above average. Meadows has hit three home runs, scored 13 times and driven in nine while adding a stolen base in just 75 plate appearances so far after missing time early. Hopefully the combination renders him as low-owned, as he is underpriced at just $3,600 on FanDuel.
Brandon Lowe, Ji-Man Choi, Yoshi Tsutsugo and Yandy Diaz are all drawing quality marks from the home run model as well, with Choi leading the way. The big lefty is a known commodity on the strong side of his splits and looks to be in a great spot to take one out of the yard here. At just .200/.295/.387 with two home runs so far this year, there’s a good chance the public won’t be too excited to roster Choi tomorrow despite the $2,500 price tag.
I like the spot for all of these hitters, but I would be excited for an under-owned Choi at that price in this spot. Lowe is a somewhat underappreciated hitter as well. He’s walloping the ball so far this season, sitting at .313/.398/.697 with nine home runs, 25 runs, 25 RBIs, a .384 ISO and a WRC+ 94% above average going into action on Tuesday.
Outfielder Kevin Kiermaier is an underrated and often injured lefty who comes at a discount at just $2,200 late in this lineup. He has a solid home run rating and has produced quality in the past. The injuries appear to have sapped most of his power over the years, and he’s currently sitting at zero home runs for his 86 plate appearances on the season. He could make for an interesting unowned option late in this lineup if the team is popular tomorrow. Although I’m not sure we’ll need to go that route.
Related MLB DFS Content
- Learn MLB DFS: DraftKings + FanDuel Primer
- Top MLB DFS Stacks, Quick Hits
- Top Stack Tool (PREMIUM)
- Awesemo’s Top Pitcher Tool (PREMIUM)
- The MLB Strategy Show Live Before Lock
Chicago Cubs Detroit Tigers – Cubs – Pick ‘Em
Copy/paste everything I said about the Cubs the other day against Casey Mize and multiply it by three. That would be about the equivalent bump that they’re getting in my model against Michael Fulmer here. Between the home run numbers and the projections, it seems like I’m going to be very heavy on the Cubs tomorrow. I’m not going to dig into the team here since we just covered them. Check the link above for that, everything still applies.
Kansas City Royals at St. Louis Cardinals – Cardinals three-man: 2-3-5 – Edman – Goldschmidt – DeJong
Royals starter Jakob Junis does a decent job limiting walks, which is his primary saving grace as a pitcher and the one thing that makes it difficult to stack against him. As EMac and I discussed on the Early Bird, he has an odd tendency to give up the solo home run. Looking over the slate I’ve decided I’m willing to call that something of a blip for MLB DFS purposes, however.
The pitcher carries a 1.34 career WHIP but was at 1.43 for 2019 and sits at 1.62 in 2020. With a 1.80 HR/9 to right-handed hitters for his career and an inability to limit hitters or get out of jams via the strikeout, we could have a vulnerable spot. This is one I want to approach cautiously, but I’m very curious to see where the Cardinals will rank in the top stacks tool. They could well be better deployed as mini-stacks, one-offs or possibly two-mans in a 4-2-2 approach on FanDuel.
The right-handed bats are my initial focus. We know Paul Goldschmidt is a star-caliber player and has a .340/.485/.491 so far in his 68 plate appearances. He has two home runs and a WRC+ 76% above average in the smaller-than-average sample created by the limited number of games the Cardinals have been able to play.
Paul DeJong is finally back from a stay on the IL, and the right-handed power-hitting shortstop should be an immediate mainstay in the middle of the lineup for the Cardinals. Going into action on Tuesday, DeJong had just one home run but had only seen 23 plate appearances. There’s some hope that the oddly low surface numbers will keep some of the public away here. Tyler O’Neill is the other very powerful right-handed bat in this lineup. The outfielder is at just a .154 average but has three home runs and a .212 ISO in his very limited sample. At just $2,500 on FanDuel and $3,100 on DraftKings, we can easily get to O’neill and some of the Cardinals bigger bats as well.
In between and above these right-handed sluggers, we have quality in several areas. Tommy Edman is a switch hitter with third base and shortstop eligibility at just $4,300 on DraftKings. He’s a $2,700 shortstop on FanDuel, where he also makes an excellent option. Edman hasn’t had a great 2020 so far, but he had an excellent debut in 2019, putting up 11 home runs and 15 stolen bases in his 349 rookie plate appearances.
Dexter Fowler is a switch-hitter on the other end of this lineup and the other end of his career. Still, he provides some quality at a very minimal investment on both sites and is likely to be low owned. Fowler has two home runs and a WRC+ 6% above league average in his tiny 46 plate appearance sample. In 574 opportunities last season, he hit 19 homers and stole eight bases. I prefer Fowler to Dylan Carlson late in this lineup, and I think he’s workable as a wraparound play.
Kolten Wong leads off for this team and does a good job getting on base at around a .350 clip. The lefty second baseman costs just $2,700 on FanDuel and $3,300 on DraftKings despite his ability to both set the table and sometimes produce MLB DFS points of his own. Catcher Yadier Molina has seen the better days of his career come and go and then seen a few additional years go by, but if he’s very low owned on DraftKings, he can fill some mandatory catcher spots hitting in the middle of this one at just $3,500.
HR Call: Anthony Rizzo
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