We’re smashing everything together into one MLB DFS column today. With both sites holding back the slate data until around 11 a.m. Friday morning, there was nothing to work with and it took some time to get up to speed for the day. I’m including home runs, one chalky stack that would have been in Quick Hits last night and two Stack Slants style stacks, so we get full coverage. Make sure to check out EMac’s Spotlight Hitters for a few more great looking spots on the slate, and keep up with the Live News Blog for the latest. Things are unpredictable out 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: Christian Walker – 6.75
Atlanta Braves: Ronald Acuna Jr. – 5.38
Baltimore Orioles: n/a
Boston Red Sox: J.D. Martinez – 10.98
Chicago Cubs: Kyle Schwarber – 5.93
Chicago White Sox: Eloy Jimenez – 9.62
Cincinnati Reds: Mike Moustakas – 7.24
Cleveland Indians: Francisco Lindor – 17.36
Colorado Rockies: Nolan Arenado – 6.88
Detroit Tigers: n/a
Houston Astros: Yuli Gurriel – 4.22
Kansas City Royals: Hunter Dozier – 9.44
Los Angeles Angels: Anthony Rendon – 11.06
Los Angeles Dodgers: Cody Bellinger – 12.10
Miami Marlins: Jesus Aguilar – 7.99
Milwaukee Brewers: Jedd Gyorko – 13.18
Minnesota Twins: n/a
New York Mets: n/a
New York Yankees: n/a
Oakland Athletics: Matt Chapman – 6.52
Philadelphia Phillies: Andrew McCutchen – 18.60
Pittsburgh Pirates: Gregory Polanco – 7.10
San Diego Padres: Manny Machado – 11.11
San Francisco Giants: Brandon Belt – 5.45
Seattle Mariners: Kyle Seager – 3.43
St. Louis Cardinals: Paul DeJong – 11.00
Tampa Bay Rays: Austin Meadows – 14.42
Texas Rangers: Joey Gallo – 10.78
Toronto Blue Jays: n/a
Washington Nationals: Kurt Suzuki – 5.03
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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.
Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies – Phillies – 8-1-2-3-4 – Bohm – McCutchen – Hoskins – Harper – Realmuto
This is the chalkier of our stack plays, one that would have been in the overnight Quick Hits column on a normal day. The Phillies are at home taking on the Braves and starter Robbie Erlin. The veteran lefty has a surprisingly decent 3.78 career xFIP in his 327 innings and has been dazzling with a 28.8% strikeout rate in his tiny 14-inning sample in 2020. In 2018 and 2019 Erlin was in the bottom third of the league in both whiff rate and strikeout rate. Erlin relies on a three-pitch mix, having taken his slider out of the arsenal entirely in 2020. His 91-mph four-seamer does little to intimidate hitters, but he has gotten more whiffs on it so far this season, a number that will likely normalize quickly along with his strikeout rate. The fastball sets up a changeup-curveball mix. The change is the better of the two pitches, generating a 25% whiff rate so far this season. Erlin is vulnerable but not entirely untalented. Still, I like the Phillies to get to him here.
The offense is popping in my home run model with several hitters well over the 10.0 mark. Bryce Harper has the strongest number despite the lefty-lefty matchup here. For his career, Harper has a .265/.360/.472 slash with a .207 ISO and a WRC+ 22% above average against lefty pitching. The outfielder is having an excellent season so far, and there’s a chance we could get him at lower-than-expected ownership on DraftKings. Between his $6,000 price tag and the lefty-lefty surface matchup, the public might look in other directions.
Andrew McCutchen is an eminently qualified leadoff hitter for this team despite the somewhat bumpy 2020 slash of just .258/.307/.355. His .097 ISO and WRC+ 20% below average for the season are also less than encouraging on the surface, and again, I hope that might keep the public off of him in stacks. I’m drawing a great power number on McCutchen today, and the former NL MVP has too much of a track record for me to be overly concerned with a slow month. Over his career the outfielder has a .285/.377/.478 slash with a .192 ISO and a WRC+ 34% above average. He strikes out just 18.2% of the time while drawing the walk in 12.1% of his plate appearances. The 33-year-old is far from washed; roster him confidently at just $2,800 on FanDuel and $3,800 on DraftKings.
The surface stats on Rhys Hoskins aren’t overly appealing at just a .229 average and three home runs with 10 RBIs, but he’s been getting on base at a .423 clip while hitting in front of Harper and has scored 21 times, keeping his WRC+ at a healthy 35% above average. If others are finding reasons to move away from Hoskins, I’m happy to work him into my lineups with a low price of $3,300 on FanDuel and $4,200 on DraftKings. The savings on Hoskins and McCutchen makes it easier to get to Harper in Phillies stacks, though that will be a popular approach overall, and you’ll likely need to get different to be unique.
J.T. Realmuto is likely to be very popular on DraftKings again here, even at $5,100. The catcher is simply the league’s best option at his position and he has delivered for MLB DFS players in 2020 with a .284/.333/.600 slash, nine home runs, 25 RBIs, a .316 ISO and a WRC+ 45% above average. After Realmuto we have a choice of middle infielders with Jean Segura and Didi Gregorius. Of the two, I prefer Gregorius, even in a lefty-lefty matchup. The shortstop has shown ability in same-handed matchups throughout his career, though some years have been better than others. Gregorius is 6-for-29 in his 33 plate appearances against lefties in 2020, but the hits include two home runs and a triple, which works well for MLB DFS purposes. With Phil Gosselin also in the mix in the middle of this lineup and at second base, the public might not go to the left-handed Gregorius here. I’m happy to if it helps me get unique.
Segura and Gosselin are also options depending on how the batting order comes together. The pair of second basemen offer multi-position eligibility on DraftKings, where Segura also plays third and Gosselin can be deployed in the outfield. Gosselin has made the most of his 50 plate appearances so far in 2020 with a .356/.420/.622 slash and three home runs in the small sample. Don’t go haywire rostering him based on that, though. The 31-year-old is a career bench player with just a .104 ISO in his 697 plate appearances since breaking in with the Braves in 2013. Segura is the much better option of these two. From 2016 to 2018, Segura hit at least 10 home runs and stole at least 20 bases in each of three seasons. In 2019 he managed a dozen homers but stole just 10 bases. So far in 2020 he has hit three home runs and stolen a base, so it seems that we can expect his usual contributions through the year. At just $2,500 on FanDuel, he’s a very inexpensive option if he’s hitting near the middle of this lineup.
Rookie Alec Bohm has been a great option for MLB DFS from late in this lineup since coming up a couple weeks ago. The top prospect mans the hot corner for the Phillies and is at .317/.417/.463 with a home run and six RBIs through his first 48 plate appearances. Bohm had a .231 ISO and 14 home runs in 270 plate appearances in AA last year and seems ready to handle MLB pitching. At just $2,600 on both sites, we can absolutely use Bohm to help us pay for some of the more expensive hitters in this stack.
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
Washington Nationals at Boston Red Sox – 9-1-3-4-6 – Robles – Turner – Soto – Cabrera – Suzuki
I know, I know, I just got done saying I wasn’t going to pick on Martin Perez as much anymore, but the Nationals look like a strong option today, and I’m not sure how much people will be going to them. I didn’t even realize it was Perez until after I picked them, I swear! Not that the pitcher doesn’t deserve to be picked on at least a little. He has a 5.55 xFIP and an 11.7% walk rate on the year so far, after all. For his career, Perez has struck out just 14.8% of opposing hitters. The lefty doesn’t offer much, but he has done well limiting quality contact so far in 2020. Perez sits in the 92nd percentile in exit velocity allowed and the 86th percentile in hard hit rate allowed. The 43rd percentile xwOBA and 25th percentile strikeout rate are more indicative of who the pitcher is.
The Nationals are a team we’ve touched on in both columns several times this year. They have a number of high-quality bats that are affordable on both sites, but I suspect some of the value plays in seemingly better spots will draw more popularity tonight. The conversation about the Nationals always begins with Trea Turner and Juan Soto. The two stars are obvious plays on any site, and they’re the two highest-priced players on this team. The pair average together for a WRC+ 90% above league average hitting leadoff and cleanup for this team. Both are capable of hitting the ball out of the yard. Turner has six home runs and three stolen bases in his 124 plate appearances in 2020, while Soto has hit eight home runs in just 84 opportunities. Soto ranks 21st in MLB in home runs since the start of 2019 with 42 (the eighth-ranked hitter, Nolan Arenado has 48).
Howie Kendrick is somewhat under-performing overall at .302/.343/.397 with just a .097 ISO and a WRC+ 10% below average, but he has always hit lefties extremely well. For his career against lefties, Kendrick is at .297/.344/.447, with a .150 ISO and a WRC+ 15% above average. At just $3,900 on DraftKings and $2,700 on FanDuel, he makes a good option in the infield, though I prefer Asdrubal Cabrera in an ownership vacuum. As I mentioned the other day, Cabrera has nine straight seasons of at least 14 home runs. So far in 2020 he’s hit five and has a .229 ISO and a WRC+ 17% above average.
Josh Harrison is a lower-end option in the infield and also carries outfield eligibility on DraftKings. If the Nationals trend toward popularity, he could be a good way to mix things up and make your lineup unique, however. Hitting around seventh, he should be deployed as an end cap to mid-lineup stacks. For his career against lefties, Harrison has a .275/.320/.436 slash and a WRC+ slightly above average. He doesn’t exactly gain a ton of power in the split, but his .161 ISO is significantly better than the .118 mark against same-handed pitchers. Kurt Suzuki was a good option for some quiet catcher power the other day when we talked about the Nationals stack, and nothing has changed here. I like him as much as most catchers for his power opportunity today. If he’s not drawing the ownership, he makes a great option as a part of this stack and should be hitting near the middle of the batting order.
Don’t leave Victor Robles out as a wraparound option. Let’s be honest, you knew we were going to get here eventually if you’re been reading along all season. We’ve connected on that construction with Robles a couple of times already this year, and I like it again today. The kid has the speed and gap power we like for that role, and he rarely draws much ownership in the nine-hole. Robles has 22 home runs and 32 stolen bases over his first 822 MLB plate appearances and offers slate-breaking upside for just $2,700 on DraftKings and $2,400 on FanDuel.
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Cleveland Indians – 2-3-4-5-7 – Ramirez – Lindor – Santana – Reyes – Santana
Apologies to our pal Legalized in the various chats, but the Indians are looking sharp again and might not be warranting the attention they deserve in this matchup against Daniel Ponce de Leon. We’ve seen the Indians go under-owned in good spots on big slates already, and there are several meaty spots on the board tonight, including a Coors game. If they’re slipping under where they should be valued, this team looks like a great bet again. For the season, the opposing pitcher is carrying a 5.27 xFIP and a 17.9% walk rate in his 12 innings. Ponce de Leon throws a nice mix of pitches with a 93-mph, heavy-spin fastball and a quality curveball-cutter mix that all generate a fair amount of swing and miss. The changeup is a work in progress, as are the command and control. If this pitcher ever harnesses all of his abilities, he could be dynamite. For now, he’s allowing far too many opportunities, and I think we can target him. It could be a good spot to roll with some of both sides, however. The Indians have been striking out 24.7% of the time against right-handed pitching, and the starter is very inexpensive on both sites. His innings and pitch count would be the only concern, but he appears to be mostly stretched out despite layoffs.
We know the options in the Cleveland lineup pretty well by now. Up top and around the horn, we have an easy straight-line stack of Cesar Hernandez, Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor and Carlos Santana. The quartet of infielders carry an average price tag of just $3,300 on FanDuel, $4,800 on DraftKings. If we include Franmil Reyes, the five hitters have an average WRC+ 11% above average so far in 2020. Hernandez offers the least power but is a quality leadoff option for this team who has always gotten on base, runs with the best of them and can hit the occasional ball out of the yard.
My favorite approach is to just add Reyes and his .291/..347/.482 slash with six home runs and a WRC+ 21% above average, but that’s a common approach to this stack. If we leave a hitter from the four infielders out while adding Reyes and another bat from further back in the lineup, we’ll be doing a better job of getting unique, although in truth I’ll have plenty of both approaches.
The options later in the lineup are decent here. Lefty outfielder Tyler Naquin fits in well with just a $2,500 salary on DraftKings and $2,400 on FanDuel. He is carrying a .310/.326/.476 slash over his 43 plate appearances so far in 2020 and has a 23 of his 27 home runs on this side of the splits. Call me masochistic, but I still prefer Domingo Santana here. Santana is scuffling at just .162/.296/.294 with two homers and a WRC+ 35% below average. Still, the slugger has shown plenty of upside. His best season so far was in 2017 with the Brewers when he put up a monster 30 home runs and 15 stolen bases. That ability is still present; it just hasn’t shown its face much in 2020. I like getting to Santana when no one else is, particularly at just $2,500 on both sites.
Roberto Perez is a $2,800 catcher option on DraftKings. Perez hit 24 home runs in just 449 plate appearances in 2019, though he’s at a comedic .097/.263/.097 on the season. If that keeps others away, while I have little confidence in it, I can get some Perez into DraftKings stacks in limited amounts.
HR Call: Austin Meadows (Rays)
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