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MLB DFS Quick Hits: HRs, Stacks and Ownership Plays DraftKings + FanDuel | September 2

Terry McBride



FanDuel MLB DFS cheatsheet for 9/30, MLB DFS picks like Javier Baez based on projections and ownership from the world's No. 1 DFS player.

Like I said last night, today was going to be a high-scoring day. I don’t think any of us were expecting the Giants to go up 23-4 on the Rockies, though. I sure hope you had some Alex Dickerson and some Marcell Ozuna in your MLB DFS life. Between not having enough lineups with both of those gigantic three home run performances in them and whiffing on way too much of the pitching for a change, it was a bumpy night for yours truly. On the plus side, some of the picks from the columns and the home run model connected, so hopefully my down night was still to the benefit of many of you. I sincerely hope you had fewer shares of Jon Lester and Jon Gray than I did at the very least.

Tomorrow’s slate looks particularly juicy. We have a few highly pitchers on the board that are begging to be targeted with bats and a few somewhat sneakier spots to dig into tomorrow as well. Pitching is coming up short outside of a few obvious ace-type plays. EMac and I broke the whole pitching slate down on the Early Bird Podcast, so fire that up and give a listen while you read along here.

Looking for more MLB DFS picks content? We’ve got loads of articles, data, cheatsheets and more on the Awesemo MLB home page, just click HERE.

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: Kole Calhoun – 10.04

Atlanta Braves: Austin Riley – 10.24

Baltimore Orioles: n/a

Boston Red Sox: J.D. Martinez – 23.41

Chicago Cubs: Javier Baez – 20.31

Chicago White Sox: Yasmani Grandal – 7.21

Cincinnati Reds: n/a

Cleveland Indians: Franmil Reyes – 10.25

Colorado Rockies: n/a

Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera – 7.89

Houston Astros: Yuli Gurriel – 7.04

Kansas City Royals: Jorge Soler – 13.70

Los Angeles Angels: Mike Trout – 8.25

Los Angeles Dodgers: Max Muncy – 8.97

Miami Marlins: n/a

Milwaukee Brewers: Justin Smoak – 11.13

Minnesota Twins: Nelson Cruz – 8.62

New York Mets: Michael Conforto – 16.96

New York Yankees: Clint Frazier – 7.61

Oakland Athletics: n/a

Philadelphia Phillies: Bryce Harper – 8.98

Pittsburgh Pirates: Josh Bell – 6.91

San Diego Padres: Mitch Moreland – 14.95

San Francisco Giants: n/a

Seattle Mariners: n/a

St. Louis Cardinals: n/a

Tampa Bay Rays: Austin Meadows – 6.59

Texas Rangers: Joey Gallo – 18.32

Toronto Blue Jays: n/a

Washington Nationals: Eric Thames – 2.61

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.

Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates – Dealer’s Choice

The power marks for the Cubs are so good in this matchup that I initially thought they were broken. The Cubs have gigantic marks in my home run model, and the lineup is projecting well from top to bottom. Unfortunately for me, I just wrote about these guys last night. Refer back to that piece, focus on the right-handed bats, add Jose Martinez to the mix and triple everything in terms of enthusiasm for the offense and the stack.

San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Angels – Padres – 8-9-1-2-3 – Castro – Profar – Grisham – Tatis – Machado

I love every part of the Padres in this one. Dinelson Lamet projects well for me pitching against this Angels team, and the powerful popular Padres bats look ready to pop. The home run model is all over this team in their matchup with gas can Julio Teheran. So far this season the right-handed starter is carrying a 5.92 xFIP, a 1.70 WHIP and has only made it through 17 innings in his four starts. His 13.4% strikeout rate alongside that WHIP suggests that the Padres are going to be circling the bases for the brief part of the game that will include Teheran. The Angels don’t have a ton coming out of the bullpen after the starter gets lit up either. The bullpen’s 4.86 collective xFIP is sixth worst in baseball, the 22.4% collective strikeout rate is seventh worst, and as a group they allow the fifth-most hard contact in the league. This is a killer spot for bats.

The Padres will probably be explosively popular, and I don’t think we can rely on pricing to help us out in that department. With Manny Machado priced down to $4,700 on DraftKings and only Fernando Tatis Jr.‘s $5,200 sitting higher, there’s actually a lot to work with in the lineup. The pair have been nothing short of fantastic on the season, with 24 combined home runs and 66 RBIs coming into action on Tuesday. Starting with them is obvious and popular, but they’re basically mandatory here.

Mitch Moreland‘s lefty bat costs just $4,000 on DraftKings and $3,500 on FanDuel. He should be very popular as well; load up if he’s not. The first baseman gets the vast majority of his power against right-handed pitching and Teheran is a righty who has yielded a 1.40 career HR/9 to left-handed hitters.

The Padres have several other interesting lefties in the top end of the lineup as well. Trent Grisham should be leading off again, and he brings a career .230 ISO and WRC+ 19% above average to this one. The outfielder has hit eight home runs so far in 2020, seven of them against right-handed pitchers. Eric Hosmer is less of an all-or-nothing splits slugger and more of a capable overall hitter. The first baseman has a .302/.356/.583 slash with seven home runs and 26 RBIs, hitting mostly in the cleanup spot for this team over his 104 plate appearances. The bat is for real. Hosmer has had a somewhat up-and-down career, but we’ve seen this level of sustained production from him before. If the public is continuing to somewhat ignore the lefty in this spot, we can definitely work him into lineups at just $4,200 on DraftKings and $3,700 on FanDuel.

Jake Cronenworth is another lefty filling out the back end of this lineup at second base. He’s hitting a surprising .356/.411/.624 with four home runs, 17 RBIs, 20 runs and a .267 ISO on the year so far. His WRC+ 76% above average is second only to Tatis (leaving out Moreland who has not been with the team). Cronenworth was always regarded more as a hit-run-defense type of infield prospect, so this production seems illusory. Still, he makes an intriguing enough option if he’s not drawing a lot of ownership.

Jason Castro seems like he’s on the wrong side of this one. The catcher was traded from the Angels to the Padres and should be making his debut with the team in a great spot for a left-handed catcher who just handed this pitcher’s last outing. Castro knows precisely what Teheran will be looking to do here, and he should be able to take advantage. The catcher is hitting just .192/.323/.385 on the season with two home runs in his 62 plate appearances, though the .192 ISO is encouraging and his WRC+ is just 1% below average in the small sample. Castro hit 13 home runs in 275 total plate appearances in 2019, all 13 of which came against right-handed pitchers.

Jurickson Profar is someone we mentioned in Stack Slants the other day when this team was under-owned at Coors. Profar has a tantalizing speed-and-power combo that plays well for MLB DFS in theory. In practice he’s rarely ever put it together for long enough to be reliably built into lineups. Still, he’s a functional wraparound play from the bottom of this lineup. So far in 2020 he’s improved his on-base percentage from the .301 he put up in 2019 to a .320 mark. He’s stolen three bases and hit five home runs in 2020, though he hasn’t been driving the ball or creating runs at an above-average pace. The price is favorable on both sites; he’s just $2,700 at second base on FanDuel and $3,300 in the outfield on DraftKings.

Wil Myers will be on the wrong side of the split here, but the right-handed hitter is far from inept against same-handed pitching. For his career, Myers has a .253/.320/.439 slash with a .186 ISO and a WRC+ 5% above average in the split. At just $3,400 on FanDuel and $3,600 on DraftKings, he’s definitely in play, more so if the public is skipping him for handedness.

Related MLB DFS Content

Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins – Twins –

The Twins get Reynaldo Lopez in this one. The shaky starter is still a prospect. He came from the Nationals along with Lucas Giolito and Dane Dunning in exchange for outfielder Adam Eaton in what is now looking like a lopsided win for the White Sox. All three of those pitchers are in the 2020 White Sox rotation at the moment, though only Giolito has hit his upside. At 26 and with 472.1 major league innings under his belt, the clock is definitely ticking for Lopez to improve upon his 5.25 career xFIP, 1.39 HR/9 (1.52 to lefties) and 19.5% strikeout rate. For now this remains a pitcher we can target with the Twins bats.

Overall the Twins are striking out 25.8% of the time as a team against right-handed pitching, seventh worst in the league, though their .188 team ISO ranks ninth overall and their WRC+ is almost exactly league average. Their 41 home runs against right-handed pitchers ranks sixth in the league.

Max Kepler‘s left-handed bat should be in the leadoff spot for the Twins despite his ugly back of the baseball card stats. He was carrying just a .215/.319/.430 slash over his 141 plate appearances coming into action on Tuesday. Hopefully the lack of eye-popping numbers in that department helps keep people from noticing his seven home runs, .215 ISO and that his WRC+ is still above average. The pricing people definitely missed that. He’s at just $4,200 on DraftKings and $3,000 on FanDuel.

The big German slugger is followed in the lineup by shortstop Jorge Polanco and the ageless, unstoppable Nelson Cruz. Polanco hits from both sides of the plate but is scuffling to just a .269/.303/.373 slash so far. He has just three home runs a season after hitting 22, and his ISO is squashed down to a mere .104. His WRC+ 18% below average is no surprise given that production. Still, the shortstop is extremely affordable and hitting in an amazing spot.

Cruz has hit 13 home runs coming into Tuesday’s games and is riding a .311/.404/.664 slash with a .352 ISO and a WRC+ 80% above average. If there’s an argument against Cruz for AL MVP, I’m not sure what it is. The outfielder costs just $4,00 on FanDuel but is very pricey at $6,100 on DraftKings. Hopefully that big tag renders him unpopular on that site. I’m happy to pay up if necessary.

Eddie Rosario is another masher in the middle of this lineup. The lefty will be on the good side of his splits here. For his career, Rosario has a .276/.310/.502 slash with a .226 ISO and 98 of his 113 home runs against right-handed pitchers. Miguel Sano doesn’t care which hand you threw the ball with,. If he can make contact with it, it’s going to travel. The slugger has a career .274 ISO against lefties and a .251 against same-handed pitching. His WRC+ against right-handed pitchers is 20% above average, and he’s hit 92 of his 125 home runs against them, though that came in nearly 1,000 more plate appearances than he’s seen against lefties.

The Twins have outfielder Byron Buxton back in this lineup, and he immediately becomes one of my favorite wraparound options again. Buxton costs just $2,500 on FanDuel and $3,500 on DraftKings. His career has been extremely up and down, but he has the power and speed upside to break a slate wide open, and he might be going under-owned here. Buxton has a lifetime .188 ISO against right-handed pitchers compared to his .162 against lefties. He strikes out slightly more and walks slightly less but hits for more power, so we’ll take it for the price. Buxton swiped 14 bases in just 295 plate appearances in 2019, so the speed upside is still there if he’s able to get on.

Luis Arraez and his amazing hit tool are always free at second base on FanDuel. He makes a reasonable mix-and-match play on a lot of nights simply to differentiate at something of a throw-away position. If we’re going to be punting a spot, it makes a lot of sense to do it with someone who constantly puts the ball in play. Arraez never strikes out; his 9.4% career walk rate is higher than his 8.6% career strikeout rate. He has essentially no power but can set the table for hitters behind him. In 2019 his WRC+ was 25% above average despite just a .320 on-base percentage and a .104 ISO.

Ryan Jeffers is the Twins No. 6 prospect who is handling the catching duties in Mitch Garver‘s absence. The kid has 55-grade power in traditional scouting and put up 14 home runs across 414 plate appearances in high-A and AA in 2019. In his 21 plate appearances in the Show before Tuesday, Jeffers was at .316/.381/.316 with one run and one RBI, which are each one more than he’s had extra base hits. Jeffers is in play if he’s not tracking for much ownership on DraftKings. I’m not sure how much we’ll need him on FanDuel.

HR Call: Javier Baez (Cubs)

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Looking for more MLB DFS picks content? We’ve got loads of articles, data, cheatsheets and more on the Awesemo MLB home page, just click HERE.

Terry used to do other things, now he writes words on the internet. He hopes his more than 20 years’ experience in season-long and daily fantasy sports and his custom models for MLB, NBA, and NFL don't steer you too wrong when he writes columns and makes picks on A lifetime of experience keeping odd hours make Terry ideal to cover KBO baseball overnight until the world returns to normal. Most of those late night hours have been spent on the couch watching sports, T.V., and movies; just try to shut him up about any of the above. You can find his pop-culture ramblings and more on Sideaction.

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