Another day, another triple-home-run performance. Two-hundred-fifty FanDuel points just ain’t what it used to be. With the Padres rallying late and currently sitting at 11 runs, some of the MLB DFS night was salvaged, although it appears to have knocked some prominent players in the industry down from the top of at least one big GPP win on the blue site. The chain-burrito-loving professional(s) aside, hopefully it was a good day for you out there in DFS land. A lot of the expectations came through in general, and it was another very high scoring night with Adam Duvall‘s big day leading the way. If you’re frustrated like I am, it’s time to grit your teeth and bear it. Make sure your process is sound and that you’re making good decisions. Don’t overreact to small sample sizes; this is still only technically a month and change into a baseball season. If it sounds like I’m giving myself a pep talk here, well, sometimes it’s helpful to remind yourself of these basic ideas.
Tomorrow is a short Thursday slate that is split in half by time. FanDuel is running a four-game afternoon slate and a four-game main, while DraftKings appears to have a two-game early, a three-game late slate, and a 4:05 p.m. start on a six-game main slate. Either way, there are some gas can starters going, and I think offense is once again going to rule the day. It’s going to be tricky to get to unique constructions on such small slates, so be sure to swing back around for some offbeat approaches in Stack Slants for Sept. 3, 2020.
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: Eduardo Escobar – 8.52
Atlanta Braves: n/a
Baltimore Orioles: n/a
Boston Red Sox: Rafael Devers – 11.60
Chicago Cubs: Kris Bryant – 11.62
Chicago White Sox: Edwin Encarnacion – 11.39
Cincinnati Reds: n/a
Cleveland Indians: n/a
Colorado Rockies: n/a
Detroit Tigers: n/a
Houston Astros: George Springer – 7.79
Kansas City Royals: Ryan O’Hearn – 10.30
Los Angeles Angels: Shohei Ohtani – 13.90
Los Angeles Dodgers: Joc Pederson – 19.52
Miami Marlins: n/a
Milwaukee Brewers: n/a
Minnesota Twins: n/a
New York Mets: Todd Frazier – 14.83
New York Yankees: Luke Voit – 8.50
Oakland Athletics: n/a
Philadelphia Phillies: Bryce Harper – 15.23
Pittsburgh Pirates: Josh Bell – 6.83
San Diego Padres: Manny Machado – 8.68
San Francisco Giants: n/a
Seattle Mariners: n/a
St. Louis Cardinals: n/a
Tampa Bay Rays: n/a
Texas Rangers: Shin-Soo Choo – 8.01
Toronto Blue Jays: Randal Grichuk – 9.78
Washington Nationals: Juan Soto – 6.69
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.
Toronto Blue Jays Boston Red Sox – Blue Jays – 2-3-4-5-7 – Grichuk – Villar – Hernandez – Guerrero – Gurriel
The Blue Jays are the next team up against one of our go-to targets, lefty starter Martin Perez. Last time we targeted him, Perez gave up six to the Nationals, lasting just four innings and striking out only one. The pitcher hadn’t been entirely brutal up until that point, though he has given up at least one home run in four straight starts and two last time out. The lefty just doesn’t bring much to the mound. He sits in just the 16th percentile in strikeout rate and the 36th in whiff rate. The arsenal doesn’t draw much swing and miss, though Perez has been mostly successful in limiting quality contact this season. Overall, his xwOBA sits in just the 39th percentile in the league, and I still expect downward trend from here. Fire away at this pitcher with Jays bats.
Buffalo, nee Toronto, will be throwing a fair amount of right-handed power at Perez. The team also just acquired Jonathan Villar as one of their deadline moves to load up for the playoffs (the Blue Jays should be fun to watch in the tournament), and he lends a strong combination of hit tools and speed to the top of this lineup. Villar had stolen nine bases in 132 plate appearances coming into action on Wednesday. The $4,100 price tag and multi-position eligibility between second base and shortstop on DraftKings add to the appeal and make it easier to ignore the .258/.313/.342 slash, .083 ISO and WRC+ 19% below league average sitting in a fairly prime RBI spot in the lineup.
The power from the right side is coming in the form of Randal Grichuk, who is likely to hit second. Grichuk is having a great season; coming into Wednesday he had a .287/.328/.557 slash with nine home runs, 24 RBIs and a .270 ISO. The slugger will technically be on the plus side of splits, but the truth is he gets a ton of power against pitchers of both hands and makes about the same amount of contact. The outfielder should be in most of your Blue Jays stacks.
Teoscar Hernandez and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. fill out the heart of the order and also provide some right-handed pop. The $3,300 for Guerrero on FanDuel is appealing. Hernandez is pricier but worth it on both sites. He’s carrying a .307/.355/.638 slash with 12 home runs, 22 runs scored, 22 RBIs and a .331 ISO while quietly starring for this team. The cleanup hitter is an excellent option to go deep tomorrow against this pitcher. Guerrero brings that much upside but has not fully delivered. Still, he’s up to .269/.340/.462 with five home runs and his WRC+ is 18% above average for the year. He has had some problems with lefties so far in his young career, however. Over his first 187 plate appearances in the split, he’s at just .208/.289/.375. This season he’s just 7-42 against southpaws but has two of his home runs against them, I’m willing to roll the dice on a hitter in whose ultimate upside I have complete faith.
Cavan Biggio gets multiple position eligibility on DraftKings at second base and in the outfield, which makes him extremely interesting with his $4,900 anchor price tag. The second-generation star is at .260/.374/.458 with a .198 ISO and WRC+ 30% above average. His 26 runs scored and excellent start to the season in on-base percentage have bolstered some of his overall numbers, and he strikes out nearly 30% of the time against same-handed pitching, but he’s definitely in play. His career WRC+ is 19% above average in the split in over 200 plate appearances, while his .255/.398/.379 slash is plenty in terms of the on-base ability for MLB DFS purposes.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is another excellent second-generation player and also the younger brother of Astros star Yuli Gurriel. This Gurriel is having an OK season so far, carrying a .181 ISO with a WRC+ 3% above average, just a .318 on-base percentage and only four home runs. Gurriel is a player I still like overall. His $3,900 DraftKings price is a luxury, and he’s basically free at $2,900 on FanDuel. This is the same player who hit 20 home runs in just 343 plate appearances in 2019.
Danny Jansen is likely to draw catching duties again here, and he makes a reasonable play at just $3,100 on DraftKings. The backstop is at just .155/.307/.268 over 90 plate appearances coming into Wednesday, but that isn’t exactly going to draw ownership to him, so he could be sneaky. The Blue Jays have an odd amount of lefty bats on the active roster the rest of the way. One or two of Rowdy Tellez, Travis Shaw, Joe Panik and Daniel Vogelbach could be in the lineup despite the same-handed matchup. The Blue Jays can do some interesting things with Villar and Panik both able to play second, third or shortstop and right-handed rookie Santiago Espinal on the bench as well. The struggling Shaw could easily sit. Regardless of the combination, the back end of this lineup is largely a mix-and-match grab bag.
Related MLB DFS Content
- Learn MLB DFS: DraftKings + FanDuel Primer
- MLB DFS Quick Hits: HRs, Stacks & Ownership Plays
- Top Stack Tool (PREMIUM)
- Awesemo’s Top Pitcher Tool (PREMIUM)
- The MLB Strategy Show Live Before Lock
Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers – 1-2-3-4-6-8 – Betts – Seager – Muncy – Bellinger – Pederson – Smith
It was really a toss-up between writing up the Padres, White Sox or Dodgers again here. Those three teams are far and away the best options for offense from this slate. The Padres’ .224 team ISO is best on the slate, the White Sox are right behind them at .223 and the Dodgers are at .217, while the White Sox lead the way with a WRC+ 24% above average, the Padres are 22% above and the Dodgers are 18% on the plus side. Ultimately, I think it’s been the longest since I hit on the Dodgers, so we’ll go with them.
The Dodgers have a good matchup against Luke Weaver. In his seven starts so far in 2020, Weaver has pitched into the fifth inning only twice. His 4.67 xFIP, while still not good, is closer to the pitcher he actually is than his ugly 8.23 ERA, and though he’s allowed eight home runs in just 27.1 innings, he is striking out 26.4% of hitters and walking just 7.8%. The quality of contact numbers are helpful here. Weaver sits in just the 21st percentile in exit velocity allowed, the 10th in hard hit rate allowed, the 18th in xwOBA and the eighth in barrels. This is a pitcher who has allowed a ton of bad contact on the season while getting only around league-average swing and miss on his stuff.
Unfortunately for Weaver, the Dodgers strike out at the second-lowest rate in the league against right-handed pitching, at just 20.1%. They also have MLB’s highest WRC+ at 30% above average in the split. Everyone thinks of the Padres as being a monster team for power, but the Dodgers’ .254 ISO against right-handed pitchers eclipses the second-place Padres .230 by a wide margin, and they’ve hit eight more home runs in the split than the Padres. This team is just dominant.
I’m expecting superstar Cody Bellinger back in this lineup tomorrow. The outfielder had been dealing with some lat tightness, but he took swings on the side on Wednesday, and the team said he could have played if necessary. The former NL MVP has 10 home runs and a .254 ISO in his 154 plate appearances this season. Hopefully pricing and his ugly .225 batting average will keep at least some of the public away.
The Dodgers’ other MVP up at the top of this lineup is also a great option. Mookie Betts has owned 2020 perhaps better than anyone on the planet. He’s backing up every dollar of the record-setting contract he signed with the team before the season, posting a .296/.381/.600 slash with 11 home runs, 28 runs, 26 RBIs and a .301 ISO so far this year. All 11 home runs have come against right-handed pitching. He’s a must in Dodgers lineups.
The team will be missing Justin Turner again tomorrow, the veteran third baseman is on the IL, but we should see a Edwin Rios or perhaps Gavin Lux in the lineup. Of the pair Lux is the higher-end prospect, but either makes a good mix-and-match option with a little pop from the left side of the plate late in Dodgers stacks.
The lefty bats we really want to focus on, of course, are Joc Pederson, Max Muncy and Corey Seager. Seager has been hitting the stuffing out of the ball, with a .287 ISO and a WRC+ 57% above average so far this season. Muncy is scuffling at just .211/.340/.445, but his ISO is still a big .234 and he’s stirring the drink just fine in the middle of this lineup. Pederson is one of the better power options in the league when facing right-handed pitchers. The lefty outfielder is hitting just .200/.306/.412 on the season with a .212 ISO and five home runs, all of them against right-handed pitchers.
Veteran outfielder A.J. Pollock isn’t having a great start to his season against same-handed pitching, with just a .221/.286/.429 slash, but he’s hit four home runs against them so far and is a fine option most days in the middle of this lineup. Catcher Will Smith is another right-handed bat who mixes in well in this lineup. He’s carrying a .211/.362/.595 slash with four home runs and a .378 ISO so far in his 47 plate appearances against same-handed pitching in 2020. Since the start of 2019, Smith has a WRC+ 56% above average and a .380 ISO in 179 plate appearances in the split, with 16 home runs.
HR Call: Joc Pederson (Dodgers)
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