Bit of a late entry for this one after last night’s draft went into overtime. We’ve got a nice meaty 11-game Main Slate for Saturday’s action and plenty of good looking options for stacks that will be a bit on the popular side, as well as a few for later in Stack Slants. Last night’s low-scoring slate saw pitching dominate with seven different starters going over the 40-point mark on FanDuel. Today should be a case of getting back to bats.
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 – 4.50
Atlanta Braves: Freddie Freeman – 8.13
Baltimore Orioles: Renato Nunez – 8.95
Boston Red Sox: J.D. Martinez – 9.53
Chicago Cubs: n/a
Chicago White Sox: Yoan Moncada – 8.64
Cincinnati Reds: Mike Moustakas – 12.57
Cleveland Indians: Francisco Lindor – 5.45
Colorado Rockies: Trevor Story – 13.16
Detroit Tigers: Jonathan Schoop – 5.20
Houston Astros: n/a
Kansas City Royals: Jorge Soler – 4.69
Los Angeles Angels: n/a
Los Angeles Dodgers: Corey Seager – 5.56
Miami Marlins: n/a
Milwaukee Brewers: Keston Hiura – 7.40
Minnesota Twins: Nelson Cruz – 25.95
New York Mets: J.D. Davis – 14.01
New York Yankees: Luke Voit – 15.21
Oakland Athletics: n/a
Philadelphia Phillies: Rhys Hoskins – 5.67
Pittsburgh Pirates: Josh Bell – 8.33
San Diego Padres: n/a
San Francisco Giants: Alex Dickerson – 6.80
Seattle Mariners: Kyle Seager – 8.21
St. Louis Cardinals: n/a
Tampa Bay Rays: n/a
Texas Rangers: Joey Gallo – 14.76
Toronto Blue Jays: Travis Shaw – 7.08
Washington Nationals: Juan Soto – 12.32
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.
Detroit Tigers @ Minnesota Twins – Twins – 1-5 – Jorge Polanco – Josh Donaldson – Nelson Cruz – Miguel Sano – Marwin Gonzalez
The Tigers are in Minnesota with Tarik Skubal on the mound. The young lefty looks like a big flashing target for some of these Twins bats and they’re getting excellent home run marks in my model. The projections are way up the ladder as well with a young probably not yet ready starter on the hill. Skubal is a highly regarded prospect but needs more polish. The lefty has a 6.57 xFIP over his nine innings, though he did pitch a solid five-inning start the last time out.
The Twins are going to throw a megaton of power at the rookie starter here. With Josh Donaldson back in the lineup the Twins are mostly whole again and the offense should respond. Donaldson was brought in to fill the power void left by C.J. Cron‘s departure. In his limited action this season, the third baseman is at .241/.361/.483 with two home runs in just 36 plate appearances. The slugger mashed 37 in 659 last season and has hit more than 30 homers in each of his last four full seasons. At just $3,700 on DraftKings he’s at a big discount, the same is true on FanDuel for just $2,800.
Jorge Polanco is also at only $2,800 on FanDuel, the shortstop is at a more appropriate price on DraftKings and he brings plenty of quality to the position. His .289/.327/.403 slash and four home runs on the season are not among the biggest numbers at the position but that makes him less popular than some of the big mashers that play the same spot, which works well for Twins constructions.
Nelson Cruz has a gargantuan home run mark in my model. Cruz just destroys left-handed pitching, in his last 188 plate appearances against lefties, going back to the start of 2018, Cruz has hit 22 home runs with a .365/.460/.827 slash, a .462 ISO and a WRC+ 121% above average. Get some Nelson in your lineups. Miguel Sano packs nearly as much power and has a .281 ISO and 17 home runs in the same sample.
The back-end of the projected lineup could use a little more pop but we can utilize Marwin Gonzalez and Byron Buxton at the very least. Buxton is a strong wraparound option with his power and speed. In his 79 plate appearances, the outfielder has a .237/.241/.447 slash with five home runs. Gonzalez hits from both sides of the plate and carries third base and outfield eligibility on DraftKings at just $3,600. He’s hitting only .221/.300/.311 so far this year, but we’ve seen better from him in the past and he’s in a killer spot in this lineup.
Rookie outfielder Brent Rooker brings a ton of power to the dish as well. If he’s in the lineup he should be hitting toward the end of the batting order. He’s not a second leadoff hitter type of wraparound play, so we want to use him more as an endcap to mid-lineup stacks. In 274 plate appearances in AAA in 2019, Rooker hit 14 home runs and has a .254 ISO, in AA in 2018 he hit 22 homers in 568 opportunities. The kid can rake and the MLB DFS community is unlikely to be on top of him yet.
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
Washington Nationals @ Atlanta Braves – Braves – 1-2-3-7-8 – Ronald Acuna Jr. – Dansby Swanson – Freddie Freeman – Austin Riley – Adam Duvall
The Nationals have Eric Fedde going in this one, for a little while. I expect we see some arms out of the bullpen pretty quickly as the Braves jump all over the mediocre starter. Fedde has a 5.26 xFIP over his small 28.2 inning sample so far this season, he was at 5.27 over his 78.0 innings in 2019. The right-handed pitcher gives up a fair amount of quality contact and allows power to both sides of the plate, though more to right-handed hitters with a 1.74 HR/9 mark in his career.
The Braves pack a ton of right-handed power in their lineup, the lefties aren’t too bad either. Freddie Freeman is the prime target on the left side of the plate. The all-world first baseman is having a great season, sitting at .323/.441/.564 with six home runs and a WRC+ 65% above average. Freeman’s ability to get on base in addition to his killer bat makes him incredibly valuable in this lineup.
With Freeman getting on base 44% of the time in front of Marcell Ozuna, the Braves have a fantastic core of run creation. The outfielder is making MLB DFS players remember how good he truly is, with 12 home runs and 32 RBIs so far in his 162 plate appearances. Ozuna suffered a down season last year but has always brought a great bat to the plate. At juts $4,500 on DraftKings he’s still carrying a bit of a discount.
Two big right-handed bats hit atop the order ahead of that pair, of course. Dansby Swanson is having a nice breakout season, I would have been very interested to see his final stat line over a full 162 games. In his 163 plate appearances, Swanson has six home runs and a WRC+ 17% above average. Ronald Acuna Jr. is back from his lingering injury issues and should be at the top of the batting order again here. Despite being in and out of the lineup, Acuna has eight home runs, 20 RBIs, and a WRC+ 67% above average. He’s not even expensive at $4,800 on DraftKings.
Adding to this killer quartet we can throw in power hitting right-handed catcher Travis d’Arnaud, third baseman Austin Riley and outfielder Adam Duvall. All three hitters have over five home runs so far this season and they’ve totaled 51 home runs in 1,121 plate appearances against same-handed pitchers since the start of 2018. The trio have an average WRC+ 17% above league average so far in 2020.
Nick Markakis hits from the left side of the plate and does it quite well against right-handed pitching. Since the start of 2018, Markakis has hit 20 home runs in 882 plate appearances and has a .299/.373/.449 slash with a WRC+ 17% above average. Johan Camargo should be hitting toward the bottom of this lineup, he’s never a go-to choice for me, but at just $2,800 on DraftKings and $2,300 on FanDuel he can help things work and isn’t entirely inept. Camargo has a .163 ISO and a WRC+ just four percent below average against right-handed pitching since the start of 2018.
HR Call: Miguel Sano (Twins)
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.