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MLB

MLB DFS Picks: Stack Slants for DraftKings + FanDuel | 9/16

Terry McBride

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MLB Odds + NBA Odds: Julian Edlow gives out the best FREE MLB picks and NBA picks to build your betting card around for Monday, Aug. 17, 2020

With a meaty nine-game main slate across MLB DFS, we should have some good teams to work with. There are some blatant misprices on both sites tonight that we should be able to take advantage of again. The top stacks board looks a bit top heavy again with many teams falling into a relatively flat middle tier where we can find some significant ownership advantage.

MLB DFS Stack Slants | DraftKings + FanDuel | Sept. 16

New York Yankees – 2-4-5-6-8 – Judge – Stanton – Frazier – Torres – Sanchez (or -7- Voit, if you can afford him)

So maybe I’m a day late on the Yankees. They were in play for this space yesterday, but ultimately other teams looked better. Then they came out and dropped a 20-run game on the Blue Jays. Fortunately, yesterday’s total has absolutely no bearing on today’s probability of being the top stack, and the Yanks look to be in a very good spot.

Facing fading right-handed innings eater Tanner Roark, who had some effective years for the Nationals, the Yankees are drawing excellent power marks in my home run model and strong projections from Awesemo. The team ranks second in the stacks tool, and they’re going slightly under-owned on both sites. With Gio Urshela and Giancarlo Stanton coming back last night and the imminent return of Aaron Judge from the IL, the team is getting healthy just in time for the playoffs, and the power has been flipped back on in the Bronx.

Roark has a 5.68 xFIP in his 35.1 innings so far in 2020 and has been struggling with striking out right-handed hitters (13.3%). Never known as a strikeout artist, even against a free-swinging team like these Yankees, Roark is going to struggle with that rate and the sheer number of right-handed hitters the Yankees can throw at him. The pitcher has allowed six home runs to lefties and four to right-handed hitters in his limited innings this year. He’s a big flashing target for this Yankees offense and for our MLB DFS lineups.

The Yankees can throw a variety of lineup constructions into this one, so keep an eye on the final batting order. The projected lineup I’m working with includes Judge in his customary second spot in the batting order. If the big slugger is back tonight, the team gets an additional boost. Judge was crushing baseballs early in the season before yet another injury set him back. For his 71 plate appearances, he’s hit nine home runs and has a .292/.343/.739 slash with a .446 ISO and a WRC+ 83% above average. Since the start of 2018, Judge has seen 734 plate appearances against right-handed pitching, he has 44 home runs, a .267/.361/.524 slash with a .257 ISO and a WRC+ 36% above average. He’s a no-brainer play at $4,800 on DraftKings and $4,000 on FanDuel. Judge is currently trending as the most popular player on this team on both sites.

D.J. LeMahieu should be leading off ahead of Judge, the pair makes for one of the best one-two tandems in baseball. Over 159 plate appearances, the second baseman has a .363/.409/.575 slash with a WRC+ 67% above average. LeMahieu legitimately has one of the best hit tools in all of baseball and he pairs it with a terrific eye and an approach that gets him on base at a significant clip, on DraftKings his $5,500 is justifiably the highest price on the team. On FanDuel, his $3,700 is comparatively laughable.

Despite his struggles, $3,700 and $3,000 are both low prices for a player of Aaron Hicks caliber. The switch-hitting center fielder has just a .209 average and .374 slugging percentage, but his middle slash (on-base percentage) is still at .374, and he’s still creating runs at a pace 18% above average. I’m happy to bet on the upside with this player if others are only getting to him around 10%.

Stanton’s big right-handed bat should be cleaning up for this team, and he’s priced at just $4,400. Drawing less than half the ownership of Judge, Stanton makes a fantastic play either stacked with his fellow gigantic outfielder or as a pivot from him. Stanton has seen just 59 plate appearances this season, he has three home runs and a .267 ISO. Stanton has 29 home runs in his 635 plate appearances against right-handed pitching dating to the start of the 2018 season.

The Yankees lineup rolls on with quality. This team is loaded from top to bottom when healthy. The projected lineup has Clint Frazier hitting in the five spot with Gleyber Torres and Luke Voit following him up. This trio would be a 2-3-4 group in most lineups in baseball. Frazier has six home runs and a .271 ISO while creating runs 61% better than the average over his 116 plate appearances filling in while the star outfielders were injured. If he continues getting opportunities, which he should with Brett Gardner struggling, the outfielder will always be in play.

Torres is a star player on par with any of the other shortstops in the league. He’s at .262/.372/.388 on the year, though his power has largely been absent with just two home runs and a .126 ISO. For just $4,300 I’m happy to take him at a discount on DraftKings. Voit has been smoking everything since he arrived in the Bronx, and he’s carried this team for long stretches while the bigger stars have hit the injured list. The first baseman has a league-leading 18 home runs so far in 2020 and is second in the league with a .354 ISO, while his WRC+ sits 57% above average.

Gary Sanchez is a player we’ve discussed numerous times in this space. The catcher makes incredible hard contact, in the rare instance that he makes contact. He leads the Yankees in home runs against right-handed pitching over the last two-plus seasons with 45 in his 721 plate appearances, though he’s carrying a sub-Mendoza .199 average and a .287/.445 on the back end of his slash over the same stretch. Sanchez is the definition of an all-or-nothing hitter at this point. Against a pitcher like this, at under 5% ownership and for just $4,300, I can bet on the power upside and get over the field.

Urshela is another player who broke through his presume hitting ceiling upon his arrival in New York. Filling in last year for the injured Miguel Andujar, Urshela surprised everyone in baseball by putting up a .314/.355/.534 slash with 21 home runs in his 476 plate appearances. This season he’s continued to rake, going .290/.376/.542 with six homers over his 125 opportunities in 2020.


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Baltimore Orioles – 2-6 – Iglesias – Mountcastle – Severino – Nunez – Hays

Let’s be clear, there are a few stacks that are better offenses who are also going under-owned that rank above the Orioles. Make sure to check the top stacks tool every day to catch the full spectrum of plays. I’m picking the Orioles for this spot because they provide some value on a slate where salary dollars are going to be important. There are numerous big pitchers to pay up for alongside some pricey stacks like the Yankees and Braves. On the “safer” but pricier side, we could have used the Mets or White Sox in this space again easily today.

The Orioles are around level popularity on DraftKings, and they’re trending well under on FanDuel. The team is facing veteran lefty Cole Hamels in his return to action for the first time this season. Hamels missed all of original Spring Training and then all of extra crispy Spring Training when baseball resume. He’d been dealing with a triceps issue, and the Braves are bringing him along slowly in hopes of getting him game action enough to build up for the playoffs which start in two weeks. This is essentially Hamels making rehab starts acting as an opener for this team. He’s expected to go about three innings. In 2019 Hamels was largely ineffective when he was healthy. I’m not sure what to expect here, but this seems like an actionable spot between his question mark and the roughly league-average bullpen.

The Orioles are not a good offense, particularly without Anthony Santander‘s bat, but they did just get Austin Hays back in the lineup, and he should be providing some additional pop behind the team’s breakout rookie Ryan Mountcastle. The team is cheap across the board. No hitter in the projected lineup costs more than $4,000, and they’re trending for less than 10% ownership from top to bottom. The team is roughly on par with the quality of the Royals, who are ranked higher on the stack board and drawing significantly more popularity. I think considering the Orioles as an alternate or at least mixing them in makes a lot of sense for MLB DFS slates on all sites.

Hanser Alberto and Jose Iglesias are not the biggest names in baseball, but they’re somewhat capable for our purposes. The infield tandem are priced at $3,900 and $3,600, respectively, on DraftKings and just $2,900 and $2,800 on FanDuel. Alberto has a .294/.315/.396 slash with two home runs and two stolen bases over his 186 plate appearances. His on-base and his WRC+ 10% below average are related to one another and could be a lot better for a leadoff hitter. If Alberto is in a different spot in the lineup, I like him less. Iglesias has made 128 plate appearances and he’s got a .374/.391/.512 slash with a WRC+ 44% above average. The on-base skill is my favorite thing with this player. We’ll need him to reach scoring position in front of the next few hitters for this stack to work out.

Mountcastle has been on fire since his promotion 90 plate appearances ago. Over the stretch, the rookie sensation has a .350/.411/.588 slash with five home runs, a .238 ISO and a WRC+ 67% above average. He’s delivering immediately on his expected upside. None of it is surprising other than the ready-on-arrival nature of the hitter. Catcher Pedro Severino and first baseman Renato Nunez provide power and protection for Mountcastle in the lineup as well. Nunez has 11 home runs in his 190 plate appearances to go with a .250/.316/.488 slash and a .238 ISO this season. Severino is trending for just under 5% ownership as a $3,800 catcher who might be hitting cleanup in a live stack. That’s an opportunity we can cash in on DraftKings.

The trio should gain some additional pop from Hays’s return to the lineup. The outfielder has just a .211/.282/.250 slash in his 85 plate appearances this year, but he provides significant power upside. The back end of the Orioles lineup behind Hays provides some interesting low-owned mix-and-match options. Pat Valaika has first and second base eligibility at juts $2,400 on DraftKings, and he’s a $2,200 shortstop on FanDuel. I wouldn’t go wild rostering a player of his caliber, but his seven home runs on the season show us a little life in the bat.

Rio Ruiz is a very inexpensive and essentially untouched third baseman on both sites. He’s at just .212/.288/.411 this season, though he has hit eight home runs and has a .199 ISO. His WRC+ is 16% below average this year. In 2019 over 413 plate appearances, Ruiz hit 12 homers and had a .143 ISO with a pathetic WRC+ 76% below average. Ruiz does gain some quality in the split against right-handed pitchers, since the start of last year he’s got a .167 ISO and a WRC+ 20% below average.

Cedric Mullins has also struggled against right-handed pitchers. Over his 137 plate appearances in the split dating to the start of last season, Mullins has just one home run and a .231/.293/.331 slash and a WRC+ 32% below average. His seven stolen bases in the sample are somewhat impressive for someone who has gotten on base so infrequently. Mullins is a mix-and-match play as a wraparound.


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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 Awesemo.com. 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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