This is a bit of a weird day for MLB DFS with just four games on the FanDuel main slate and an early start to a six-game DraftKings main slate. Things are looking pretty different from site to site between prices, popularity and availability, so I thought we might change things up a bit just for today. I’m going to hit one Stack Slants-style stack from the tool and then I’m going to go through the different teams looking for a few quality one-offs that we can weaponize on a short slate.
MLB DFS Stack Slants | DraftKings + FanDuel | Sept. 3
San Diego Padres – Pick ’em
Start playing the Padres more so I don’t have to write about them every day, would you please? They are the fourth-ranked team out of 12 on DraftKings, third out of eight on FanDuel, under-owned on both sites and the second-best offense in baseball. Need I say more?
Keep an eye out for blazing-fast Jorge Mateo at the bottom of the lineup as a min-price wraparound option. The kid is among the fastest players at any level of professional baseball and has been a work in progress in the minors since being a Yankees prospect several years ago.
Kansas City Royals – 1-5 – Merrifield – Dozier – Soler – O’Hearn – Franco
This is the one we’re here for. The Royals are ranked well down the stacks board, and they don’t have the greatest chance of being the top team. Still, they’re looking like a somewhat under-owned value on DraftKings that could work as a second stack alongside the Padres or the also under-owned White Sox and provide some reasonable upside at a discount.
The matchup against up-and-coming Dylan Cease isn’t the greatest spot, although Cease can be something of a wild card himself. If we get the Cease who lacks control and command, we could see Royals circling the bases often. That’s not what I expect nor what we should be counting on here, however. Cease projects well in my model, and he ranks fourth on the top pitchers board on both sites. In his small 2020 sample, Cease has struck out just 17.6% of opposing hitters while issuing the free pass to an unsustainable 11.8%, just a 5.9 K-BB%. His career walk rate of 11.1% is typically at least bolstered by a 22.6% strikeout rate. There’s a lot to target in his 1.49 career WHIP overall, but the pitcher is also not a pushover. He has electric stuff with a 98-mph fastball, a wipeout breaking ball that generates a good amount of whiff and a solid changeup that he reserves mostly for lefties. Cease is sitting in just the 24th percentile in xwOBA, the 20th in strikeout rate and the 24th in barrels allowed. He’s simply leaving too many pitches in the meaty part of the strike zone.
As a team, the Royals sit 10th in the league with 38 home runs against right-handed pitching, though some of their other numbers show some struggles. They strike out too often in the split and are creating runs at a below-average pace. This is where we’re going to need to rely on a bit of help from the pitcher. If he gives up those opportunities the Royals should have a chance to bring runners around.
The Royals are going to be relatively untouched on DraftKings. This isn’t one I would go totally wild with. I would limit the amount to which I have them as the primary stack for instance. Still, the team has a lineup with some interesting bats for MLB DFS purposes. Whit Merrifield leading off at $5,300 on DraftKings is the most expensive spot on this team on either site. By comparison, he costs just $3,500 on FanDuel. The speedy outfielder is carrying a .272/.329/.469 slash with a .197 ISO and a WRC+ 14% above average. His seven home runs equal his stolen base total so far. In 2019 he hit 16 home runs and stole 20 bags in 735 plate appearances, so this is normal production with a bit of extra power so far.
At the surface level, Hunter Dozier looks like he struggles with same-handed pitching, his .200 average sure sticks out, but his .358 on-base percentage is high-quality, and his .185 ISO and WRC+ 9% above average in the split work well enough for me here. I can get some Dozier into Royals stacks at just $3,100 on FanDuel and $4,300 on DraftKings. That Jorge Soler is priced lower on both sites is laughable.
The beast of a power hitter of an outfielder costs just $3,000 on FanDuel and $4,200 on DraftKings despite being one of the better options to hit home runs on any slate. Soler is pulling the team’s highest mark in my home run model and is sitting at .246/.344/.477 on the season with a .231 ISO, a WRC+ 22% above average and eight home runs, all against right-handed pitchers. Soler is also a dead-red fastball hitter, Cease’s heat shouldn’t bother him at all, and if he leaves one of those fat ones in the zone, it’s going to go back out at about 110 mph.
Left-handed Ryan O’Hearn handles Cease’s out-pitch to lefty bats — the changeup, remember — better than he handles most other pitches. He’s driven it for reasonable power through his career, and he should be hitting cleanup here. The $2,400 price on FanDuel is extremely friendly for someone hitting fourth on any team, as is the $3,400 on DraftKings. O’Hearn has earned the low pricing, though. He’s struggling to just a .221/.313/.349 slash with a WRC+ 24% below average so far in 2020.
Maikel Franco, Alex Gordon and Adalberto Mondesi offer a trio of intriguing mix-and-match options from later in this lineup. Mondesi’s season-long struggles have unfortunately continued, relegating the young star shortstop to hitting around seven in this order. He’s at just .182/.206/.235 on the season. With that sort of on-base, it’s actually shocking to see he’s stolen eight bags already, which is about the best we can say about his performance.
Gordon has struggled as well, but he sees quality on this side of splits, and he’s typically an ignored option on this team. His career .263/.344/.423 slash with a WRC+ 6% above average and .160 ISO in the split are workable for us here in limited deployments. Franco has all six of his 2020 home runs against same-handed pitching, costs just $2,700 on FanDuel and $3,700 on DraftKings and hits in a big RBI spot for this team.
At the bottom of the lineup, Nicky Lopez and Cam Gallagher are really not much more than filler options. Gallagher offers some savings at the catcher spot at just $2,300 with no ownership on DraftKings, while Lopez is another lefty bat that we can throw at this pitcher, though he doesn’t really do much with the stick. In his 114 2020 plate appearances, Lopez is at just .200/.286/.270 with a .070 ISO, you can probably do better. And I mean at hitting baseballs when I say that.
Related MLB DFS Content
- Learn MLB DFS: DraftKings + FanDuel Primer
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- Top Stack Tool (PREMIUM)
- Awesemo’s Top Pitcher Tool (PREMIUM)
- The MLB Strategy Show Live Before Lock
Let’s have some fun picking out some random one-offs on a day with not a ton of great sneaky stack options and not that many games overall. If you wanted to, you can also use this section to identify some lower-owned options within the team’s stack.
KurtSuzuki – C – Nationals — Suzuki is an under-appreciated option at catcher tonight. He’s drawing under 5% ownership on DraftKings at just $3,800 at the mandatory position. While he has just one homer over his first 75 plate appearances in 2020, Suzuki is a reliable catcher for power. He hit 17 out of the yard in just 309 opportunities in 2019 and has hit more than 12 in six seasons, which is solid for the position.
Alec Bohm – 3B – Phillies — Bohm has done everything well since coming up to the Show a couple weeks ago to man the hot corner for Philadelphia. The high-end prospect is delivering on expectations with a .288/.358/.475 slash and two home runs over his first 67 plate appearances. There’s too much quality in this bat for him to be priced at just $2,500 on FanDuel and $3,300 on DraftKings. He’s trending for under 10% ownership as part of what is a very popular stack. Bohm is hitting eighth and could be deployed at the end of Phillies stacks or as a wraparound option.
Clint Frazier – OF – Yankees — Frazier is drawing under 2% ownership on DraftKings despite just a $3,600 tag. The patient prospect has produced every time he’s called upon. Over 61 plate appearances with the big club during Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton‘s absences, Frazier is at .294/.410/.608 with four home runs, 12 RBIs, a .314 ISO and a WRC+ 75% above average. What is there to think about here in a matchup with Robert Gsellman? The Yankees look like a terrific offbeat stack option here, and Frazier should be a big part of it.
Pete Alonso – 1B – Mets — Um, you guys, Alonso costs just $3,000 on DraftKings and is drawing just 7.2% ownership in a matchup against J.A. Happ. This is a market inefficiency in need of correction or action. Alonso has struggled to a .209/.327/.395 slash in 2020 but has managed at least a .186 ISO and a WRC+ just 4% below average. This is the same guy who hit 53 home runs in 693 rookie plate appearances while conquering the MLB DFS world in 2019. I have no worries at all about getting heavy on him against a starter like Happ. Since the start of the 2017 season, Happ is 12th worst in the league in home runs allowed with 83 despite pitching at least 40 fewer innings than everyone ahead of him on the board. When we change that to home runs against right-handed hitters, he’s third worst with 70. This is a big flashing target, so fire away.
Jorge Mateo – OF – Padres — I mentioned Mateo up top as part of the Padres stack. He’s drawing no ownership at the bare minimum on both sites. Mateo has 80-grade speed in traditional 20-80 scouting. He also brings a 55 raw power rating, but we’ll leave that for another day. The hit tool has never fully developed. Still just 25, the long-awaited prospect is getting a shot here after playing in the minors with the Yankees and A’s since 2012 when he was just 17. Mateo stole 49 bases in 299 plate appearances in rookie ball in 2013. In 2015, after some injuries, he stole 82 bases in 500 plate appearances between rookie ball and high A. In 2018 and 2019 he stole 25 and 24 bases for the Athletics’ AAA squad. The speed tool is very real. If he manages to get on, you’re likely getting some bonus points from him.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – 1B – Blue Jays — I wrote up the Blue Jays in their matchup against Martin Perez last night in Quick Hits if you want the full take. Guerrero looks to be in an ignored corner of what is a very popular stack today. I love to get to him at under 10% ownership as either a one-off or in stacks against a bad lefty like Perez. Guerrero costs just $3,300 on FanDuel and $4,300 on DraftKings and brings plenty of proven pop. His struggles have been over-hyped. He’s riding a .267/.338/.458 slash with five home runs, a .191 ISO and a WRC+ 17% above average hitting in a major RBI spot on one of the best stacks of the day. You know what to do.
J.D. Martinez and Bobby Dalbec – OF and 1B/3B — The Red Sox are taking on Taijuan Walker at home in the pitcher’s debut for Toronto. I think the under-owned Sox have a good chance at putting some points on Walker here. I’m getting a good home run mark on both of these hitters, and they’re both trending for at or under 5% ownership. Dalbec will be less popular but warrants attention. The top prospect hit a home run in his debut but has not earned a salary bump at just $2,300 on FanDuel and $2,700 on DraftKings. Those are misprices for a hitter of this pedigree. Martinez is constantly under-owned and unappreciated. He costs $5,100 on DraftKings, which is a tough ask, but if you can afford it as a spendy one-off, it makes sense despite the .218/.305/.387 slash so far.
Everyone – Everywhere – White Sox — This stack is too good to be this low-owned in a matchup against Danny Duffy, I don’t care what the prices are, figure it out. Only Yasmani Grandal is getting enough attention on DraftKings, and the MLB DFS community seems asleep at the switch on this matchup. The White Sox lead MLB in home runs against lefty pitching with 21. They have a team slash of .303/.377/.571 in the split with a .268 team ISO and a WRC+ 57% above average. This team absolutely obliterates lefty pitching.
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