This afternoon’s main slates get rolling in just a couple hours, so we don’t have much time to dilly dally on introductions. With a number of very good offenses going against some pretty bad pitching, there are great selections up and down the stacks tool. Both teams from Quick Hits last night, the Blue Jays and Yankees, made the top of the board and look excellent, though the ownership is trending high. The two teams that follow are both in interesting matchups that might keep the public away more than they should be. Hopefully we can take advantage of the inefficiency.
MLB DFS Stack Slants | DraftKings + FanDuel | Sept. 6
Atlanta Braves – Braves – 1-2-4-5-7 – Acuna – Swanson – Ozuna – d’Arnaud – Riley
The Braves are in an interesting spot on the board today. The matchup against lefty ace Patrick Corbin isn’t close to the type of spot we typically look for, yet the team is still drawing a healthy 5.3-run implied team total. Corbin has thrown 40.1 innings in his seven starts in 2020, he’s carrying a 3.98 xFIP and a strikeout rate of just 20.9%, which is significantly down from where he has been the last two seasons. He appears to have lost about 2 mph and 100 rpms of spin off of his fastball, and the pitch is getting hit hard.
Since the start of 2018, the Braves active roster is sixth in the league with a .194 ISO against lefties. Their 143 home runs rank fourth over the same stretch, and they have a team slash of .272/.335/.443. The team is loaded with right-handed pop from top to bottom. Superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. is back from his injury struggles, and he’s hit four home runs in three games over the past two days. Acuna is an all-world talent; he’s carrying a .281/.407/.652 slash this season with a WRC+ 75% above average. At $5,200 on DraftKings he’s the second-priciest option on a pricey team, but he’s worth every penny.
The next two hitters in the lineup crack the $5,000 salary threshold as well. Dansby Swanson makes a great pick at shortstop but costs $5,000, while left-handed first baseman Freddie Freeman is at $5,300. On FanDuel all three players we’ve mentioned are $4,300 or less. Swanson has provided the Braves with power from the right side of the dish and has been getting on base and scoring runs in droves. Freeman is at .316/.436/.551 with a WRC+ 60% above average as a rock-solid three-hitter in this lineup on a daily basis. He loses a fair amount of quality against fellow southpaws, however, with just a .269/.351/.438 slash and a .169 ISO.
The pricing gets slightly better on Marcell Ozuna at just $4,800 on DraftKings and $3,800 on FanDuel despite the outfielder leading the team in home runs with 12 and carrying a .310/.404/.627 slash for the season. Ozuna is a no-brainer play in Braves stacks hitting cleanup here. If this stack goes off, he should be right in the thick of things.
Travis d’Arnaud is priced all the way up to $5,100 and is going to be essentially un-owned on DraftKings. The slugging catcher is having a great year, with a .333/.376/.581 slash and six home runs. His WRC+ 51% above average is tremendous for the position, and he makes a solid play at the catcher spot when he’s not popular.
Outfielders Austin Riley and Adam Duvall bring a ton of right-handed thump from the bottom of the lineup, and I like the idea of working one or both into stacks with this team. Duvall has nine home runs on the year, Riley has seven. Two of Duvall’s have come in his 32 plate appearances against lefties, as has one of Riley’s in his 28 opportunities. The sluggers are somewhat all-or-nothing plays, but they both look solid and provide steady cost-savings at just $4,400 for Riley or $3,800 for Duvall on DraftKings. Both are under $3,000 on FanDuel.
Nick Markakis is a solid hitter but lacks a ton of power, with a .275/.335/.399 slash against lefties over the last two seasons. The veteran outfielder provides some salary relief as well, but he isn’t one of my go-to options in this lineup today. He works well as a mix-and-match piece, however. The same is true for Johan Camargo hitting at the bottom of the lineup. Camargo is at just .200/.244/.367 on the season but connects for power from time to time.
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Minnesota Twins – 9-1-3-4-5 – Astudillo – Polanco – Cruz – Rosario – Sano
The Twins have a strong matchup against rookie Casey Mize. Mize has pitched well for the most part, but this team is a challenge for anyone. The young right-handed starter is carrying a 4.62 xFIP for the season with a 1.69 WHIP and a 23.6% strikeout rate. He’s allowed a .355 BABIP, so hitters have done well putting the ball in play and “hitting it where they ain’t” against him, which can be somewhat attributed to luck. The righty brings a solid mix of a mid-90s fastball and a devastating splitter, the Twins can counter with several hitters with an excellent track record against the starter’s primary out pitch, however.
The Twins rank fifth in the top stacks tool and are going under-owned on both sites. The individual player ownership levels look extremely friendly on the important hitters as well, with only Eddie Rosario trending over the 10% mark on DraftKings. The pricing leaves a bit to be desired, however, and the lineup is not their A-1 option, but they still field a solid team.
Jorge Polanco will be leading off and playing shortstop for just $4,700 on DraftKings. The underrated player is at .281/.319/.382 for the year, and his WRC+ has slipped below average, but he makes a solid option for some pop nonetheless. Luis Arraez‘ primary ability in the two spot in the lineup is his hit tool. The slap-hitting infielder never strikes out and puts the ball in play constantly, but he is struggling to find his quality this season at just .274/.324/.313 over his first 105 plate appearances. In 366 opportunities in 2019, he went .334/.399/.439, which is what landed him atop this lineup today. I would tend toward swapping these two hitters in the order or moving Nelson Cruz or Rosario into the two spot with Arraez leading off, but I’m not making the lineup.
Hitting third and fourth, Cruz and Rosario bring a ton of power to the dish and clean up in the RBI department. The sluggers have a combined 21 home runs on the season, 13 of those belong to Cruz, who may actually be a demigod of some sort. His .329/.416/.643 slash is outstanding, as is his WRC+ 80% above average. He’s worth every bit of the $5,800 we have to pay for him today on DraftKings. At just $4,000 on FanDuel he’s an easy option. Rosario’s $2,900 price on FanDuel is just amusing. The outfielder may be at just .232/.297/.430 on the year, but we just saw him hit 32 home runs and drive in 109 in 590 plate appearances in 2019. He is more than capable of handling the cleanup role for this team and putting up a slate-breaking score on any given day.
Miguel Sano is a gigantic right-handed bat hitting fifth in what should be another prime spot to do some damage. The slugger has nine home runs on the year already and is one of the Twins with a strong track record against Mize’s primary arsenal. The first baseman costs $5,100 and is the most expensive player not named Cruz on this team on DraftKings.
The quality dries up a bit after Sano in today’s lineup. Jake Cave and Ehire Adrianza are replacement-level types who you can mix and match into a limited set of lineups if you need to get different or save some money with the Twins here. LaMonte Wade Jr. is a 26-year-old non-prospect with 40-grade power who has never hit more than 11 home runs or stolen more than 12 bases in a minor league season.
Catcher Willians Astudillo is back in the lineup today. He’s hitting ninth and could be a somewhat sneaky catcher play on DraftKings. At just $2,900 we’re investing in his incredible hit tool. The catcher has unreal numbers throughout his minor league career in terms of putting the ball in play. He strikes out less than 5% of the time and walks less than that. Throughout numerous stops in the minors he hit well over .300 and provided some run creation and limited power along the way. The hit tool is a rare 80-grade in traditional scouting, something reserved for only the absolutely elite of the elite tools in the game. At under 10% ownership and a great price on DraftKings, we can work with that for MLB DFS purposes.
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