With everything going on, including an MLB season around six weeks old, it’s very weird that today is Labor Day, but here we are. The afternoon off brings us an early start with a 6:05 lock on both sites. The slates are six gamers so there aren’t a ton of options to choose from, but a couple of spots look interesting. With some premium pitching on the board there are good reasons to look for value options, but I think there’s a lot to like with the mid-tier of pitching and getting to expensive bats today. Both of our featured stacks today look like they should be in the chalkier Quick Hits version, but both standout teams are going under-owned across MLB DFS and they look like excellent options in the Top Stacks tool.
MLB DFS Stack Slants | DraftKings + FanDuel | Sept. 7
San Diego Padres – 7-8-1-2-4 – Mateo – Profar – Tatis – Machado – Nola
The pricey Padres’ popularity fluctuates in conjunction with performance and pricing. The team is expensive on DraftKings and there appear to be some opportunities in paying up here. The matchup against Kyle Freeland is a good one, Freeland struggles with striking hitters out and relies entirely on inducing soft contact and getting ground balls. In his 44 innings in 2020, Freeland is striking out just 15.1% of hitters and is carrying a 1.41 WHIP, that’s simply too much opportunity for an explosive lineup like this. The Padres are eighth in baseball with a .206 ISO against lefties this year and they have a WRC+ 17% above average in the split for the season.
The only issue with the Padres is how we can pay for all of the best bats. With a few affordable starters to look to in double pay-down constructions on DraftKings, I think we can get there. The lineup is stacked, most of the ownership shares on both sites are going to Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado at the top of the lineup, which makes sense, they’re the two best players on this team. At $5,800 and $5,700 respectively, they’re also the two most expensive. Still, the quality is there, the duo has 26 combined home runs, 71 RBIs and 10 stolen bases on the season in just 367 combined plate appearances. Tatis’ is wielding a massive .344 ISO with a WRC+ 74% above average, while Machado is at .288 and 49% above average.
The duo is followed by another expensive player in Eric Hosmer, who is all the way up to $5,000 on DraftKings. Things are going well in San Diego. the first baseman is at .286/.344/.554 with a .268 ISO, eight home runs and a WRC+ 39% above average on the season. Hosmer will be facing a fellow southpaw while Freeland is in the game however, the first baseman loses a significant amount of quality in the split, with a WRC+ 21% below average and just a .116 ISO for his career against lefties. The price is a lot to ask for that spot, but the place in the batting order may warrant the spend-up regardless.
The Padres lineup gets interesting with $4,800 Austin Nola as an expensive but unpopular catcher option hitting cleanup in the projected lineup. The line is good this season at .304/.373/.545 with six home runs and a .241 ISO. His 10 home runs in 267 plate appearances in 2019 indicate that there is some power beyond happenstance in the bat and the Padres clearly feel the same way in giving him a key role in this offense immediately upon his acquisition.
Long-time Padre Wil Myers should be hitting fifth, the outfielder costs $4,400 on DraftKings, which is among the better value options in the lineup tonight. Myers is having a strong year as well, who on this team isn’t? He’s at .289/.356/.578 with nine home runs and a .289 ISO in his 149 plate appearances for the year.
If we include second baseman Jake Cronenworth and his .235 mark, the top six hitters in the Padres lineup are averaging a .278 ISO on the season. This lineup is ridiculous. Cronenworth is hitting .330/.386/.565 on the year over 127 plate appearances and makes a great option even in a same-handed matchup.
Jorge Mateo could be a sneaky option on DraftKings today. With just outfield eligibility and costing only $2,700 he’s gone mostly overlooked in early ownership projections. Mateo has speed to burn and if he gets on, he’s running. The kid makes for part of an interesting late-lineup or double wrap-around with Jurickson Profar hitting behind him. Profar hits for more power and has less speed, but is a player who can put up a big game in multiple ways. Trent Grisham in a lefty-lefty matchup isn’t the most appealing option hitting ninth on this team. For his brief career, Grisham has a .260/.313/.390 slash with just a .130 ISO and a WRC+ 12% below average against same-handed pitchers.
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Houston Astros – 1-3-4-5-6 – Springer – Brantley – Gurriel – Tucker – Correa
You might have seen this one coming if you saw the Strategy Show with me and Jake this morning. We both liked the Padres and we both liked the Astros in this spot. I also think the Athletics are firmly in play on the other side of this game and would not want much of either pitcher. Frankie Montas starting for the Athletics, even at just $6,300 on FanDuel, is in a very tough spot. The starter hasn’t gotten through five innings in any of his three most recent outings, while giving up four home runs and 18 earned runs over the stretch. For the season, Montas is carrying a 5.05 xFIP over his 32.2 innings. He’s striking out 22.3% of hitters while walking an unsustainable 12.2%, far too much opportunity for a team like Houston, in spite of their WRC+ just one percent above average against right-handed pitching.
The Astros are still without a few of their biggest bats in Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez and Jose Altuve, but the team still fields a good lineup and they’re going fairly under-valued on today’s small slate. The highest-owned Astros bat on either site in current projections is George Springer at 19.5% on DraftKings. Springer occupies the top spot in the Astros lineup and is a star as bright as any of the others in this team’s lineup. The outfielder brings it from the right side of the plate, he hit 39 home runs in 556 plate appearances in 2019, so far in 2020 he’s carrying a .228/.353/.474 slash with seven home runs, a .246 ISO and a WRC+ 28% above average. Over his last 951 plate appearances against right-handed pitchers, dating to the start of 2018, Springer has hit 50 home runs and is carrying a .235 ISO and a WRC+ 35% above average.
The split is on the good side for Josh Reddick and Michael Brantley who should be following Springer in the lineup. The trio offers a straight-line of outfielders that wouldn’t be the worst three-man stack right off the top. Over his career, Reddick has a .171 ISO and a WRC+ 10% above average against right-handed pitching, though he has struggled more since the start of 2018. In that sample, the outfielder is at just a .122 ISO and a WRC+ 13% below average in 870 plate appearances. Brantley is among team leaders in that sample, with a .205 ISO and a WRC+ 43% above average against right-handed pitching, he’s the better option if you’re deciding between the two.
Yuli Gurriel is a good option at first base for just $4,300 on DraftKings and $2,900 on FanDuel. The mainstay in the middle of this lineup has 160 plate appearances on the season and his at .276/.325/.476 with five home runs, a .200 ISO and a WRC+ 17% above average. For the savings and the position in the batting order, we can get to plenty of Gurriel here.
The quiet contender for AL-MVP hitting from the left side of the plate in this lineup is still a bit under-priced and a bit under-owned. Kyle Tucker is at .283/.333/.580 with a .297 ISO and a WRC+ 41% above average. Tucker sits third in the AL in RBIs with 37, one behind Mike Trout and three off the pace of Jose Abreu. The kid has been raking all season and leads the league with six triples and his .306 ISO against right-handed pitching is 19th best in the league.
Carlos Correa is the last spot in the lineup that I would consider a strong option tonight. The shortstop is projected for under three percent ownership on both sites and is not expensive at $4,500 on DraftKings and just $3,000 on FanDuel. in his 150 plate appearances so far in 2020 Correa has hit just three home runs and is carrying only a .126 ISO but still a WRC+ 19% above average. Still, the power is in the bat, Correa sits in the 69th percentile of hard hit rate in the league but just the 29th percentile in barrels, meaning he’s simply not “squaring up” the ball properly in his swing timing. If he corrects the tick the ball will start to fly again, as usual we want to be ahead of the curve for MLB DFS.
Martin Maldonado, Abraham Toro and Jack Mayfield are varying levels of “fine.” Maldonado offers the most, filling in as a very low-owned $4,200 catcher on DraftKings and costing just $2,500 on FanDuel. Maldonado has shown some ability to hit for game power over his career. In 374 plate appearances in 2019, he hit 12 home runs, and he has four in his 112 opportunities this season. Toro is carrying a .139/.215/.278 slash on the year but is one of the Astros’ better prospects and has reasonably well-regarded hit and game power tools. Either makes a reasonable mix and match option here.
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