Panda's Bears and Bulls: MLB 8/26 Slate Breakdown

I’m going to do things a little differently today.

This will be more notes on the fly, as I look over the slate game to game, then writing up specific plays. This will probably fit my style more. Maybe it’ll be too long. We’ll find out. This is written from more of a DK GPP perspective, but can apply to other sites, especially where pricing is similar.


Anytime I see Jacob DeGrom on the slate my first thought isn’t, should I play DeGrom? It’s who’s pitching for the other team and how much do they cost?


DeGrom is notorious for getting awful run support when he starts. 2018, 3.57 runs, 2019, 2.60 runs, 2020, 1.93 runs. It’s getting worse!

Elieser Hernandez is the answer to my initial question, and I’m intrigued. As a young, average prospect, I expect him to be better this year than last, so I’m more interested in this year’s numbers than last, even if the sample size is small. What I see is a 3.39 xFIP and 33% K-Rate. Where strikeouts are king, you can’t ignore that K-rate for only 6.6K on DK. Yes, we can call him a bull.

I don’t need to sell anyone on DeGrom, so I won’t waste the time here. Obviously he’s in play, but as the most expensive pitcher on the slate, with some other high upside options, I’m not screaming lock it up here.

If you’re more on the skeptical side with Hernandez, or at least want to hedge your bets, I understand. He has been hit hard in the past and has pretty neutral splits. The Mets are fairly priced as well. For me though, I’ll have more Hernandez than anything from this game.

The Indians might be my biggest never get right thing in MLB DFS. I’m not sure there’s a team that I’ve stacked as much with consistently disappointing results as Cleveland. Berrios is a decent, above average pitcher, but just doesn’t have the K upside we want for DFS. Frankly, I’m not interested in either side.

Clevinger was great last year, got off to a semi-rocky start this year, then broke team covid-protocal. He was kept away from the team, but now is back and who knows what we’re going to get? He hasn’t pitched a big league game in 3 weeks. Maybe this will be good for him. Maybe it’ll be detrimental. Maybe he’ll be on a pitch count. On top of that he gets to square off with the Twins. I just can’t trust Clevinger here under these circumstances, since we have other options.

I’m also really hesitant to mess with the Twins too much, considering Clevinger is a good pitcher when he’s on. Their prices are pretty high on DK too. Right now my lean is fading this whole game.

Fulmer has been awful in his return from Tommy John surgery. He’s not a bad pitcher and eventually I suspect he’ll round into form, but that could be a ways away and until then we need to take advantage of the current situation. You can stack Cubbies any which way you want, and Fulmer hasn’t had success to either side of the plate.

John Lester is not anyone to be scared of at this point, especially as a lefty facing a line up full of right-handed hitting Tigers. It’s unlikely they break the slate, or put up double digit runs here, you don’t need them to, but once again they’re cheap and serviceable. It doesn’t hurt that the Tigers are actually a top 10 offense against LHP this year so far. Lester has given up a .197 ISO and 40% HC to right-handed bats, so feel free to play a more expensive Schoop or Goodrum and throw in a couple of the cheap guys like Victor Reyes, Isaac Paredes or Jacoby Jones, if he makes the line up.

Oakland came through for us yesterday, and they’re in a decent spot to do it here again. Kolby Allard is a solid prospect, but hasn’t been up to put it together yet in the bigs. A 5+ xFIP, high walks, low strikeouts and 37% HC rate leave a lot to be desired. I have no issues stacking up any of the A’s again today. Top to bottom.

Mike Fiers, historically has been a reverse splits pitcher, but as time has gone on he continues to get worse against LHB’s as well. I’m not really interested in stacking the Rangers, as they’ve been one of the worst offenses in baseball against RHP, but am intrigued by using Leody Taveras, Danny Santana or Joey Gallo as a super mini-stack or one-offs.

Sonny Gray has been strong in 6 starts this year with a 2.83 xFIP and a 35% K-rate. The Brewers have been below average against RHP with a team .141 ISO and 67 wRC+. That’s all I really need to know to decide, what to do here.

Adrian Houser has struggled against LHB’s allowing 41% HC and a .201 ISO, between 2019 and 2020. The positive is a high ground ball rate, but with as many as 7 LHB’s in the Reds lineup, I’m not very interested in using Houser today. On the flip side, the Brewers bullpen is good enough and the Reds bats are expensive enough that I’m not overly interested there either. The three bats I don’t mind as one-offs are Jesse Winker, Mark Payton, and Tucker Barnhart.

Dakota Hudson is an extreme ground ball pitcher, which is something I usually avoid stacking against. Double plays are rally killers and the Royals lineup isn’t strong enough for me to bother here. Hudson himself doesn’t have enough upside to consider today.

Jakob Junis is pretty average and gives up a bunch of hard contact (42%). He’s pretty much splits neutral with a .176 ISO allowed to LHB’s and a .212 ISO allowed to RHB’s between this season and last. I have no issue with going heavy on Cardinals bats.

If you read yesterday’s blog, you know I was down on Paddack, but Dinelson Lamet is a much different story. Lamet has been much steadier this season with a higher K-rate and really isn’t that much more expensive than Paddack yesterday. Give me lots of Lamet.

The beneath the surface numbers say Taijuan Walker hasn’t been that good, but he’s spun some strong starts this year. I’m going to trust the beneath the surface Walker numbers and the on the surface Padres offensive numbers against RHP. The Padres have the 2nd highest .ISO in the league against RHP at .231. Outside of Machado and Tatis, the Padres remain too cheap as well, and there’s no reason to not load up. As a bonus the Mariners continue to feature one of the worst pens in the league.

Jon Gray and Robbie Ray. Two of the most turbulent pitchers to play or stack against. I, 100% have no interest in using Gray. The strikeouts are non-existent, the xFIP is up to 5.89, the hard contact is up to 45%. It’s all bad. Yes, 5 of his 7 starts have been in Coors, but hard contact and no K’s travels. I’ll take any of the D-Backs LHB’s tonight.

“(player-popup #robbie-ray)Robbie Ray”:/players/robbie-ray-17457’s K’s keep him afloat whenever he pitches, but his K-rate is down about 5% so far, from previous seasons. His control has also been worse with a unbelievably high 20% BB rate. I, like most, don’t really like stacking the Rockies outside of Coors, but Ray is just too volatile to not consider any of the big right-handed Rockies bats. On the flipside, Ray’s volatility always brings him into play for me and I never go overboard, but I never have 0 exposure to Robbie Ray on a slate he pitches.

Clayton Kershaw and Kevin Gausman are both having big rebound years. Not that Kershaw was bad last season, but he’s clearly been sharper this year with his xFIP down below 3 again, and K-rate back up over 30%. Kershaw’s one rough start this year was against the Giants, but that isn’t going to stop me from having interest. I prefer DeGrom from a raw points perspective, but if you have to have the extra money on DK, Kershaw is a nice consolation.

The numbers don’t lie. Gausman is sitting on a 3.03 xFIP and 32% K-rate. Gausman has made two appearances this season against the Dodgers. Once out of the pen and once as a starter where he combined for 10 ⅓ innings giving up 3 ERS, 9 hits, 1 BB with 8 K’s. He has struggled some with LHB’s dating back to last year when the resurgence began. Gausman is cheap enough to consider, but I prefer Hernandez considering the match up. Although I believe the numbers on Gausman are real and he’s turned a corner, his numbers against lefties combined with the potency of the Dodgers lineup though, has me mildly interested in Dodgers bats. Especially if they’re going to be lower owned.


OK, so if you didn’t want to read all that, this is what I’m thinking. My pitching pool will likely be:

Jacob DeGrom
Clayton Kershaw
Sonny Gray
Dinelson Lamet
Elieser Hernandez
With just maybe a little Kevin Gausman and Robbie Ray.

My stacking pool (in no particular order):


OK, that list is a little long, so let’s look at it a little further, as I prefer to keep main stacks condensed a bit more. The Rangers, and Reds, I was more interested in one-offs. I don’t even feel the need to have either, but the names I listed above in the breakdown, do pique my interest, based on price and match up. Likeliest scenario is you don’t need either team tonight.

OK, it’s really tough for me to cut anything further. Either Diamondbacks or Rockies exploding isn’t extremely likely, but the chances aren’t slim either. Cardinals like the Indians usually disappoint when I stack them, but that’s not a reason not to, really.

That’s where I’m going to leave it. Feel free to share in the comments who you want to stack or who you think I should cut from the stacking list.

Thanks for reading, and hope it was helpful in some way.

About the Author


  • ifthethunder

    NIce write-up, Panda. I only make 2 to 3 lineups for a main slate. My pitching pool will just be deGrom, Gray, and Lamet.

    I got the pitching right yesterday, but only moderately cashed thanks to over $15,000 of salary spent on three White Sox hitters who totaled 22 DK points (Abreu, Anderson, and Jiménez).

    Still a better night than the one endured by the Gerrit Cole people. Good luck!

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