FanDuel’s Dinger Tuesday Picks For April 19: Nolan Arenado, Yordan Alvarez, Austin Riley Among Top Value Plays
Bob Levey/Getty Images. Pictured: Yordan Alvarez
Each Tuesday, FanDuel runs a popular promotion that allows each user to bet $25 on one player in every MLB game played that day to hit a home run. Regardless of whether or not the player you bet on homered, you receive $5 in free bets back for each home run hit in the game, with a max return of $25.
Given the average number of home runs in an MLB game in 2021 was 2.44, you will receive an average of $12.20 in free bets back for each $25 home run bet you make, without accounting for the loss in expected value on the vig of the home run-yes prop.
If you want to learn more on how Dinger Tuesday works, here’s an explainer.
Here’s my favorite selections for Tuesday’s slate:
White Sox vs. Guardians, 6:10 p.m.
Editor’s Note: Tuesday’s game between the White Sox and Guardians has been postponed because of inclement weather. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader Wednesday.
Pick: Jose Ramirez +520
Ramirez is perennially underrated as a hitter and consistently one of the league’s best hitters that flies under the radar because he plays for a middling Cleveland franchise. Through the first two weeks of the season, Ramirez ranks 11th in xSLG and 14th in xwOBA in the entire league.
His power is often underrated, too, as he hit 17 homers in 58 games in 2020 and hit 36 last season. His ISO has seen big improvements in the last few seasons and now he gets to face one of the worst starters in MLB in Dallas Keuchel.
Ramirez is a switch hitter with pretty even splits from both sides of the plate, so there’s no way for the White Sox bullpen to scheme a positive matchup against him late in the game, either.
Cardinals vs. Marlins, 6:40 p.m. ET
Pick: Nolan Arenado +420
Arenado has started 2022 in elite form with four home runs and a 1.517 OPS in 30 ABs. His entire career has been somewhat defined by his dominance of left-handed pitching. Arenado has a .990 career OPS against southpaws and he gets one on Tuesday night with Jesús Luzardo. Even when he was at his best in 2020, Luzardo had problems giving up the home run ball. He throws his curveball a lot too, a pitch Arenado has had great success against.
The entire Cardinals lineup mashes left-handed pitching, so even though I’m high on Luzardo generally, the Cardinals are a good potential home run team to target tonight, given the matchup.
Yankees vs. Tigers, 6:40 p.m. ET
Pick: Austin Meadows +560
You could pick one of the Yankees sluggers facing a left-handed pitcher tonight. Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Josh Donaldson have excellent splits matchup and Joey Gallo is incredibly due for more power surge when you look at his underlying xSLG numbers. But I’m selling Gerrit Cole again given how opposing hitters’ aggressive approach against his fastball leads to him giving up homers.
Meadows has plenty of experience seeing Cole from his time in Tampa and he’s an excellent hitter against fastballs and sliders. Meadows has an OPS of 1.017 at this point in the season but hasn’t homered yet. While he’s below average vs. LHP, Meadows projects well against Cole’s pitch mix.
Blue Jays vs. Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. ET
Pick: J.D. Martinez +430
This game is littered with potential hitting options as Boston is one of the biggest hitters parks in America, especially for homers. Throw in Yusei Kikuchi, a Toronto lefty with good stuff but someone who frequently gives up barrels and gets hit hard, and you have a recipe for dingers.
Martinez has elite splits vs. LHP with a career .954 OPS. and while he only has one homer this season, Martinez projects well against both sliders and curveballs, and the slider is Kikuchi’s best secondary pitch.
I don’t hate a shot on Xander Bogaerts and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. might be the best hitter in baseball right now, but Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi is considerably better than his counterpart and that’s why I’m targeting the Boston lineup.
Angels vs. Astros, 8:10 p.m. ET
Pick: Yordan Alvarez +285
I decided to go chalk here with the best hitter in MLB right now through two weeks. Alvarez is No. 1 in MLB in xwOBA and xSLG and it’s not even close. His xSLG of .939 is 107 points higher than the second best in MLB, Guerrero, at .832.
Alvarez is facing a left-handed pitcher in Patrick Sandoval, but Alvarez actually has equally elite numbers in his career when facing southpaws. He was a reverse splits guy for the first few years — better vs. LHP — and while that’s no longer exactly true, he still has a .930 OPS vs. lefties.
Sandoval has had home run issues in 2019 and 2020 and while he’s seemed to improve there, the Angels’ bullpen continues to be a major issue. Alvarez did homer twice on Monday so you’re buying high, but he’s as dialed in as any hitter in the sport right now.
Phillies vs. Rockies, 8:40 p.m. ET
Pick: Connor Joe +570
Like the Red Sox and Blue Jays game, this one is a must-play for Dinger Tuesday. Every Coors game is, especially when Kyle Freeland and Kyle Gibson are pitching. Two above-average offenses and two pitch-to-contact pitchers at elevation. There should be plenty of runs and homers in this game with a total at 11.5 runs.
For that reason, I’m chasing the long-shot value on Joe, a potential 2022 breakout candidate in the making. Rhys Hoskins was a 2021 Dinger Tuesday favorite and someone I’m sure to be playing often in Philadelphia this year, but his number isn’t good enough here.
I’m looking at Joe because Gibson doesn’t have overpowering strikeout stuff. He only played 60 games last year but projected for a 20+ home run pace and thus should not be +570 to homer at home against a mediocre starter.
There are no bad options in this game but the perfect game where I like to chase a bigger payout in a game with plenty of expected homers.
Rangers vs. Mariners, 9:40 p.m. ET
Pick: Jesse Winker +570
Winker has really struggled since joining the Mariners from the Reds before the season. You’d expect to see his power numbers go down just by leaving that ballpark and moving to a more pitcher friendly Seattle. When you compare his xSLG and xwOBA to his actual slugging and wOBA numbers, though, you realize that he’s been quite unlucky thus far in 2022. His numbers are down in terms of hard hit rate, but overall, Winker is due for positive regression at the plate and has a decent matchup with Jon Gray.
I wanted to fade Robbie Ray here, but none of the Rangers’ right-handed bats had a price good enough for me to take them. So I’ll settle on Winker, who hits fastballs well and hit sliders well in 2020.
Braves vs. Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. ET
Austin Riley +460
This may not seem like a great home run matchup on paper because Max Fried and Walker Buehler are both excellent pitchers, but the park is forecasted to have a strong wind blowing out. This one is all about the price shopping for me, where Riley is listed at a -480 NO to homer at BetRivers and thus at +460 you’re paying almost no vig to get Riley at this number.
Riley’s 54.8% hard hit rate is among the best in baseball to begin the season and he’s already managed five barrels in 31 batted balls. Riley is a great all-around hitter, but especially slugged against fastballs last year. He should have plenty of chances against Buehler, who has not at his best in his last start.
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