Monkey Knife Fight Picks: Home Run Derby MLB DFS Picks for Friday

MLB Preview and DFS Picks

Every week, Scott Cullen checks in with Fantasy Baseball MLB Home Run Derby picks on Monkey Knife Fight.

This week, the pitching matchups tend towards more effective starting pitchers but there are still opportunities to find vulnerable pitchers, those are that are more likely to surrender home runs, and that’s the name of the game.

  • Minnesota’s Randy Dobnak (2.27 HR/9), Atlanta’s Drew Smyly (2.19 HR/9), Pittsburgh’s Wil Crowe (1.99 HR/9), the Angels’ Griffin Canning (1.96 HR/9), the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta (191 HR/9), and the Yankees’ Domingo German (1.83 HR/9) are the Friday starting pitchers that have been most susceptible to the home run ball this season.

  • Milwaukee’s Corbin Burns (0.26 HR/9), the White Sox’s Carlos Rodon (0.73 HR/9), Texas’ Dane Dunning (0.83 HR/9), Oakland’s Sean Manaea (0.83 HR/9), Houston’s Framber Valdez (0.84 HR/9), and Miami’s Pablo Lopez (0.85 HR/9) are the Friday starting pitchers allowing less than a home run per inning this season. These might be pitchers to avoid, if possible.

Reminder: For any MKF Home Run Derby contest of $5 or more, if all three of your selections hit home runs, you share in the $10,000 prize pot which has now rolled over for three weeks.


Here are some Monkey Knife Fight Picks to keep in mind when playing MLB Home Run Derby Friday on MKF.


Jose Altuve, Houston

The Astros second baseman is sizzling hot at the plate, with nine home runs in his past 16 games, so a matchup against Detroit’s Wily Peralta, who did not pitch in 2020 but since 2019 has allowed nine home runs in 46 2/3 innings.

Nick Castellanos, Cincinnati

The Reds are at home against the Atlanta Braves, with Drew Smyly starting on the mound, and the Reds right fielder has hit four home runs in 64 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers this season and is 4-for-10 in his career against Smyly, with three doubles.

Ryan Mountcastle, Baltimore

We are talking small samples here, but Mountcastle has faced Blue Jays starting pitcher Alek Manoah twice in his major league career and homered both times as part of his three-home-run game last Saturday. How can you argue with that? Mountcastle has hit seven home runs in 20 games this month.

Some others to consider in the main games: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto (vs. Baltimore, Matt Harvey); Brandon Lowe, Tampa Bay (vs. L.A. Angels, Griffin Canning); Aaron Judge, N.Y. Yankees (at Boston, Martin Perez)



Joey Gallo, Texas

Going into Friday’s matchup against Mike Minor of the Kansas City Royals, Gallo has eight home runs in 114 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers this season and has one home run in four career plate appearances against Minor.

Tyler O’Neill, St. Louis

The Cardinals left fielder has hit 14 of his 15 home runs against right-handed pitchers and faces Pirates starter Wil Crowe, who has had some trouble keeping the ball in the park.

Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox

The reigning American League MVP leads the White Sox with 12 home runs and has hit six of them in 74 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers going into Friday’s game at Seattle, with the Mariners sending Yusei Kikuchi to the mound.

Some others to consider in the late games: Adolis Garcia, Texas (vs. Kansas City, Mike Minor); Bobby Bradley, Cleveland (at Minnesota, Randy Dobnak); Nolan Arenado, St. Louis (vs. Pittsburgh, Wil Crowe)



Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego

Tatis is a default setting for the Home Run Derby. He has mashed 22 home runs in 58 games, including five in the past 11 games, and he is at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks, who have Corbin Martin on the bump and Martin has allowed 11 home runs in 35 career innings in the major leagues.

Matt Olson, Oakland

Not only does the A’s first baseman have 20 bombs this season but he has two home runs in six career plate appearances against San Francisco Giants starter Johnny Cueto.

Max Muncy, Los Angeles

The Dodgers’ first baseman is a consistent power source and leads the Dodgers with 14 home runs this season. He also has two home runs in 12 career plate appearances against Chicago Cubs starter Jake Arrieta.

Some others to consider in the night games: Matt Olson, Oakland (at San Francisco, Johnny Cueto); Manny Machado, San Diego (vs. Arizona, Corbin Martin); Mookie Betts, Los Angeles (vs. Chicago Cubs, Jake Arrieta).



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Scott Cullen

Scott is a sportswriter with a focus on analytics, rankings, fantasy. Even though he’s Canadian, his interests and analysis extend a wee bit beyond hockey and maple syrup. Eh?