This article is one in a series that uses the FantasyLabs Tools to build daily fantasy scouting reports for MLB’s brightest stars.
Corey Kluber isn’t sexy like Stephen Strasburg and Clayton Kershaw (scouting report) in that he doesn’t bring the heat or pitch in a big market, but he’s certainly a top-tier pitcher. Let’s take a look at Kluber’s production to see where he provides an edge.
After winning the Cy Young Award in 2014, Kluber regressed in 2015, losing 7.4 points from his Plus/Minus average, but he still averaged a respectable 38.65 FanDuel points per outing:
Last year he rebounded a bit. Even though his raw and salary-adjusted production didn’t reach 2014 levels, he actually had higher Consistency and Upside Ratings than he had in his Cy Young season.
Here’s Kluber’s production broken out by month (per our Trends tool):
Although there’s little month-to-month continuity in performance, we can see that historically the first month of the season has been Kluber’s worst and the last month his best in terms of both raw and salary-based production. It’s hard to know if that trend will hold in 2017.
Here’s Kluber’s Vegas data:
With our Vegas Score, Kluber acts as we’d expect most pitchers to act. Although Kluber has been productive in almost any range, his performance has improved with his Vegas Score. At 1-50, he has a Plus/Minus of +0.26 with a Consistency of 52. At 51-99, he has a Plus/Minus of +7.71 with a Consistency of 63. He’s regularly provided the most bang for DFS buck when his Vegas Score has been 85-plus. In those 41 instances, he’s had a +10.67 Plus/Minus with 66 percent Consistency.
Intriguingly, Kluber has scored substantially fewer FanDuel points as an underdog, but his Plus/Minus is only marginally lower (because he’s been priced down so much as a dog), but his ownership and Consistency have both been significantly higher:
Pro subscribers can monitor Kluber’s early-season guaranteed prize pool ownership in our DFS Ownership Dashboard. If he remains a productive underdog but experiences a drop in ownership, then he could be a potential contrarian tournament option when not favored.
There’s nothing surprising about Kluber’s home/away splits. In general pitchers do better in their home ballparks, and Kluber is no exception:
One relevant detail regarding Kluber’s visiting production is his performance in the Pacific time zone. In seven games, he has a -1.80 FanDuel Plus/Minus. The sample’s not large and that performance isn’t all-time bad, but it marks one of the few negative Plus/Minus situations in Kluber’s history.
Ironically, Kluber has historically provided the most value when he’s pitched in parks that aren’t especially friendly to pitchers:
With a Park Factor of 31-60, Kluber has cleaned up with an +8.67 FanDuel Plus/Minus on 65 percent Consistency.
Additionally, in parks that are friendlier to pitchers, Kluber’s production has been uninspiring:
Never having enjoyed a Park Factor higher than 88, Kluber’s been pedestrian in pitcher-friendly environments with a 51 percent Consistency and no Upside.
Like most pitchers, Kluber does better when facing teams outside his division:
Regardless of whether he’s in or out of division, Kluber does best at home:
On the road, Kluber has been less impressive in division games:
Kluber doesn’t blow anyone away with his below-average fastball. Rather, he gets batters to whiff on his breaking ball. Still, he’s more effective when he’s throwing harder:
During the season, his 15-day and one-year velocity averages will be accessible in our Player Models.
There’s no magic number when it comes to Kluber’s strikeout predictions:
In general, Kluber’s Plus/Minus increases with his K Prediction, but there are no easy splits or thresholds in his historical production. Perhaps because Kluber doesn’t rely on velocity to produce strikeouts his high-K performances are harder to predict. Regardless, K Predictor hasn’t been as strong of an indicator of fantasy production for Kluber as it has been for other pitchers.
Over the last three years, Kluber has been amazingly productive at or below $10,000 on FanDuel, with a +9.71 Plus/Minus and eight percent Upside. Of course, he hasn’t been cheaper than $10,000 since June 2016. Above $10,000, he’s respectable Consistency (62 percent) but a diminished Plus/Minus (+4.33) and Upside Rating (zero).
On DraftKings, Kluber was cheaper than $10,000 only once last year. At $11,000 and higher, he’s provided slight value:
Although Kluber has middling velocity, he’s still a strikeout threat. Like most pitchers, Kluber is at his best as a heavy favorite and at home, where he’s significantly better against division opponents (compared to on the road). Given Kluber’s history of struggling in April, he’s a potential fade candidate early in the year, but if his salary drops some he could be positioned to provide value throughout the season.