The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Friday features a great 15-game main slate that starts on DraftKings and FanDuel at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Despite the 15-game slate, there are just three pitchers on FanDuel priced $9,000 or higher:
Gerrit Cole checks in with the highest salary on this slate with his matchup against a Diamondbacks team that ranks 25th against right-handers in weighted runs created (wRC+), per FanGraphs. Cole is off to an absurd start to the season, posting a +20.45 FanDuel Plus/Minus with 100% Consistency. Overall, he leads the league with a 39.4% strikeout rate (minimum 30 innings pitched) while holding teams to a low .172 batting average. It’s a solid matchup for Cole: He owns a 7.0 K Prediction, the Astros are sizeable -187 moneyline favorites, and the Diamondbacks are implied for a slate-low 3.6 runs. Historically, pitchers with comparable Vegas data and K Predictions have been solid investments (per our Trends tool):
If Cole does have any concerns, it’s his recent batted-ball data. He has a 93-mph exit velocity and 37% hard-hit rate allowed. That said, he’s striking out batters at such an incredible rate and allowing so few runners that any concerns with his Statcast data are mitigated.
J.A. Happ was a popular option his last time out (22.4% ownership), and that could be the case again as he owns a 98% Bargain Rating on FanDuel. The matchup is also favorable, as the projected Rays lineup owns a .258 weighted on-base average (wOBA) and 25.7% strikeout rate against lefties over the past 12 months. Happ has been outstanding this year, striking out eight or more batters in five of his six starts and posting a +13.55 FanDuel Plus/Minus with 83% Consistency. Further, Happ leads the studs with a 7.3 K Prediction against a Rays team implied for just 3.6 runs. Along with that, he also has favorable recent batted-ball data, allowing a 197-foot average distance, 86-mph exit velocity, and low 19% hard-hit rate. Pitchers with comparable Vegas data, K Predictions, and recent batted-ball data have historically crushed their salary-based expectations with a +6.92 FanDuel Plus/Minus:
Rick Porcello trails the other studs with his 6.1 K Prediction against the Rangers, but the Red Sox do have favorable -180 moneyline odds. That said, the Rangers’ implied total of 3.9 runs should give us pause, especially considering that Porcello has a low K Prediction and the Red Sox are on the road. Even with favorable moneyline odds, road pitchers with comparable K Predictions and opponent implied totals have historically struggled:
Gio Gonzalez owns a 91% Bargain Rating against the Phillies. The Nationals are -122 moneyline favorites at home, and Gio boasts a 6.3 K Prediction against a projected Phillies lineup that sports a 26.6% strikeout rate against lefties over the past 12 months. Pitchers with comparable Vegas data and K Predictions at home have historically averaged a +1.96 FanDuel Plus/Minus.
For $7,100, Zack Wheeler could be an intriguing SP2 candidate on DraftKings. The Mets are slight favorites (-115 moneyline odds) against a Rockies team whose projected lineup owns a high 28.5% strikeout rate and low .296 wOBA against righties over the past 12 months. The Rockies are implied for 3.9 runs, and Wheeler has just a modest 6.7 K Prediction, but pitchers with comparable salaries, K Predictions, and Vegas data have historically been awesome bargains on DraftKings:
The Twins are sizeable -162 moneyline favorites, and Jose Berrios leads the slate with a 7.8 K Prediction against the White Sox. Over the past 12 months the White Sox own a 29.8% strikeout rate and paltry .283 wOBA against righties. Berrios has shown flashes of brilliance, but he can also get himself into trouble. Over his past two starts, he’s lasted just seven combined innings, allowing nine earned runs. That said, Berrios squared off against the White Sox in April and posted his best start of the season, lasting seven innings while punching out 11 batters. Overall, Berrios’ upside in this matchup makes him an intriguing option, especially since opposing pitchers against the White Sox this year have been amazingly consistent:
Garrett Richards: The Angels are slight -125 favorites, and Richards has a respectable 6.6 K Prediction against the Mariners. While it’s a tough matchup, pitchers with comparable Vegas data and K Predictions have averaged a +2.54 Plus/Minus.
Let’s start with how awful Josh Tomlin‘s recent batted-ball data is, with his 256-foot average distance, 96-mph exit velocity, and 52% hard-hit rate. Tomlin is also a fly-ball pitcher, as evidenced by his 12-month 42% fly-ball rate. Right off the bat (pun intended), opposing hitters squaring off against pitchers with comparable recent batted-ball data have averaged a +2.50 FanDuel Plus/Minus with a 46.7% Consistency Rating. Except for Gary Sanchez, all the batters in this stack are on the positive side of their wOBA and isolated power (ISO) differentials, and Sanchez still owns an elite .357 wOBA and .243 ISO against righties over the past 12 months:
Joe Holka also touched on Brett Gardner in today’s Three Key MLB Players.
One of the top five-man stacks on DraftKings per the Bales Model belongs to the A’s, who are implied for a stellar 5.3 runs:
Matt Olson has been crushing the ball of late with his 227-foot average distance, 94-mph exit velocity, and 53% hard-hit rate. Over his past 10 games he has a -2.54 DraftKings Plus/Minus, but his Recent Batted Ball Luck (RBBL) of +46 suggests he’s been unlucky in the short term. Historically, hitters with comparable data have averaged a +1.50 DraftKings Plus/Minus. It also won’t hurt that he owns a .463 wOBA and .411 ISO against right-handed pitchers over the past 12 months. Matthew Joyce is in a similar spot: He owns a 228-foot average distance, 97-mph exit velocity, 66% hard-hit rate, and an RBBL of +32. He’s on the positive side of his splits with a .374 wOBA and .267 ISO. Brace yourselves: Progression is coming.
Eugenio Suarez is averaging a +6.41 FanDuel Plus/Minus over his past seven games with a high 50% Consistency Rating. Further, Suarez and the Reds are implied for 4.7 runs, and he owns exceptional recent batted-ball data with a 28-foot distance differential, 7-mph exit velocity, and 23-percentage point hard-hit rate.
Adam Duvall has fared well against lefties with a .376 wOBA and .282 ISO over the past 12 months. He sports an 86% Bargain Rating on FanDuel and has excellent recent batted-ball data with a 238-foot average distance and 92-mph exit velocity. Hitters with comparable metrics and implied team totals (4.7 runs) have averaged a +1.48 FanDuel Plus/Minus.
Giancarlo Stanton didn’t pop on the Yankees stack above, but he’s very much in play given the Yankees’ absurd 6.2-run implied total and his .404 wOBA and .345 ISO against righties. The only downside with Stanton is his 30.6% strikeout rate against righties over the past 12 months.
Carlos Correa could be an intriguing pivot off Didi Gregorious. Correa boasts a .375 wOBA and .224 ISO against righties, and the Astros are implied for a respectable 5.3 runs.
Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario have 70% and 63% Bargain Ratings on DraftKings and each will be on the positive side of his wOBA and ISO differentials:
The Twins are implied for a solid 5.1 runs: Further, Kepler and Rosario are each sporting positive differentials in recent average distance, exit velocity, and hard-hit rate.
Good luck on today’s slate, and be sure to check out The Action Network if you’re looking for more baseball coverage!
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our industry-leading DFS-focused news blurbs.
Pictured above: Jose Berrios
Photo Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports