The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Friday features a 15-game main slate starting at 7:05 pm ET.
Despite the fact that all 30 teams are playing in this slate, there’s not a ton of high-end pitching talent available: Only three pitchers have salaries above $10,300 on DraftKings:
Max Scherzer leads the way with a $13,300 price tag, and it’s hard to envision a better spot for him today. He has an elite matchup against the Phillies, whose projected lineup has a .295 wOBA against right-handed pitchers over the past 12 months. His resulting Vegas data is incredible: He leads the slate with an opponent implied team total of 2.6 runs and moneyline odds of -347. Historically, pitchers with comparable numbers in both categories have dominated on DraftKings (per the MLB Trends tool):
The Phillies have also struggled with strikeouts – their projected lineup has a 12-month K rate of 29.2 percent against right-handed pitchers – and Scherzer’s past year K/9 of 12.22 is one of the best marks in the league. His resulting K Prediction of 9.9 is easily the top mark on the slate.
As if that wasn’t enough, Scherzer’s Statcast data from his last two starts is elite. He’s allowed an average distance of 172 feet, exit velocity of 84 miles per hour, and hard hit rate of 17 percent, all of which represent decreases compared to his 12-month averages. His distance differential of -42 feet is particularly impressive and gives Scherzer an elite combination of batted ball profile and K Prediction to go with his outstanding Vegas data. No pitcher in our database has ever combined moneyline odds of at least -300, a K Prediction of at least 9.0, and a distance differential of at least -20; Scherzer is well above those marks in each category. He did leave his last start early after taking a hit off his left leg, but it doesn’t sound like there will be any pitch count limitations on him for today’s start. As long as he’s a full go, this may be the best spot for a pitcher we’ve seen all season.
Despite sending Clayton Kershaw to the mound yesterday, the Dodgers lost for the 12th time in their last 13 games. Yu Darvish will attempt to put an end to that today, although he hasn’t exactly been dominant recently:
Still, he does have the second-lowest opponent implied team total of the day at 3.1 runs, and he’s also a strong favorite with -197 moneyline odds. While those are clearly behind Scherzer’s marks, pitchers with comparable data points have been great on FanDuel:
Darvish is also tied for fourth with a K Prediction of 7.7, and his Bargain Rating of 98 percent is the top mark for pitchers on FanDuel. His nine FanDuel Pro Trends leads the slate, thanks in part to an uptick in velocity of +1.0 miles per hour on his fastball over his last two starts. He should come in way below Scherzer in terms of average ownership – which can be reviewed using our DFS Ownership Dashboard – but Darvish is in a really good spot in his own right.
Luke Weaver has been dominant recently, posting an average Plus/Minus of +12.81 on DraftKings over his last five starts. He gets a solid matchup against the Pittsburgh Pirates, whose .307 wOBA against right-handed pitchers is the fourth-worst mark in the league, and Weaver’s opponent implied team total of 3.8 runs is tied for fourth on the slate.
Where Weaver really makes his money is with strikeouts: His 12-month K/9 of 11.62 trails only Scherzer’s among today’s pitchers, as does his K Prediction of 7.9. Weaver has also averaged 108 pitches over his last two starts and has been very effective with the kind of contact he’s allowed over that time frame. He has a distance differential of -14 feet compared to his 12-month average, and pitchers with comparable distance differentials, K Predictions, and moneyline odds have historically been nice values:
Pairing Weaver with Scherzer on DraftKings will likely be popular, and you can review their combined ownership using the new DFS Contests Dashboard.
Patrick Corbin gets to take on the Padres today, which should automatically put him on the radar for DFS purposes. His opponent implied team total of 3.8 runs ties him with Weaver, but the Diamondbacks’ implied team total of 5.8 runs makes him a massive -226 favorite. When combined with his K Prediction of 7.5, pitchers with comparable moneyline odds have been strong values on FanDuel:
Corbin is also in solid recent form, owning negative 15-day/12-month distance, exit velocity, and hard hit differentials. He’s another pitcher who would likely be much higher-owned on a day without Scherzer, making him an interesting target for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs).
Marcus Stroman: He’s the third-largest favorite today with -218 odds against the Detroit Tigers. As usual, the big concern with Stroman is his strikeout ability: His K Prediction of 5.8 is tied for just 14th today. He also left his last start early after being hit with a line drive on the elbow, although there’s no indication he will be limited today.
Mike Clevinger: He’s relatively cheap on DraftKings at $7,800, and he couples a strong K Prediction (7.9) with solid moneyline odds (-149). Pitchers with comparable marks in both categories have a historical Plus/Minus of +1.93.
Per the Vegas Dashboard, the Diamondbacks lead today’s slate with an implied team total of 5.9 runs. They’re taking on Padres right-hander Jordan Lyles, who has a dreadful past-year WHIP of 1.95 and HR/9 of 2.15. He’s not exactly in great recent form either, allowing hard contact on 56 percent of balls put in play over the last 15 days.
Of the stacked batters, J.D. Martinez has clearly been the best recently. He’s averaged a Plus/Minus of +7.86 over his last 10 games, and his batted ball profile over that time frame has been scary-good: 279 foot distance, 97 MPH exit velocity, and 60 percent hard hit rate. Batters at Chase Field with comparable data and implied team totals have a historical Plus/Minus of +3.60.
We’ve recently added FantasyDraft tools to our baseball products, and they allow you to stack up to six batters from the same team. Most of the top six-man stacks also belong to the Arizona Diamondbacks, so let’s instead focus on the New York Yankees:
The Yankees’ implied team total of 5.6 runs ranks just behind the Diamondbacks’ mark, but that can make a big difference in terms of ownership for GPPs. Miami led the slate yesterday in implied team total, and they were the only team to have four players with average ownership above 15 percent. Pivoting down from the top team increases the odds of having a unique lineup.
Additionally, the stacked batters for the Yankees all seem underpriced for their matchup today against Rangers left-hander Martin Perez; each player owns a Bargain Rating of at least 81 percent on FantasyDraft:
Todd Frazier is the cheapest at $7,600, and with an average Plus/Minus of -3.17 over his last 10 games he’s been dreadful recently as a fantasy producer. That said, his Statcast data over that time frame has actually been excellent; his 248-foot distance represents an increase of +34 feet compared to his 12-month average. He also has historically hit lefties well, with an ISO split of .297 over the past year.
Matt Carpenter is questionable today with a shoulder injury, but if he plays he deserves consideration. He’s cheap at only $3,500 on DraftKings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 91 percent. The Cardinals are implied for 4.8 runs today, and leadoff hitters with comparable implied team totals and Bargain Ratings have a historical Plus/Minus of +1.61.
Travis d’Arnaud is projected to bat cleanup for the Mets today against Reds left-hander Amir Garrett, and d’Arnaud has a solid .382 wOBA against southpaws over the past 12 months. He’s also made good contact recently, posting a distance differential of +16 feet over his last 10 games, but a lack of fantasy production over that time frame has resulted in a Recent Batted Ball Luck score of +74. He did hit a home run in his last game, but he’s likely due for some more positive regression.
Finally, here’s your daily reminder about how good Jose Ramirez has been:
He got the night off yesterday but should be back in the lineup tonight against Orioles left-hander Wade Miley. Ramirez is a switch hitter that has been slightly better against southpaws over the past 12 months, and the Indians are implied for 5.0 runs on today’s slate.
Good luck, and be sure to do your own research with the Labs Tools!
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players herein mentioned. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our industry-leading DFS-focused news blurbs: