The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate, using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Sunday features a split slate: There’s an 11-game main slate starting at 1:05 pm ET, and a five-game afternoon slate starting at 4:05 pm ET.
There are four pitchers on today’s slate priced at $9,700 or higher on DraftKings:
Lance McCullers is the only ‘stud’ pitcher on the main slate, although he hasn’t lived up to that billing recently. He hasn’t pitched into the fifth inning in any of his last three starts, posting negative fantasy points in two of them:
Still, there’s reason for optimism. McCullers is second on the slate with a K Prediction of 7.3, and the Astros have -127 moneyline odds with their implied team total of 5.1 runs.
Additionally, despite his dreadful results, McCullers’ Statcast data over his last two starts hasn’t been bad. He’s allowed a batted ball distance of 198 feet — the seventh-best mark on the slate — and his Recent Batted Ball Luck (Rec BBL) of +68 on DraftKings ranks second. Pitchers with comparable Rec BBLs, K Predictions, and moneyline odds have historically fared well (per the Trends Tool):
On the afternoon slate, James Paxton stands out as the top stud option. His opponent implied team total of 3.7 runs and moneyline odds of -208 both rank second on the slate while his K Prediction of 5.8 ranks third. He’s also posted 15-day/12-month distance and hard hit differentials of -16 feet and -16 percentage points, and pitchers with comparable differentials and Vegas data have historically crushed on FanDuel:
The Mets have provided a tough challenge to left-handed starters – their projected lineup has a 12-month wOBA split of .342 and K rate of 21.0 percent – and pitchers have an average Plus/Minus of -2.86 when facing them this season. For whatever reason, however, they haven’t posed the same challenge to pitchers when playing on Sunday this year:
With 16 Sunday games in the sample, we can’t do more than speculate, but it’s possible that the Mets have a habit of fading as the weekend progresses.
Lance Lynn has been awesome over his last four starts, allowing a total of two earned runs over 25.1 innings. He has a tough matchup against the Diamondbacks — their projected lineup has a .333 wOBA vs. right-handed pitchers over the past 12 months — but they’ve been much less potent this season when away from Chase Field. They’re currently averaging only 4.22 runs per game when on the road, which is the seventh-lowest road mark in the league.
Lynn’s Vegas data in this matchup is solid: He’s a slight favorite with -120 moneyline odds, and his opponent implied team total of 4.1 runs ranks fourth on the slate. His K Prediction of 7.0 ranks third, and pitching at home in St Louis rewards him with a Park Factor of 77.
Given his recent results, Lynn’s Statcast data is unsurprisingly good. He’s posted a -16 foot distance differential over his last three starts, and pitchers with comparable K Predictions, Vegas odds, and Statcast data have been solid values on DraftKings:
Lynn also leads the main slate with five Pro Trends, and home plate umpire D.J. Rayburn has historically rewarded pitchers with an additional Plus/Minus of +1.25 on DraftKings. There’s a chance Lynn will have the slate’s highest ownership, which Pro subscribers can review after lineup lock using our DFS Ownership Dashboard.
A more contrarian option with upside on the main slate could be Luis Castillo. He has an opponent implied team total of 4.8 runs in his matchup with the Miami Marlins, which makes him a +116 underdog.
Outside of his Vegas data, however, there’s a lot to like about Castillo. For one, he’s been a strikeout machine over his first seven starts, resulting in a K/9 of 11.52, and his K Prediction of 7.8 ranks first on the slate. He also has a 15-day/12-month distance differential of -16 feet, and pitching in Miami gives him a high Park Factor of 86. Historically, pitchers with comparable K Predictions, distance differentials, and Park Factors have smashed on DraftKings:
At only $7,000 on DraftKings, he’s affordable for the upside that he provides.
Madison Bumgarner: Bumgarner hasn’t looked like himself since returning from the disabled list three starts ago, and his opponent implied team total of 5.7 runs is unheard of for him. He’s had an opponent implied team total of greater than 4.1 runs on only four prior occurrences in our database, and all four of those games took place at Coors Field. Bumgarner is one of the premier pitchers in baseball, and his Vegas data should afford us the opportunity to roster him at lower ownership than usual.
Jordan Montgomery: His opponent implied team total of 4.0 runs ties him with Drew Pomeranz and Josh Tomlin for the lowest mark on the main slate, and his K Prediction of 6.5 ranks first among the trio. He’s also a -155 favorite, and pitchers with comparable odds, opponent implied totals, and K Predictions have a historical Plus/Minus of +2.52 on FanDuel.
With the Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS lineups. We’ve recently added FantasyDraft ratings to our Models — check out Bryan Mears’ introductory piece for all the details — and the top FantasyDraft stack in the Bales Model belongs to the Texas Rangers:
Per the Vegas Dashboard, the Rangers lead the slate with an implied team total of 6.1 runs. All six of these batters are cheap on FantasyDraft, with each possessing a Bargain Rating of at least 81 percent, and Orioles left-hander Wade Miley has a distance differential of +11 feet over his last three starts.
Mike Napoli continues to hit the ball well, with 15-day/12-month distance and hard hit differentials of +38 feet and +15 percentage points over his last 13 games. Batters with comparable differentials and implied team totals have a historical Plus/Minus of +3.30 on FantasyDraft. Adrian Beltre has also historically crushed left-handed pitchers; his 12-month wOBA split of .452 and ISO split of .286 are elite marks.
On the afternoon slate, the top five-man DraftKings stack is a 1-2-4-5-8 combo of the Oakland Athletics:
The A’s are facing Twins right-hander Bartolo Colon, who has been generous to hitters so far this season. Hitters have an average Plus/Minus of +2.16 this season when facing Colon, and his average distance of 232 feet is the worst mark on the afternoon slate. Additionally, facing a right-hander puts the entirety of the stacked batters on the positive side of their splits:
These batters could also be due for some positive regression, with all but Marcus Semien possessing positive Rec BBLs on DraftKings. Jed Lowrie in particular has hit well with a batted ball distance of 238 feet, and his Rec BBL of +82 is the highest mark on the slate. The A’s are currently implied for 5.3 runs, and batters with comparable implied team totals and Rec BBLs have a historical Plus/Minus of +1.57.
Mike Zunino homered on Saturday, and his Statcast data over his last nine games is elite: 297-foot batted ball distance, 97 mph exit velocity, 50 percent hard hit rate. The Mariners are currently implied for 5.4 runs, and batters with comparable implied team totals and Statcast data have a historical Plus/Minus of +4.63 on FanDuel.
Tyler Moore is affordable on DraftKings at only $2,800, yet he leads the slate with 12 Pro Trends. That’s a rare combination, and comparably priced batters with 11-13 Pro Trends have a historical Plus/Minus of +3.35 on DraftKings. He has a 15-day/12-month distance differential of +45 feet and is eligible at both first base and the outfield.
Eduardo Nunez is projected to bat second, which is higher than where he used to hit earlier in the season before the Giants traded him to the Red Sox. That’s a boon for his fantasy stock, and Nunez has a historical Plus/Minus of +1.34 on FanDuel when occupying a top-three spot in the lineup. The Red Sox are implied for 5.1 runs, tied for the fifth-highest mark on the 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: