The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate, using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Tuesday has a 14-game main slate at 7:05 pm ET.
There are four pitchers above $9,000 on FanDuel today, although Chris Sale is easily in a league of his own. At $13,400 on DraftKings and $11,700 on FanDuel, Sale sits $2,700 and $2,300 more than any other pitcher:
Sale has been the best pitcher in MLB this season: He leads the league with 3.2 WAR and has been just as good as a fantasy asset. Over his first 10 starts, he’s averaged a ridiculous +15.52 FanDuel Plus/Minus on perfect Consistency, and his last start marked the first time since Opening Day in which he failed to record double-digit strikeouts. He still met value against the Rangers, putting up 41.0 fantasy points across 7.1 innings pitched.
Today he’s at a hitter’s park in Chicago but is still implied to give up only 3.3 runs against the White Sox, who rank 24th this season with a .311 team wOBA. They’re especially poor against lefties: Over the past year, their projected lineup has a team wOBA of just .266 — the third-worst mark in the slate. Sale’s 7.9 K Prediction isn’t the highest today, but it is a top-three mark, and his Statcast data recently is really good: Over his last two starts, he’s allowed a batted ball exit velocity of 87 miles per hour and a hard hit rate of 28 percent. He should be quite chalky as usual. The last time he pitched, he was over 60 percent owned in every big DraftKings guaranteed prize pool (GPP). The only thing that could diminish his ownership is the weather in Chicago; make sure to monitor that situation.
Pro subscribers can review ownership across various buy-in levels shortly after lock on our DFS Ownership Dashboard.
Robbie Ray is coming off two gems, scoring 58.0 and 51.0 FanDuel points in back-to-back starts against the Brewers and Padres. He’s allowed a combined two hits, zero runs, and he’s walked only three batters while racking up 15 strikeouts in 14.2 innings. He has been elite, and his Statcast data is right there, too: Over those last two games, he’s allowed a slate-low exit velocity of 86 miles per hour and a hard hit rate of 25 percent. He has allowed a high 61 percent fly ball rate during that time, but that’s less concerning if they aren’t fly balls that go far (201-foot average distance) or are hit very hard. Today he faces a Pirates team currently implied for 4.0 runs in what is essentially a pick’em game in a pitcher’s park. Ray’s main selling point — other than his stellar performance of late — is that he owns the second-highest K Prediction of the day at 8.1. He’s one of very few pitchers today that has a ceiling near Sale’s, and Ray is affordable at $9,600 on DraftKings and $9,400 on FanDuel.
Kenta Maeda is right below these guys in price at $8,900 on both DraftKings and FanDuel. He was disappointing in his last affair, going for only 24.0 FanDuel points while allowing three earned runs and striking out just four batters across five innings. Maeda has a 9.7 SO/9 rate over the last 12 months, but if you restrict that to just the 2017 season, he’s down at 8.9. That said, he still has upside in that regard, as evidenced by his slate-high 8.3 K Prediction versus the St. Louis Cardinals. They are implied for just 3.9 runs, and Maeda, despite his mediocre performance last game, actually owns solid Statcast data: In that game, he allowed an exit velocity of 88 miles per hour, a fly ball rate of 37 percent, and a hard hit rate of 18 percent. He likely got a little unlucky, and he could see some regression tonight against a Cardinals squad that owns a below-average .155 team ISO mark this season. Per our MLB Trends tool, Vegas favorites with a similar K Prediction have historically done very well, averaging 40.06 FanDuel points and a +5.46 Plus/Minus.
It’s hard to get excited about the super cheap guys today, and you’ll likely have to decide between strikeout upside or Vegas safety. Tyler Anderson represents the former idea, as his 7.5 K Prediction is one of the highest marks among pitchers below $8,000. He’s been really good of late, exceeding salary-based expectations in each of his last four, and his Statcast data is as good as it gets. Over his last two games, he’s allowed a batted ball distance of 167 feet, an exit velocity of 86 miles per hour, a fly ball rate of 24 percent, and a hard hit rate of 18 percent. All that said, he’s at Coors Field today against the Mariners, who are currently implied for 5.1 runs. If you prefer Vegas safety, Cubs righty Eddie Butler is incredibly cheap on DraftKings at $5,400 and faces a Padres team that ranks 29th this season with a .285 team wOBA; they’re implied for 4.0 runs. He’s on the road in a pitcher’s park in San Diego and his Statcast data is solid so far. The issue? He’s averaging just 78 pitches per game in his last two starts — the lowest mark among starting pitchers tonight. Butler is a scary guy to roster given his MLB career history, but it’s hard to write off anyone at that price against the Padres.
Dinelson Lamet: He was stellar in his major league debut, going for 42.0 FanDuel points and allowing three hits across five innings. That said, his Statcast data suggests he might have gotten a bit lucky — he allowed a 243-foot average distance — and today he faces the defending champion Cubs.
Luis Severino: The Yankees righty, who is actually younger than Lamet, remains above $9,000 on both sites and faces an Orioles team implied for 4.0 runs. He was stellar in his last game, but his recent exit velocity allowed mark of 92 miles per hour is concerning. That said, he has a nice 7.5 K Prediction and should come with low ownership given Sale’s presence in the slate.
With our Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS rosters. On DraftKings, the top-two highest-rated stacks (per player ratings in the Bales Model) belong to the Tampa Bay Rays and the Colorado Rockies. Since Ryan Sheppard discussed both of them in today’s MLB stacking piece, let’s pivot to different teams.
The Minnesota Twins are currently implied for just 4.6 runs — the ninth-highest mark in this loaded batting slate — which means that their ownership levels should be quite low. They’re facing Houston righty Mike Fiers, who continues to allow a comical amount of home runs this season:
His past-year HR/9 mark of 1.964 is the highest in the slate, and his 1.451 WHIP is pretty bad as well. This game is colder than many other games in this slate at 62 degrees, but there is wind blowing out to right center field that should help these hitters. Miguel Sano, who is projected to bat cleanup tonight, continues to smash the ball: Over his last 11 games, he’s averaged a batted ball distance of 220 feet, an exit velocity of 94 miles per hour, and a hard hit rate of 52 percent.
On FanDuel, one of the highest-rated four-man stacks belongs to the Chicago Cubs:
As mentioned above, the Cubs face Lamet, who was excellent in his debut start but possibly got a little lucky on batted balls. Chicago should be low-owned tonight — they’re implied for 4.6 runs in a pitcher’s park in San Diego — which is intriguing in GPPs. Leadoff hitter Ben Zobrist continues to play very well of late: Over his last nine games, he’s averaged a batted ball distance of 247 feet, an exit velocity of 96 miles per hour, and a hard hit rate of 53 percent.
Like the Cubs, the Yankees are currently implied for just 4.6 runs and should be low-owned as a result. And any time you can get perhaps the most explosive offense in baseball at reduced ownership, it’s likely a +EV spot in tournaments. They’re on the road in a hitter’s park in Baltimore, although that area does project to have poor weather tonight. If they’re able to go, many of the hitters are in play, especially Gary Sanchez, who owns a .423 wOBA against right-handed pitchers over the last year. He’s likely been a bit unlucky of late: He’s averaged just a +1.04 FanDuel Plus/Minus over his last 10 games . . .
. . . despite posting a 227-foot batted ball distance in that span. He’s a better value on FanDuel, where his $3,500 salary comes with a 93 percent Bargain Rating.
Jose Bautista continues to put up fantasy points, which is somewhat odd considering he’s averaged a batted ball exit velocity of 88 miles per hour over his past 13 games. The Blue Jays are currently implied for 5.8 runs — the second-best mark behind the Rockies’ 6.0 implication — and are in a hitter’s park at home in Toronto. The roof will likely remain open tonight, and we saw the upside in that situation yesterday, as the Blue Jays exploded for 17 runs on three homers and 23 hits. They face Reds reliever Asher Wojciechowski, who is getting his first start of the year. He has pitched just four innings this season — all in relief — and has allowed an average batted ball distance of 246 feet during that time. Things could get ugly in Toronto again tonight.
And finally, I’m still buying Michael Conforto, who is projected to bat leadoff for a Mets squad implied for 4.7 runs. He leads all regular starters with 16.6 FanDuel points per game over the last month, and his Statcast data continues to be elite. Over his last 12 games, he’s averaged a batted ball distance of 244 feet, an exit velocity of 97 miles per hour, and a hard hit rate of 67 percent. He hasn’t met value in four straight games, but he could certainly rebound tonight. He owns a past-year .233 ISO mark against right-handed pitchers, and he’s currently projected for just two to four percent ownership on FanDuel.
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: