The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.

Wednesday features a split-slate. There’s a five-game FanDuel and seven-game DraftKings early slate starting at 12:35 p.m. ET. We also have a seven-game main slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.

 

Pitchers

Studs

Today’s slate features two pitchers who stand above the rest on FanDuel:

Corey Kluber got roughed up in his last outing, posting a Plus/Minus of -26.53 on FanDuel. However, that shouldn’t defer you from targeting him on today’s slate. He appears to check all the boxes against the Chicago White Sox. His elite Vegas data leads all pitchers with an opponent implied team total of 2.7 runs and -290 moneyline odds. Historically, pitchers with comparable marks in both categories have been outstanding options (per the Trends tool):

During the three previous occasions Kluber has matched this Trend, he’s averaged 57.0 FanDuel points, a +19.39 Plus/Minus and a perfect 100% Consistency Rating.

He also arguably possesses more strikeout upside than any pitcher on today’s slate. Kluber leads all pitchers with a 10.90 K/9 over the past 12 months, and will face a White Sox projected lineup that has a 27.5% strikeout rate against right-handers over the same period. As a result, his K Prediction of 9.3 tops the slate. He should be heavy chalk on the early slate.

Charlie Morton, who has put together a dominant 2018 season thus far, leads the way on the main slate. He has posted a career-best in both ERA (2.94) and K/9 (11.43) — helping the Astros collectively lead all teams in pitching WAR.

He has a fantastic matchup against the Tampa Bay Rays, whose projected lineup has averaged a 28.6% strikeout rate against right-handers over the past 12 months. The Rays have the lowest implied team total (3.1) on the main slate, and oddsmakers have listed Morton as a significant -249 moneyline favorite.

If there is a concern with Morton today, it’s his recent Statcast data. He’s allowed a 47% hard-hit rate over his past two starts — an increase of +21 percentage points over his 12-month average. Even pitchers of Morton’s caliber have struggled with a comparable hard-hit differential:

With an ownership projection of 31-35% on FanDuel and greater than 41% on DraftKings, he’ll likely be the highest owned pitcher on the main slate. Therefore, he could warrant some fade consideration in guaranteed prize pools (GPPs).

 

Values

Unfortunately, today’s slate doesn’t have too many appealing value options. One player who could warrant some consideration on DraftKings is Chad Kuhl, who owns a Bargain Rating of 84%. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in four of his past five starts and enters today’s contest in excellent recent Statcast form. He’s held his past two opponents to an average distance of just 182 feet, representing a differential of -30 feet compared to his 12-month average. Historically, pitchers with comparable distance differentials have performed solidly on DraftKings:

He’s in a bit of a boom-or-bust spot today against Milwaukee. The Brewers have demonstrated significant power against right-handed pitchers, but they also have a high strikeout rate. Rain could be an issue in Pittsburgh today, as there’s currently a 60% chance of precipitation at game time. Make sure to monitor the weather forecast prior to locking Kuhl into your lineup.

Jonathan Loaisiga could be the most intriguing value option on today’s slate. He’s making just his second start in the big leagues, but has posted a K/9 of at least 10.80 at three different levels in 2018. Loaisiga also had impressive Statcast data from his first start: 154-foot distance, 91 mile per hour hard-hit rate and a 60% ground ball rate. He doesn’t figure to be a front-line starter in the MLB long term, but he’s far from a bum.

Loaisiga has strong Vegas data on today’s slate against the Seattle Mariners — with an opponent implied team total of 3.8 and -192 moneyline odds. He should be a popular value option on FanDuel, where he owns a Bargain Rating of 97%.

Gio Gonzalez is coming off two straight rough outings, where he allowed nine earned runs over just 9.1 innings. However, he has a nice opportunity to right the ship today against an anemic Baltimore offense. The Orioles have averaged the second-fewest runs per game this season, and their projected lineup has posted a .280 wOBA and 26.5% strikeout rate against left-handers over the past 12 months. Gonzalez unsurprisingly has strong Vegas data in this matchup, trailing only Morton in both opponent implied team total (3.7) and moneyline odds (-200) among pitchers on the main slate.

Fastballs

Ross Stripling: He’s exceeded salary-based expectations in seven straight starts on DraftKings, resulting in an average Plus/Minus of +11.57. However, he has recently become significantly more expensive — thanks to a yearly salary change of +$5,700.  He’s also a slight underdog today against a strong Cubs’ offense. Still, he looks like one of the top non-Kluber options on the early slate.

Derek Holland: His 12-month marks in both HR/9 and WHIP are among the worst on the slate, but that didn’t stop him from shutting down the high-powered Dodgers and Nationals in his past two starts. He has a much more favorable matchup today vs the Miami Marlins, who own the worst splits-adjusted wOBA and second worst splits-adjusted strikeout rate on the slate.

Notable Stacks

With the Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS lineups. On the early slate, the top four-man FanDuel stack (per the Bales Model) belongs to the Toronto Blue Jays:

Toronto owns an implied team total of 4.7 runs and leads all early teams on FanDuel with a Team Value Rating of 81. Each player in the above stack owns a Bargain Rating of 70% and will collectively cost you just $12,400. That could be important if you’re looking to roster Kluber.

The Blue Jays also enter in good recent form, with each of the stacked batters owning a positive 15-day/12-month differential in distance, exit velocity and hard-hit rate. They have a tough matchup on paper against Braves right-hander Anibal Sanchez, but his advanced metrics suggest he’s pitched significantly worse than his 1.93 ERA to begin the 2018 season.

On the main slate, the top five-man DraftKings stack belongs to the Kansas City Royals:

The Royals have an implied team total of 5.0, which ranks just tied for fifth on a main slate with plenty of high implied team totals. However, they could present the best value on DraftKings, where they lead all teams with a Team Value Rating of 90. They’ll take on Rangers’ right-hander Austin Bibens-Dirkx, who has allowed a dreadful 1.63 HR/9 and 1.73 WHIP over the past 12 months. He has spent more time at AAA than the MLB level this season, but has a 6.55 ERA through his only two 2018 big league starts.

Other Batters

The Mets will wrap up their series at Coors today against right-hander Chad Bettis, which puts Brandon Nimmo squarely on the DFS radar. Nimmo has absolutely destroyed right-handers this season, owning a .454 wOBA and .346 ISO. He also has posted a positive distance differential over his past 13 games. He should be a popular option, given the Mets’ slate-high implied team total of 5.9 runs.

Lewis Brinson could be an intriguing target on the early slate. He continues to underperform his elite recent Statcast data, resulting in a Recent Batted Ball Luck of +68. He’s also on the positive side of his batting splits against Giants’ left-hander, Derek Holland.

Eric Thames, one of the streakiest hitters in the game, is riding a major hot streak at the moment. He’s posted a ridiculous 294-foot distance, 100 mile per hour exit velocity and 54% hard-hit rate over his past five games. Thames has also crushed righties over the past 12 months, averaging a .365 wOBA and .281 ISO. He’s certainly an interesting target against a right-handed starter in Kuhl.

Good luck, and make sure you check out The Action Network for more in-depth MLB analysis.

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 ourindustry-leading DFS-focused news blurbs.

Pictured above: Corey Kluber
Photo credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports