The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate, using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Wednesday offers a split slate: There’s a small, three-game early-slate starting at 1:05 pm ET and a 12-game main-slate starting at 7:05 pm ET. Also, FantasyDraft data and tools are now available at FantasyLabs. To kick things off, we’re hosting an MLB freeroll for FantasyLabs users, so be sure to check it out.
There are six pitchers today priced at $9,000 or more on DraftKings:
Alex Wood is $11,600 for today’s matchup against the Diamondbacks, which represents a salary increase of $4,600 since the beginning of the season. Despite the increase, however, he’s managed to return value in each of his last 10 starts:
Wood has some excellent Vegas data in this matchup. His opponent implied total of 3.0 runs is the lowest of the day by a wide margin, and his moneyline odds of -220 rank first as well. He also has some elite Statcast data over his last two starts, posting an average batted ball distance of 163 feet, exit velocity of 89 miles per hour, and hard hit rate of 30 percent. Historically, pitchers with comparable moneyline odds and recent distances have been excellent values on DraftKings (per the Trends Tool):
Wood is also arguably the best strikeout pitcher on the slate: His 12-month K/9 of 10.81 is the highest mark among today’s starters, and his K Prediction of 9.0 ranks first. Adding a K Prediction of at least eight to the trend above increases the Plus/Minus to a massive +10.16, and Wood also leads the slate with eight Pro Trends. The Diamondbacks possess a relatively potent offense, averaging the fifth-most runs per game this season, but pitching at home could negate some of their effectiveness: Pitchers have a Plus/Minus of +2.91 this season when facing the Diamondbacks away from Chase Field.
As good as Wood has been recently, Jacob deGrom has been even better. He’s scored at least 52 FanDuel points in each of his last four starts, going at least seven innings in all of them:
In today’s matchup, deGrom combines an excellent recent batted ball profile with strong strikeout upside. His average distance of 194 feet over his last two starts represents a 15-day/12-month differential of -14 feet, and his K Prediction of 7.8 ranks second. Historically, pitchers with comparable numbers in both categories have been awesome on FanDuel:
But his matchup against the Nationals is brutal, as are his opponent implied team total of 4.5 runs and moneyline odds of only -110. The good news is that the tough matchup and Vegas data should reduce his ownership, which Pro Subscribers can review in our DFS Ownership Dashboard after lineups lock.
On the early slate, Sonny Gray stands out as the top stud. He’s got a great matchup against the White Sox, whom he dominated for 28.75 DraftKings points just two starts ago. Gray’s -178 moneyline odds are the best mark on the three-game slate, and pitching in Oakland also rewards him with the top Park Factor of 78. Like deGrom, Gray also has a 15-day/12-month distance differential of -14 feet, and pitchers with comparable moneyline odds and differentials have historically offered solid value on DraftKings:
Even with his average Plus/Minus of +10.17 over the last two starts, he’s perhaps been slightly unlucky in terms of fantasy production over that time, given his Recent Batted Ball Luck of +25.
Trevor Bauer possesses the second best moneyline odds of the day at -217, and he has an elite matchup against the San Diego Padres. Their wOBA of .301 is the third-worst mark this year against right-handed pitchers, and their strikeout rate of 25.6 percent ranks first. So far this season facing the Padres has rewarded pitchers with the highest Plus/Minus on DraftKings by a wide margin:
His K Prediction of 6.0 is solid enough, and pitchers with comparable K Predictions and moneyline odds have a historical Plus/Minus of +3.80 on DraftKings, where he also has a Bargain Rating of 89 percent. He should be sufficiently chalky.
The Rockies are playing at Coors Field today, which should make Jon Gray an afterthought for most people. However, he’s the rare pitcher who’s actually succeeded at Coors, posting a higher average Plus/Minus on FanDuel at home versus on the road:
That average ownership of 2.2 percent is extremely appealing. Gray’s K Prediction of 6.8 ranks fourth on the day, and he’s a solid -148 favorite. Pitchers with comparable K Predictions and moneyline odds have a historical Plus/Minus of +2.51 on FanDuel, where he has a Bargain Rating of 89 percent.
At only $5,600 on DraftKings, John Lackey leads the early slate with a massive 99 percent Bargain Rating. He’s a -153 favorite, and pitchers with comparable moneyline odds and Bargain Ratings have historically been solid investments:
Tampa Bay has been a bit of a boom-or-bust option so far this year for opposing pitchers. Their wOBA of .342 against right-handers is the fifth-best mark in the league this season, but their strikeout rate of 24.7 percent ranks third. There’s no total on the game at the moment (due to the importance of the wind conditions at Wrigley Field), but Lackey looks like a solid option barring a surprisingly high implied total for the Rays.
Gerrit Cole: He’s a -149 favorite and has the third-highest K Prediction on the slate at 6.9. His matchup against the Phillies is one of the best possible; their projected lineup has a splits-adjusted wOBA of .280 and strikeout rate of 28.3 percent over the past 12 months.
Jayson Aquino: He’s dirt cheap at only $4,500 on DraftKings, but he has a solid K Prediction of 6.0, and pitchers with comparable salaries and K Predictions have a historical Plus/Minus of +1.38 and Upside Rating of 21 percent on DraftKings.
Per the Vegas Dashboard, Oakland’s implied total of 5.2 runs ranks first on the slate, as does their Team Value Rating of 88. They’re facing White Sox right-hander Mike Pelfrey, who has a past-year WHIP of 1.549 and a 15-day/12-month distance differential of +17 feet. Facing a right-handed pitcher puts the entirety of the stack on the positive side of its batting splits:
If the they can get past Pelfrey early, the A’s will have a chance to face an overworked group of relievers. Their Opposing Bullpen Rating of +94 is one of the highest marks of the day, and batters with comparable implied totals and Opposing Bullpen Ratings have a historical Plus/Minus of +1.37.
On the main slate, the top five-man DraftKings stack belongs to the Texas Rangers:
The Rangers are implied for a strong 5.6 runs, but that total is tied for only fourth on the main slate. Like the A’s stack, this Rangers group is entirely on the positive side of its batting splits against right-handed pitcher Doug Fister. They also have solid recent Statcast data: Only Rougned Odor has a small negative differential in batted ball distance:
This game does have a slight chance of precipitation, which could make the Rangers a contrarian team to stack, especially given the plethora of high team totals in the slate.
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone with better recent Statcast data than Justin Upton. Over his last 10 games he’s posted distance, exit velocity, and hard hit differentials of +31 feet, +4 miles per hour, and +15 percentage points. He’s projected to bat third today for a Tigers team implied by Vegas for 5.8 runs. Batters with comparable differentials, lineup spots, and implied totals have a historical Plus/Minus of +3.45 on DraftKings, where Upton also leads the slate with 11 Pro Trends.
Hector Sanchez is in an intriguing spot for the Padres. His salary of $2,400 on DraftKings makes him a cheap punt option at catcher, but he’s still projected to bat fifth in the San Diego lineup. He hasn’t played a ton recently — he has only 13 at bats over the last 15 days — but he’s crushed the baseball with a batted ball distance of 260 feet, exit velocity of 95 miles per hour, and fly ball rate of 50 percent over that time period. His Recent Batted Ball Luck of +97 is the highest mark on the slate, and comparably cheap batters with similar lineup spots and Rec BBL scores have a historical Plus/Minus of +1.84 and average ownership of only two percent on DraftKings.
Charlie Blackmon historically dominates when batting leadoff at Coors Field, with an average Plus/Minus of +3.69 on FanDuel. He also has a Bargain Rating of 86 percent, which is the highest among all Coors batters. The Rockies implied team total of 6.1 runs is the highest of the day. He should be a chalky option, but one who deserves consideration nonetheless.
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: