The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate, using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Wednesday features a split slate, and the split differs depending on which site you’re playing on: DraftKings offers a six-game early slate starting at 1:05 pm ET and a nine-game main slate starting at 7:07 pm ET. Meanwhile, FanDuel offers a three-game early slate at 1:05 pm ET, a three-game afternoon slate at 3:35 pm ET, and a nine-game main slate at 7:07 pm ET.
There are four pitchers today with a salary of at least $11,100 on DraftKings:
Paying up for one of these stud pitchers is considerably more difficult on DraftKings, where none of them has a Bargain Rating of greater than eight percent.
Yu Darvish has been impressive since joining the Los Angeles Dodgers, averaging 10 strikeouts and a Plus/Minus of +13.00 over his first two starts. He has an elite matchup against the Chicago White Sox today: Their projected lineup has a splits-adjusted strikeout rate of 30.3 percent, and their .305 wOBA this season against right-handed pitchers is the third-worst mark in the league. Darvish’s resulting opponent implied team total of 2.7 runs and moneyline odds of -309 both rank first on the slate, and pitchers with comparable Vegas data have historically dominated on DraftKings (per the Trends tool):
In addition to his elite Vegas data, Darvish also has elite batted ball data over his last two starts: He’s posted a 15-day/12-month distance differential of -28 feet, which is the top mark among all of today’s pitchers. He ranks second on the slate with a K Prediction of 8.7. There have been only two other pitchers in our database with comparable Vegas data, K Predictions, and distance differentials, and those pitchers have unsurprisingly dominated:
Basically, the combination of Darvish’s strikeout potential, matchup, and recent form results in one of the top spots we’ve seen all season for a starting pitcher.
It’s hard to make a case against Darvish among the stud pitchers, but his $13,700 salary on DraftKings is fairly prohibitive. If you’re looking for a slight discount, Carlos Carrasco does offer some upside at $11,100. He ranks second to Darvish among the stud pitchers in K Prediction (7.7), moneyline odds (-168), and opponent implied team total (3.9 runs); pitchers with comparable numbers have historically been strong values on FanDuel:
Given the presence of Darvish on the slate and the current 67 percent chance of precipitation in Minnesota, Carrasco may have lower-than-expected ownership.
Carlos Rodon will be opposing Darvish in Los Angeles, and he’s been pretty impressive in limited starts so far this season:
His strikeout ability has been particularly notable, striking out at least nine batters in four of his eight starts, and his 12-month K/9 of 10.36 ranks third on the slate. The Dodgers have been potent offensively this season, but they have been somewhat strikeout-prone against left-handed pitchers: Their projected lineup has the third-worst splits-adjusted strikeout rate on the slate at 29.7 percent. Rodon’s resulting K Prediction of 9.4 ranks first among today’s pitchers, and at only $6,700 on DraftKings, he joins a cohort of pitchers that has historically been valuable:
Those pitchers have also posted an Upside Rating of 14 percent, and Rodon’s +275 moneyline odds should result in minimal ownership despite his strikeout ability.
Charlie Morton is another pitcher with strikeout upside today: His K Prediction of 7.1 is tied for seventh. He has a tough matchup on paper against the Arizona Diamondbacks, however, they have not been the same team this season when playing on the road. Despite averaging the sixth-most runs per game, pitchers at home have actually found a lot of fantasy success against the Diamondbacks this season:
That Plus/Minus ranks second only to the Padres, and the average ownership of just 10.3 percent suggests most DFS players haven’t picked up on this trend yet.
In addition to his strikeout ability, Morton also has strong Statcast data from his last two starts. He’s allowed an average distance of 190 feet, exit velocity of 89 miles per hour, and hard hit rate of 25 percent; pitchers with comparable Statcast data and K Predictions have historically done well on DraftKings:
Tanner Roark: He’s a slight -123 favorite and has posted 15-day/12-month distance, exit velocity, and hard hit differentials of -9 feet, -2 miles per hour, and -12 percentage points. His K Prediction of 7.2 is also tied for the fifth-highest of the day, and pitchers with comparable K Predictions and differentials have a historical Plus/Minus of +3.83 on FanDuel.
Marcus Stroman: He’s a -135 favorite against the Tampa Bay Rays and leads the slate with an average of 113 pitches over his last two starts. Just being able to stay in a game for that many pitches has value; pitchers with a comparable recent pitch count have a historical Plus/Minus of +1.04 on DraftKings.
With the Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS lineups. On the early slate, the top five-man DraftKings stack using the Bales Model belongs to the Miami Marlins:
Per the Vegas Dashboard, the Marlins’ implied team total of 5.1 runs is tied for the highest mark on the early slate. They’re facing Giants right-hander Matt Cain, who has a dreadful past-year WHIP of 1.66 and K/9 of just 5.50. Outside of the mighty Giancarlo Stanton, facing a right-handed pitcher puts the entirety of the stacked batters on the positive side of their batting splits:
Speaking of Stanton, he’s been scorching hot of late, bashing eight home runs over his last 10 games while averaging a +5.59 Plus/Minus on DraftKings. He and teammate Derek Dietrich have both posted distance differentials of +42 feet over their last 14 games, and batters with comparable differentials and implied team totals have a historical Plus/Minus of +1.75. Stanton will likely have high ownership thanks to his recent production, but Dietrich could be a key diversifying member of Marlins stacks, which can be reviewed using our new DFS Contests Dashboard.
We’ve recently added FantasyDraft to our Models – check out Bryan Mears’ piece on scoring, roster settings, and player salaries – and the top FantasyDraft stack on the main slate belongs to the Texas Rangers:
The Rangers’ implied team total of 6.0 runs trails only the Colorado Rockies on today’s slate, and for the most part their salaries are much more reasonable: All six of the above batters have Bargain Ratings between 81 and 94 percent. They’re taking on Tigers righty Anibal Sanchez, who has allowed a whopping 2.24 home runs per nine innings over the past 12 months.
Joey Gallo wasn’t mentioned in the above Rangers stack but very well could have been; his recent Statcast data is downright terrifying. Over the past 15 days, he’s averaged a batted ball distance of 274 feet, exit velocity of 102 miles per hour, and hard hit rate of 62 percent; batters with comparable Statcast data have a historical Plus/Minus of +1.34 on FantasyDraft. Additionally, he recently moved up to the No. 5 spot in the lineup, so we no longer have to face the dilemma of choosing between his elite Statcast data and poor spot in the order. Outside of maybe Stanton, Gallo might be the top bet for a home run on virtually every slate.
Yonder Alonso has averaged a Plus/Minus of -1.00 and exceeded value just once over his last 10 games, however, he’s actually posted positive differentials in distance, exit velocity, and hard hit rate over that time period. That’s resulted in a Recent Batted Ball Luck score of +63 and suggests he could be due for regression in the future.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning Charlie Blackmon, who has been an absolute monster at Coors Field this season. He’s averaged a .510 wOBA, .413 ISO, and +3.78 DraftKings Plus/Minus through 55 games in 2017, and he could be owned at a lower rate than usual on today’s slate. Per the DFS Ownership Dashboard, he was found in ‘only’ 15.33 percent of DraftKings lineups yesterday, and that was with most people paying down at pitcher. With most people likely to pay up for Darvish on today’s slate, Blackmon’s ownership could possibly fall to the single digits.
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: