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 three-game early slate starting at 1:05 pm ET and a 12-game main slate starting at 7:05 pm ET.
This is one of the weakest groups of stud pitchers all season; only three pitchers on FanDuel are priced above $9,000, and none of them reach the $10k barrier:
Dallas Keuchel stands out as the clear top option of the group, and on different slates it would be hard to make that case. He’s making only his second start since coming off the disabled list, and his results in his first start were scary: three innings pitched, six hits, three walks, and three earned runs. His Statcast data from that start is even uglier, posting distance, exit velocity, and hard hit differentials of +67 feet, +10 miles per hour, and +41 percentage points. That did happen over just one start and 79 pitches, but given how reliant Keuchel is on soft contact and ground balls to be successful, it’s concerning nonetheless.
That said, Keuchel does have the strongest Vegas data of the day, owning the best opponent implied team total at 4.0 runs and second-best moneyline odds at -200. Pitchers on FanDuel with comparable numbers have historically done quite well (per the MLB Trends tool):
Keuchel is far from a strikeout pitcher, but he has higher K upside than normal in a great matchup against the Tampa Bay Rays. Their strikeout rate of 26.0 percent against left-handed pitchers is the second-highest mark in the league, and Keuchel’s resulting K Prediction of 7.1 ranks third on today’s slate. This game does currently have a 25 percent chance of precipitation, but as long as things don’t look too dire before lineup lock, he should be the highest-owned arm of the day.
Masahiro Tanaka has had a poor year by his standards, but he’s coming off easily his best start of the season:
The Yankees are implied for a robust 6.1 runs against Tigers right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, resulting in -210 moneyline odds for Tanaka. Odds that large are significant for daily fantasy purposes, and comparable favorites have historically been solid assets on DraftKings:
The biggest issue with Tanaka is his projected ownership. He will likely be owned at an astronomical rate on a short three-game slate, and it occasionally makes sense to roster batters against those pitchers for game theory purposes. Finding contrarian batters with so few teams can be difficult, and rostering the Tigers against Tanaka will likely result in minimal ownership. Tanaka has been prone to a blow-up start on occasion – his 12-month HR/9 of 1.80 is high for a pitcher of his caliber – and he’s posted a distance differential of +11 feet over his last two starts. This could be a situation where it makes sense to both roster Tanaka and stack against him in guaranteed prize pools (GPPs), although obviously not in the same lineups.
Luke Weaver leads the slate with a K Prediction of 8.2, and at only $4,800 on DraftKings that makes him a bit of an anomaly. There have been only 57 prior instances in our database where a comparably-priced pitcher has had a K Prediction between 7.2 and 9.2; those pitchers have unsurprisingly done well:
Weaver also has some excellent Statcast data from his only start at the major league level this season, allowing a distance of 198 feet, exit velocity of 88 miles per hour, and hard hit rate of 14 percent. He’s an underdog with +138 moneyline odds, but that should help reduce his ownership on today’s slate. He has plenty of upside.
No pitcher on today’s slate has a better matchup than Matt Moore. He’s taking on the Oakland Athletics, whose projected lineup has the worst splits-adjusted K rate on the slate at a whopping 35.4 percent. His resulting K Prediction of 6.9 is tied for fourth on the slate, and at only $6,100 on DraftKings he also has one of the top Bargain Ratings at 92 percent.
Moore is a slight favorite with -132 moneyline odds, and pitching at home in San Francisco rewards him with a slate-high Park Factor of 93. Pitchers with comparable K Predictions, Park Factors, and moneyline odds have historically been solid values:
Brent Suter: He has a 6.8 K Prediction and -150 moneyline odds at only $6,200 on DraftKings. Pitchers with comparable marks in all three categories have historically provided a Plus/Minus of +2.61 and Consistency Rating of 60.3 percent.
Zack Godley: He has elite Statcast data over his last two starts, posting 15-day/12-month distance, exit velocity, and hard hit differentials of -29 feet, -7 miles per hour, and -20 percentage points, and pitchers with comparable differentials have a historical Plus/Minus of +4.79 on FanDuel. Given that he’s a +130 underdog and this game has a 27 percent chance of precipitation, Godley could be a contrarian option.
Per the Vegas Dashboard, the Yankees have the second-highest implied team total (6.1 runs) and Team Value Rating (79) on the three-game early slate. Facing Zimmermann also puts the entire stack on the positive side of their batting splits:
Zimmermann has been a disaster over the past 12 months, allowing an average of 2.20 home runs per nine innings, and he’s allowed an average distance of 231 feet over his last two starts. The Yankees batters are in relatively good recent form, especially projected No. 7 hitter Chase Headley: He’s posted distance and hard hit differentials of +24 feet and +23 percentage points over the last 15 days.
FantasyDraft allows you to stack up to six batters from the same team – check out Bryan Mears’ introductory piece for all the FantasyDraft details – and today’s top stack on the main slate belongs to the Colorado Rockies. Since they were covered in today’s MLB Pro Model Stacks piece, let’s instead focus on the other side of the Coors Field matchup:
The Mets’ implied team total of 5.8 runs ranks second only to the Rockies, which makes them a really intriguing team to target for GPPs. Underdogs have historical ownership roughly 40 percent lower than favorites at Coors, despite not sacrificing much in terms of potential upside:
The Mets are in a somewhat unique situation with most of the stack underperforming their recent Statcast data; five of the six batters have posted positive Recent Batted Ball Luck scores:
That’s good for two reasons. First, it means they’re likely due for positive regression moving forward. Second, their poor recent production could result in lower than expected ownership, which Pro Subscribers can review using our DFS Ownership Dashboard.
Nolan Arenado leads the slate with 12 Pro Trends on DraftKings, a number that has historically correlated with a Plus/Minus of +2.20. He’s absolutely destroyed the baseball recently, posting an average distance of 265 feet, exit velocity of 96 miles per hour, and hard hit rate of 48 percent over his last 11 games. With six of those games coming on the road, those numbers aren’t inflated from an extended stretch at Coors. He was owned at an average of 23 percent on yesterday’s slate, despite the presence of both Chris Sale and Max Scherzer as high-priced pitching options. That number should only increase today.
There’s been perhaps no unluckier hitter in baseball over the past 15 days than Miami first baseman/outfielder Tyler Moore. Here’s what he’s done in terms of fantasy production:
And yet, he has an average distance of 258 feet, exit velocity of 96 miles per hour, and hard hit rate of 43 percent over that time period. That results in a Recent Batted Ball Luck score of +97 on DraftKings, and batters with comparable Statcast data and Recent Batted Ball Luck scores have a historical Plus/Minus of +3.65.
Ryon Healy is projected to bat third for the Athletics in today’s matchup against the Giants, and facing Matt Moore should be beneficial for him; he’s posted a 12-month wOBA of .446 and ISO of .299 against left-handed pitchers. If the Athletics can get past Moore early, he’ll also have a chance to leverage an Opponent Bullpen Rating of 99 against an extremely overworked group of Giants relievers.
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: