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

Monday features a 13-game main slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.

Pitchers

Studs

Three pitchers on today’s slate are priced above $10,000 on DraftKings:

  • Lucas Giolito (R) $11,000, CWS @ DET
  • Charlie Morton (R) $10,700, TB vs. TOR
  • Luis Castillo (R) $10,100, CIN vs. LAA

These aren’t exactly pitchers you’d usually consider as “studs,” but each has an interesting case.

Let’s start with Giolito. He’s put together a remarkable season considering he was one of the worst pitchers in baseball last year. He’s struggled a bit over the second half, but he’s still pitched to a 3.39 ERA and 10.83 K/9 in 2019.

He’s in one of the best possible spots today vs. the Detroit Tigers. They’ve been absolutely miserable against right-handers this season, ranking dead last in wRC+. They also own the second-highest strikeout rate against right-handers, which has led to a ton of fantasy success for opposing starters. Right-handers have averaged a dominant Plus/Minus of +4.78 on DraftKings when facing the Tigers this season (per the Trends tool).

Giolito’s Vegas data in this matchup is subpar – 4.1 opponent implied team total, -123 moneyline odds – but it’s still an elite spot. He should also command lower ownership than some of the other stud pitchers, which makes him an ideal target in guaranteed prize pools (GPPs).

Morton figures to be the chalk option for cash games. He’s taking on the Toronto Blue Jays and leads all pitchers in opponent implied team total (3.1 runs) and moneyline odds (-248). Historically, pitchers with comparable Vegas data have averaged a Plus/Minus of +5.84 on FanDuel.

Morton also has excellent strikeout upside in this matchup. He’s posted a career-best K/9 of 10.92 this season, and the Blue Jays’ projected lineup has struck out in 28.0% of at-bats against right-handers over the past 12 months. Morton’s resulting K Prediction of 7.2 ranks second on the slate. He’s a strong target across the industry, but he stands out on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 76%.

Castillo is the best pure value among the stud pitchers on DraftKings, where his $10,100 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 65%. He’s in a difficult spot today against the Los Angeles Angels, who rank sixth in wRC+ against right-handers this season. That said, Castillo is still getting a lot of respect from Vegas: His opponent implied team total of 3.9 runs trails only Morton’s mark, and he’s also a strong -208 favorite.

Castillo also has the clear edge among the stud pitchers in terms of recent Statcast data. He’s limited opposing batters to an average distance of just 191 feet over his past two starts, representing a decrease of -2 feet compared to his 12-month average. That doesn’t exactly jump off the page, but it’s far better than the marks posted by Giolito (+28 feet) and Morton (+22 feet) over the same time frame.

Values

Kyle Hendricks has pitched really well since the All-Star break. He’s allowed just four earned runs over 25 innings while racking up 22 strikeouts. He was dominant in his last outing, resulting in 52.0 FanDuel points and a +22.16 Plus/Minus vs. the St. Louis Cardinals.

He isn’t an overpowering force on the mound, but he makes up for it by limiting the damage on balls in play. He’s posted strong Statcast marks over his past three starts, limiting opposing batters to an average distance of 191 feet, exit velocity of 87 miles per hour and hard-hit rate of 28%. All three represent solid decreases compared to his 12-month averages.

He also possesses more strikeout upside than usual today vs. the Oakland Athletics. Their projected lineup has posted a 29.1% strikeout rate against right-handers over the past 12 months, which is the fourth-highest splits-adjusted mark on the slate. If Hendricks can continue to generate soft contact and mix in a few additional strikeouts, he has big upside.

Erick Fedde is worth some consideration if you’re looking to punt SP2 on DraftKings. He’s priced at just $5,600 and has a fantastic matchup against the San Francisco Giants. They rank just 26th in runs per game this season, and their projected lineup has struggled to a .256 wOBA against right-handers over the past 12 months.

He should also benefit from getting face them in San Francisco. AT&T Park has historically been one of the most pitcher-friendly venues in baseball, rewarding Fedde with a Park Factor of 94 on today’s slate.

Fastballs

Spencer Turnbull: He’s an underdog today vs. Giolito, but he has appeal vs. a weak White Sox offense. Their projected lineup has struggled to a .280 wOBA and 26.0% strikeout rate against right-handers over the past 12 months, and they own the highest strikeout rate against right-handers this season.

Rick Porcello: He’s very affordable at $6,400 on DraftKings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 83%. He’s also a massive -253 favorite against the Kansas City Royals, and pitchers with comparable moneyline odds have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.00 on DraftKings.

Notable Stacks

With the Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS lineups. Today’s top five-man DraftKings stack (per the Bales Model) belongs to the Atlanta Braves:

  • 1. Ronald Acuna (R)
  • 2. Ozzie Albies (S)
  • 3. Freddie Freeman (L)
  • 4. Josh Donaldson (R)
  • 6. Adam Duvall (R)

Total Salary: $22,800

The Braves don’t figure to be a popular stack on today’s slate. They’re currently implied for 5.3 runs, but seven teams own a higher implied team total. Only Acuna and Donaldson are projected for more than 5% ownership on DraftKings among the stacked batters.

They’re taking on Twins right-hander Jake Odorizzi, who has pitched well on the surface this season. That said, some of his advanced metrics suggest he’s been pretty lucky. His 4.67 xFIP is nearly a full run higher than his ERA, so he looks like a prime regression candidate moving forward.

The Braves also enter this contest in excellent recent form. Each of the stacked batters has exceeded their 12-month average distance over the past 15 days. Duvall in particular has smoked the ball, posting an average distance of 251 feet, exit velocity of 95 mph and hard-hit rate of 60%. He also owns a .360 wOBA and .235 ISO against right-handers over the past 12 months, so he can do more damage than the typical No. 6 batter.

If you’re looking to go in a cheaper direction, consider the New York Mets. Their top stack will set you back just $12,600 on FanDuel:

  • 1. Jeff McNeil (L)
  • 2. Michael Conforto (L)
  • 5. Todd Frazier (R)
  • 6. J.D. Davis (R)

Total Salary: $12,600

The Mets are playing in a double-header today vs. the Marlins, which should depress their ownership on the main slate. Their lineup for Game 2 won’t be confirmed until after the conclusion of their first game, which may not end until after lineup lock. That makes them an ideal GPP target if you’re willing to assume some risk.

They’re taking on right-hander Sandy Alcantara, who has really struggled following the All-Star break. He’s pitched to a 7.89 ERA over his past four starts, and the Mets rank 11th in wOBA against right-handers over that time frame.

Alcantara has actually fared worse against right-handed batters than left-handed batters this season, which bodes well for a guy like Davis. He hasn’t gotten the most consistent playing time this season, but he’s still managed a .357 wOBA and .186 ISO against right-handers in 2019. He’s also been red-hot since the All-Star break, posting a 166 wRC+. He’s an excellent value at just $2,800.

Other Batters

Ji-Man Choi is expected to bat leadoff today for the Tampa Bay Rays, and he’s one of the best values across the industry. The Rays are currently implied for 5.0 runs, and Choi will be on the positive side of his batting splits vs. right-hander Jacob Waguespack. Choi has posted a .381 wOBA and .208 ISO against right-handers over the past 12 months, so he can do some damage in this matchup.

The Red Sox are implied for 7.2 runs today vs. the Kansas City Royals, which will make them one of the most popular team targets on the slate. That said, Rafael Devers could be a bit overlooked in a lefty-lefty matchup vs. Mike Montgomery. Some DFS players will not roster batters in those matchups, but Devers has posted a 104 wRC+ against left-handers this season. He’s also a nice value at just $4,300 on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 70%.

Aaron Judge continues to be underpriced on DraftKings. He’s priced at just $4,600, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 91%. The Yankees are another team with a massive implied team total on today’s slate (6.6 runs), and Judge has a nice matchup vs. Orioles right-hander Gabriel Ynoa. He’s pitched to a 5.55 ERA this season, and his 5.68 K/9 means Judge has a batter chance than usual of putting the ball in play. Judge can obviously hit the ball a long way when he makes contact, evidenced by his elite 12-month Statcast marks.

Good luck, and be sure to check out The Action Network if you’re looking for more in-depth MLB analysis or how to bet on sports.

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Pictured above: Cubs SP Kyle Hendricks (28)
Photo credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports