The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Monday features a seven-game slate starting at 7:40 p.m. ET.
Two pitchers on today’s slate are priced above $10,000 on DraftKings:
- Stephen Strasburg (R) $11,800, WSH @ STL
- Jose Berrios (R) $10,200, MIN vs. CWS
Strasburg headlines the slate, and he’s putting together another excellent season in 2019. He’s pitched to a 3.49 ERA and 3.20 FIP while striking out 10.79 batters per nine innings. He’s been a solid fantasy value over his past 10 starts, posting an average Plus/Minus of +3.60 on DraftKings.
Strasburg has been particularly dominant from a Statcast perspective over his past two outings. He’s limited opposing batters to an average distance of 173 feet, which represents a decrease of 24 feet compared to his 12-month average. High-priced pitching options with comparable 15-day/12-month distance differentials have historically been excellent investments, posting an average Plus/Minus of +3.28 on DraftKings (per the Trends tool).
Strasburg is in an interesting spot today vs. the St. Louis Cardinals. His Vegas data doesn’t jump off the page — he owns a 3.7 opponent implied team total and -139 moneyline odds — but this is still a solid matchup. The Cardinals projected lineup has struggled to a .264 wOBA and 26.2% strikeout rate vs. right-handers over the past 12 months. Overall, his opponent implied team total is tied for the second-lowest mark on the slate, while his 7.1 K Prediction ranks third.
He’s a strong option in all formats, and he could carry lower ownership than usual given the presence of Coors Field.
Berrios has been a solid but unspectacular option for the Twins this season. He’s pitched to a 3.63 ERA, but his 4.38 xFIP suggests he’s been slightly worse than his traditional metrics indicate. His K/9 has also fallen from 9.45 in 2018 to 8.60 in 2019, which is odd considering the league is striking out more than ever. He’s also struggled from a fantasy perspective over his past 10 starts, posting an average Plus/Minus of -2.48 on DraftKings.
Still, it’s hard not to like him today given his matchup vs. the Chicago White Sox. They have been one of the best possible matchups for right-handed pitchers this season, ranking 25th in wRC+ and third in strikeout rate. Their projected lineup in particular has posted a 29.7% strikeout rate against right-handers over the past 12 months, giving Berrios more upside than usual.
His -239 moneyline odds also rank second on the slate, which makes him one of the safer options for cash games. He stands out at just $8,500 on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 96%.
Tanner Roark doesn’t usually stand out from a DFS perspective, but he has the top Vegas data on the slate today vs. the Kansas City Royals. His 3.5 opponent implied team total and -284 moneyline odds both rank first among today’s starters, and pitchers with comparable marks in both categories have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +4.75 on FanDuel.
He’s another starter who stands out on FanDuel, where his $7,900 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 93%.
If you’re looking for more upside, consider Robbie Ray. He’s failed to return value in each of his past three starts, and he couldn’t even make it out of the first inning vs. the Mets in his last outing. That said, he’s posted a K/9 of 12.09 over the past 12 months, which is the top mark among today’s starters.
He also carries less risk than usual given his matchup vs. the Miami Marlins. They’ve been anemic offensively this season, ranking dead last in runs per game, and they rank just 28th in wRC+ vs. left-handed pitchers. Ray’s 3.5 opponent implied team total is tied with Roark’s for tops on the slate, and he’s also a -204 favorite.
Still, Ray really makes his money with his strikeout ability, and no one on this slate can touch him in that department. The Marlins projected lineup has posted a 28.6% strikeout rate against left-handers over the past 12 months, giving Ray a slate-best K Prediction of 8.4.
He’s always a threat to blow up, but Ray has the potential to be the highest-scoring pitcher on the slate.
Cole Hamels: He’s pitching at home in Wrigley Field, where he’s posted an ERA of 2.66 this season. He also has a nice matchup vs. the Cincinnati Reds, whose projected lineup has posted a .275 wOBA and 31.9% strikeout rate against southpaws over the past 12 months.
Reynaldo Lopez: He has a scary matchup today vs. the Minnesota Twins, but he’s shown improvement over the second half of the season. He’s pitched to a 3.93 ERA and 9.04 K/9, and he’s posted a K/9 of at least 10.80 in three of his past four starts. He has nice upside for GPPs at just $6,800.
Pablo Lopez: He’s another viable value option on DraftKings, where his $5,500 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 94%. He’s pitched well over his past two starts from a Statcast perspective, resulting in a 15-day/12-month distance differential of -12 feet.
- 1. Jeff McNeil (L)
- 2. Pete Alonso (R)
- 3. Michael Conforto (L)
- 6. J.D. Davis (R)
- 7. Brandon Nimmo (L)
Total Salary: $26,400
The Mets’ top stack will set you back quite a bit on DraftKings, but they have immense upside at Coors Field. Their implied team total of 7.4 runs and Team Value Rating of 86 both rank first on the slate.
They’re taking on Rockies right-hander Antonio Senzatela, who has been a disaster this season. He’s pitched to a 6.87 ERA while recording nearly as many walks (4.22) as strikeouts (5.13) per nine innings. The Mets rank eighth in wRC+ against right-handers over the second half of the season, so they can do some serious damage vs. this pitcher in Coors Field.
They figure to be one of the highest-owned teams on the slate, which could make Nimmo an important differentiator. He’s expected to bat seventh in the lineup, but Nimmo is much better than your typical No. 7 hitter. He’s been limited to just 56 games due to injury this season, but he posted a 163 wRC+ against right-handers in 2018. Nimmo has also made excellent contact over his past eight games, resulting in a 15-day/12-month distance differential of +19 feet and hard-hit differential of +16 percentage points.
The Mets and Rockies also own each of the top-nine stacks on FanDuel, but the Milwaukee Brewers check in at No. 10. They’re a viable option if you’re looking to go in a cheaper direction:
- 1. Trent Grisham (L)
- 3. Mike Moustakas (L)
- 4. Ryan Braun (R)
- 5. Eric Thames (L)
Total Salary: $11,700
The Brewers are currently implied for 5.4 runs, which ranks fifth on the main slate. That said, their Team Value Rating of 91 ranks tied for third on FanDuel, which makes them one of the strongest options if you’re looking to avoid Coors Field.
They’re taking on Padres right-hander Garrett Richards, who will be making his first start at the MLB level this season. He’s coming off Tommy John surgery, so he likely won’t pitch very deep into this contest. That means the Brewers will likely get a lot of at-bats vs. the Padres bullpen, which has pitched to a 4.51 ERA this season. That ranks merely ninth in the National League.
Thames stands out as a value at just $2,700 given his Bargain Rating of 84%, and he’s always a threat to go deep. He’s posted a .247 ISO this season, and he enters this contest in solid recent form. He’s compiled an average distance of 249 feet over the past 15 days, which represents an increase of 10 feet compared to his 12-month average.
Finding value is going to be important if you’re looking to roster an expensive stack or pitcher on today’s slate, and Seth Brown stands out as an elite value on DraftKings. He’s priced at just $3,400, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 96%, and he’s expected to bat fifth for an Oakland lineup with an implied team total of 6.1 runs. He’ll be on the positive side of his splits vs. right-hander Glenn Sparkman, and Brown has posted a .494 wOBA and .275 ISO against right-handers over the past 12 months.
Luis Arraez is another potential value option — particularly on FanDuel at $2,600 — and he’ll occupy the leadoff spot for the Minnesota Twins. They’re currently implied for 5.9 runs vs. Lopez, and leadoff hitters with comparable salaries and implied team totals have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.00 on FanDuel.
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 our industry-leading DFS-focused news blurbs.
Pictured above: Mets OF Brandon Nimmo (9)
Photo Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports