The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Monday features an eight-game slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Today’s pitching slate is strong considering there are just 16 teams in action, but two options stand out above the rest on FanDuel:
- Shane Bieber (R) $11,300, CLE @ LAA
- Jacob deGrom (R) $10,600, NYM vs. ARI
Bieber has become one of the best pitchers in baseball this season. He’s pitched to a 3.24 ERA and FIP while increasing his K/9 to 11.11. He’s been excellent from a fantasy perspective as well, posting an average Plus/Minus of +5.21 on FanDuel.
Unfortunately, he’s in a pretty mediocre spot today vs. the Los Angeles Angels. His Vegas data is good enough — he owns a 3.6 opponent implied team total and -180 moneyline odds — but his upside is limited. The Angels have been one of the hardest teams in baseball to strike out this season, posting the third lowest strikeout rate against right-handers. Their projected lineup also owns a strikeout rate of just 23.7% against right-handers over the past 12 months. The result is a K Prediction of just 5.3 for Bieber, which is well below average considering his salary.
Overall, right-handers have averaged a Plus/Minus of -0.62 on FanDuel when facing the Angels this season (per the Trends tool). There are better options available.
deGrom is one of those options. He’s coming off back-to-back starts with four earned runs allowed, which is very uncharacteristic. He’s usually one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball, and he had allowed two earned runs or fewer in 16 of his previous 17 starts.
His recent Statcast data suggests there isn’t much cause for concern. He’s limit his past two opponents to an average distance of 210 feet and exit velocity of 88 miles per hour, both of which are inline with his 12-month averages. He’s also garnered a hard hit rate of just 17%, which is well below his 12-month average.
deGrom is in a nice bounce back spot today vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks. They’re currently implied for 3.0 runs, and deGrom is also a -225 favorite. Both of those marks are the best on the slate, and pitchers with comparable Vegas data have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +5.05 on FanDuel.
The Diamondbacks projected lineup has also whiffed in 25.3% of at bats vs. right-handers over the past 12 months, and deGrom has posted a K/9 of 11.38 over the same time frame. His resulting K Prediction of 8.0 is the top mark on the slate by more than a full strikeout.
deGrom is priced down a bit after two sub-par starts, which makes this the perfect time to buy low on him. He’s the top pitching option on the slate.
Kyle Hendricks has struggled recently, posting an average Plus/Minus of -2.57 over his past 10 starts on DraftKings, but he did show improvement in his last outing. He limited the Seattle Mariners to just one run over six innings while strikeout out seven batters.
He’s in a nice spot to keep things rolling today vs. the San Diego Padres. Their projected lineup has struggled against right-handers over the past 12 months, posting a .295 wOBA and 26.8% strikeout rate. The strikeout rate is particularly appealing for Hendricks. He normally excels at limiting the damage on balls in play, but he doesn’t typically generate a ton of swings and misses. He should have more upside than usual in that department today, evidenced by a K Prediction of 6.1.
Hendricks also benefits from getting to pitch in San Diego. It results in a Park Factor of 79, Petco Park has graded out as the fourth-best venue for pitching in 2019 according to ESPN.
Madison Bumgarner is not the same pitcher that he was during his prime, but he’s in a dream spot today vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates. For starters, the Pirates simply cannot hit left-handed pitchers. Their wRC+ of 72 vs. southpaws over the second half of the season is the worst mark in the league by a considerable margin.
Bumgarner has also been significantly better when pitching at home this season. His ERA drops to just 2.83 in San Francisco vs. 5.06 on the road. That’s not all that surprising considering Oracle Park is one of the best pitching venues in baseball, but it’s still a stark difference.
Bumgarner’s resulting Vegas data is some of the best on the slate. His opponent implied team total of 3.5 runs ranks second, while his money line odds of -170 rank fifth. He also has solid strikeout upside given his K Prediction of 6.2
Zack Greinke: He has a difficult matchup today vs. the Oakland Athletics, but his -172 moneyline odds still rank fourth on the slate. That said, his DraftKings salary is what really makes him appealing. He’s been priced down to just $8,400, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 94%.
Jordan Lyles: He has a wonderful matchup vs. the Miami Marlins, who have been one of the worst teams in baseball vs. right-handers this season. They rank just 29th in wRC+ and have posted the sixth-highest strikeout rate, and opposing right-handers have averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.92 on DraftKings.
Aaron Nola: He’s had an up-and-down season and has a difficult matchup vs. the Braves, but he still has one of the higher ceilings on the slate. His K Prediction of 6.9 ranks second among today’s starters.
- 1. Trent Grisham (L)
- 2. Yasmani Grandal (S)
- 3. Christian Yelich (L)
- 4. Ryan Braun (R)
- 5. Eric Thames (L)
Total Salary: $21,700
The Brewers are currently implied for 5.5 runs, which is tied with the Astros for the top mark on the slate. That said, the Brewers are much more reasonable priced on DraftKings. Their top stack costs just $21,700, while the Astros’ top stack will set you back $23,100. The Brewers lead the slate with a Team Value Rating of 83 on DraftKings.
They’re taking on Marlins right-hander Robert Duggar, who has not impressed through his first 18.0 innings. He’s pitched to a 5.88 FIP and 6.15 xFIP, but he’s benefitted from a batting average on balls in play of just .226. He posted a BABIP of .376 over 53.1 innings at AAA this season, so he seems like a prime regression candidate moving forward.
Grisham stands out as one of the best values on the slate at just $3,200 on DraftKings. It results in a Bargain Rating of 87%, and leadoff batters with comparable salaries and implied team totals have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +1.41 on DraftKings. Grisham has also fared well against right-handers over the past 12 months, posting a .322 wOBA and .176 ISO.
The Brewers also own the top four-man stack on FanDuel, so let’s focus on the Giants instead. They’re a strong option for those looking to go in a cheaper direction:
- 1. Mike Yastrzemski (L)
- 2. Buster Posey (R)
- 3. Brandon Belt (L)
- 4. Evan Longoria (R)
Total Salary: $11,300
The Giants are implied for a modest 4.6 runs on today’s slate, but they still present nice value on FanDuel. Their Team Value Rating of 83 trails only the Brewers’ mark of 92, and the stacked batters in particular stand out. Three of the four own a Bargain Rating of at least 61%, headlined by Yastrzemski’s mark of 88%.
They’re taking on Pirates right-hander Trevor Williams, who has been pedestrian this season. He’s posted a 5.16 ERA, including a 5.96 ERA over the second half.
Williams has struggled in particular against left-handed batters, which bodes well for Belt. He’s posted a .325 wOBA and .174 ISO against right-handers over the past 12 months, and he enters this contest in solid recent form. He’s posted an average distance of 241 feet over the past 15 days, which represents a slight increase when compared to his 12-month average.
George Springer is expected to occupy the leadoff spot for the Astros, which should make him a popular target. That said, he deserves to be. He’s taking on A’s right-hander Mike Fiers, and Springer has posted a .399 wOBA and .276 ISO against right-handers over the past 12 months. He also enters this contest in excellent recent form, posting a 15-day/12-month distance differential of +23 feet. He’s a particularly nice value on FanDuel, where his $4,000 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 84%.
Mookie Betts stands out as an elite option on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 91%. He’ll be on the positive side of his splits vs. Yankees left-hander James Paxton, and Betts has crushed southpaws when playing at Fenway Park. He’s historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.46 on DraftKings when batting leadoff, including a mark of +4.22 this season.
Good luck, and be sure to check out The Action Network if you’re looking for more in-depth MLB analysis.
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Pictured above: Mets SP Jacob deGrom (48)
Photo Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports