The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Monday’s main slate features seven games starting at 7:05 pm ET. We’ll be using Bales Player Model to highlight some of the top options to consider.
The four pitchers projected to score the most fantasy points today in our Player Models are:
- Clayton Kershaw (L)
- Yu Darvish (R)
- Alek Manoah (R)
- Adam Wainwright (R)
The season-long numbers are fantastic for Clayton Kershaw, as he has a 2.98 FIP, 10.75 K/9, 1.1 HR/9, and 16.3% swinging-strike rate. Unfortunately, the last time he threw an MLB pitch was back in July. In his bullpen session last Friday, Kershaw threw only 49 pitches, so there is some risk in that regard.
The Projected Pitch Count in the Player Model has Kershaw down for 92 pitches, so that alleviates some of the concern. There’s a lot to like with utilizing Kershaw today as the Vegas Dashboard has the Diamondbacks with the lowest run total on the slate at 3. That said, he has the highest Projected Ownership in the 26-30% range, and the Opponent’s SO/AB and wOBA numbers aren’t the best on the slate. He is also the only pitcher priced above $10,000. There are merits to fading him today.
Yu Darvish has been bad over his last 10 starts. He has exceeded points expectations only 20% of the time while posting a Plus/Minus of -5.77. The Giants are sixth in strikeouts but second in ISO against right-handed pitching. Darvish did go for 34.93 and 23.1 DraftKings points in two starts against them, but both of those were way back in April. Darvish and the Giants have been on different trajectories since then, and he has a Consistency Rating of 48% on the season and 25% over the past month. Despite the inconsistencies, Darvish does possess one of the highest ceilings, and the Projected Ownership is in the 17-20% range. As with Kershaw, there are merits to fading Darvish, but it will come down to lineup construction and projected ownership.
Alek Manoah is a good, not great pitcher. The swinging-strike rate is 11.9%, the FIP is 4.16, and the K/9 is 9.74. Over his last 10 starts, he’s exceeded points expectations 60% of the time and had a Plus/Minus of 1.68. The highs have been high while the lows have been low, though. He posted 32.21 Draftkings points against the Angels while he went -2.75 against the Athletics. The matchup today isn’t great as the Rays have the third-highest wOBA on the slate and, out of the top four projected pitchers, the Rays have the highest projected total at 4.2 runs.
Adam Wainwright is 40 years old. 40! And he’s still balling to the tune of a 3.51 FIP. The strikeout rate is only 7.96 per nine innings, but the HR/9 is a paltry 0.88. He is 15-7 on the season and has pitched 184 1/3 innings. Amazing. He may have the best matchup among the top four pitchers, as the Mets have the highest SO/AB and lowest wOBA. He has a 70% Consistency Rating on the season and 80% for the month. He did face the Mets back in May and allowed five earned runs in 5 2/3 innings, so not everything is sunshine and unicorns. That said, he does look to be my favorite pitcher among the top four projected hurlers.
Paolo Espino (R) is $6,100 for a reason, as the SO/9 is only 7.09 while the HR/9 is 1.41. He’s posting a 4.38 FIP, and the swinging-strike rate is only 8.6%. That said, he has one of the highest ratings on the Bales Model due to the matchup. The Marlins have the second-lowest wOBA and second-highest SO/AB on the slate. Interestingly, the Nationals are tops in both categories, so are we in store for a pitcher’s duel in the nation’s capital? The Bargain Rating for Espino is the highest on the slate at 95%, while the Consistency Ratings have been decent – 56% on the season and 60% on the month. He did face the Marlins in late July and posted 14.85 DraftKings points.
With the Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS rosters.
The top projected stack is Houston. A five-player Astros stack will cost 24.5K on DraftKings with a projection of 45.8 points.
- Yuli Gurriel (R)
- Jose Altuve (R)
- Alex Bregman (R)
- Michael Brantley (L)
- Yordan Alvarez (L)
The Astros opened up at 5.2 runs and have been bet up to 5.3. Spencer Howard is on the mound for the Rangers, and simply put, he is not very good. The K/9 is a respectable 9.8 while the HR/9 is only 0.96, but the BB/9 is a whopping 4.78. The FIP of 4.2 is lower than the 6.21 ERA, so he hasn’t been as terrible as the recent numbers have shown. That said, he’s exceeded points expectations only 10% over the last 10 starts and has a Plus/Minus of -4.24. As for splits, he has been much more effective against lefties than righties, as the strikeout rate is 7% higher while most of the power has been allowed to righties.
The Astros just don’t strike out often and have the fifth-highest wOBA on the slate.
Yuli Gurriel is the second-highest-rated first baseman in the Bales Model. Against right-handed pitching, he has a .312/.378/.423 slash with a .111 ISO. Howard isn’t as good against righties, though, and he will bat fifth in the lineup.
Unlike Gurriel, Jose Altuve has more power against righties. The slash is .275/.356/.507 with a .232 ISO. He will bat leadoff in the order, and it helps that the Astros are the visiting team.
Alex Bregman bats third in the order and, while he’s better against lefties, he’s no slouch against righties. The slash is .270/.332/.421 with a .152 ISO.
Michael Brantley isn’t a power hitter as he only has eight home runs on the season. That said, he doesn’t strike out often and bats for a high average. He’s second in the lineup and has scored 68 runs on the season.
Yordan Alvarez is the cleanup hitter for the Astros, and for a good reason. He has 28 home runs and 91 RBI on the season. For a power hitter, the .280/.349/.528 slash is mighty impressive.
Mookie Betts hasn’t been the most consistent batter this season. The Consistency Rating is 30% for the season and 23% for the month. He’s exceeded points expectations 40% of the time over the last 10 games. Hitting a baseball is hard. On the season, against right-handed pitching, he has a .281/.385/.520 slash with a .238 ISO. Zach Gallen is on the hill for the Diamondbacks and, while the strikeout rate is a robust 30.3% against righties, the HR/9 is 2.3, and the FIP is 5.33. When he’s out of the game, the Diamondbacks bullpen has the second-highest FIP in MLB.
Austin Meadows is close to a zero against left-handed pitching. But against righties, Stan Lee should start drawing up the newest hero because the ISO is a whopping .290 against them. He will likely bat second in the lineup, and the Rays are on the road. I went over Alek Manoah earlier, but he has a 5.03 FIP and 1.82 HR/9 to lefties. The strikeout rate is 28.7%, though.
I kind of like the Rays stack today as Ji-Man Choi is looking sexy. Granted, I am Korean, so that may have something to do with the recommendation. I kid. Choi has a .253/.372/.468 slash with a .214 ISO against right-handed pitching. Manoah has some struggles with lefties, and that Blue Jays bullpen isn’t good and got worked over the weekend by the Orioles.
LaMonte Wade is only $3,100 and will likely bat third in the lineup. The matchup isn’t great because Yu Darvish can carve up any lineup on any given night. That said, he has been scuffling lately, and Wade absolutely crushes right-handed pitching. The slash is .278/.353/.555 with a .278 ISO.
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.