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

FanDuel and DraftKings offer a 10-game all-day slate along with a four-game early slate starting at 1:05 p.m. ET.

The five-game main slate starts at 6:40 p.m. ET.


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Pitchers

Studs

On FanDuel, there are three pitchers who cost more than $10,000:

  • Trevor Bauer (R) $11,400, CLE vs. BAL
  • Luis Castillo (R) $10,300, CIN vs. CHC
  • Chris Bassitt (R) $10,000, OAK @ DET

Bauer is on only the all-day slate, so you won’t have to make a decision on him for the early or main slates. But if you are looking for some all-day action, he’s the top option. He leads the day with an 8.1 K Prediction, and the Orioles’ 3.1 implied run total is the slate’s lowest mark, so it’s not surprising to see the Indians as the largest favorites on the day (-298 moneyline).

Castillo is the most expensive pitcher on the main slate by a substantial amount. He’s been excellent this season, pitching to a 3.08 xFIP with a 31.8% strikeout rate. He’s also been efficient from a DFS standpoint, averaging a +8.31 FanDuel Plus/Minus with a 50% Consistency Rating.

Overall, Castillo is likely the option with the fewest question marks on the main slate. His 7.4 K Prediction leads the slate by 1.6 strikeouts, and he’s facing a Cubs team whose projected lineup has a high 27.4% strikeout rate against right-handed pitchers over the past 12 months. Castillo also enters the game with solid Statcast data, allowing hitters to average a 174-foot batted-ball distance, 89-mph exit velocity and 34% hard-hit rate over his past two starts.

Bassitt has been great this season, sporting a 3.15 xFIP and 31.6% strikeout rate. On deck is a projected Tigers lineup with a 26.1% strikeout rate and .299 wOBA over the past year against right-handed pitchers. And this season the Tigers rank 27th or worse in both Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) and team wOBA. Bassitt is one of the safest options on the early slate. He provides the most value on DraftKings with his 96% Bargain Rating.

Values

Eric Lauer could be a potential punt option on FanDuel or an SP2 candidate on DraftKings. He doesn’t have much upside with his K Prediction of 5.0, but the Pirates own a slate-low 3.9 implied run total: They haven’t been great against left-handed pitchers this season, ranking 28th in team wOBA and 30th in wRC+.

Fastballs

Trevor Williams: Pitching opposite of Lauer in the same game, Williams owns a slightly better K Prediction (5.9) in a comparable matchup: The Padres rank 22nd in both wOBA and wRC+ against righties this season. But the Pirates are slight +115 underdogs.

Marcus Stroman: He could be an SP2 candidate on DraftKings for just $7,700. The Blue Jays are the largest favorite on the main slate, and he has a decent matchup. The projected White Sox lineup has a 25.9% strikeout rate and .302 wOBA against righties over the past year.

Zack Wheeler: He’s among the top-priced options on the main slate with Bassitt. He’s a comparable favorite at -134 on the moneyline, but his 6.0 K Prediction is slightly worse against a Nationals lineup that owns a 24.2% strikeout rate over the past year against righties. But overall, they’ve been a mediocre unit against right-handed pitchers this season, ranking 25th in wOBA and wRC+ against them.

Notable Stacks

With our Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS lineups. The top four-man early-slate DraftKings stack from the CSURAM88 Player Model belongs to the Texas Rangers.

  • 1. Shin-Soo Choo (L)
  • 2. Rougned Odor (L)
  • 3. Nomar Mazara (L)
  • 8. Ronald Guzman (L)

Total salary: $16,200

The Rangers have a great matchup against Homer Bailey, who owns an awful 1.59 WHIP and 1.36 HR/9 over the past 12 months. He’s also surrendered a bunch of hard contact over his past two starts, allowing hitters to average a 96-mph exit velocity and 62% hard-hit rate, both of which are slate-high marks for the early games.

The 1-2-3-8 combination will give you an unconventional stack, which could work when there are just four games in play, and the Rangers will likely be popular as one of two teams implied for at least 5.0 runs.

Guzman is also interesting because he’s smashed right-handed pitchers over the past year, hitting them to the tune of a .343 wOBA and .236 ISO. He’s smashing the ball right now with his 244-foot average distance, 97-mph exit velocity and 60% hard-hit rate. Guzman could be headed towards progression as well since he has a +79 Recent Batted Ball Luck (RBBL).

One of the top FanDuel stacks on the main slate in the CSURAM88 Model belongs to the Toronto Blue Jays.

  • 2. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (R)
  • 3. Justin Smoak (S)
  • 4. Rowdy Tellez (L)
  • 5. Randal Grichuk (R)

Total salary: $12,900

The Blue Jays will square off against Dylan Covey, who has an abysmal 1.52 WHIP and 6.62 K/9 over the past year. Covey has pitched to an awful 7.78 xFIP this season in his two starts while sporting some putrid Statcast data, evidenced by his 242-foot average distance and 95-mph exit velocity.

The Jays lead the main slate with their Team Value Rating of 80 in our Vegas Dashboard. They have upside, but they are also cheap enough to allow a lot of roster flexibility with the remaining spots.

With the exception of Grichuk, all the stacked batters are on the positive side of their batting splits. Most notably, Smoak owns a robust .373 wOBA and .251 ISO against right-handed pitchers, and Tellez is right there with him, possessing a .366 wOBA and .277 ISO. Additionally, all four hitters own positive RBBLs, so progression could be on the way, especially for Smoak, who has excellent Statcast data with his 247-foot average distance, 96-mph exit velocity and 63% hard-hit rate.

Other Batters

The top hitter in the Bales Model is Matt Carpenter. He should be set up well in the lefty-righty matchup against Julio Teheran. Carpenter has demolished right-handed pitchers over the past year, owning an elite .391 wOBA and .263 ISO. The same thing can be said for Paul Goldschmidt and his .405 wOBA and .257 ISO.

The Braves-Cardinals game projects to be a high-scoring affair with both teams implied for at least 5.0 runs. Ronald Acuna will be on the negative side of his splits, but he still has a .365 wOBA and .214 ISO. Furthermore, he might have the best Statcast data on the slate with his absurd 272-foot batted-ball distance, 99-mph exit velocity and 60% hard-hit rate. Per our Trends tool, hitters with comparable batted-ball data have averaged an exceptional +2.68 FanDuel Plus/Minus.

With the Royals implied for over 5.0 runs on the early slate, Hunter Dozier is intriguing on DraftKings with his 86% Bargain Rating. It’s a righty-righty matchup, but he’s throttled right-handed pitchers over the past year, boasting a .352 wOBA and .251 ISO. Opposing pitcher Lancy Lynn has also surrendered a decent amount of hard contact over his past two starts with his 94-mph exit velocity and 42% hard-hit rate. Meanwhile, Dozier owns a 94-mph exit velocity and 45% hard-hit rate over the past two weeks.

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

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: Justin Smoak, Vlad Jr.
Photo credit: Cody Glenn-USA TODAY Sports