The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
We’ve got a full night of baseball headed our way with FanDuel and DraftKings’ 15-game main slate on tap Friday.
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On FanDuel, there are three pitchers who cost more than $10,000:
- Jacob deGrom (R) $12,000, NYM @ MIA
- Max Scherzer (R) $10,800, WSH vs. CHC
- Gerrit Cole (R) $10,500, HOU @ BOS
deGrom gets another draw against an unimposing Marlins lineup that has a 27.6% strikeout rate and abysmal.267 wOBA against righties over the past year, along with ranking dead last in Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) against them this season.
The sublime matchup has resulted in deGrom having a slate-high 9.1 K Prediction and the Mets checking in as sizeable -213 moneyline favorites. deGrom is easily top pitching option on the slate, owning the best combination of floor and upside. The Marlins are implied for just 2.6 runs, which has historically been a positive trend for pitchers: Per our Trends tool, when pitchers faces off against teams with a comparable implied run total, they have averaged a +5.91 FanDuel Plus/Minus with a 66.9% Consistency Rating.
On FanDuel, there’s a $1,200 pricing gap between deGrom and Scherzer, whereas it’s just a $300 gap on DraftKings. Scherzer’s matchup against the Cubs isn’t as favorable, given their projected lineup carries a middling 24.4% strikeout rate and .315 wOBA against right-handed pitchers over the past 12 months.
With that said, Scherzer is still a solid play considering his overall dominance. He’s pitching to a 2.76 xFIP and 28.2% K-BB% this year. Scherzer also has an 8.3 K Prediction, which isn’t far off from deGrom’s. The main issue would be his chances of getting the win aren’t as strong as deGrom’s since the Cubs are implied for 3.4 runs and the Nationals check in with -149 moneyline odds, but those odds aren’t bad by any means. Historically, pitchers with comparable K Predictions and Vegas data have averaged a respectable +4.60 FanDuel Plus/Minus with a 63% Consistency Rating.
Next up in salary is Cole, who has a daunting matchup against the Red Sox, who own a low 22.8% strikeout rate and elite .349 wOBA. I wouldn’t use Cole in cash games, but considering he’s an elite pitcher in a tough matchup, it could be a good spot to go contrarian for tournaments if you’re willing to take on the risk.
The counter: While Cole has a 7.9 K Prediction, the Red Sox are implied for 4.4 runs, and that’s historically been a negative trend for pitchers with a salary as high as Cole’s. Since 2016, pitchers with comparable salaries, K Predictions and Vegas data have averaged a -3.27 FanDuel Plus/Minus with a 46.4% Consistency Rating.
Joey Lucchesi has a 98% Bargain Rating on FanDuel and leads the entire slate with his +11.66 Projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel. The Pirates’ projected lineup has struggled with left-handed pitching over the past 12 months, sporting a 27.3% strikeout rate and .287 wOBA. They also rank 28th in wRC+ against them this year. He’s an intriguing punt option on FanDuel if you want to load up on bats and a viable SP2 candidate on DraftKings. Lucchesi checks in with the fifth-highest K Prediction (7.1) on the slate, and the Padres have favorable Vegas data, as the Pirates check in with a 3.3 implied run total and the Padres are sitting at a -164 moneyline.
In the same game, Jordan Lyles could also be SP2 option since he has a K Prediction that’s comparable to Lucchesi (6.7), and it’s a similar matchup as the Padres also possess a 27.2% strikeout rate, along with a weak .291 wOBA and ranking 23rd in wRC+. He’s a better value on DraftKings than Lucchesi with his 71% Bargain Rating and +4.36 Projected Plus/Minus. Overall, Lyles has a slight edge in our projections over him.
After the top-priced pitchers, there’s a significant dropoff in our projections, which I think makes the mid-tier less intriguing overall. Given the lack of appeal after the top-tier pitchers, I don’t hate the idea of rolling out deGrom and Scherzer on DraftKings, but you’d need to find the cheap bats to make that work.
Frankie Montas: He’s been decent this season, pitching to a 3.64 xFIP and the matchup is somewhat exploitable with the Tigers having a 25% strikeout rate, .294 wOBA and ranking just 29th in wRC+, but his 22% strikeout rate won’t present him with much upside.
- 1. Marcus Semien (R)
- 2. Chad Pinder (R)
- 4. Khris Davis (R)
- 5. Stephen Piscotty (R)
Total salary: $15,100
The A’s are one of a handful of teams implied for more than 5.0 runs on Friday, but on DraftKings, they make for an affordable stack with their second-best Team Value Rating in our Vegas Dashboard. They’ll take on Daniel Norris, who owns a weak 4.84 xFIP and 11% K-BB% this season.
The matchup against the lefty will put Davis on the positive side of his batting splits: He’s throttled lefties over the past year, hitting them to the tune of a .386 wOBA and .345 ISO. Davis has generated an abundance of hard contact over the past two weeks with his 96-mph exit velocity and 57% hard-hit rate, both of which exceed his 15-day/12-month averages. Piscotty has also smashed left-handed pitching, boasting a .379 wOBA and .255 ISO.
One of the top FanDuel stacks on the main slate in the CSURAM88 Model belongs to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
- 1. Joc Pederson (L)
- 2. Max Muncy (L)
- 3. Justin Turner (R)
- 4. Cody Bellinger (L)
Total salary: $13,900
The Dodgers are tied for the second-best Team Value Rating in our Vegas Dashboard against Anthony DeSclafani. He’s been knocked around in his past two starts, allowing a combined 12 hits and seven earned runs in 10 innings pitched. That has resulted in poor Statcast data: 230-foot average distance, 96-mph exit velocity and absurd 59% hard-hit rate to opposing hitters.
This is an appealing spot for the Dodgers, as all of them except Turner have shown an exorbitant amount of power against righties over the past 12 months. Pederson owns a .397 wOBA and .370 ISO while sporting a 95-mph exit velocity and 58% hard-hit rate over the past 15 days.
Meanwhile, Muncy has a .407 wOBA and .297 ISO while hammering the ball over the past two weeks with his 97-mph exit velocity and 63% hard-hit rate. Bellinger will be on the positive side of his splits by a significant margin, flaunting a .430 wOBA and .294 ISO. Not to mention his 241-foot average distance and 95-mph exit velocity.
Rostering deGrom on FanDuel will leave you with an average salary of $2,875 to fill out your roster. Justin Smoak is just barely ahead of that threshold at $3,100. The switch-hitter will be on the positive side of his splits, possessing a .368 wOBA and .241 ISO against right-handed pitchers over the past year. He could also be due for progression with his +59 Recent Batted Ball Luck (RBBL). Smoak owns tremendous Statcast data of late, sporting a 245-foot average distance, 96-mph exit velocity and 60% hard-hit rate.
Likewise, on DraftKings if you roster deGrom and Scherzer, you’ll have $3,438 to fill out your roster. Jason Kipnis costs $3,300 with a 90% Bargain Rating. He boasts a solid .361 wOBA and .214 ISO against right-handed pitchers, and he could be cheap exposure to the Indians’ 5.2 implied run total.
Matt Carpenter is relatively cheap on both sites and checks in as solid value, as he currently projects as 3.4 Pts/Sal on FanDuel and 2.0 Pts/Sal on DraftKings. He owns an elite .390 wOBA and .268 ISO against right-handed pitchers and the Cardinals are implied for a massive 6.3 runs tonight. It seems like another good night to go back to the Carpenter well.
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: Jacob deGrom
Photo credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports