The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
DraftKings and FanDuel will have a 15-game all-day slate starting at 1:05 p.m. ET, along with a six-game early slate at 4:05 p.m. ET and seven-game main slate beginning at 7:15 p.m. ET.
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None of the top-priced pitchers are in a particularly exploitable spot on Saturday, so let’s dive in.
On FanDuel, there are three pitchers who cost more than $10,000:
- Blake Snell (L) $11,000, TB @ NYY
- Stephen Strasburg (R) $10,800, WSH vs. CHC
- Jose Berrios (R) $10,400, MIN @ SEA
- Walker Buehler (R) $10,200, LAD @ CIN
Snell struck out 12 Yankees in 5.2 innings when he faced them in his last start. He’s been dominant this season, pitching to a 2.50 xFIP with an absurd 37.6% strikeout rate. He still leads the day with an 8.7 K Prediction, but the matchup isn’t great despite what he did last time against them. The Yankees’ projected lineup carries a low 22.1% strikeout rate and high .339 wOBA against left-handed pitchers over the past 12 months. Additionally, the win might be harder for him to pick up with Masahiro Tanaka pitching opposite of him. The Rays are sitting at just -121 on the moneyline. Pitchers with comparable K Predictions and Vegas data have historically underwhelmed, averaging a +0.62 FanDuel Plus/Minus with a 55.7% Consistency Rating, per our Trends tool.
Strasburg is on the main slate and is the clear-cut top choice among all pitching options. He’s been having a solid season with a 2.72 xFIP, which is nearly one run lower than his ERA. Stras also owns an elite 32.6% strikeout rate this year, so it’s no surprise he leads the main slate with a 7.8 K Prediction.
The matchup isn’t anything to write home about as the projected Cubs lineup has a middling 24.9% strikeout rate and .321 wOBA against righties over the past year, along with having the sixth-ranked offense in Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) against righties this season. But, with few strong options to choose from, Stras is the best of the bunch. Overall, he leads main-slate pitching options in floor, median and ceiling projections in our models.
Berrios is the other top-priced guy along with Stras on the main slate. He’s too expensive for my taste in this particular spot. He owns a 6.3 K Prediction against a projected Mariners lineup with a low 23.5% strikeout rate and the fourth-highest wOBA (.338) on the main slate. And the Mariners also rank seventh and second in wRC+ and team ISO against righties this season. Berrios doesn’t have the upside in this spot to warrant his price tag, resulting in a -1.63 Projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel.
Buehler’s 22.8% strikeout rate leaves much to be desired, especially against a team with a low 23.6% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching over the past 12 months. While the Dodgers are respectable -153 moneyline favorites, his 6.0 K Prediction is subpar at this price tag, and the Reds are implied for 4.3 runs. The combination of the high price tag, opponent implied run total and low prediction has historically been a negative trend for such pitchers. Overall, those pitchers have averaged a -6.96 FanDuel Plus/Minus with a 38% Consistency Rating. That said, he could make sense on DraftKings as a two-pitcher combination with Aaron Nola given the lack of options.
Steven Matz is mildly intriguing as a low-priced option on FanDuel and SP2 on DraftKings. While the Marlins have just a 23% strikeout rate against lefties over the past 12 months, they do rank dead last in wRC+ and team ISO against them this year. The Marlins are also implied for a slate-low 3.5 runs. They’re the only team on the early slate with an implied run total under 4.0 runs. Historically, pitchers with comparable salaries, K Predictions (5.1) and Vegas data have averaged a 2.18 FanDuel Plus/Minus with a 54.8% Consistency Rating.
Aaron Nola: He leads our median projections on the early slate and is my preferred pitching option with his +8.11 Projected Plus/Minus. The projected Rockies lineup has struggled over the past 12 months against righties, sporting a 27.2% strikeout rate and .281 wOBA, including ranking 26th in wRC+ against them this season.
Pablo Lopez: The early slate is gross for secondary pitching options on DraftKings, but Lopez could be worth a punt if you don’t roll out the Buehler/Nola combination. He has a comparable median projection to Matz but costs $2,000 less.
Madison Bumgarner: He’s been solid this season, pitching to a 21.8% K-BB% and 3.48 xFIP. Although, the matchup isn’t great considering the Diamondbacks’ projected lineup has a low 21.3% strikeout rate and rank second in wRC+ against lefties. He’s probably the best of the lackluster options on Saturday after the top-priced guys.
- 1. Shin-Soo Choo (L)
- 2. Willie Calhoun (L)
- 3. Nomar Mazara (L)
- 5. Asdrubal Cabrera (S)
Total salary: $17,700
The Rangers are implied for 5.7 runs, which is the second-highest total behind the Cardinals. They’ll take on the righty Dakota Hudson, who hasn’t been outstanding this season, sporting a 4.46 xFIP and laughable 5.7% K-BB%.
Choo has smoked right-handed pitchers over the past 12 months, hitting them to the tune of a .406 wOBA and .236 ISO. He’s generated a ton of hard contact over the past two weeks, evidenced by his 96-mph exit velocity and 46% hard-hit rate, which could pair well with Hudson’s 96-mph exit velocity allowed to opposing hitters over his last two starts.
Cabrera has shown some power against righties with his .221 ISO, and he’s been unlucky of late, possessing a +61 Recent Batted Ball Luck (RBBL). He’s averaging a -3.44 DraftKings Plus/Minus over his last 10 games, but he’s in decent form, sporting a 15-day/12-month distance differential of +17 feet.
There is rain projected in the forecast for this game at the time of writing, so be sure to monitor the status leading up to lock.
One of the top FanDuel stacks on the main slate in the CSURAM88 Model belongs to the Los Angeles Angels.
- 1. Tommy La Stella (L)
- 2. Mike Trout (R)
- 3. Shohei Ohtani (L)
- 5. Albert Pujols (R)
Total salary: $15,000
The Angels are set to square off against Jake Junis, who owns a 4.64 xFIP and abysmal 10.1% K-BB% this season. With their 5.1 implied run total, the Angels have the second-best Team Value Rating in our Vegas Dashboard for the main slate.
Except for Pujols, this entire stack will be on the positive side of their batting splits. Trout has demolished right-handed pitchers, posting a .492 wOBA and .330 ISO. The same can be said for Ohtani, who has an elite .404 wOBA and .302 ISO.
Even though Pujols is on the negative side of his splits, he’s still in good form as he owns a 230-foot average distance, 94-mph exit velocity and 45% hard-hit rate over the past two weeks.
On the early slate, it might not be a bad idea to get exposure to the Cardinals’ 6.4 implied run total, pending the rain in the forecast. Particularly Matt Carpenter and Paul Goldschmidt, who have 90% and 82% Bargain Ratings on DraftKings. Both hitters will be on the positive side of their splits as Carpenter has hit righties to the tune of a .388 wOBA and .264 ISO, while Goldschmidt checks in with a .405 wOBA and .255 ISO. Goldy’s 57% hard-hit rate over the past 15 days exceeds his 15-day/12-month average by eight percentage points.
C.J. Cron is affordable on either site, and he’s intriguing against a lefty which puts him on the positive side of his splits, sporting a .384 wOBA and .254 ISO against them over the past 12 months. But, when you look at his numbers this year, they’re even better, boasting an elite .455 wOBA and .385 ISO.
If you need some salary relief, Hunter Renfroe has an 83% Bargain Rating on FanDuel against the right-handed Montana Durapau. The downside to him is he has a 29.7% strikeout rate against righties, but, but he does possess a .342 wOBA and .281 ISO against righties over the past 12 months.
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: Stephen Strasburg
Photo credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports