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

Sunday features a split slate. There’s a 10-game main slate starting at 1:05 p.m. ET and a four-game afternoon slate starting at 4:07 p.m. ET.

Pitchers

Studs

Two pitchers on today’s slate stand out above the rest on FanDuel:

  • Justin Verlander (R) $11,000, HOU @ NYY
  • Jacob deGrom (R) $10,600, NYM @ CHC

On the surface, Verlander is putting together another phenomenal campaign in 2019. His 2.59 ERA and 11.12 K/9 both rank seventh in the league. That combination has led to a lot of fantasy value, resulting in an average Plus/Minus of +4.26 on FanDuel.

But some of his advanced metrics paint a slightly different picture. For starters, he’s been one of the luckiest pitchers in baseball this season, evidenced by a BABIP of .172. That’s the lowest mark in the league by more than 50 percentage points. He’s seen 92.9% of opposing baserunners get stranded. Add it all up, and Verlander is likely due for some regression moving forward.

That could start today vs. the New York Yankees. They currently rank third in wRC+ against right-handed pitchers, and that number only figures to increase now that the team is close to full strength. Verlander’s resulting opponent implied team total of 4.5 runs is extremely high for a pitcher of his caliber. Historically, pitchers with comparable salaries and opponent implied team totals have averaged a Plus/Minus of -4.20 on FanDuel (per the Trends tool).

Verlander has also been hit unusually hard over his past two starts. He’s allowed opposing batters to post an average distance of 235 feet and hard hit rate of 44%, both of which represent significant increases when compared to his 12-month averages.

Verlander carries much more risk than usual on today’s slate, which makes him a prime fade candidate for cash games. That said, he still has some appeal for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs). His K Prediction of 8.8 ranks first on the slate, and his $11,000 salary on FanDuel comes with a Bargain Rating of 87%.

Photo credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Justin Verlander

deGrom got off to a slow start this season, but he’s been outstanding over his past 10 starts. He’s pitched to a 2.63 ERA and 9.55 K/9, and he’s allowed two earned runs or fewer in nine of them. He’s coming off 59.0 FanDuel points in his last outing, resulting in a Plus/Minus of +21.27.

deGrom is in an interesting spot today vs. the Cubs. He’s a slight favorite despite pitching on the road, and he’ll likely own one of the lowest implied team totals on the slate when the line is eventually posted. His K Prediction of 8.5 also trails on Verlander’s.

Unfortunately, the weather situation in Chicago complicates matters. The current forecast calls for a 47% chance of precipitation at game time. If that doesn’t improve, he’s going to be a risky option for cash games.

Values

Cole Hamels is opposing deGrom, which means he’ll also have to deal with weather concerns. That said, there’s a lot to like with him on today’s slate.

The Mets’ projected lineup has struck out in 25.7% of at bats against southpaws over the past 12 months, giving Hamels a solid 8.1 K Prediction. Hamels has also thrived when pitching at Wrigley as a member of the Cubs, averaging a Plus/Minus of +10.30 on FanDuel over 13 starts.

His Statcast data from his past two starts is also solid. He’s posted an average distance of 191 feet and hard hit rate of 28%, both of which represent significant decreases when compared to his 12-month averages.

Hamels represents one of the best pure values on FanDuel, where his $9,000 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 98%.

Brandon Woodruff could wind up as the chalk option on today’s slate. He has no weather concerns – thanks Miller Park! – and is in a nice spot vs. the Cincinnati Reds. They rank just 28th in wOBA vs. right-handed pitchers when playing on the road, and they’re implied team total of 3.6 runs is the lowest mark on the slate. Woodruff is also a -184 favorite, and pitchers with comparable Vegas data have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +1.50.

Woodruff also owns a K Prediction of 8.5, and factoring that into the above Trend increases the average Plus/Minus to +2.08. He’s an elite option on DraftKings, where his $7,900 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 95%.

Kenta Maeda stands out as the top option on the afternoon slate. He’s taking on the Colorado Rockies, who have struggled mightily when playing away from Coors this season. They’re currently implied for just 3.5 runs, and Maeda is also a -211 favorite. He’s a particularly nice value on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 99%.

Photo credit: Richard Mackson-USA Today Sports. Pictured: Kenta Maeda

Fastballs

Enyel De Los Santos: He’s making a spot start for the Phillies in an elite spot vs. the Marlins. He probably won’t pitch very deep into this contest, but he doesn’t have to at just $5,500 on FanDuel.

Zach Plesac: He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +6.82 over his first five starts, and his $7,700 salary on DraftKings comes with a Bargain Rating of 94%. He has a great matchup vs. the Tigers, who rank dead last in wRC+ against right-handers this season.

Yusei Kikuchi: He’s an interesting pivot off Maeda on the afternoon slate at just $5,000 on DraftKings. He owns solid marks in both opponent implied team total (4.0 runs) and moneyline odds (-159) in a strong matchup vs. the Orioles.

Notable Stacks

With the Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS lineups. On the main slate, the top five-man DraftKings stack per the Bales Model belongs to the Chicago White Sox:

  • 1. Leury Garcia (S)
  • 2. Yoan Moncada (S)
  • 3. Jose Abreu (R)
  • 4. James McCann (R)
  • 6. Tim Anderson (R)

Total Salary: $23,000

The White Sox are currently implied for 5.4 runs, which is the fourth-highest mark on the main slate. They’re wrapping up their series in Texas, which means they’ll get to benefit from their elite hitting conditions one final time. The current forecast call for a temperature of 90.5 degrees at gametime, resulting in a Weather Rating of 90.

They’re taking on right-hander Adrian Sampson, who has pitched to a 4.40 ERA this season. He’s struggled in particular against right-handed batters, allowing them to post .371 wOBA.

That bodes well for Anderson, who has smoked the ball over the past 15 days. He’s posted an average distance of 229 feet and hard hit rate of 51%, both of which represent increases when compared to his 12-month averages.

On the afternoon slate, the top four-man FanDuel stack belongs to the Seattle Mariners:

  • 2. J.P. Crawford (L)
  • 3. Domingo Santana (R)
  • 4. Dan Vogelbach (L)
  • 5. Omar Narvaez (L)

Total Salary: $13,100

The Mariners are implied for 5.1 runs vs. the Baltimore Orioles, which is tied with the Dodgers for the top mark on the afternoon slate. They also represent an excellent value on FanDuel. Each of the stacked batters owns a Bargain Rating of at least 51%, headlined by Narvaez’s mark of 96%.

They’re taking on right-hander Gabriel Ynoa, who has been one of the worst pitchers in baseball this season. He’s pitched to a 5.65 ERA, and his 6.03 FIP suggests he’s been even worse than his traditional metrics indicate. He’s also been hit particularly hard over his past two starts, allowing batters to post an average distance of 246 feet and hard hit rate of 43%.

The left-handed batters in particular should be able to take advantage of this matchup. Crawford, Vogelbach and Narvaez have each posted a wOBA of at least .379 against right-handers over the past 12 months, and Vogelbach combines that with an elite .303 ISO.

Other Batters

It finally happened. Bryce Harper snapped out of his funk in his last game, reaching base three times and clubbing a HR. He’s hit the ball well over the past 15 days, so it’s not surprising that his fantasy results started to reflect his Statcast data. He remains underpriced at $4,000 on DraftKings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 98%, and he’ll be on the positive side of his batting splits vs. Marlins right-hander Jordan Yamamoto.

Jose Ramirez is another superstar batter who was mired in a deep slump but has started to turn things around. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in four of his past five games on DraftKings, where his $3,900 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 87%. The Indians are implied for 5.3 runs today vs. Tigers left-hander Daniel Norris, who has pitched to a 4.70 FIP this season.

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: Brewers SP Brandon Woodruff (53)
Photo credit: Charles LeClaire-USA Today Sports