The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Saturday features a split slate: There’s a five-game early slate starting at 3:07 p.m. ET and a 10-game main slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Two pitchers on today’s slates stand out above the rest on FanDuel:
- Charlie Morton (R) $11,000, TB @ SEA
- Noah Syndergaard (R) $10,700, NYM vs. WSH
Morton is putting together the best season of his career at 35 years old, pitching to a 2.77 ERA and 2.81 FIP while striking out a career-high 10.95 batters per nine innings. He’s coming off an impressive start in his last outing, limiting the Blue Jays to two runs over seven innings and recording nine strikeouts.
He’s in another nice spot today vs. the Seattle Mariners. Their projected lineup has struck out in 30.2% of at-bats against right-handers over the past 12 months, which is one of the worst splits-adjusted marks on the slate. Morton is an excellent strikeout pitcher, so he can do some serious damage in this matchup. His K Prediction of 7.43 is definitely conservative, but it still ranks as the top mark on the slate.
Morton also owns an opponent implied team total of 3.5 runs, which is the second-lowest mark on the slate, while his -212 moneyline odds rank third. Pitchers with comparable Vegas data and K Predictions have historically been excellent investments, averaging a Plus/Minus of +2.86 on FanDuel (per the Trends tool).
Finally, Morton represents one of the best pure values at the position on FanDuel, where his $11,000 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 85%. He’s an elite option in all formats.
Syndergaard was rumored to be on the move before the trade deadline, but the red-hot Mets ultimately decided to hang on to him for the stretch run. They’ve won 14 of their past 15 games, and the pitching of Syndergaard has been a big part. He’s posted an elite 1.78 ERA and 1.77 FIP since the All-Star break while increasing his K/9 to 9.93. His fantasy numbers have been dominant over that time frame, resulting in an average Plus/Minus of +11.17 on FanDuel.
His Statcast data from his past two starts is also excellent. He’s limited opposing batters to an average distance of 180 feet, exit velocity of 87 miles per hour and hard-hit rate of 18%; all represent considerable decreases compared to his 12-month averages. If Syndergaard can continue to limit the damage on balls in play and maintain his increased strikeout rate, he could be a fantasy monster down the stretch.
Unfortunately, he’s in a tough spot today vs. the Washington Nationals. Syndergaard is only a slight -120 favorite, and his opponent implied team total of 3.9 runs is merely the sixth-lowest mark on the slate. The Nationals have also been one of the tougher teams to strike out this season, posting the ninth-lowest strikeout rate against right-handed pitching.
Syndergaard still warrants some consideration for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs) given how well he’s pitched recently and his likely reduced ownership, but Morton is clearly the better stud option for cash games.
Mike Soroka has one of the best possible matchups today vs. the Miami Marlins. They’ve struggled mightily against right-handers this season, ranking dead last in wRC+, and their projected lineup has posted a strikeout rate of 36.1% against right-handers over the past 12 months. Unsurprisingly, Soroka has elite Vegas data in this matchup: 3.2 opponent implied team total, -227 moneyline odds. He’s pitched to a 2.45 ERA this season, so he should be able to keep the Marlins in check.
The only real concern with Soroka is his lack of strikeout upside. He definitely has more upside than usual vs. the Marlins, but he’s managed a K/9 of just 7.21 this season. His K Prediction of 5.7 is ultimately pretty mediocre considering his salary. Still, he’s the easy top choice at pitcher on the early slate, particularly on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 93%.
Kenta Maeda is a high-risk, high-reward option on today’s slate. He has a lot of positives working in his favor vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks. For starters, his opponent implied team total of 3.7 runs is tied for the fourth-lowest mark of the day. He’s also a -174 favorite, and pitchers with comparable Vegas data and salaries have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +1.68 on DraftKings.
Maeda also combines nice strikeout upside with excellent recent Statcast data. He’s posted a K/9 of 10.16 over the past 12 months, and he’s posted a 15-day/12-month distance differential of -14 feet.
The only issue with Maeda is if he’ll actually stick around long enough to reach value. He lasted just 2.2 innings in his last start, and he’s pitched less than five innings in each of his past three starts. That said, he has hit at least 92 pitches in two of them, so it’s not like he’s been that limited. He ultimately just needs to be more efficient.
Chris Paddack is another pitcher with an excellent matchup. He’s taking on the Colorado Rockies, who have been absolutely dreadful when playing away from Coors this season. They rank dead last in wRC+ against right-handers when facing them on the road, and they’re currently implied for just 3.5 runs. They also own the sixth-highest strikeout rate in that spot, and Paddack has posted a solid 9.49 K/9 this season.
Spencer Turnbull: He’ll be making his fifth start of the season vs. the Kansas City Royals, and he’s posted a 2.86 ERA and 9.4 K/9 through their first four meetings. He’s an elite value on the FanDuel early slate given his Bargain Rating of 97%.
Kyle Hendricks: He’s been one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball recently, allowing two earned runs or fewer in each of his past seven starts. He also possesses more strikeout upside than usual against the Cincinnati Reds, who own the ninth-highest strikeout rate against right-handers this season.
- 1. Mookie Betts (R)
- 2. Rafael Devers (L)
- 4. J.D. Martinez (R)
- 5. Sam Travis (R)
- 6. Andrew Benintendi (L)
Total Salary: $23,500
The Red Sox exploded for 16 runs last night against the Los Angeles Angels, and they’re in another great spot this afternoon. They’re currently implied for 6.4 runs, which is the top mark on the early slate. Their Team Value Rating of 85 also ranks first on DraftKings.
They’re taking on left-hander Andrew Heaney, who will be making his first start in nearly a month after injuring his shoulder. He struggled prior to going on the IL, posting a 5.09 ERA through his first 46.0 innings. The Red Sox rank fifth in wRC+ against left-handers over the past 30 days, so this is a really tough spot for him to make his return to the rotation.
Martinez in particular has obliterated left-handed pitching. He’s posted a .524 wOBA and .430 ISO against southpaws over the past 12 months, and he’s posted a 243 wRC+ against left-handers this season. His Statcast data from the past 15 days is also excellent, and he totaled four extra-base hits in yesterday’s contest. He’s easily one of the top hitting options on the slate.
On the main slate, the top four-man FanDuel stack belongs to the Houston Astros:
- 1. George Springer (R)
- 3. Michael Brantley (L)
- 4. Alex Bregman (R)
- 5. Yordan Alvarez (L)
Total Salary: $17,000
The Astros are going to set you back quite a bit on the main slate, but it’s hard to deny their upside. They’re currently implied for 7.0 runs, which ranks first on the slate by a full run.
They have an elite matchup vs. Orioles right-hander Aaron Brooks, who has been one of the worst pitchers in baseball this season. He’s pitched to a 5.45 ERA and 5.58 FIP and has allowed an average of 1.95 home runs per nine innings. The Astros have been the best offensive team in baseball against right-handers over the past 30 days, ranking first in wRC+, first in wOBA and third in ISO.
Brooks has struggled against left-handed batters, which bodes well for Alvarez. He’s crushed right-handers to the tune of a .438 wOBA and .316 ISO this season, and he’s also posted a 15-day/12-month distance differential of +19 feet. He’s one of the Astros’ best values on FanDuel, where his $4,300 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 88%.
Dexter Fowler is a nice potential source of savings on DraftKings. He’s priced at just $3,600, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 82%, and he’s expected to occupy the leadoff spot in the Cardinals lineup. He also enters this contest in solid recent form, exceeding his 12-month averages in distance, exit velocity and hard-hit rate over the past 15 days.
Miguel Sano has been red-hot recently, and he should move up in the Twins lineup today given the injury to Nelson Cruz. The Twins are currently implied for 5.8 runs vs. Adam Plutko, and Sano’s salary hasn’t been updated on FanDuel to reflect his new premium batting position. His $3,500 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 88%.
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: Red Sox OF/DH J.D. Martinez (28)
Photo credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports