NOTE: Pittsburgh-Cincinnati has been postponed tonight due to a positive COVID-19 test. The game is not on the FanDuel MLB DFS main slate, so adjust lineups accordingly.

Pitchers

Studs

Saturday’s slate includes two pitchers as higher-priced options on FanDuel:

  • Patrick Corbin (L) $10,600, WAS @ BAL
  • Walker Buehler (L) $9,600, LAD @ LAA

The slate has a lot of questionable pitching options. The Bales Model rates only one pitcher above 60 (on a 0-100 scale), and that pitcher is rated at 60.46. Neither high-priced option is rated over 56.12.

Patrick Corbin is in a tough spot facing the Baltimore Orioles. Sounds odd, right? Prior to last night’s drubbing, the Orioles were second in baseball in batting average and saw their Barrel Percentage drop 1%.

Barrel Percentage (Barrel%): the percentage of batted-ball events whose comparable hit types — in terms of exit velocity and launch angle — have led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.

Despite last night’s the rough outing, Baltimore still ranks top-10 in batting average, offensive WAR and slugging.

Corbin’s hard-hit percentage is 7.9% above his career average while his medium-hit percentage is down 13%. The southpaw is either allowing soft contact or very hard contact, and that is troublesome.

Washington’s defense is not elite, but it nonetheless factors into Corbin’s 2.50 ERA. His actual ERA is notably lower than his 3.01 Expected Fielder Independent Pitching (xFIP) and 3.80 Expected ERA (xERA).

There is drizzle possible in the forecast for Nationals-Orioles.

I’d rather be late than be early to the Walker Buehler 2020 breakout party. Buehler’s walk percentage and home run percentage are more than double his career averages, he’s averaging three fewer strikeouts per nine innings in 2020, and his groundball percentage is down 11%. It has been a struggle to say the least.

Buehler scored 29 FanDuel points his last start but could not make it through six innings and walked four batters. He has yet to record a win or a quality start, both of which are important performance boosters on FanDuel.

I know I have been stat-heavy with Buehler, but there is one more that is astonishing: He has a BABIP of 0.91. He is pitching poorly before batters make contact, and that number is due for major negative regression. The Dodgers are a great team, but even Los Angeles’ defense cannot keep up that rate for Buehler.

Avoid, avoid, avoid.


Values

Houston Astros right-hander Cristian Javier may be good!

Javier draws a matchup against the anemic Seattle Mariners offense this evening. He has a 66% consistency rating and 33% upside according to the Bales Model. That upside rating is the highest among all pitchers on the main slate.

He also leads the Bales Model in ProTrends, which factors in Vegas lines, park value, and narratives such as consecutive home games prior to tonight’s game. Javier is $7,800 on FanDuel and $7,400 on DraftKings. I’m sure his exposure will be higher than consensus projections, but I cannot see a lineup without him in it.


Fastballs

German Marquez is a well-known name but is due for regression. His medium- and hard-hit percentages are well above his career averages and his xFIP is a full run above his ERA. He faces the Texas Rangers, who are projected to score 5.1 runs tonight.

James Paxton is the trivia answer to the slate’s highest-rated player! His xFIP of 3.52 is five runs below his 7.84 ERA. I will not be using him, but if you want to factor wind into your pitching decision with Paxton, it is supposed to blow in from centerfield at 9 miles per hour.

Andrew Heaney has the third-highest rating in the Bales Model, but that is more a function of the slate’s mediocre options than him being good. He faces the Los Angeles Dodgers and their 9.5% Barrel%. I am the least likely to use him of the three listed here.


Notable Stacks

Today’s top stack is a *complete shocker* (sarcasm font): the Colorado Rockies.

  • Garrett Hampson (R)
  • Nolan Arenado (R)
  • Trevor Story (R)
  • Charlie Blackmon (L)

Total Salary: $15,400

This stack is pricey but is projected outscore the second-best stack by two points according to the Bales Model. The Rockies face Rangers righty Kyle Gibson, who has a .286 batting average against. Colorado is projected to score a slate-high 6.5 runs tonight in the comfy confines of Coors Field. Blackmon is the second-highest rated player on FanDuel and Hampson ranks first on DraftKings in the Bales Model.

Another popular and cheaper stack to use tonight is the Houston Astros:

  • Yuli Gurriel (R)
  • Jose Altuve (R)
  • Alex Bregman (R)
  • George Springer (R)

Total Salary: $14,000

Houston hosts Seattle and lefty Nick Margevicius. He is the lowest-rated pitcher on FanDuel and DraftKings according to the Bales Model. The stack is focused on the right-handed hitters at the top of the lineup. Jose Altuve has been awful this season, so replacing him with Carlos Correa (projected to bat sixth) is also an option. Altuve is traditionally better against righties and has a slugging percentage 100 points below Correa against right-handed pitching.


Other Batters

Dansby Swanson and the Atlanta Braves are projected to score the fourth-most runs tonight. Swanson is expected to hit leadoff against lefty Daniel Castano. Castano has pitched 4.1 innings in his career and reports a 33.3% home-run-to-fly-ball ratio (HR/FB). Swanson could score multiple runs as well as produce them in this spot.

Max Muncy is one of the left-handed hitters that hits well against left-handed pitchers. His Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA) is .437, and he has a .333 batting average and 2:2 K/BB ratio against lefties on the road this season. Muncy’s FanDuel salary has dropped $600 in August.