The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Tuesday features a 15-game slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Four pitchers on today’s slate own a salary of at least $10,000 on FanDuel:
- Trevor Bauer (R) $10,900, CLE @ TOR
- Aaron Nola (R) $10,500, PHI @ DET
- Chris Sale (L) $10,200, BOS @ TB
- Stephen Strasburg (R) $10,000, WSH vs. COL
Bauer has been phenomenal over his past three starts, racking up 30 strikeouts in just 21.2 innings. The result has been an average Plus/Minus of +11.18 on FanDuel.
That said, his Statcast data from his past two starts suggests that batters have hit the ball hard against him when they’ve managed to put the ball in play. They’ve posted an average distance of 232 feet, which represents an increase of 23 feet compared to his 12-month average. Historically, pitchers with a comparable distance differential have struggled on FanDuel, posting an average Plus/Minus of -1.45 (per the Trends tool). Statcast data isn’t as important when you’re striking out double-digit batters, but it’s concerning nonetheless.
He’s in a mediocre spot today vs. the Toronto Blue Jays. Their projected lineup has fared well against right-handers over the past 12 months, posting a .330 wOBA, and they’re currently implied for 4.1 runs on today’s slate. That ranks as merely the ninth-lowest total, which is not good for the most-expensive pitcher on FanDuel. Bauer does have strikeout upside – the Blue Jays own the eighth-highest strikeout rate against right-handers this season – but he’s best suited as a contrarian option for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs).
Nola got off to a rough start this season, but he’s quietly turned things around recently. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +5.13 over his past 10 starts on FanDuel, including an average Plus/Minus of +12.01 over his past six.
He owns a favorable matchup today vs. the Detroit Tigers, whose projected lineup has posted a .288 wOBA and 26.3% strikeout rate against right-handers over the past 12 months. Right-handers have absolutely dominated the Tigers this season from a fantasy perspective, pitching to an average Plus/Minus of +4.93 on DraftKings.
Nola’s Vegas data isn’t all that impressive (3.9 opponent implied team total, -147 moneyline odds), but he still deserves strong consideration on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 73%.
Sale checks all of the boxes today vs. the Tampa Bay Rays. He leads all pitchers in both opponent implied team total (3.3 runs) and K Prediction (10.0), and pitchers with comparable marks in both categories have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.63 on FanDuel.
His Statcast data from his past two starts is also excellent. He’s limited opposing batters to an average distance of just 188 feet, which represents a decrease of 20 feet compared to his 12-month average. Factoring a comparable distance differential into the above trend increases the average Plus/Minus to +5.47. Sale has disappointed at times this season, but there’s no reason not to trust him on today’s slate.
Strasburg rounds out the stud quartet, and he has arguably the most appealing matchup of the group. He’s taking on the Colorado Rockies, who have been absolutely dreadful this season when playing away from Coors Field. They rank dead last in wRC+ against right-handers on the road, and they’ve also posted the fourth-highest strikeout rate.
Strasburg’s opponent implied team total of 3.6 runs trails only Sale’s, and his moneyline odds of -223 make him the largest favorite on the slate. He’s a strong option in all formats.
Yu Darvish is squaring off with Madison Bumgarner in San Francisco, and both pitchers have merit on today’s slate.
Let’s start with Darvish. The Giants have been dreadful against right-handers over the past 12 months, posting a .272 wOBA, and they’ve owned the worst wRC+ against right-handers when playing at home this season.
Darvish’s Statcast data from his past two starts is also elite. He’s limited opposing batters to an average distance of 190 feet, exit velocity of 82 miles per hour and hard-hit rate of 12%, all of which rank among the best marks on the slate.
Overall, his opponent implied team total of 3.7 runs ranks third on the slate, while his K Prediction of 7.4 is tied for 10th.
Bumgarner is coming off a gem in his last outing, limiting the Mets to just one run over nine innings. The Giants’ dismal offense couldn’t get him a win, but he still posted a Plus/Minus of +13.53 on FanDuel.
He has more upside than usual today vs. the Cubs. Bumgarner has increased his K/9 from 7.57 in 2018 to 9.10 this season, and the Cubs’ projected lineup has posted a 28.3% strikeout rate against southpaws over the past 12 months. He’s a slight underdog, but he should benefit from getting to pitch in San Francisco. Bumgarner has pitched to a 3.21 FIP at home this season and has limited opposing batters to a .275 wOBA.
Rostering Chris Archer in fantasy is a dangerous proposition. He’s pitched to a 5.36 ERA and 5.59 FIP this season and has struggled with both walks and HRs allowed. That said, he has posted a positive Plus/Minus in four straight starts on DraftKings.
He’s also in a really appealing spot today vs. the St. Louis Cardinals. They rank just 22nd in wRC+ vs. right-handers this season, and their projected lineup has posted a 29.1% strikeout rate against right-handers over the past 12 months. He owns solid marks in both opponent implied team total (4.3 runs) and K Prediction (8.1), and his $7,500 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 86% on DraftKings.
Kenta Maeda: He went just two innings in his last start because of a rain delay, but he should return to his normal workload today vs. the Angels. He owns solid marks across the board at a reasonable salary.
Kyle Gibson: He has a brutal matchup vs. the New York Yankees, who absolutely rake against right-handed pitchers. That said, they’re also prone to strikeouts, and Gibson has posted excellent Statcast marks over his past two starts. He has some upside and should garner almost no ownership.
- 1. Francisco Lindor (S)
- 2. Oscar Mercado (R)
- 3. Carlos Santana (S)
- 5. Jose Ramirez (S)
- 6. Jakob Bauers (L)
Total Salary: $22,500
The Indians are currently implied for 5.2 runs, which doesn’t exactly jump off the page on today’s slate. That said, they do look like one of the best pure values on DraftKings. Lindor, Santana, Ramirez and Bauers each own a Bargain Rating of at least 82%, headlined by Ramirez’s mark of 96%. Their top stack will set you back just $22,500, which should make them easy to fit with a top pitcher.
They’re taking on Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez, who has been an absolute disaster this season. He’s pitched to a 6.26 ERA and 5.51 FIP, and he’s averaging nearly as many walks as strikeouts per nine innings.
Santana stands out as one of the Indians’ top options. He’s a switch hitter, but he’s historically been at his best when swinging as a left-hander. He’s also swung the bat well over the past 15 days, posting an average distance of 233 feet and hard-hit rate of 41%.
On FanDuel, the top four-man stack belongs to the Atlanta Braves:
- 1. Ronald Acuna (R)
- 2. Dansby Swanson (R)
- 3. Freddie Freeman (L)
- 4. Josh Donaldson (R)
Total Salary: $15,500
The Braves lead the slate with an implied team total of 5.8 runs, which will likely make them a popular target. Each of their top-four batters should command moderate ownership, so keep that in mind with the rest of your lineup selections.
They have big upside today vs. Royals left-hander Danny Duffy. He’s pitched to a 5.19 xFIP this season, and he’s been equally poor at home and on the road.
Some people may shy away from Freeman in a lefty-lefty matchup, but this actually looks like a great spot for him. Duffy has been far worse against left-handed batters than righties this season, allowing them to post a .377 wOBA and average 1.74 HRs per nine innings. Freeman has also been excellent against southpaws at home this season, posting a 145 wRC+.
Garrett Cooper is underpriced today on FanDuel, where his $3,000 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 97%. He’s been a nice value recently, posting an average Plus/Minus of +4.07 over his past 10 games, and the Marlins are currently implied for 5.0 runs vs. Dylan Covey. Cooper’s recent Statcast data is also outstanding, resulting in a 15-day/12-month distance differential of +56 feet.
The Phillies have a difficult matchup today vs. Matt Boyd, who has been one of the best strikeout pitchers in baseball this season. That said, Scott Kingery still deserves some attention at the top of the lineup. He’s crushed left-handers over the past 12 months, posting a .354 wOBA and .232 ISO, and his $4,100 salary on DraftKings comes with a Bargain Rating of 82%.
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: Phillies SP Aaron Nola (27)
Photo credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports