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

Tuesday brings us to a slightly shortened 12-game main slate with first pitch at 7:05 p.m. ET.

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The favorite on the Bales Model tonight is the highest-priced pitcher: Gerrit Cole. Cole left his latest start with tightness in his hamstring. He was struggling to get outs against the Toronto Blue Jays anyway.

Tonight he faces the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles are 24th in runs per game, even playing in a ballpark that favors hitters. This is as good a start as any for Cole to have a vintage performance.

The New York Yankees could really use that vintage-ness, as they have been floundering of late. Barring everything is alright with Cole’s hamstring, he should pitch deep into this ballgame as Aaron Boone has a depleted and untrustworthy bullpen.

Cole faced the O’s just once before this season, way back on April 6th. He went seven innings of no-run ball, with 13 strikeouts. He was on a roll before his start against the Blue Jays — he feels pretty safe for me tonight.

The next best option after Cole is Marcus Stroman. Stroman has done a really nice job for the New York Mets this year. He has only allowed more than three earned runs once since May 17th. He is not an elite strikeout pitcher but has his best K/BB (3.7) ratio since his rookie year in 2014.

Stroman is in a similar situation to Cole — the Mets could really use him tonight. They are in an even more perilous situation in regards to making the playoffs as the Yankees.

Stroman gets to see the St. Louis Cardinals, who have just never morphed into an offense to be afraid of this season. They are 26th in runs per game at 4.13. In one start against them this year, he went five innings, giving up two earned runs, with six strikeouts.

The Cardinals have the third-lowest implied run total on the slate at 3.6 and Stroman hits for six ProTrends.

A cheaper option to consider would be Tony Gonsolin of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Gonsolin will always be a cheaper option in DFS, as he struggles to last long into ball games. He has completed five innings just twice this season.

He has shown the ability to strikeout batters, with 45 strikeouts in 38 2/3 innings. That comes with a difficult to swallow 28 walks.

Gonsolin gets the excellent match-up against the Arizona Diamondbacks this evening. They are 25th in runs per game.

The Dodgers are allowed to utilize Gonsolin the way they want because they have such strong and efficient starting pitching elsewhere. The bullpen will be rested when coming into Gonsolin’s starts — so there is no reason to leave him out there to possibly get tagged. I would utilize Gonsolin in a GPP only, and maybe he gets to complete five innings tonight in an easy matchup and record a win.

I am not sure I would go to the Lucas Giolito well tonight. His price point is too high for the list of unknowns that he currently has.

This will be Giolito’s return after a short-IL stint, which is a bit of a cause for concern. In August, he did have some strong performances but also had three separate starts where he went less than five innings. One of those was his latest start, in which he left injured, but he was at 86 pitches through 4 1/3 innings anyway.

For how elite Gilito was last year, he just has not felt like the same pitcher to me all season. He has allowed 25 home runs on the season, which is tied for ninth-worst among qualifying starters.

Facing the Los Angeles Angels, the bottom of their lineup should not prove too tricky for Giolito, but we know that the top of the lineup can do some damage. We have the wind projected to be blowing out to dead center in this one.

For the price point, there is better safety elsewhere for tonight.

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Notable Stack

The top stack of the night belongs to the Yankees:

  • 1. D.J. LeMahieu (R)
  • 3. Giancarlo Stanton (R)
  • 5. Joey Gallo (L)
  • 2. Aaron Judge (R)

This group is projected for 53.2 FanDuel points on a salary of $14,700. This makes sense, as the Yankees head to Camden Yards. They will be facing left-hander Alexander Wells and the Yankees have been mashing left-handers all season long. They have the seventh-best wOBA against lefties on the year. They have the highest implied run total on the slate at 6.3 runs. In Camden Yards this year, the Yankees have 36 runs in seven games.

Other Hitters

Odubel Herrera is the biggest bargain on the Bales Model today. He is a mainstay on top of the Philadelphia Phillies lineup and gets to face Adrian Sampson. He just had a six-game hitting streak snapped on Sunday and was on a tear in August, hitting .341 with a 1.043 OPS. The Phillies have a strong implied run total at 5.7, and it feels like a game that Herrera could find himself on-base multiple times. Sampson has pitched decently in the big leagues but allows a lot of contact.

The Lineup Optimizer likes Michael Brantley tonight. He has become a really cheap hitter on a strong Houston Astros offense. That is because he cannot do much more than hit singles, it seems. He has 35 hits between August and September and three were doubles and one was a home run. That is going to limit his upside, but he is also going to have a good chance at recording a run or RBI. He has only struck out once so far in September. We all know that Jordan Lyles is going to give up some runs.

Lane Thomas is a bit of a no-namer, but has been a completely different hitter since being acquired by the Washington Nationals. He was hitting .104 with the Cardinals in more or less pinch-hitting duty. His average is up to .231 (hit .304 in August), with an OPS of .729 now on the season. He is getting regular at-bats at the top of the Nats’ lineup. He gets left-handed Jesus Luzardo tonight – and he has hit .439 with a 1.225 OPS against lefties on the year (41 at-bat sample size). He is just too cheap, with all of those things going for him.

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.