The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Wednesday’s main slate features nine games starting at 7:05 pm ET. We’ll be using Bales Player Model to highlight some of the top options to consider. The PHI/WAS and MIA/NYM games were postponed due to inclement weather. As a result, Aaron Nola, Paolo Espino, Zach Thompson, and Carlos Carrasco will not be in the pitching pool.
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The four pitchers projected to score the most fantasy points today in our Player Models are:
- Max Scherzer (R)
- Gerrit Cole (R)
- Carlos Rodon (L)
- Kevin Gausman (R)
There’s very little difference between the top three pitchers on this slate. All boast high strikeout rates, low WHIP numbers and are projected for similar DraftKings points and Ceiling Projections in the Bales Model.
Max Scherzer is the highest priced at $10,900, an increase of $1800 from his last start, and he faces a Braves team that is sixth in strikeouts and 19th in ISO against right-handed pitching. In the first game of the season, he faced Atlanta and allowed four earned runs while striking out nine in six innings, but that was with Ronald Acuna in the lineup.
Scherzer has an impressive 15.8% swinging-strike rate and is coming off a 38.85 DraftKings performance against the Padres. On the season, he’s gone over 20 DraftKings points in 18 of 24 starts with a high of 42.7. He’s struck out at least 10 batters in five starts. Additionally, the Braves have the second-lowest run total (3.1) on our Vegas Dashboard, and Scherzer has the second-highest Consistency Rating of 77% in our Player Models.
Gerrit Cole has a 2.71 FIP and a 14.6% swinging-strike rate on the season, along with a 58% Consistency Rating as he’s gone for less than 20 DraftkKngs points in nine of 24 starts. However, the ceiling is massive with eight games above 30 DraftKings points and a high of 50.25. In his last three games, he’s gone for 30.7, 25.9, and 30.95 Draftkings points.
The Angels are 13th in strikeouts and 18th in ISO against right-handed pitching. Cole just faced them three starts ago and allowed one earned run while striking out nine in 5.2 innings, good for 30.95 DraftKings points. What’s even more appealing for Cole is that he’s priced at $9,900, which translates to a slate-best 89% Bargain Rating in our Player Models. This is the first time Cole has been below $10,000 all season. It happened three times last year, and he averaged a +14.63 Plus/Minus with a 100% Consistency Rating, per the FantasyLabs Trends tool.
The ownership was predictably high at 48.3%. I’m curious to see what that number will be today since there are plenty of good options.
Carlos Rodon was a man possessed to open the season, as he went for at least 24 DraftKings points in seven of his first eight starts with two games above 30 and a high of 47.65. Since then, he’s scored fewer than 20 DraftKings points in seven of the last 13 starts. That said, he’s scored over 30 DraftKings points in three of those games and his Ceiling Projection is on par with Scherzer and Cole.
Rodon has a 2.7 FIP and 15.3% swinging-strike rate and has done a fantastic job of keeping the ball in the yard as he’s allowed only 12 home runs in 114.2 innings pitched. He faces a Pirates team that doesn’t strike out much but is dead last in ISO against left-handed pitching.
Kevin Gausman slightly lags the strikeout prowess of the other three pitchers, but he still sports a more than respectable 14.6% swinging-strike rate and 10.42 K/9. The Player Model shows a 76% Consistency Rating on the year, but, over the last month, that number is down to 60%. Much of his success came from late April to early July. Over his last eight starts, he’s exceeded 20 Draftkings points only once with a -5.45 on the resume in a game against the lowly Pirates.
The trend doesn’t look to be our friend, but the Brewers are 12th in strikeouts against right-handed pitching, and Gausman’s price has dropped $1,000 to $8,700, translating to the second-highest Bargain Rating of 77% in our Player Models.
Father, please forgive me for I may be about to sin. Matt Harvey, he of the 6.33 SO/9, 1.43 WHIP, and 1.43 HR/9, has a 71% Bargain Rating as he’s priced at $5,600.
He faces a Toronto team that is loaded with power bats. That said, they have been scuffling as of late. Over the last 14 days, the team slash is .232/.305/.380 with a .148 ISO. In three starts against the Blue Jay this season, Harvey has gone for -3.75, 6.55, and 3.15 DraftkKngs points. Right after that stretch, though, he went for 18.5, 24.9, and 24.65 DraftKings points against the Tigers, Nationals, and Royals.
This play is not for the faint of heart, but the Blue Jays stack is the highest-projected one and will likely be heavily owned. Harvey has a 68% Leverage Rating and, as the saying goes; you gotta risk it to get the biscuit.
With the Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS rosters.
Today’s top projected points stack is the Toronto Blue Jays. A five-player stack will cost 26.8K on DraftKings with a projection of 47.7 points:
- Vladimir Guerrero Jr (R)
- Marcus Semien (R)
- Bo Bichette (R)
- George Springer (R)
- Teoscar Hernandez (R)
The Blue Jays are projected to score a slate-high 6.2 runs. As mentioned in the value pitching section, Harvey is bad, but he does have three games with over 20 DraftKings points this season, one of those against the Yankees. Additionally, the Blue Jays offense has been scuffling, but this could be a get-right spot for them. To Blue Jays or not? That is the question.
Luis Robert will likely bat leadoff for the White Sox, who have an implied total of 5.7 runs. He is one of the top-rated batters in the Bales Model and is priced at $4,400. Robert has six home runs and five stolen bases in 180 plate appearances this season. The slash is .335/.378/.539 with a .204 ISO. The strikeout rate is a palatable 23.3% but the BABIP is .417, so expect regression in the batting average at some point.
That said, he gets a fantastic matchup today. Max Kranick has the lowest Points/Salary in our Player Models and has issues with right-handed bats. The K/9 is 7.2 compared to 9 against lefties and he’s allowed 1.8 HR/9 to righties. The FIP is 5.66 while it’s 2.66 against lefties. Now, the sample size is only 20 MLB innings, but the FIP has been relatively high while the K/9 has been low for much of his minor league career.
Mark Canha also bats leadoff and will get to face the Tigers pitching on the road. While the slash isn’t great at .233/.360/.394, the ISO is .161, and he has 13 home runs, 75 runs, and 12 stolen bases on the season.
Wily Peralta gets the nod for the Tiger, and he’s struggled against right-handed batters. The K/9 is a paltry 4.83 while the HR/9 is 1.42 and the FIP is 5.75. Once he’s out of the game, the Tigers bullpen has the sixth-highest FIP in MLB.
Byron Buxton has missed significant time this season and has only played five games since returning to action. He’s gone 2-for-20 with a run scored. Prior to succumbing to injury, though, he posted 10 home runs and five stolen bases with a .328/.369/.672 slash and .344 ISO.
He could get right today as Justin Steele (L) is susceptible. Steele boasts a robust 11.08 K/9 but much of that success is against lefties. Against right-handed bats, the K/9 goes down to 9.17 and the HR/9 is at 2.55 with a 5.99 FIP. Once he’s out of the game, the Cubs bullpen has allowed the eighth-highest FIP in baseball. Buxton bats leadoff, has multiple paths to scoring fantasy goodies, and the Twins are projected for 5.2 runs.
Rob Refsnyder is far from sexy as he has a career .085 ISO and is posting a .104 mark this year. That said, he has been better against left-handed pitching this season: .310/.396/.429 with a .119 ISO compared to .234/.286/.328 slash with a .094 ISO. The walk rate is 5% higher, while the strikeout rate is 7% lower. I went over why Cubs pitching could be susceptible today, but the main allures of Refsnyer are that he’s priced at $2,300 and will likely be batting third in the lineup for a Twins team that is projected for 5.2 runs.
Pictured above: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Credit: Mark Blinch/Getty Images
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