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

We have a full night of baseball on our hands with DraftKings and FanDuel offering a 14-game main slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.


>> Sign up for The Action Network’s daily newsletter to get the smartest sports conversation delivered to your inbox each day.


Pitchers

Studs

On FanDuel there are two pitchers who cost more than $10,000:

  • Justin Verlander (R) $10,800, HOU @ TEX
  • Jose Berrios (R) $10,400, MIN @ BAL

Verlander checks in as the most expensive pitcher on Friday’s slate. He’s been solid this season, pitching to a 3.21 xFIP despite a few disappointing outings. He struggled in his last outing against the Rangers, making it through just four innings and striking out four batters while allowing four earned runs. But whether they can do that again to him remains to be seen.

The Rangers have been good against right-handed pitchers this season, ranking seventh in Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+), and their projected lineup has a middling 24.7% strikeout rate against righties over the past year. That said, they’re still implied for a meager 3.9 runs, and the Verlander boasts a slate-high 8.0 K Prediction. Historically, pitchers with comparable salaries, K Predictions and Vegas data have averaged a +6.47 FanDuel Plus/Minus with a 66.7% Consistency Rating.

Berrios has been great to begin the year, striking out seven or more batters in three of his four starts. On deck is a projected Orioles lineup that has a 25.1% strikeout rate and weak .280 Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA) against righties over the past 12 months.

Berrios has comparable Vegas data to Verlander as the Orioles are implied for 3.8 runs, and the Twins check in as -186 moneyline favorites, but his 6.6 K Prediction is just behind.

My lean is Verlander over Berrios.

Values

The Marlins are slight underdogs (+104 moneyline) against the Nationals, but Caleb Smith has played well this season, pitching to a 3.47 SIERA. He’s sporting a 7.9 K Prediction against a projected Nationals lineup that has a 25.8% strikeout rate against left-handed pitchers over the past year.

Although the Nationals do rank fourth in wRC+ against lefties this year, they’re implied for a paltry 3.9 runs at the time of writing. He’s an intriguing guy with his high-strikeout ability and his 90% Bargain Rating on FanDuel. At $8,200 on DraftKings, he’s still a solid SP2 candidate.

In the same game, Anibal Sanchez is also in consideration since the projected Marlins lineup has a high 27.5% strikeout rate and mediocre .285 wOBA against righties over the past 12 months. They also rank just 26th in wRC+ against right-handed pitchers this season.

He hasn’t been great with his 5.06 xFIP, but it doesn’t get any better than a matchup against the Marlins. On FanDuel, he’s worthy of a punt since he’s $800 cheaper than Smith and Sanchez’s 7.2 K Prediction isn’t far off from Smith’s. Sanchez leads the slate with a +12.50 Projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel.

Fastballs

Eduardo Rodriguez: He has a 7.5 K Prediction against a projected Rays lineup that has a 26.3% strikeout rate against lefties over the past 12 months. Rodriguez has struggled so far, but he might not be playing as bad as his 7.98 ERA suggests since his xFIP (4.19) is 3.79 runs lower than his ERA.

German-Marquez

Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: German Marquez

German Marquez: He could be an intriguing tournament play since he’ll be home at Coors Field, which historically isn’t great pitchers. However, he boasts a 7.6 K Prediction, and he’s been pretty good at home, averaging a +6.48 FanDuel Plus/Minus with a 68.6% Consistency Rating since last year.

Madison Bumgarner: He’ll take on a Pirates team with the third-lowest implied run total (3.7) on the slate, and he’ll have the benefit of being in a pitcher-friendly environment with a Park Factor of 87. The Pirates have struggled against lefties this season, ranking dead last in wRC+ against them.

Notable Stacks

With our Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS lineups. The top four-man DraftKings stack from the CSURAM88 Player Model belongs to the Houston Astros.

  • 1. George Springer (R)
  • 2. Jose Altuve (R)
  • 3. Alex Bregman (R)
  • 4. Michael Brantley (L)

Total salary: $19,100

Despite Coors Field being on the slate, the Astros’ 5.8 implied run total is the top mark of the day. Their implied run total has already increased by 0.5 runs since the lines first opened. They’ll face off against Drew Smyly, who has been throttled over his past two starts, allowing a 230-foot average batted-ball distance, 100-mph exit velocity (!!) and 68% hard-hit rate.

Bregman has torched lefties over the past 12 months, hitting them to the tune of a .416 wOBA and .256 isolated power (ISO). Altuve is in excellent form, averaging a +4.92 DraftKings Plus/Minus over his past 10 games, and he’s sporting a 223-foot average batted-ball distance, 93-mph exit velocity and 51% hard-hit rate over the past 15 days.
The top FanDuel stack in the CSURAM88 Model belongs to the Colorado Rockies.

  • 1. Charlie Blackmon (L)
  • 2. David Dahl (L)
  • 4. Trevor Story (R)
  • 5. Ryan McMahon (L)

Total salary: $14,900

The Rockies’ 5.5 implied run total is the second-highest total on the slate behind only the Astros. Overall, rostering hitters in the top-five of the batting order has historically resulted in a +2.19 FanDuel Plus/Minus.

Story is in good batted-ball form entering this game, flaunting a 227-foot average batted-ball distance, 97-mph exit velocity and 55% hard-hit rate. Hitters with comparable batted-ball data at Coors Field have historically averaged a +3.73 FanDuel Plus/Minus with a 56.3% Consistency Rating.

Other Batters

Per our Vegas Dashboard, the Twins have one of the highest Team Value Ratings on FanDuel’s main slate. Max Kepler could be cheap exposure to the Twins’ 5.3 implied run total. He’s projected to hit from the leadoff spot, and he’ll be on the positive side of his wOBA and ISO splits. Kepler also has positive 15-day/12-month differentials in exit velocity and hard-hit rate.

Christian Yelich and Mike Moustakas will both be on the positive side of their wOBA and ISO splits against Ross Stripling. Moustakas has a .337 wOBA and an elite .235 ISO against righties over the past year — he could be a decent alternative if you don’t have the extra salary to get to Altuve.

Yelich is just on another level right now with five home runs over his past four games. He’s torched righties over the past 12 months with an absurd .443 wOBA and .313 ISO. With his current streak of home runs, it’s no surprise he has solid batted-ball data, flaunting a 231-foot average batted-ball distance, 97-mph exit velocity and 59% hard-hit rate.

Matt Carpenter and the Cardinals are another team with an implied run total of at least 5.0. Tonight is shaping up to be a slugfest with five teams presently implied for such marks. He leads third basemen in our median projections, and he destroys lefties with his .352 wOBA and .249 ISO despite being on the negative side of his splits.

Carpenter could also be due for some progression with +43 Recent Batted Ball Luck (RBBL). He’s smashed the ball over the past 15 days with a 245-foot averaged batted-ball distance, 95-mph exit velocity and 47% hard-hit rate.

Good luck, and be sure to check out The Action Network if you’re looking for more in-depth MLB analysis.

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.

Pictured above: Justin Verlander
Photo credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports