The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Monday features a six-game slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Today’s slate features four starters with a salary of at least $9,000 on DraftKings:
- Robbie Ray (L) $10,000, ARI vs. PIT
- Jose Berrios (R) $9,400, MIN vs. LAA
- Aaron Nola (R) $9,200, PHI vs. MIL
- Shane Bieber (R) $9,000, CLE @ CWS
None of these options really jump off the page, but each has some merit.
Ray is the most expensive starter on DraftKings, but he’s only the fifth-most expensive option on FanDuel. He always has appeal because of his elite strikeout ability — he’s posted a K/9 of 11.28 over the past 12 months — and he has a great matchup against the Pirates. Their projected lineup has posted a .288 wOBA and 24.7% strikeout rate against southpaws over the past 12 months, and Ray’s K Prediction of 8.7 ranks second on the slate. His -165 moneyline odds also make him the largest favorite on the slate, and pitchers with comparable moneyline odds and K Predictions have historically posted a Plus/Minus of +3.38 on FanDuel (per our Trends tool).
Ray’s Statcast data from his past two starts is also encouraging. He’s allowed opposing batters to post an average distance of 202 feet and a hard-hit rate of 32%, both of which represent sizable decreases when compared to his 12-month averages.
Berrios has gotten off to a fantastic start this season, pitching to a 2.53 ERA through his first eight starts. The result is an average Plus/Minus of +6.06 on DraftKings.
That said, he has a difficult matchup against the Angels. Their projected lineup has posted a .322 wOBA against right-handers over the past 12-months, and Berrios’ resulting opponent implied team total of 4.3 runs is higher than the other stud pitcher’s. The Angels have also struck out in just 18.6% of at bats vs. right-handers over the past 12 months, which gives Berrios less strikeout upside than usual. If you are going to play him, it’s probably best to do it on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 89%.
Aaron Nola got off to a rough start this season, but he’s started to turn things around. He’s allowed just three earned runs over his past three starts while striking out 17 batters over 18.1 innings. He’s averaged 19.62 DraftKings points per start over that span.
Nola is in a bit of a boom-or-bust spot against the Brewers. Their lineup can do damage against right-handed pitchers, but they are also prone to strikeouts. He’s still priced down a bit after his rocky start to the season, which makes this a nice time to buy low on a talented pitcher. His opponent implied team total of 3.7 runs is the lowest mark on the slate.
Last but not least is Bieber, who was a popular breakout candidate heading into the season. He hasn’t disappointed, posting a 3.32 ERA and 9.97 K/9 through his first 43.1 innings.
He has a wonderful matchup against the White Sox, whose projected lineup has struggled to a .301 wOBA and 25.4% strikeout rate vs. right-handers over the past 12 months.
His Statcast data from his past two starts is also excellent, resulting in a 15-day/12-month distance differential of -15 feet and hard hit differential of -11 percentage points. He checks a lot of boxes on today’s slate, and his $9,000 salary on DraftKings comes with a Bargain Rating of 76%.
Brad Peacock is slightly cheaper than the “stud” pitchers but arguably offers more upside than all of them. He’s coming off a gem in his last outing, striking out 12 batters over seven scoreless innings, and has somewhat quietly developed into one of the better strikeout pitchers in baseball. His K/9 of 11.79 is the top mark among Monday’s pitchers.
He has an elite matchup against the Tigers. Their projected lineup has posted a .297 wOBA and 26.1% strikeout rate over the past 12 months, and their implied team total of 3.8 runs is the second lowest mark on the slate. He also has a K Prediction of 9.0, and pitchers with comparable K Predictions and opponent implied team totals have averaged a Plus/Minus of +2.41 on DraftKings.
Tyler Skaggs: Outside of Peacock, the value options on this slate are thin. Skaggs deserves some consideration due to his strong recent Statcast marks. He’s allowed his past two opponents to post an average distance of just 196 feet, which represents a decrease of -19 feet when compared to his 12-month average.
Yusei Kikuchi: He took a no-hitter into the sixth inning in his last start against the Yankees and has allowed just one earned run in each of his past two outings. He has a tough matchup vs. the A’s, but he appears to be a better pitcher than his current salary indicates.
- 1. Jarrod Dyson (L)
- 2. Eduardo Escobar (S)
- 3. David Peralta (L)
- 4. Adam Jones (R)
- 5. Christian Walker (R)
Total salary: $24,800
The Diamondbacks figure to be the most popular team target on this slate. They lead all teams with an implied team total of 5.1 runs, and they also benefit from playing in the friendliest offensive environment. Chase Field is a notorious hitters park, and hitters at Chase also have the best Weather Rating on the slate.
They’re taking on Pirates’ right-hander Nick Kingham, who has struggled through his first 16.2 innings this season. He’s pitched to a 5.94 ERA through his first 16.2 innings, and he’s been roughed up over his past two starts. He’s allowed opposing batters to post an average distance of 253 feet, exit velocity of 94 miles per hour and hard-hit rate of 50%, all of which are among the worst marks on the slate.
Escobar and Jones also enter today’s contest in strong recent form. Both batters have posted a distance of at least 233 feet over the past 15 days, giving each batter a distance differential of at least +22 feet.
This stack will set you back a decent amount on DraftKings, but luckily this is a day where you don’t have to worry about spending a ton of salary at pitcher.
The top FanDuel stacks also belong to the Diamondbacks, so let’s focus on a cheap stack instead. The Indians lead the slate with a Team Value Rating of 81 on FanDuel, which makes them an appealing pivot:
- 1. Francisco Lindor (S)
- 2. Jason Kipnis (L)
- 3. Jose Ramirez (S)
- 5. Carlos Gonzalez (L)
Total salary: $12,100
Their implied team total of 4.8 runs is tied for second on the slate, and each batter will have the splits advantage on White Sox right-hander Reynaldo Lopez. He’s been crushed by destroyed by left-handed batters this season, allowing them to post a .444 wOBA and 2.00 HR/9.
Kipnis in particular stands out as a strong value on FanDuel. He’s priced at $2,500 and is expected to occupy the No. 2 spot in the order. He’s also fared well against right-handers over the past 12 months, posting a .354 wOBA and .196 ISO. He should be on your radar regardless of if you choose to stack the Indians.
Alex Bregman is one of the top batters on DraftKings. His 11 Pro Trends are tied for the most on the slate, and his $4,600 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 86%. He’s on the positive side of his batting splits vs. Tigers left-hander Matt Boyd, and Bregman has posted a .408 wOBA and .269 ISO against southpaws over the past 12 months. He’s also crushed the baseball over his past 14 days, posting a 252-foot average distance, 97 miles per hour exit velocity and 56% hard-hit rate.
Inexpensive leadoff hitters are always appealing for DFS, and Marcus Semien fits that bill on this slate. He’s expected to bat leadoff at $3,900 on DraftKings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 98%, and the matchup against Kikuchi puts him on the positive side of his batting splits.
Tyler White is an interesting buy-low candidate. He’s fared well against left-handers over the past 12 months, posting a .379 wOBA and .202 ISO, and his Statcast data from the past 15 days suggests he’s been unlucky not to post better fantasy results. He’s posted a distance differential of +28 feet and hard hit differential of +17 percentage points, and better results should follow if he continues to make that kind of contact.
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: A’s SS Marcus Semien (10)
Photo credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports