The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Tuesday features a 13-game main slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Four pitchers on today’s slate own a salary of at least $10,000 on FanDuel:
- Stephen Strasburg (R) $11,300, WSH @ MIL
- Jose Berrios (R) $10,700, MIN @ TOR
- Noah Syndergaard (R), $10,400, NYM @ SD
- Caleb Smith (L) $10,000, MIA @ CHC
Interesting enough, all four will be on the road.
The top Vegas data among this quartet belongs to Syndergaard, who has a strong matchup against the Padres. His opponent implied team total of 3.2 runs ranks second on the slate, and he’s also a solid -141 favorite. Historically, pitchers with comparable marks in both categories have averaged a Plus/Minus of +2.13 on FanDuel (per our Trends tool).
Syndergaard is coming off an absolute gem in his last outing, pitching a complete game shutout with 10 strikeouts against the Reds. He’s limited has past two opponents to an average exit velocity of 85 miles per hour and hard-hit rate of 24%, both of which are among the top marks on the slate.
Strasburg is the most expensive pitcher on the slate, and he arguably possesses the most upside. He’s taking on the Brewers, whose projected lineup has struck out in a whopping 32.1% of at bats vs. right-handers over the past 12 months. Strasburg is an elite strikeout pitcher — he’s posted a K/9 of 11.21 over the same time frame — so he should be able to rack up a bunch of swing and misses in this outing. His K Prediction of 9.6 is the top mark on the slate by a comfortable margin.
He combines his elite strikeout ability with strong Statcast marks from his past two starts. He’s limited opposing batters to an average distance of 193 feet, which represents a decrease of -11 feet when compared to his 12-month average. Historically, pitchers with comparable K Predictions and distance differentials have averaged a Plus/Minus of +6.23 on FanDuel.
His opponent implied team total of 4.1 runs is higher than you’d like from an elite pitcher, but he checks every other box on the slate.
Smith is the least accomplished of today’s stud pitchers, but he’s been extremely impressive to begin the season. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +15.07 on FanDuel through his first six starts thanks to a 2.00 ERA and 11.25 K/9.
He’s in an intriguing spot against the Cubs. The current forecast at Wrigley calls for a 12-mile per hour wind blowing in directly from center field, which has historically been a good thing for run prevention. The total on this game sits at a paltry 6.5 runs, and Smith’s K Prediction of 7.1 ranks fourth on the slate. He’s a very appealing option for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs).
Berrios rounds out the group of stud pitchers, and he’s the hardest to make a case for. He doesn’t offer as much strikeout upside as Strasburg, his Vegas data is worse than Syndergaard’s, and he doesn’t benefit from the weather conditions like Smith. He’s also been hit pretty hard over his past two starts, resulting in a 15-day/12-month distance differential of +20 feet.
Jon Lester will be opposing Smith in Chicago, which means he’ll get to benefit from the same weather conditions. Unlike Smith, he also gets to benefit from facing the putrid Marlins’ lineup. They’ve posted a .278 wOBA and 26.3% strikeout rate against southpaws over the past 12 months, and their implied team total of 2.9 runs is the lowest mark on today’s slate.
Lester also enters today’s contest in good recent form, outperforming his 12-month marks in average distance, exit velocity and hard-hit rate over the past 15 days.
The one big knock on him is his lack of strikeout upside. His K Prediction of 5.3 is extremely pedestrian, ranking just tied for 12th among today’s starters. That could make him a fade candidate on DraftKings, but his Bargain Rating of 74% makes him tough to pass up on FanDuel. He will likely be the highest-owned pitcher on the slate.
Colin McHugh benefits from pitching for one of the best offenses in baseball, but don’t sleep on his ability on the mound. He was roughed up for nine earned runs in one outing, but he’s allowed four or fewer earned runs in every other start this season. He’s also a solid strikeout pitcher, posting a K/9 of 10.60 over the past 12 months.
He’s also in a great spot against Royals. His K Prediction of 7.4 ranks second on the slate, while his moneyline odds of -237 rank first. Historically, pitchers with comparable marks in both categories have posted a Plus/Minus of +3.02 on DraftKings. He fits in nicely as either an SP1 or SP2 on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 71%.
Cal Quantrill: He’s made just one start at the MLB level, but has an elite matchup against the Mets at just $5,700 on DraftKings. They were shutout by Chris Paddack yesterday and have averaged just 2.14 runs over their past seven games.
Max Fried: He’s pitched to a 2.11 ERA through his first 38.1 innings this season but has a difficult matchup against the Dodgers. That should result in minimal ownership, but his K Prediction of 7.0 suggests he has upside.
Hyun-jin Ryu: He’s opposing Fried in Los Angeles, and his opponent implied team total of 3.5 is the third-lowest mark on the slate. He’s also limited his past two opponents to an average distance of 193 feet, which represents a decrease of 7 feet when compared to his 12-month average.
- 1. Marcus Semien (R)
- 2. Ramon Laureano (R)
- 4. Khris Davis (R)
- 5. Stephen Piscotty (R)
- 7. Jurickson Profar (S)
Total salary: $18,900
The A’s don’t exactly jump off the page. They’re only implied for 4.5 runs against Reds’ right-hander Tyler Mahle, who has pitched to a respectable 3.75 FIP this season.
That said, the above A’s stack looks like an excellent value on DraftKings. Four of the stacked batters own a Bargain Rating of at least 90%, and the entire stack costs just $18,900. That could be very important if you’re looking to roster two of the stud pitchers on today’s slate.
The A’s also collectively enter this game in good recent form. Only Laureano has failed to outperform his 12-month average distance by at least +10 feet over the past 15 days, while only Piscotty has failed to outperform his 12-month hard-hit rate. This stack should also command minimal ownership, increasing its appeal for GPPs.
The top rated stack on FanDuel is a little more traditional, featuring the top four hitters for the Boston Red Sox:
- 1. Andrew Benintendi (L)
- 2. Mookie Betts (R)
- 3. J.D. Martinez (R)
- 4. Mitch Moreland (L)
Total salary: $16,000
Saving salary space on FanDuel isn’t as important as it is on DraftKings. You only need to roster one pitcher instead of two, and it’s easier to find appealing batters priced near the minimum.
With that in mind, it looks like a good day to splurge on the Red Sox. Their implied team total of 5.9 runs is tied for the highest mark on the slate. They’re taking on Orioles right-hander David Hess, who has pitched to a 5.34 ERA and 6.01 FIP this season.
Jeimer Candelario stands out as a strong value option across the industry. He’s priced at $2,800 on FanDuel and $3,600 on DraftKings, despite the fact that he’ll occupy the leadoff spot for the Tigers. He’s made elite contact over his past 10 games, with his average distance of 249 feet representing an increase of +44 feet when compared to his 12-month average. Leadoff hitters with comparable distance increases have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +1.96 on DraftKings.
I’m going to keep targeting Joey Votto on DraftKings, where he remains one of the best pure values on the slate. He’s priced at $3,500, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 98%, and he’s going to occupy the leadoff spot in the lineup vs. A’s right-hander Mike Fiers. Votto will be on the positive side of his batting splits, and Fiers has allowed left-handed batters to post a .411 wOBA this season.
Coors Field could fly a bit under the radar tonight. The Rockies have a tough matchup vs. Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner, but the Rockies have absolutely destroyed left-handed pitching at home since the beginning of last season. Trevor Story in particular posted a .527 wOBA and 222 wRC+ vs. southpaws at Coors Field last season, giving him one of the highest ceiling projections on today’s slate.
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: Nationals SP Stephen Strasburg (37)
Photo credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports