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

Today’s slates differ by site. DraftKings features a three-game early slate at 1:05 p.m. ET and a 10-game main slate at 7:05 p.m. ET. FanDuel features a two-game early slate at 1:05 p.m. ET, a three-game mid-day slate at 4:05 p.m. ET and a 10-game main slate at 7:05 p.m. ET.

Pitchers

Studs

Two pitchers stand out above the rest today on FanDuel:

  • Clayton Kershaw (L) $10,800, LAD vs. MIA
  • Luis Castillo (R) $10,500, CIN vs. STL

Kershaw is not the pitcher he was in his prime, but he’s still been effective this season. He owns a 3.00 ERA and 3.62 FIP, despite the fact that his K/9 has decreased to a career-low 8.40.

He has a few factors working in his favor on today’s slate. For starters, he has an elite matchup vs. the Miami Marlins. They’ve averaged the fewest runs per game this season, and they rank just 28th in wRC+ against left-handed pitchers. Their projected lineup has also posted a 30.9% strikeout rate against southpaws over the past 12 months, which is the worst splits-adjusted mark on the slate.

Kershaw also benefits from getting to pitch in Los Angeles. He’s historically dominated at home, averaging a Plus/Minus of +7.76 on FanDuel, and he’s pitched to a 2.52 ERA at home this season.

Add it all up, and Kershaw has the best Vegas data of the day: 3.0 opponent implied team total, -319 moneyline odds. Pitchers with comparable marks in both categories have historically been strong investments, averaging a Plus/Minus of +4.11 on FanDuel (per the Trends tool).

Castillo doesn’t offer the same safety as Kershaw, but he does appear to offer more upside. He’s been a superior strikeout pitcher this season, posting a 10.77 K/9, and he’s in a favorable strikeout spot vs. the St. Louis Cardinals. Their projected lineup has posted a 29.7% strikeout rate against right-handers over the past 12 months, giving Castillo a strong K Prediction of 8.7.

The Cardinals have also had their issues with right-handers even when they’ve put the ball in play. They rank just 22nd in wRC+ against right-handers this season, and their projected lineup has struggled to a .281 wOBA against right-handers over the past 12 months.

Castillo is also the better pure value among the stud pitchers on FanDuel, where his $10,500 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 79%.

Values

Jose Quintana is one of the best values of the day on DraftKings, where his $7,300 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 96%. And his salary isn’t the only thing he has going for him. He’s in an excellent spot vs. the San Diego Padres, whose projected lineup has struggled to a .303 wOBA and 29.5% strikeout rate against left-handers over the past 12 months. There’s currently no Vegas data available for this matchup, but expect him to have one of the lower implied team totals on the early slate.

Quintana’s batted ball profile from his most recent start is also excellent. He’s limited opposing batters to an average distance of 203 feet, exit velocity of 85 mph and hard hit rate of 21%, all of which represent decreases when compared to his 12-month averages.

Lucas Giolito has been fantastic this season, pitching to a 3.15 FIP and 10.61 K/9. He provides a nice combination of strikeout upside and recent Statcast data vs. the Tampa Bay Rays. He owns a K Prediction of 6.6, and he’s posted a 15-day/12-month distance differential of -13 feet. Historically, pitchers with comparable marks have a Plus/Minus of +1.86 on FanDuel.

Giolito is also one of the best values of the day on FanDuel with his Bargain Rating of 96%.

Joey Lucchesi is another excellent value on FanDuel, where his $7,400 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 98%. He’s an underdog vs. the Chicago Cubs, but he might possess the most strikeout upside among all of today’s starters. The Cubs’ projected lineup has posted a strikeout rate of 29.5% over the past 12 months, and Lucchesi has averaged a K/9 of 9.46 over the same time frame. His K Prediction of 9.8 ranks first on the slate.

Fastballs

Zack Greinke: He’s been an excellent fantasy asset this season, pitching to a Plus/Minus of +3.03 on DraftKings. He should command lower ownership than usual in a difficult matchup vs. the Brewers, but they’ve posted the sixth-highest strikeout rate against right-handers in 2019. He has some appeal for GPPs.

Rick Porcello: He has an appealing matchup vs. the Baltimore Orioles, and the Red Sox’ implied team total of 6.9 runs makes him one of the largest favorites of the day. He’s also averaged 109 pitches over his past two starts, which is the best mark among today’s pitchers.

Masahiro Tanaka: He’s a -251 favorite in an excellent spot vs. the Colorado Rockies. They’ve struggled offensively when playing away from Coors Field, ranking dead last in wRC+ against right-handed pitchers.

Notable Stacks

With the Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS lineups. On the early slate, the top five-man DraftKings stack per the Bales Model belongs to the New York Yankees:

  • 1. D.J. LeMahieu (R)
  • 2. Aaron Judge (R)
  • 3. Gary Sanchez (R)
  • 4. Edwin Encarnacion (R)
  • 5. Aaron Hicks (S)

Total Salary: $24,700

The Yankees have been an offensive juggernaut this season. They lead the league in runs per game, and they rank first on the early slate with an implied team total of 7.2 runs. The top of their lineup is going to be extremely chalky on a three-game slate, so keep that in mind when filling out your roster. You’re going to want to differentiate somewhere with some contrarian plays.

They’re taking on Rockies right-hander Antonio Senzatela, who has pitched to a 5.79 ERA and 5.43 FIP this season. That number is obviously inflated by pitching roughly half his games at Coors Field, but he’s still pitched to a 5.63 FIP when on the road. The Yankees rank second in wRC+ against right-handed pitchers, so they can do a lot of damage in this matchup.

Senzatela has been at his worst against left-handed batters this season, and Hicks is the only member of the stack who will have the splits advantage against him. But even Hicks has posted a .383 wOBA and .240 ISO against right-handers over the past 12 months, and his Statcast data from the past 15 days is excellent. Hicks is also expected to bat fifth in the lineup, so his ownership should be more modest.

On the main slate, the top four-man FanDuel stack belongs to the Atlanta Braves:

  • 1. Ronald Acuna (R)
  • 3. Freddie Freeman (L)
  • 4. Josh Donaldson (R)
  • 6. Ozzie Albies (S)

Total Salary: $14,700

The Braves are currently implied for 5.6 runs, which is the fourth-highest mark on the slate. They’re taking on Nationals right-hander Anibal Sanchez, who has pitched to a 5.09 xFIP this season.

Donaldson stands out as an elite value on FanDuel, where his $3,500 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 84%. He’s also hit the ball well over the past 15 days, posting an average distance of 235 feet, exit velocity of 96 mph and hard hit rate of 52%. All three represent increases when compared to his 12-month averages.

Other Batters

The Royals are implied for only 4.9 runs on today’s slate, so they don’t figure to be a popular target. But Whit Merrifield still deserves consideration as their projected leadoff hitter. He’s made excellent contact over the past 15 days, exceeding his 12-month averages in distance, exit velocity and hard hit rate. The weather conditions in Cleveland also figure to be excellent for hitting: The Weather Rating is 84. That ranks first on the main slate.

Bryce Harper continues to be underpriced on DraftKings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 96%. He’ll be on the positive side of his batting splits against Pirates right-hander Joe Musgrove, who has struggled against left-handed batters this season. Harper has quietly crushed against right-handers since the beginning of June, posting an OPS of .911.

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

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: Yankees OF Aaron Hicks (31)
Photo credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports