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

Sunday features a split slate. There’s an 11-game main slate starting at 1:05 p.m. ET and a three-game afternoon slate starting at 4:07 p.m. ET.

Pitchers

Studs

Four pitchers on today’s slates are priced above $10,000 on FanDuel:

  • Shane Bieber (R) $11,400, CLE vs. KC
  • Aaron Nola (R) $10,700, PHI @ MIA
  • Trevor Bauer (R) $10,400, CIN @ PIT
  • Stephen Strasburg (R) $10,100, WSH @ CHC

Bieber has been excellent over his past 10 starts, posting an average Plus/Minus of +9.36 on FanDuel. He’s been phenomenal following the All-Star break in particular, decreasing his ERA to 2.89 while allowing fewer walks and home runs per nine innings.

He also remains one of the better strikeout pitchers in baseball given his K/9 of 11.07.

Bieber is in an excellent spot against the Royals, whose projected lineup has struggled against right-handers over the past 12 months, posting a .303 wOBA and 26.7% strikeout rate, and their implied team total of 3.2 runs is the lowest of the day. Bieber is also a massive -306 favorite, and pitchers with comparable Vegas data have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +5.00 on FanDuel (per our Trends tool).

The only real concern with Bieber is his recent Statcast data. He’s allowed opposing batters to average a batted-ball distance of 235 feet over his past two starts, which represents an increase of 25 feet when compared to his 12-month average. The result is a Recent Batted Ball Luck score of -91, which suggests he’s been incredibly lucky over his past outings.

shane bieber

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Shane Bieber

Bieber is still in a great spot, but there is some risk for cash games.

Nola looks like a superior option. He also has an elite matchup, resulting in an opponent implied team total of 3.3 runs vs. the Miami Marlins. He’s not as large of a favorite as Bieber — Nola owns moneyline odds of -195 — but he makes up for it with increased strikeout upside. The Marlins’ projected lineup has posted a strikeout rate of 30.6% against right-handers over the past 12 months, giving Nola a K Prediction of 8.9. That’s the second-highest mark on the slate.

The Marlins’ combination of a high strikeout rate and the lowest ISO in the league has made them a dream matchup for right-handed pitchers. They’ve averaged a Plus/Minus of +4.85 on FanDuel when facing the Marlins, which is the second-highest mark this season.

Bauer has been up-and-down as a member of the Reds, but he’s coming off an excellent start in his last outing. He recorded 11 strikeouts over seven innings, resulting in 52.0 FanDuel points.

Unfortunately, he has one of the tougher matchups on the slate. The Pirates’ offense has been futile against left-handers this season, but they’ve done some damage against right-handers. Their projected lineup combines a .348 wOBA with a 20.0% strikeout rate against right-handers over the past 12 months, which is a brutal combination for DFS. Bauer’s Statcast data from his past two starts is also subpar, resulting in a 15-day/12-month distance differential of +22 feet. This is a situation to avoid.

Strasburg is the best pure value among the stud tier on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 91%. He’s a slight -121 favorite vs. the Cubs, who rank just 17th in wRC+ against right-handers since the All-Star break. They’ve also struck out at the 10th-highest rate over that time frame, so this is a better matchup than it seems on paper. He could be an interesting pivot for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs) since he’ll likely command reduced ownership.

Values

Robbie Ray is expected to return after a brief stint on the Injured List, and he’s always an appealing option because of his strikeout upside. He has more upside than usual today vs. the Brewers, whose projected lineup has posted a 27.3% strikeout rate against left-handers over the past 12 months. They’ve also struck out at the 10th-highest rate against left-handers since the All-Star break, giving Ray a slate-best K Prediction of 9.4. Historically, pitchers with comparable K Predictions have averaged a Plus/Minus of +2.82 on DraftKings.

Photo credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Robbie Ray

Of course, the Brewers can do some damage when they put the ball in play, and Ray’s opponent implied team total of 4.9 runs is concerning. With that in mind, he’s a much stronger option in GPPs than in cash games.

Martin Perez has been a much-improved pitcher in 2019. He’s still far from a stud — he owns a 4.60 ERA and 7.51 K/9 — but those marks are significantly better than his marks from last season.

He has some appeal given his matchup vs. the Tigers, who have been dreadful offensively all season, and their projected lineup has posted an abysmal .230 wOBA against southpaws over the past 12 months. They’ve also posted the fourth-highest strikeout rate against left-handers this season, so this matchup is about as good as it gets from a DFS perspective.

Perez also benefits from getting to pitch for the Twins, who have been an offensive juggernaut this season. There’s currently no line posted for this game, but expect Perez to be favored by a comfortable margin.

Fastballs

Michael Wacha: He’s dirt-cheap at $5,700 on DraftKings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 86%, and he has a wonderful matchup vs. the Colorado Rockies. Their offense has been dreadful against right-handers on the road this season, ranking just 29th in wRC+.

Reynaldo Lopez: He owns a solid matchup vs. the Texas Rangers, who have posted the second-worst wRC+ against right-handers over the second half of the season. Lopez has also shown some improvement over the second half, pitching to a 3.10 ERA and 8.39 K/9, which makes him a sneaky option on today’s slate.

Joey Lucchesi: No one really stands out on the afternoon slate, but Lucchesi seems like the best option. He owns the highest K Prediction and second-lowest opponent implied team total, albeit in a difficult matchup vs. the Red Sox.

Notable Stacks

With the Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS lineups. On the main slate, the top four-man FanDuel stack per the Bales Model belongs to the Houston Astros:

  • 3. Michael Brantley (L)
  • 4. Alex Bregman (R)
  • 5. Yordan Alvarez (L)
  • 6. Yuli Gurriel (R)

Total Salary: $15,400

The Astros are currently implied for 6.4 runs, which is the top mark on the main slate. Their Team Value Rating of 89 also ranks second on FanDuel, and each of the stacked batters owns a Bargain Rating of at least 61%. Alvarez in particular stands out as an elite value given his Bargain Rating of 94%.

They’re in a potential smash spot today vs. Angels’ right-hander Jaime Barria. He’s pitched to a 6.35 ERA and 5.67 FIP this season, and he’s allowed opposing batters to average 2.38 HRs per nine innings. The Astros rank second in wRC+ against right-handers over the second half of the season, and that number jumps to first when playing at home. They have massive upside in this matchup.

Gurriel has the best recent Statcast data on the team, which could make him an important differentiator for Astros’ stacks. He’s posted an average distance of 236 feet over the past 15 days, which represents an increase of 24 feet when compared to his 12-month average.

On the afternoon slate, the top five-man DraftKings stack belongs to the San Diego Padres:

  • 1. Manuel Margot (R)
  • 2. Francisco Mejia (S)
  • 3. Manny Machado (R)
  • 4. Hunter Renfroe (R)
  • 5. Eric Hosmer (L)

Total Salary: $21,100

The Padres’ implied team total of 4.7 runs ranks third on the afternoon slate, which means their ownership should be reasonable for a three-game slate.

They’re in an appealing spot vs. Red Sox left-hander Brian Johnson, who has posted a 6.58 ERA and 5.49 FIP this season. He’s been even worse when pitching away from Fenway Park, posting a 7.98 ERA while allowing opposing batters to post a .468 wOBA. The Padres have been solid offensively against left-handers this year, ranking ninth in wRC+.

MLB-DFS

USA Today Sports. Pictured: Manny Machado

Machado has struggled recently, posting an average Plus/Minus of -2.82 over his past 10 games on DraftKings, but there are reasons for optimism with him today. For starters, he’s absolutely crushed left-handers this season, posting a 178 wRC+. He’s also made solid contact over the past 15 days, outperforming his 12-month marks in average distance and exit velocity.

His Recent Batted Ball Luck score of +67 suggests he’s been significantly unlucky, so some positive regression could be heading his way.

Other Batters

The Phillies implied team total of 4.8 runs doesn’t jump off the page today, but they still stand out as a strong stack option.

Three batters own at least 11 Pro Trends on DraftKings, and all three play for the Phillies. J.T. Realmuto leads the group with 12 Pro Trends, and he’s smoked the ball over the past 15 days. He’s posted an average distance of 240 feet and hard hit rate of 58%, both of which represent sizable increases when compared to his 12-month averages. He’s the clear class of the catcher position on the main slate.

The Rays are another interesting team to target — their implied team total of 5.8 runs ranks third on the slate — and Eric Sogard stands out as one of their best options. He’s projected to bat leadoff at just $2,900 on FanDuel, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 94%. He’ll be on the positive side of his batting splits against Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy, and he’s also posted a 15-day/12-month distance differential of +17 feet.

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: Astros DH Yordan Alvarez (44)
Photo credit:Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports