The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Sunday’s slate varies by site: DraftKings has a nine-game main slate while FanDuel has a seven-game main starting at 1:05 p.m. ET.
FanDuel also has a 15-game all-day slate beginning at the same time.
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On FanDuel, there are four pitchers who cost $10,000 or more:
- Gerrit Cole (R) $11,300, HOU @ OAK
- Max Scherzer (R) $11,000, WSH @ CIN
- Lucas Giolito (R) $10,600, CWS vs. CLE
- Matt Boyd (L) $10,500, DET @ ATL
Cole is only on the all-day slate, so you’ll need to play that in order to get exposure to him. He’s been dominant this season, pitching to a 2.27 xFIP with a 32.7% K-BB%, and his 39% strikeout rate leads starting pitchers with at least 50 innings pitched this year.
It’s not the best spot against a projected A’s lineup that has a low 22.5% strikeout rate and .337 wOBA, but Cole’s elite strikeout game still gives him a solid floor to stand on. That said, rostering an expensive pitcher like Cole in a subpar matchup with Coors Field on tap might not be the optimal build for the all-day slate.
Scherzer checks in as the most expensive pitcher on the main slate. Even though the projected Reds lineup has a low 23.3% strikeout rate against righties over the past year, Scherzer’s 8.2 K Prediction is one of the highest marks among pitchers. That’s not surprising for a pitcher who has had a 30% or higher strikeout rate every season since 2015.
A slight concern in this spot is Scherzer has a Park Factor of 38 and Weather Rating 31, and the Reds are implied for 4.1 runs. Granted, pitchers with comparable trends have only averaged a -0.06 FanDuel Plus/Minus, but it’s a negative trend nonetheless, and Scherzer still leads our median projections.
This season, Giolito has averaged an absurd +11.81 FanDuel Plus/Minus with a 70% Consistency Rating. However, I don’t think you can play a pitcher who is this expensive with a 4.5 K Prediction. His -7.39 Projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel is the worst mark of any pitcher. He’s out of cash game consideration for me, but could be used in tournaments as a lower owned option over Scherzer.
Boyd is another top-priced pitcher who has priced himself out of cash-game consideration. The Tigers are +134 underdogs against a Braves team that is implied for 4.7 runs, and his -6.01 Projected Plus/Minus is the second-worst mark behind Giolito.
Julio Teheran carries a top-two Projected Plus/Minus on both DraftKings and Fanduel, and his median projection trails only Scherzer, which makes him an intriguing starting point on both sites. He has the best matchup on the board against a projected Tigers lineup that has a robust 36.7% strikeout rate and .262 wOBA over the past year against righties, along with ranking dead last against them in Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+).
Matthew Strahm: Strahm is intriguing on the all-day slate against the Marlins. Their projected lineup has an abysmal .284 wOBA against left-handed pitchers over the past 12 months, and they rank dead last in team ISO and wRC+ against them this season.
Zach Plesac: For $5,000 on DraftKings and $5,900 on FanDuel, he could be used as a punt option on both sites if you wanted to load up on bats. Although, he probably makes more sense on DraftKings. The projected White Sox lineup has a 25.5% strikeout rate and weak .297 wOBA against righties over the past year. Plesac has a top-five Projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings and FanDuel.
- 1. Freddy Galvis (S)
- 2. Vlad Guerrero Jr. (R)
- 3. Rowdy Tellez (L)
- 6. Cavan Biggio (L)
Total salary: $16,900
Since lines were posted, the Jays’ 5.1 implied run total has increased nearly a full run, going up to 5.8 against Antonio Senzatela. He hasn’t been great this season, pitching to a 4.95 xFIP with a 4.2% K-BB%. Overall, the Jays lead DraftKings’ main slate with their Team Value Rating of 84 in our Vegas Dashboard.
Most of this stack will be on the positive side of their batting splits. Most notable, Vlad Jr. owns a .366 wOBA and a .238 ISO against righties. Tellez has also smashed righties, sporting a .346 wOBA and .250 ISO over the past year. This stack is a solid value on DraftKings as everyone in it has a Bargain Rating of at least 75%.
The top FanDuel stack on the main slate in the CSURAM88 Model belongs to the San Francisco Giants.
- 1. Joe Panik (L)
- 2. Mike Yastrzemski (L)
- 3. Pablo Sandoval (S)
- 4. Brandon Belt (L)
Total salary: $11,500
Without Coors Field on FanDuel’s main slate, the Giants’ 5.1 implied run total leads the entire slate. Consequently, they have a slate-high Team Value Rating of 91.
The matchup against a right-hander for Sandoval is ideal since he’ll be on the positive side of his batting splits. Over the past year, he’s hit righties to the tune of an elite .382 wOBA and .282 ISO.
Belt will also be on the positive side of his splits, possessing a .329 wOBA and .174 ISO. While the marks don’t jump off the page, he’s elite recent Statcast data does: Over the past two weeks, Belt has throttled the baseball, boasting a 250-foot average distance, 97 mph exit velocity and 48% hard-hit rate. Those marks represent a distance differential of +19 feet, exit velocity differential of +4 mph and hard-hit rate differential of +8%.
Adam Wainwright’s owns poor Statcast data over his past two starts, allowing opposing hitters to average a 222-foot average distance and 93 mph exit velocity. This could bode well for Kyle Schwarber, who has elite Statcast data over the past two weeks, sporting a 240-foot average distance, 98 mph exit velocity and 56% hard-hit rate. His +31 Recent Batted Ball Luck (RBBL) also suggests progression could be headed his way.
Schwarber has hit righties well over the past year, hitting them to the tune of a .333 wOBA and .220 ISO.
Speaking of pitchers with poor Statcast data, Jeff Samardzija has allowed opposing hitters to average a 230-foot average distance and 95 mph exit velocity over his past two starts. This could be good news for the Orioles, who have the second-highest implied run total on FanDuel’s main slate.
Dwight Smith Jr. carries a .346 woBA and .238 ISO against righties over the past year, and Renato Nunez has demolished the baseball over the past two weeks, averaging a 247-foot average distance, 96 mph exit velocity and 58% hard-hit rate. Additionally, DJ Stewart‘s +1.66 Projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel is the second-highest mark on the main slate.
Loading up on Orioles can’t possibly go wrong…
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: Kyle Schwarber
Photo credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports