The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Monday features a 12-game slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Today’s slate is a rough one for stud pitchers. Only three own a salary of at least $10,000 on DraftKings:
- Mike Soroka (R) $10,500, ATL vs. NYM
- Jose Berrios (R) $10,300, MIN vs. BOS
- Luis Castillo (R) $10,000, CIN vs. HOU
Soroka has been fantastic to start the season, pitching to a 1.92 ERA through his first 70.1 innings. That said, some of his advanced metrics suggest he’s due for some regression. Batters have managed a BABIP of just .242 against him, which would be the eighth lowest mark in the league among qualified starting pitchers. Soroka has also allowed just 0.29 HRs per nine innings this season. Add it all up, and he’s had some of the best luck possible when batters put the ball in play against him.
He’s in a tough spot today vs. the New York Mets. Their projected lineup has been solid against right-handers over the past 12 months, posting a .336 wOBA and 22.5% strikeout rate. The low K rate is particularly concerning. Soroka is not a strikeout pitcher – he’s posted a K/9 of just 7.44 over the past 12 months – so he has very little upside in this matchup. His resulting K Prediction of 4.8 is extremely low for a stud pitcher, and pitchers with comparable K Predictions and salaries have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of -2.39 (per the Trends tool). He’s tough to roster in any format.
Berrios has been a solid fantasy asset this season, averaging a Plus/Minus of +2.53 on DraftKings through his first 14 starts. His 3.01 ERA doesn’t jump off the page, but pitching behind the Twins’ juggernaut offense has resulted in an 8-2 record. He’s also been excellent over his past two starts, allowing just two earned runs while striking out 12 over 12.2 innings pitched.
His Statcast data from those starts is also impressive. He’s limited batters to an average distance of just 184 feet, which represents a decrease of -18 feet when compared to his 12-month average.
That said, he’s in a brutal spot today vs. the Boston Red Sox, who are one of the best offensive teams in baseball. Their projected lineup has crushed right-handed pitching over the past 12 months, posting a .346 wOBA and 22.8% strikeout rate. As a result, Berrios owns poor marks in both opponent implied team total (4.7 runs) and K Prediction (5.7). He should garner minimal ownership in this matchup, but there are better options available.
Castillo is the clear top option among the stud pitchers on today’s slate, but he still carries plenty of risk. He’s taking on the Houston Astros, whose lineup has been decimated by injuries this season. They’re expected to be without George Springer, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Correa, but their offense can still do damage against right-handed pitching. Their projected lineup has posted a .324 wOBA against right-handers over the past 12 months, and they’re implied for 3.9 runs.
Castillo’s Statcast data from his past two starts is also concerning. He’s compiled an average distance of 228 feet, which represents an increase of +33 feet when compared to his 12-month average. Historically, pitchers with comparable distance differentials have averaged a Plus/Minus of -1.03 on DraftKings.
Overall, it looks like a great day to pay down at pitcher.
Kenta Maeda owns the top Vegas data on today’s slate. He has an elite matchup vs. the San Francisco Giants, who have been absolutely anemic offensively. Their projected lineup has been dreadful against right-handed pitchers over the past 12 months, posting a .251 wOBA and 23.2% strikeout rate, and they’ve averaged the third fewest runs per game this season. Maeda’s resulting opponent implied team total of 3.3 runs is tied for first on the slate, and his -234 moneyline odds rank first as well.
Miles Mikolas is another pitcher with a great matchup. He’s taking on the Miami Marlins, and right-handers have averaged a Plus/Minus of +2.63 on DraftKings vs. the Marlins this season. Mikolas did struggle vs. the Marlins in his last outing, allowing five runs over five innings, but he should benefit from today’s start being back in St. Louis. He owns some really extreme home/road splits this season, posting a 2.87 ERA at home and 7.76 ERA on the road. He’s an excellent value at just $6,400 on DraftKings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 80%.
Mike Fiers has posted a positive Plus/Minus in each of his past two starts on DraftKings, and he’ll look to make it three in a row today vs. the Baltimore Orioles. It’s a great matchup – the O’s projected lineup has posted a .296 wOBa and 28.7% strikeout rate against right-handers over the past 12 months – and Fiers owns a 3.4 opponent implied team total and -221 moneyline odds.
His batted ball profile from his past two starts is also solid, as he’s outperformed his 12-month marks in average distance, exit velocity, and hard hit rate.
Patrick Corbin: Finding pitchers with strikeout upside on today’s slate is difficult, but Corbin fits that description. He’s posted a K/9 of 10.44 over the past 12 months, and the Phillies’ projected lineup owns a 27.3% strikeout rate vs. southpaws over the same timeframe.
Masahiro Tanaka: He’s another pitcher with some strikeout upside on today’s slate. He’s taking on the Tampa Bay Rays, and he’s averaged 26.23 DraftKings points in two starts vs. Rays this season.
- 1. Tommy La Stella (L)
- 2. Mike Trout (R)
- 4. Justin Upton (R)
- 5. Albert Pujols (R)
- 6. Kole Calhoun (L)
Total Salary: $22,600
The Angels are currently implied for 6.2 runs vs. the Toronto Blue Jays, which is the top mark on today’s slate. They’re also very reasonably priced considering their implied team total, resulting in a Team Value Rating of 85 on DraftKings.
They’re expected to face Edwin Jackson for multiple innings, and he’s been nothing short of a disaster this season. He’s pitched to a 10.22 ERA and 8.01 FIP while allowing an average of 3.28 HRs per nine innings. He’s struggled in particular against right-handed batters, allowing them to post a ridiculous .564 wOBA.
It goes without saying that Trout has insane upside in this matchup. He’s crushed right-handers to the tune of a .482 wOBA and .333 ISO over the past 12 months, and he enters this contest in excellent Statcast form. He’s posted an average distance of 254 feet, exit velocity of 94 miles per hour, and hard hit rate of 53% over the past 15 days, all of which represent increases when compared to his 12-month averages.
Trout is an easy choice to pay up for on a day with no real high-priced pitchers worth targeting.
The Angels will draw the majority of attention in this matchup, but the Blue Jays have some merit as well. They own the top four-man stack on FanDuel:
- 1. Eric Sogard (L)
- 2. Cavan Biggio (L)
- 4. Rowdy Tellez (L)
- 5. Teoscar Hernandez (R)
Total Salary: $10,800
The Jays are currently implied for 4.9 runs, which is a lot considering their minuscule salaries. The above stack costs just $10,800, which works out to an average of $2,700 per player.
Luis Garcia is expected to serve as the Angels’ opener in this contest, and he’s been almost as bad as Jackson this season. He’s pitched to a 7.22 FIP while managing a K/9 of just 6.12. It’s unclear who will follow him out of the bullpen, but the Jays can definitely do some damage vs. Garcia in just an inning or two.
Sogard in particular stands out at the top of the lineup. He’ll have the splits advantage and has posted excellent Statcast data over the past 15 days. He’s averaged a batted ball distance of 244 feet, which represents an increase of +30 feet when compared to his 12-month average. Historically, leadoff hitters with comparable distance differentials and implied team totals have averaged a Plus/Minus of +2.37 on FanDuel.
Ronald Acuna is red hot at the moment, posting an average Plus/Minus of +5.95 over his past 10 games on FanDuel. He’s back in the leadoff spot, which has been tremendous for his fantasy value. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +3.76 on FanDuel where batting in the leadoff spot, and that number drops to -0.54 when he bats anywhere else. He has a nice matchup today vs. Zach Wheeler, who has given up a lot of hard contact over the past 15 days.
Bryce Harper has been priced down to just $4,200 on DraftKings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 99%. He’s on the wrong side of his splits today vs. Corbin, but Harper has actually posted better marks in both wOBA and ISO vs. left-handers over the past 12 months. This is a nice opportunity to buy low on a talented batter.
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: Los Angeles Angels OF Mike Trout (27)
Photo credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports