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Thursday features a split slate. There’s a six-game early slate starting at 1:05 p.m. ET and a four-game main slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Today’s slates are light on stud pitchers. Only two own a salary of at least $9,600 on FanDuel:
- Stephen Strasburg (R) $10,400, WSH @ MIA
- Walker Buehler (R) $9,600, LAD @ COL
Strasburg headlines the main slate, and he should command massive ownership. He hasn’t been particularly effective this season, averaging a Plus/Minus of -0.03 on FanDuel, but he has an elite matchup vs. the Miami Marlins. Their projected lineup has struggled vs. right-handers over the past 12 months, posting a .297 wOBA and 26.4% strikeout rate.
As a result, Strasburg leads the slate in opponent implied team total (3.1 runs), moneyline odds (-204), and K Prediction (8.5). Historically, pitchers with comparable marks in all three categories have averaged a Plus/Minus of +4.73 on FanDuel (per the Trends tool).
Strasburg has also thrived against other teams from the NL East. He’s been particularly dominant when facing them late in a series. My Action Network colleague Evan Abrams had this to say in his breakdown of tonight’s showdown:
In 84 starts in Game 3 of a series or later, Strasburg is an astonishing 15-2 (88.2%) when he starts on the road against a divisional opponent, with the Nationals winning by 2.6 runs per game. Maybe the most impressive part of those 17 starts for Strasburg is the fact that his opponents are averaging a minuscule 2 runs per game, with 13-of-17 opponents scoring 2 runs or less.
He’s hard to avoid on FanDuel at $10,400 given his Bargain Rating of 94%.
Buehler got off to a slow start this season, pitching to a 5.22 ERA over his first 29.1 innings, but he’s been arguably the best pitcher in baseball since the start of June. He’s pitched to a 0.87 ERA and 12.19 K/9 over that time frame and has limited opposing batters to a minuscule .145 wOBA. That has unsurprisingly led to some elite fantasy numbers, as he’s averaged a Plus/Minus of +21.11 on FanDuel over his past four starts.
His Statcast data from his past two starts is also excellent. He’s held opposing batters to an average distance of 196 feet, exit velocity of 90 miles per hour, and hard hit rate of 33%, all of which represent decreases when compared to his 12-month averages.
Unfortunately, he has to take the mound today in Coors Field, which is the worst pitching environment in all of baseball. The Rockies have posted a .371 wOBA and .227 ISO against right-handers when playing at home this season, both of which rank first in the league. The Rockies rank just 25th in general in terms of wRC+ against right-handers, which goes to show just how big an effect Coors has on offense.
Buehler’s resulting opponent implied team total of 4.8 runs is pretty scary. He also owns a K Prediction of just 6.7, which is merely the sixth-highest mark on the slate. That makes him tough to trust in all formats.
Chase Anderson is very affordable across the industry, and he has a lot of factors working in his favor. For starters, he’s one of the largest favorites on the early slate, owning -187 moneyline odds vs. the Seattle Mariners.
Anderson also has big strikeout upside in this matchup. He’s posted a K/9 of 9.58 through his first 51.2 innings this season, and the Mariners’ projected lineup owns a K rate of 33.5% against right-handers over the past 12 months. Anderson’s resulting K Prediction of 7.8 is the top mark on the slate.
He also enters this contest in elite recent form. He’s limited opposing batters to an average distance of 182 feet over his past two starts, which represents a decrease of -33 feet when compared to his 12-month average. Historically, pitchers with comparable moneyline odds, K Predictions, and distance differentials have averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.53 on DraftKings.
Aaron Nola has disappointing this season after finishing third in NL Cy Young voting in 2018. He’s pitched to a 4.55 ERA, but it’s fair to say he’s gotten a bit unlucky. He’s actually striking out a career-high 10.11 batters per nine innings, but batters have managed a .332 batting average and 20.6% HR/FB rate when they’ve actually managed to put the ball in play. If those numbers can regress closer to his marks from last season, he should see improvement in his fantasy output moving forward.
He has a tough matchup today vs. the Mets, but he seems underpriced on FanDuel. He’s seen a price decrease of -$1,600 since the beginning of the season, and his $8.800 price tag on FanDuel comes with a Bargain Rating of 98%. The Mets have been weaker when playing on the road this season, so this could be a nice time to buy low on a talented pitcher.
Brad Peacock: He has some of the best Vegas data of the day, owning a 3.9 opponent implied team total and -199 moneyline odds vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates. That said, he has been hit pretty hard over his past two starts, allowing opposing batters to post an average distance of 251 feet.
Tyler Chatwood: He has a great matchup vs. the Atlanta Braves, whose projected lineup has posted a .269 wOBA against right-handers over the past 12 months. He probably won’t go very deep in this contest, but he doesn’t need to at just $5,500 on FanDuel.
Alex Young: He’s making just his first start at the MLB level, and he profiles as a back-end starter at best. That said, he could have some viability today vs. the San Francisco Giants, whose projected lineup has posted a .260 wOBA and 26.1% strikeout rate against southpaws over the past 12 months.
- 1. Shin-Soo Choo (L)
- 2. Willie Calhoun (L)
- 3. Elvis Andrus (R)
- 4. Nomar Mazara (L)
- 6. Logan Forsythe (R)
Total Salary: $20,800
The Rangers are currently implied for 5.0 runs, which is the fourth-highest mark on the main slate. Their top stack will also set you back just $20,800 — less than $4,200 per player.
They’re taking on Tigers right-hander Spencer Turnbull, who has pitched to a 4.59 xFIP this season. He’s struggled in particular against left-handed batters, allowing them to post a .349 wOBA.
That bodes well for Mazara, who has been far better against right-handers than left-handers over the past 12 months. He’s also smoked the ball over the past 15 days, posting an average distance of 245 feet, exit velocity of 99 miles per hour, and hard hit rate of 74%. All three of those represent increases when compared to his 12-month averages.
On the main slate, the top four-man FanDuel stack belongs to the Los Angeles Dodgers:
- 2. Alex Verdugo (L)
- 3. Justin Turner (R)
- 4. Cody Bellinger (L)
- 6. Chris Taylor (R)
Total Salary: $16,000
The Dodgers are in an absolute smash spot today. They’ve been the best offense in the league against right-handed pitchers, ranking first in wRC+, and now they get to bring that offense into the best hitting environment in baseball. Their current implied team total of 6.9 runs ranks first on today’s slate.
They’re taking on Rockies right-hander Peter Lambert, who has pitched to a 5.85 ERA through his first four major league starts. He’s been awful in his two starts at home, posting a 10.13 ERA, and he’s struggled against both right- and left-handed batters. Virtually every batter for the Dodgers deserves some fantasy consideration.
Taylor is one batter in particular who stands out. He’s hit the ball well over his past 15 days, posting an average distance of 243 feet, exit velocity of 94 miles per hour, and hard hit rate of 54%. He’s also very affordable at just $3,400, and batters with comparable salaries and recent Statcast data have historically posted an average Plus/Minus of +1.62.
Coors Field is going to garner a lot of attention on the main slate, which could result in Mike Trout being a bit overlooked. He’s taking on A’s right-hander Tanner Anderson, who will be making just his fourth start at the MLB level. Trout has crushed right-handers over the past 12 months, posting a .488 wOBA and .358 ISO, and he’s posted a 212 wRC+ when facing a right-hander at home this season.
The Brewers implied team total of 6.1 runs ranks first on the afternoon slate, and Yasmani Grandal is expected to occupy the leadoff spot. Its very rare to find a catcher batting first, and they’ve historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.45 when implied for at least five runs. Grandal also enters this contest in excellent recent form given his 15-day/12-month distance differential of +30 feet.
Bryce Harper remains priced at a discount on DraftKings, where his $4,100 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 99%. He’ll be on the positive side of his splits against Mets right-hander Zach Wheeler, who has struggled to a 4.69 ERA this season.
Good luck, and be sure to check out The Action Network if you’re looking for more in-depth MLB analysis. And if you’re looking to bet on sports legally in New Jersey, check out our how-to guide.
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Pictured above: Dodgers OF Alex Verdugo (27), SS Chris Taylor (3), and OF Cody Bellinger (35)
Photo credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA Today Sports