The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Tuesday features a 14-game slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET. Game 2 of the doubleheader between the Astros and White Sox will not be included on either DraftKings or FanDuel.
Today’s pitching slate looks a lot less impressive after Gerrit Cole and Clayton Kershaw were removed for various reasons. Still, five pitchers are priced above $10,000 on FanDuel:
- Mike Clevinger (R) $10,700, CLE vs. BOS
- Chris Sale (L) $10,500, BOS @ CLE
- Matt Boyd (L) $10,400, DET vs. SEA
- Lance Lynn (R) $10,300, TEX @ TOR
- Zack Wheeler (R) $10,100, NYM @ ATL
Clevinger and Sale are squaring off in a marquee battle in Cleveland. The Indians have been one of the best teams in baseball recently and have taken a half-game lead over the Twins in the AL Central. Meanwhile, the Red Sox are holding on for dear life in the Wild Card race, as they currently sit 8.5 games behind the Rays. Fangraphs gives them just a 3.4% chance of making the playoffs as of today.
That said, the Sox are slight favorites today with Sale on the mound despite being on the road. He’s coming off an absolute gem in his last outing, racking up 13 strikeouts over eight scoreless innings vs. the Angels. He’s still giving up hard contact when batters put the ball in play – he’s posted an average distance of 236 feet and hard hit rate of 53% over his past two starts – but his ability to generate swings and misses has made up for that.
Unfortunately, he has diminished strikeout upside vs. the Indians. They own the second-lowest strikeout rate against left-handers since the All-Star break. He’s a risky option in all formats.
Clevinger is even less appealing. He doesn’t possess the same strikeout upside as Sale, and the Red Sox rank fourth in wRC+ against right-handed pitchers this season. He currently owns an opponent implied team total of 4.1 runs, which ranks merely eighth on today’s slate. That’s not what you’re looking for from the most expensive pitcher.
Boyd has been a boom-or-bust option recently. He’s been dominant from a strikeout perspective over the second half of the season, racking up 46 Ks over just 33.2 inning pitched. That said, he’s also allowed his fair share of runs, resulting in an ERA of 5.08 over that time frame.
Part of the reason for his subpar ERA despite his elite strikeout totals is his batted-ball profile. He’s been hit extremely hard over his past two starts, allowing opposing batters to post an average distance of 248 feet and hard hit rate of 55%. Both represent massive increases when compared to his 12-month averages.
Still, it’s hard not to like him today given his matchup vs. the Seattle Mariners. Their projected lineup has been dreadful against left-handers over the past 12 months, posting a .274 wOBA and 29.8% strikeout rate. Boyd’s opponent implied team total of 4.0 runs doesn’t jump off the page, but he has huge upside in this matchup.
Lynn is the best value among the stud tier on FanDuel, where his $10,300 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 87%. He’s been excellent over his past four starts, averaging a Plus/Minus of +12.33, and his Statcast data from his past two starts is also strong. He’s posted a hard hit rate of just 23%, which represents a decrease of 13% when compared to his 12-month average.
He has nice strikeout upside today vs. the Toronto Blue Jays, whose projected lineup has posted a 29.3% strikeout rate against right-handers over the past 12 months. That said, the Jays can do some damage when they put the ball in play, evidenced by a .337 wOBA over the same time frame. They’re ultimately implied for 4.5 runs on today’s slate, making Lynn more viable for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs) than cash games.
Wheeler rounds out the stud quintet, and he’s the best pure value on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 83%. He also enters this contest with some of the best recent Statcast data on the slate, resulting in a 15-day/12-month distance differential of -31 feet and hard hit differential of -9%.
Still, it’s hard to get too excited about him given his matchup vs. the Atlanta Braves. They’ve been one of the best offensive teams in baseball this season, and their projected lineup has posted a .345 wOBA against right-handers over the past 12 months. As a result, Wheeler’s opponent implied team total of 5.0 runs is easily the highest mark among the stud pitchers.
None of the stud pitchers really jump off the page today, which could make it a good day to spend down at the position. There are also plenty of expensive offenses that are in excellent spots.
Dustin May is a strong value across the industry, and he has an elite matchup vs. the Miami Marlins. Their offense has struggled mightily against right-handers over the past 12 months, posting a .277 wOBA and 30.0% strikeout rate, and their implied team total of 3.5 runs is the lowest mark on the slate. May was excellent in his last outing, limiting the Diamondbacks to one run while recording seven strikeouts over 5.1 innings, and the former top prospect shouldn’t find things much tougher vs. the Marlins.
Jack Flaherty is another pitcher worth considering. He owns a 3.7 opponent implied team total and -238 moneyline odds vs. the Kansas City Royals, which makes him a strong target at $9,000 on DraftKings. Historically, pitchers with comparable salaries and Vegas data have averaged a Plus/Minus of +2.08 on DraftKings (per the Trends tool).
Flaherty has also been one of the better strikeout pitchers in baseball over the past 12 months, which keeps his upside intact despite the Royals’ pedestrian strikeout rate.
Brendan McKay: The Rays’ two-way prospect will take the mound today in a great spot vs. the San Diego Padres. They’re currently implied for just 3.9 runs, and their projected lineup has posted a 30.0% strikeout rate against left-handers over the past 12 months.
Domingo German: He’s the largest favorite on the main slate vs. the Baltimore Orioles, and he’s pitched well in three previous starts against the O’s this season. He’s posted a 2.50 ERA while recording 16 strikeouts over 18 innings pitched. German is a more appealing target on FanDuel at $9,600.
- 1. Dexter Fowler (S)
- 2. Tommy Edman (S)
- 3. Paul Goldschmidt (R)
- 6. Matt Carpenter (L)
- 7. Yadier Molina (R)
Total Salary: $19,300
The Cardinals are currently implied for 5.9 runs, which is the third-highest mark on the main slate. That said, they represent arguably the best value. Their top stack will cost just $19,300 on DraftKings, and their Team Value Rating of 85 ranks second. Goldschmidt in particular stands out as an elite value at $4,400, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 96%.
They’re taking on Royals right-hander Glenn Sparkman, who has been one of the worst pitchers in baseball this season. He’s posted a 5.71 ERA and 5.95 FIP while managing just 5.42 strikeouts per nine innings. The long ball has also burned him, with opposing batters averaging 2.03 HRs per nine innings.
Fowler enters this game in the best recent form among the stacked batters, and he’s priced at just $3,900. Historically, leadoff batters with comparable salaries and implied team totals have averaged a Plus/Minus of +1.75 on DraftKings. He’s an elite target even if you’re not stacking the Cardinals.
The Cardinals also own the top stack on FanDuel, so lets focus on the Yankees instead. They lead the slate with an implied team total of 6.8 runs:
- 1. D.J. LeMahieu (R)
- 2. Aaron Judge (R)
- 3. Giovanny Urshella (R)
- 5. Gleyber Torres (R)
Total Salary: $16,300
The Yankees are taking on the Orioles for the final time this season, and they’ve absolutely dominated the O’s this season. The Bronx Bombers have posted a 15-2 record against the Orioles this season, averaging a ridiculous 8.06 runs per game. They’ve also clubbed 59 HRs, obliterating the previous record for HRs vs. a single opponent.
They’re taking on left-hander John Means today, who has been the lone bright spot for the Orioles pitching staff this season. That said, his advanced metrics suggest he hasn’t been nearly as good as his 3.36 ERA indicates. He’s gotten particularly lucky in terms of both BABIP and HR/FB rate this season, so any regression in those categories could spell trouble.
The Yankees have absolutely obliterated left-handers since the All-Star break, leading all teams with a 172 wRC+. They should be one of the highest-owned teams on the slate, but they deserve to be.
Amed Rosario has started to put things together at the MLB level. He’s posted a 133 wRC+ since the All-Star break, including a 175 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers. He’ll be taking on a southpaw today in Max Fried, and Rosario is expected to bat second in the Mets’ lineup. He’s a nice option at just $2,500 if you need a salary saver.
Bryce Harper is one of the best values on DraftKings, where his $4,500 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 97%. The Phillies are currently implied for 5.0 runs against Cubs left-hander Jose Quintana, and Harper has actually been slightly better against left-handers than right-handers over the past 12 months. He should command lower ownership in a lefty-lefty matchup, which makes this an excellent buy-low opportunity.
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: Yankees OF Aaron Judge (99)
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