The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Tuesday features a 15-game slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Three pitchers on today’s slate own a salary of at least $10,400 on FanDuel:
Verlander has gotten off to a fantastic start this season. He’s pitched to a 2.41 ERA while striking out 11.18 batters per nine innings. That said, he does appear to be headed for some regression moving forward. Batters have posted a .171 BABIP against him this season, which is clearly unsustainable. To put that in perspective, no other qualified starter has a mark below .224, and Verlander posted a .272 BABIP last season.
His batted ball profile from his past two starts is also concerning. He’s allowed opposing batters to post an average distance of 245 feet, which represents an increase of +27 feet when compared to his 12-month average. Historically, pitchers with comparable distance increases have averaged a Plus/Minus of -1.75 on FanDuel (per the Trends tool).
He’s in a difficult spot today vs. the Cincinnati Reds. Their projected lineup has posted a .312 wOBA vs. right-handers over the past 12 months, and they’re currently implied for 3.7 runs. This is only the third time all season that Verlander has had an opponent implied team total above 3.6. He’ll also have to face them in Cincinnati, which has historically been one of the most hitter-friendly parks in baseball.
Verlander still possesses plenty of strikeout upside – his K Prediction of 8.6 ranks first on the slate – but he carries more risk than usual.
Kershaw is not that same pitcher that he was in his prime, but he’s still very capable at 31 years old. He doesn’t pile up strikeouts anymore – he owns a K/9 of just 8.38 this season – but he’s still posted a 3.13 ERA through his first 11 starts.
He’s been particularly effective from a Statcast perspective over his past two outings. He’s limited opposing batters to an average distance of 188 feet, exit velocity of 88 miles per hour, and hard hit rate of 17%, all of which represent decreases when compared to his 12-month averages.
He has one of the best matchups possible today vs. the San Francisco Giants. Their projected lineup has been dreadful against left-handers over the past 12 months, posting a .261 wOBA and 22.2% strikeout rate. Kershaw’s resulting Vegas data is the best on the slate: 2.9 opponent implied team total, -236 moneyline odds. Historically, pitchers with comparable marks in both categories have averaged a Plus/Minus of +5.76 on FanDuel.
He doesn’t possess the most upside given his low K Prediction, but he’s one of the safer investments on the slate for cash games.
deGrom got off to a rough start this season but has turned things around recently. He’s posted an ERA of 2.70 over his past nine starts, and he’s allowed two earned runs or fewer in eight of them.
Unfortunately, he’s not getting much respect today from the Vegas bookmakers. He owns an opponent implied team total of 4.4 runs vs. the Atlanta Braves, which puts him well behind the other stud pitchers in that department. The Braves projected lineup has also posted a strikeout rate of just 21.1% against right-handers over the past 12 months, giving him less upside than usual.
Still, it’s hard to ignore the idea of buying low on deGrom for guaranteed prize pools. His salary has decreased by -$1,100 since the beginning of the season on FanDuel, and he’s currently projected for just 2-4% ownership.
Cole Hamels has been phenomenal recently, allowing zero earned runs while striking out 23 batters over his past three starts. One of those starts came in Coors Field, which makes his pitching performance even more impressive.
Unsurprisingly, his Statcast data from his past two starts is strong. He’s posted an average distance of 189 feet, exit velocity of 88 miles per hour, and hard hit rate of 26%, all three of which represent decreases when compared to his 12-month averages.
Hamels is in a wonderful spot today vs. the Chicago White Sox. Their projected lineup has posted a .269 wOBA and 31.0% strikeout rate against southpaws over the past 12 months. As a result, Hamels owns elite marks across the board: 3.4 opponent implied team total, -230 moneyline odds, 7.8 K Prediction.
Finally, he’s one of the best pure values on FanDuel, where his $8,600 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 98%. He has a legit claim for the top pitcher spot on the slate.
Brandon Woodruff checks a lot of boxes. He has a great matchup vs. the San Diego Padres, resulting in an opponent implied team total of 3.3 runs and moneyline odds of -162. Woodruff has also displayed a bunch of strikeout upside over the past 12 months, posting a 11.18 K/9, and his K Prediction of 7.5 ranks fourth on the slate.
His Statcast data from his past two starts is also fantastic. He’s allowed opposing batters to post an average distance of 187 feet, exit velocity of 88 miles per hour, and hard hit rate of 27%, all of which represent significant decreases when compared to a 12-month average.
Woodruff also benefits from getting to pitch in San Diego. Petco Park has historically been a pitcher-friendly venue, giving Woodruff a Park Factor of 82.
Jack Flaherty: He has one of the best matchups of the day vs. the Miami Marlins, who are implied for just 3.2 runs. That said, Flaherty’s Statcast data from his past two starts is concerning, resulting in a 15-day/12-month distance differential of +33 feet.
Brett Anderson: He’s priced at just $6,200 on DraftKings and is one of the strongest cheap options on the slate. He owns a 3.7 opponent implied team total and -212 moneyline odds vs. the Baltimore Orioles, and pitchers with comparable Vegas data and salaries have averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.87.
- 1. Marcus Semien (R)
- 2. Matt Chapman (R)
- 3. Matt Olson (L)
- 4. Khris Davis (R)
- 5. Stephen Piscotty (R)
Total Salary: $21,000
The A’s are currently implied for 5.4 runs, which is the third highest mark on today’s slate. They also represent one of the best pure values on DraftKings given their Team Value Rating of 78. Davis and Chapman stand out as the best values, with each owning a Bargain Rating of 96%.
They’re taking on Orioles right-hander Gabriel Ynoa, who has been extremely mediocre this season. He’s pitched to a 5.02 ERA and 5.35 FIP while allowing 1.91 HRs per nine innings. He’s also allowed an average distance of 235 feet over his past two starts, which represents an increase of +21 feet when compared to his 12-month average.
Semien stands out as the projected leadoff hitter. He’s posted a 15-day/12-month distance differential of +20 feet, and leadoff batters with comparable distance differentials and implied team totals have historically posted an average Plus/Minus of +1.41.
The A’s own the top four-man stack on FanDuel as well, so lets focus on the Indians instead:
- 1. Francisco Lindor (S)
- 2. Oscar Mercado (R)
- 3. Carlos Santana (S)
- 5. Jose Ramirez (S)
Total Salary: $13,800
The Indians implied team total of 5.5 runs ranks first on the slate, and they benefit from their matchup vs. the Rangers in Arlington. That game features some of the best hitting conditions on the slate, resulting in a Weather Rating of 82.
They’re taking on right-hander Adrian Sampson, who has pitched to a 4.99 xFIP this season. The stacked batters for the Indians also enter today’s contest in great recent form, with each outperforming their 12-month marks in distance, exit velocity, and hard hit rate over the past 15 days.
The Diamondbacks will likely be another popular team target on today’s slate. Their implied team total of 5.5 is tied with Indians for tops on the slate. Ketel Marte in particular deserves some attention. He’s crushed the baseball over his past 15 days, posting an average distance of 243 feet, exit velocity of 96 miles per hour, and hard hit rate of 55%. All of those represent significant increases when compared to his 12-month averages, and his $3,900 salary on FanDuel comes with a Bargain Rating of 92%.
Matt Carpenter had one of the easiest doubles you’ll ever see yesterday:
Matt Carpenter with a bunt double that was fielded by the pitcher.
A sentence we definitely don't type often.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) June 18, 2019
He also added in a homerun, resulting in 26.0 DraftKings points. He remains very reasonably priced at $3,800 on DraftKings and is expected to occupy the leadoff spot for the Cardinals. He’ll also be on the positive side of his batting splits vs. Jordan Yamamoto, and Carpenter has posted a .384 wOBA and .267 ISO vs. right-handers over the past 12 months.
Ryan Braun has been one of the unluckiest batters in baseball over the past 15 days. He’s smoked the baseball, posting an average distance of 237 feet, exit velocity of 97 miles per hour, and hard hit rate of 55%, but it’s resulted in an average Plus/Minus of -0.63 on DraftKings. He’ll be on the positive side of his batting splits today vs. Padres left-hander Logan Allen, making him an intriguing buy-low option for GPPs.
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: Chicago Cubs SP Cole Hamels (35)
Photo credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports