The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Wednesday features a 14-game slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Two pitchers on today’s slate are priced in their own tier on FanDuel:
- Stephen Strasburg (R) $10,500, WSH @ MIN
- Sonny Gray (R) $10,200, CIN @ SEA
Strasburg has put together a strong campaign in 2019. He’s pitched to a 3.50 and 3.20 FIP while striking out 10.80 batters per nine innings. His 5.2 Wins Above Replacement also rank third in the National League.
He’s pitched extremely well over his past two starts from a Statcast perspective. He’s limited opposing batters to an average distance of 171 feet, exit velocity of 88 miles per hour, and hard hit rate of 24%, all of which represent significant decreases when compared to his 12-month averages. Pitchers with comparable recent Statcast marks have historically been strong investments, posting an average Plus/Minus of +2.33 on FanDuel (per the Trends tool).
Unfortunately, Strasburg is in a brutal spot today vs. the Minnesota Twins. Their projected lineup has posted a .351 wOBA against right-handers over the past 12 months, and they rank third in ISO against right-handers this season. They’re currently implied for 4.6 runs, which is extremely high considering Strasburg’s salary.
He still deserves some consideration on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 85%, but he’s better suit for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs) than cash games.
Gray seems like the better choice if you’re looking to spend up at pitcher. He’s revitalized his career this season with the Cincinnati Reds, posting a 2.75 ERA and 3.37 FIP. He’s also posted a K/9 of 10.35, which represents a new career high.
Gray benefits from an elite matchup vs. the Seattle Mariners, who have been dreadful offensively over the second half of the season. They rank just 26th in wRC+ vs. right-handers over that time frame, while their strikeout rate of 27.7% ranks second. They’re currently implied for just 3.6 runs, which is the lowest mark on the slate.
Cole Hamels has been nothing short of a disaster recently. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of -10.10 over his past 10 starts on FanDuel, and he allowed five earned runs over just 3.1 innings in his last start.
That said, a trip to Petco Park to face the Padres could be exactly what the doctor ordered. The Padres projected lineup has been woeful against left-handers over the past 12 months, posting a .281 wOBA and 28.6% strikeout rate. They’re currently implied for 4.0 runs, which is the third-lowest mark on the slate.
Hamels has been drastically worse on the road as a member of the Cubs — he’s pitched to a 5.66 ERA outside of Wrigley this season — but this isn’t your typical road start. Petco Park has been one of the most pitcher-friendly venues in baseball this season, resulting in a Park Factor of 78 for Hamels. He’s a nice value on FanDuel, where his $8,100 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 89%.
Zach Davies stands out as a value at just $6,700 on DraftKings. He doesn’t typically offer much upside due to a low K/9 and average pitch count, but he has one of the best possible matchups vs. the Miami Marlins. Right-handers have averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.74 when facing the Marlins this season, and their projected lineup has posted a .297 wOBA and 28.5% strikeout rate against right-handers over the past 12 months.
The Marlins are currently implied for just 3.7 runs, which is the second-lowest mark on the slate.
Reynaldo Lopez has seen a nice bump in production over the second half of the season. He’s pitched to a 3.38 ERA and 3.27 FIP while increasing his K/9 to 8.86. He’s coming off a gem in his last outing, recording 11 strikeouts while allowing just one run over nine innings.
His Statcast data from his past two starts is also excellent. He’s limited opposing batters to an average distance of just 184 feet, which represents a decrease of -30 feet when compared to his 12-month average. He’s also limited batters to a hard hit rate of just 12%.
He has a solid matchup today vs. the Kansas City Royals. They rank just 23rd in wRC+ vs. right-handers over the second half of the season, and Lopez is a -165 favorite. Lopez is a much stronger value today on FanDuel, where his $8,600 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 91%.
Robbie Ray: No one on today’s slate can match his strikeout upside given his 12-month K/9 of 12.02. He owns a K Prediction of 8.6 vs. the New York Mets, which makes him a strong GPP option.
Chris Paddack: He’s a slight underdog at home vs. the Cubs, but the Cubs projected lineup is not as potent vs. right-handers as you’d expect. They’ve posted merely a .285 wOBA vs. traditional pitchers over the past 12 months.
Steven Matz: He’s been a drastically better pitcher at home this season, pitching to a 2.11 ERA. He’s posted a 1.60 ERA at home since the All-Star break while striking out 31 batters over 33.2 innings.
- 1. Eric Sogard (L)
- 2. Tommy Pham (R)
- 3. Austin Meadows (L)
- 4. Ji-Man Choi (L)
- 5. Travis d’Arnaud (R)
Total Salary: $23,200
The Rays are currently implied for 5.8 runs, which is tied for the fourth-highest mark on the slate. They’re also pretty reasonably priced considering their implied team total. Their Team Value Rating of 79 ranks fifth on DraftKings.
They’re taking on Rangers right-hander Ariel Jurado, who has struggled at the MLB level. He’s pitched to a 5.40 ERA this season after posting a 5.93 ERA in 2018. He’s also the rare starter who pitches worse at home, and his already subpar numbers have declined over the second half of the season.
Jurado has been absolutely rocked over his past two starts. He’s allowed opposing batters to post an average distance of 240 feet, exit velocity of 96 miles per hour, and hard hit rate of 60%. All of those represent significant increases when compared to his 12-month averages. The Rays rank eighth in wRC+ against right-handers this season, so they can do some damage in this matchup.
Choi in particular stands out. He’s posted a .353 wOBA and .186 ISO against right-handers over the past 12 months, and he leads the Rays with 10 Pro Trends on DraftKings. He’s also smoked the ball recently, posting a 15-day/12-month distance differential of +38 feet and hard hit differential of +13 percentage points.
On FanDuel, the top four-man stack belongs to the Chicago White Sox:
- 2. Tim Anderson (R)
- 3. Jose Abreu (R)
- 4. Yoan Moncada (S)
- 5. Eloy Jimenez (R)
Total Salary: $13,000
The White Sox implied team total of 5.7 runs ranks just tied for seventh, but they’re one of the best options on FanDuel. Their top stack costs just $13,000, and their Team Value Rating of 95 ranks first on the slate.
They have huge upside today vs. Royals right-hander Glenn Sparkman. He’s pitched to a 5.97 ERA and 6.06 FIP this season, and opposing batters have averaged 2.07 HRs per nine innings. He’s been even worse on the road, posting an 8.94 ERA.
Anderson represents one of the White Sox best values on FanDuel, where his $3,200 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 94%. He’s also swung the bat well recently, posting a 15-day/12-month distance differential of +20 feet and +11 percentage points.
David Freese has developed into a specialist for the Dodgers, seeing the majority of his at bats vs. left-handed pitchers. He’s expected to occupy the leadoff spot in the lineup today vs. Orioles left-hander John Means, and the Dodgers are currently implied for 5.8 runs. He owns 10 Pro Trends on FanDuel, where his $2,700 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 99%.
The Rockies are facing a right-hander at home today, which automatically puts Charlie Blackmon on the DFS radar. He’s priced very fairly at $5,100 on DraftKings, and Blackmon has historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +2.43 on DraftKings when facing a right-hander at home. The Rockies implied team total of 6.0 runs also ranks tied for third on the slate.
Jordan Luplow is a nice potential source of savings on today’s slate. He’s taking on Angels left-hander Dillon Peters, and Luplow has quietly become one of the best hitters in the league against left-handed pitching. He’s posted a .439 wOBA and .363 ISO against southpaws over the past 12 months, and he went yard against a left-hander in yesterday’s contest. He owns 12 Pro Trends on DraftKings, which is tied for the most on the slate.
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our industry-leading DFS-focused news blurbs.
Pictured above: White Sox SS Tim Anderson (7)
Photo Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA Today Sports