Today brings a fairly even split slate — six games during the day starting at 12:10 p.m. ET and nine games in the main slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET. We’ll go through the slates separately.
Madison Bumgarner is definitely the darling of the early-slate pitching options, although they’re fairly strong as a whole. Bumgarner has a high 9.3 K Prediction, is pitching at home with a 100 Park Factor Rating, his opponent (Cincinnati) is implied to score only 2.8 runs currently, and he’s a massive -230 moneyline favorite. If you need a cherry on your sundae, umpire Kerwin Danley is behind home plate, who has historically added 1.3 points over expectations to pitchers on FanDuel.
However, Bum’s recent advanced stats are troubling: He has allowed a batted-ball distance of 247 feet and a hard-hit rate of 34 percent in his last two starts. He did score 33 FD points in both games but failed to meet salary-based expectations because, well, he had a high salary. He is not in perfect form, but Vegas seems to think that he’ll get back there today.
Bumgarner perhaps shouldn’t be punished in the early slate for his bad recent advanced stats, because no pitcher in the early slate really has good ones. The other high-priced options — Carlos Carrasco and Stephen Strasburg — both have allowed batted-ball distances of at least 219 feet in their last two starts. Their hard-hit rate numbers are superior to Bumgarner’s, but they’re still not elite by any means.
Carrasco faces the Nationals and will try to fare better than Danny Salazar did yesterday, as he gave up three earned runs in only four innings pitched. The Nationals are implied to score 3.5 runs currently — a mark in Carrasco’s favor — but he’s barely a favorite at -108. He has a solid K Prediction of 7.7, but the Nationals’ high Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA) of .317 brings a lot of risk. He’s definitely more palatable at DraftKings, where he has a $9,200 salary and 74 percent Bargain Rating. On FanDuel, he’s priced at $10,100.
Adam Conley and Brandon McCarthy‘s pricing trends flow in the opposite direction. They’re only $8,600 and $8,000 at FanDuel, as opposed to $9,000 and a whopping $10,800 at DraftKings. Conley is the higher-rated option for both sites in the Bales Model and perhaps is the second-best option even over Carrasco. He has a slate-high 9.6 K Prediction, is a sizable favorite at -174, and his opponent (Philadelphia) is implied to score only 3.5 runs currently. He has a pitcher-friendly park (Park Factor Rating of 89) and a pitcher-friendly ump in Pat Hoberg (Plus/Minus of +1.30).
There have been only five pitchers historically at Conley’s salary or lower on FanDuel who have had a K Prediction of 9.6 or higher. Those pitchers have been ridiculous.
McCarthy is interesting in that his opponent (Tampa Bay) is implied to score only 3.2 runs currently and he actually has really solid recent advanced stats, as highlighted by his 196-foot batted-ball distance allowed.
It seems silly not to have mentioned Strasburg yet, but his opponent (Cleveland) is implied to score 3.6 runs — that’s higher than the total belonging to any of the previously-mentioned pitchers — and he’s currently a +102 dog. He always has strikeout upside — he has a K Prediction of 8.6 currently — but there are definitely superior options for cheaper.
I’ll give a top DraftKings stack for the early slate and then we’ll switch it to FanDuel for the main. According to the Bales Model, the top five-man DK stack currently is a 1-2-3-5-6 Blue Jays stack.
However, the second highest-rated stack belongs to Detroit, and that stack takes only a slight dip in total Bales Model rating and saves you $2,900. The Blue Jays have a higher DK Team Value Rating right now at 93, but perhaps that is overstated when you narrow things down to five batters.
There are three very clear top teams in the early slate — the Blue Jays (implied for 6.3 runs currently), the Tigers (5.1), and the Red Sox (5.4). Those guys are great plays in all formats — Ian Kinsler, Josh Donaldson, Mookie Betts, and David Ortiz each have an Isolated Power (ISO) of at least .200.
If you perhaps want some less-obvious options: Ryan Schimpf continues to crush. He has a .430 wOBA, .410 ISO, and .667 slugging percentage in his small sample versus right-handed pitchers. He also boasts a massive batted-ball distance of 273 feet in his last nine games, which makes his splits — although not believable in the long-term — something to target in the short term. He is near minimum-priced at FanDuel at only $2,200 today.
Speaking of guys near min price: Jarrett Parker is only $3,000 at DraftKings and $2,300 at FanDuel, despite hitting third for a Giants team projected to score 4.3 runs currently. He has great splits against righties, with a .447 wOBA, .277 ISO, and .604 slugging percentage. Further, he has absolutely been crushing the ball lately: He has a scary-high 66 percent hard-hit rate in his last six games.
In terms of strikeout upside, the pitching options in the main slate are much less enticing. However, several of these guys have great recent advanced stats, headlined by Lance McCullers. Tonight he faces the Yankees, who are currently implied to score a slate-low 3.3 runs. In his last two starts, he has allowed a batted-ball exit velocity of 89 miles per hour and distance of 187 feet — both excellent marks. He’s also inducing ground balls at a nearly 15-point higher clip than usual.
Gerrit Cole bounced back nicely in his last start, scoring 36 FanDuel points after missing salary-based expectations in his previous six. He faces the Mariners — implied to score 3.4 runs currently — and is playing at home, which gives him a high Park Factor Rating of 89. His 5.8 K Prediction isn’t anything to brag about — but, again, no pitcher in the slate really boasts that sort of upside. Archie Bradley has an 8.1 K Prediction since he’s facing the Brewers, but he is also implied to allow 4.9 runs. Strikeouts are much more important in the earlier slate.
Jason Hammel is certainly intriguing tonight: He’s facing the White Sox, who are implied to score 3.7 runs, and he’s the biggest favorite in the slate by far at -206. He also has excellent advanced stats: He has allowed an unbelievably low exit velocity of 84 MPH in his last two starts. Not many pitchers historically can boast those same marks:
If his batted-ball distance allowed impresses you, just look at Adam Wainwright’s mark of 158 feet in his last two starts. Wainwright is on the road facing the Mets, who are currently implied to score 3.6 runs. He’s a slight favorite at -122 and has been getting 66 percent of the moneyline bets so far. His year-long stats don’t particular stick out — his 1.271 WHIP and 7.174 SO/9 marks are OK — but his recent form is excellent. If you believe that’s more important, he represents a nice contrarian pivot from McCullers, as he’s $100 more on FanDuel and $800 more on DraftKings.
As promised, here is the top-rated FanDuel stack in the Bales Model for the main slate:
The Rangers boast the top two highest-rated FD stacks, with a 2-3-4-8 stack taking the top spot. This will lead me right into a hitter that has to be discussed . . .
Robinson Chirinos, projected to bat eighth tonight for the Rangers, currently has 15 Pro Trends on DraftKings. Interestingly enough, those players haven’t historically been valuable:
I honestly have no clue why that is. This is definitely a study waiting to be written.
Among projected starters, Dexter Fowler — projected to hit leadoff for the Cubs — is currently the highest-rated player in the FD Bales Model. He’s a no-splits guy and boasts a .377 wOBA, .202 ISO, and .473 slugging percentage. He has a very high recent hard-hit rate of 50 percent as well. The Cubs are currently implied to score a slate-high 5.5 runs and Fowler, only $3,400 on FanDuel, is an elite option in all formats there.
Carlos Gonzalez isn’t hitting at Coors Field tonight, but he still gets the best Park Factor Rating, which belongs to lefties at Camden Yards. CarGo has a .417 wOBA, .287 ISO, and .604 slugging percentage versus right-handed pitchers. Tonight, he gets to face Dylan Bundy and his awful 1.640 WHIP.
Max Kepler, projected to hit fifth for the Twins tonight, faces Michael Foltynewicz, who allows so many home runs. His 2.091 HR/9 rate is second-worst in the slate, behind only White Sox pitcher Anthony Ranaudo‘s mark. Kepler has excellent splits against righties, with a .358 wOBA, .295 ISO, and .541 slugging percentage. Although he has been hitting a lot of ground balls lately (52 percent ground-ball rate), he has at least been hitting them very hard (47 percent hard-hit rate). If he can get those in the air tonight — a likely bet against Faulty Folty — then he is due for a big game.
Good luck tonight!