The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Tuesday features a 14-game main slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Four pitchers on today’s slate are priced at $10,000 or more on FanDuel:
- Justin Verlander (R) $11,500, HOU @ CLE
- Noah Syndergaard (R) $10,600, NYM @ CWS
- Shane Bieber (R) $10,400, CLE vs. HOU
- Charlie Morton (R) $10,000, TB @ BOS
Verlander and Bieber are squaring off in a battle of marquee pitchers in Cleveland. Unfortunately, both players look like risky DFS options on today’s slate.
Let’s start with Verlander. The Indians have been on a roll recently, winning 12 of 17 games since the All-Star break. Their offense has been firing on all cylinders against right-handers over the past 30 days, ranking sixth in wRC+. They’re currently implied for 4.0 runs, which is higher than usual against a pitcher like Verlander. He’s had an opponent implied team total of 4.0 or greater in only three previous starts this season.
His recent Statcast data is also concerning. He’s been hit hard over his past two starts, allowing opposing batters to post an average distance of 227 feet, exit velocity of 96 miles per hour and hard hit rate of 58%. Verlander is usually able to make up for subpar Statcast data with his strikeout ability, but the Indians have posted the lowest strikeout rate in the league against right-handers over the past 30 days. Overall, he’s tough to trust at his current salary.
Bieber carries even more risk against the Astros. Their projected lineup has absolutely destroyed right-handers over the past 12 months, posting a wOBA of .366 and strikeout rate of just 20.5%. They also rank third in wRC+ against right-handers this season. As a result, Bieber owns subpar marks in both opponent implied team total (4.6 runs) and moneyline odds (+118). Historically, pitchers with comparable salaries and Vegas data have posted an average Plus/Minus of -3.75 on FanDuel (per the Trends tool).
Syndergaard is the most appealing stud pitcher given his matchup vs. the Chicago White Sox. They’ve struggled against right-handers this season, ranking just 27th in wRC+, and their projected lineup has posted a 28.9% strikeout rate against right-handers over the past 12 months. Syndergaard isn’t a dominant strikeout pitcher despite the fact that he throws harder than just about everyone in baseball, but he has big upside in this matchup.
Syndergaard has also crushed in three starts since the All-Star break, pitching to a 1.85 FIP and 10.71 K/9. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +7.97 on DraftKings over that time frame.
Morton has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season. He’s pitched to a 2.60 ERA, 2.81 FIP and 11.17 K/9, all of which are the best marks of his career. Pitchers aren’t supposed to have career years at 35 years old, but that’s exactly what Morton is doing.
That said, he’s in a brutal spot today vs. the Boston Red Sox. They’ve been scorching hot over the past 30 days, ranking second in wRC+ against right-handers, and they’ve averaged the most runs per game this season. Morton has had some success against the Red Sox this season – he’s averaged 24.92 DraftKings points over three starts – but this is still an extremely difficult matchup. The Red Sox are currently implied for 5.2 runs, which is extremely high for a pitcher of Morton’s caliber.
Griffin Canning stands out as an elite value option today vs. the Detroit Tigers. They’ve been anemic this season offensively, particularly against right-handed pitchers. They rank dead last in wRC+ against right-handers, and they’ve averaged a Plus/Minus of +4.96 when facing the Tigers this season. Canning currently owns the best Vegas data on the slate, ranking first in both opponent implied team total (3.6 runs) and moneyline odds (-256).
The Tigers have also struck out at the highest rate in the league against right-handers, and Canning has shown the ability to miss bats at the MLB level. He’s pitched to a K/9 of 9.70 this season, and he’s racked up 14 strikeouts over his past 9.2 innings.
Finally, his Statcast data from the past 15 days is also solid. He’s limited opposing batters to an average distance of just 202 feet, which represents a decrease of -22 feet when compared to his 12-month average. Add it all up and comparable pitchers have averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.71 on DraftKings. He’s an elite option in all formats, but expect him to carry substantial ownership.
Yu Darvish is another pitcher with a great matchup today. He’s taking on the St. Louis Cardinals, and their projected lineup has posted a .270 wOBA and 27.3% strikeout rate against right-handers over the past 12 months. Darvish’s opponent implied team total of 4.1 runs is tied for the fourth-lowest mark on the slate, while his 6.9 K Prediction ranks second.
Darvish combines his strong traditional metrics with elite Statcast data from his past two starts. He’s limited opposing batters to an average distance of 196 feet, exit velocity of 85 miles per hour and hard hit rate of 10%, all of which are among the best marks on the slate.
Kyle Freeland: He’s pitching at Coors Field against the Dodgers, which is one of the worst pitching situations possible. That said, he’s just $4,400 on DraftKings, and the Dodgers have been much more mortal against left-handed pitchers this season. He has some punt appeal for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs).
Jake Odorizzi: He owns an opponent implied team total of 3.7 vs. the Miami Marlins, which is the second-lowest mark on the slate. He’s one of the best pure values at the position on FanDuel, where his $7,300 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 98%.
Tanner Roark: He has some of the best recent Statcast on the slate after limiting his past two opponents to an average distance of 183 feet, exit velocity of 82 miles per hour and hard hit rate of 14%. He’s also in a solid spot vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have lost nine straight games.
- 1. Scott Kingery (R)
- 2. Jean Segura (R)
- 3. Bryce Harper (L)
- 4. Rhys Hoskins (R)
- 5. J.T. Realmuto (R)
Total Salary: $21,900
The Phillies will likely be a bit overlooked on today’s slate. None of the stacked batters are projected for greater than 5% ownership, and their implied team total of 5.5 runs is merely tied for sixth on today’s slate. The Phillies also represent a nice value on DraftKings, with four of the stacked batters owning a Bargain Rating of at least 75%.
Still, they have a nice matchup vs. Giants right-hander Tyler Beede. He’s pitched to a 4.85 ERA and 5.24 FIP, despite the fact he gets to pitch his home games at one of the most pitcher-friendly venues in baseball. He’s been much worse when pitching on the road, posting a 5.54 ERA and 5.46 FIP.
Kingery stands out as the projected leadoff hitter. He’s very reasonably priced at $4,400, and leadoff hitters with a comparable salary and implied team total have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +1.21 on DraftKings. He’s also swung the bat well over the past 15 days, exceeding his 12-month averages in distance, exit velocity and hard hit rate.
On FanDuel, the top four-man stack belongs to the New York Yankees:
- 1. D.J. LeMahieu (R)
- 2. Aaron Judge (R)
- 4. Edwin Encarnacion (R)
- 5. Didi Gregorius (L)
Total Salary: $15,900
Unlike the Phillies, the Yankees aren’t sneaking up on anyone today. They’re currently implied for 7.0 runs, which trails only the Dodgers’ mark of 8.1 at Coors Field. They should be one of the highest-owned stacks on the slate.
That said, it’s hard not to love their upside vs. Diamondbacks right-hander Taylor Clarke. He’s pitched to a 6.10 ERA and 6.33 FIP through his first 51.2 big league innings, and batters from both sides of the plate have posted a wOBA of at least .383 against him. Clarke has also surrendered 13 HRs in his limited playing time, resulting in a HR/9 of 2.26. The Yankees rank second in the league in HRs per game, so they can do some serious damage in this matchup.
Encarnacion in particular looks like a good bet to go deep. He’s posted an average distance of 253 feet and fly ball rate of 60% over his past 13 games, both of which rank first on the team.
There are lots of expensive options to pay up for today, so finding inexpensive batters with upside to round out your lineups will be important. Justin Upton is one of those guys on DraftKings. He’s priced at just $3,600, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 99%, and he’s projected to bat cleanup for a team with an implied team total of 6.0 runs. Upton is facing a right-hander in Drew VerHagen, but Upton is the rare right-handed batter who actually fares better against right-handed pitchers. He’s posted a .379 wOBA and .250 ISO against right-handers over the past 12 months.
Omar Narvaez is an excellent value on FanDuel, where his $2,600 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 96%. Rostering a catcher is not required on FanDuel, but he’s still worthy of some consideration given his excellent hitting stats against right-handers. He’s posted a .362 wOBA and .184 ISO over the past 12 months, and he’s also posted a 15-day/12-month distance differential of +20 feet.
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Pictured above: Mets SP Noah Syndergaard (34)
Photo credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports