The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
FanDuel will have a 15-game all-day slate starting at 1:05 p.m. ET while both DraftKings and FanDuel have a nine-game main slate beginning at the same time.
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On FanDuel, there are five pitchers who cost more than $10,000:
- Stephen Strasburg (R) $11,200, WSH @ LAD
- Noah Syndergaard (R) $10,600, NYM vs. MIA
- Hyun-jin Ryu (L) $10,300, LAD vs. WSH
- Blake Snell (R) $10,300 TB vs. NYY
- Caleb Smith (L) $10,200 MIA @NYM
Strasburg has been dominant this season, sporting a 2.72 xFIP and 33% strikeout rate. That said, I wouldn’ consider him outside of tournaments on Sunday give the matchup against a Dodgers team that ranks second in Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) against righties this season, along with their middling 23.3% strikeout rate and sublime .334 wOBA over the past year against right-handed pitchers. Stras is only available on the all-day slate, so I wouldn’t expect him to carry much ownership in this spot.
Syndergaard owns a 5.14 ERA this season, but his 3.42 xFIP suggests he’s been a bit unlucky thus far. You’d think he could bounce back at some point, and this could be the time against the Marlins. They own a middling 24.5% strikeout rate, but they also have a weak .281 wOBA and rank dead last in wRC+ against righties this season. His 6.8 K Prediction leaves much to be desired for a pitcher of his salary, but the Marlins are implied for just 2.8 runs. Historically, pitchers with comparable salaries against teams with similar opponent implied run totals have averaged a +4.28 Plus/Minus with a 62.9% Consistency Rating, per our Trends tool.
Pitching opposite Strasburg, Ryu is intriguing as he has pitched to a 2.48 xFIP and impressive 26.4% strikeout rate this season. The Dodgers are favored against the Nationals, checking in at -155 moneyline favorites with the Nationals implied for a meager 3.1 runs. However, much like Strasburg, there are concerns with Ryu’s matchup as well. Over the past 12 months, the Nationals’ projected lineup has a low 20.6% strikeout rate and rank third in wRC+ against lefties this season. The Dodgers-Nationals game will make for an intriguing pitching duel, but I’d reserve Stras and Ryu just for tournaments and likely mix-and-match exposure.
If you wanted to forego Syndergaard and try and chase more strikeouts, Blake Snell still has an 8.1 K Prediction despite the Yankees’ projected lineup sporting a 20.8% strikeout rate. Their lack of strikeouts is slightly concerning, but Snell boasts a massive 33.2% strikeout rate this season which should at least give him a decent floor. He currently leads our median projections on FanDuel, along with +9.04 Projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel.
Of these five top-priced pitchers, four of them span across two games with Stras vs. Ryu and Smith vs. Syndergaard. Smith has been a fantasy stud this season, averaging an absurd +15.02 FanDuel Plus/Minus with a 100% Consistency Rating. Smith’s 8.7 K Prediction leads the main slate against a projected Mets lineup with a 26.8% strikeout rate. His strikeout upside is encouraging, but it’s a daunting matchup against a team with a .342 wOBA that also ranks sixth in wRC+.
At the time of writing, there is currently an 80% chance of rain for the Marlins-Mets game, which could potentially take both pitchers out of play.
Note: There are an abundance of games with rain in the forecast so be sure to pay close attention to the weather.
If you’re looking to punt the SP2 spot on DraftKings, Aaron Sanchez has a 76% Bargain Rating and the third-highest Projected Plus/Minus. He hasn’t been great this season with his 5.13 xFIP, but value options aren’t great on Sunday and the White Sox 25.6% strikeout rate is the sixth-highest rate among teams.
The Giants are slight -109 moneyline favorites Madison Bumgarner has a 98% Bargain Rating on FanDuel against the Reds. He’s been decent this season, pitching to a 3.58 xFIP and 21.2% K-BB% this year. He won’t do much for strikeout upside (4.9 K Prediction), but he carries the third-highest floor projection in our models.
Martin Perez: He’s a better value on DraftKings with his 78% Bargain Rating, so he could suffice as an SP2. Perez isn’t a high strikeout guy, but it won’t hurt that the Tigers’ projected lineup has a high 27.6% strikeout rate against lefties over the past 12 months. Overall, Perez has been solid from a fantasy perspective, averaging a +13.58 DraftKings Plus/Minus with a 100% Consistency Rating, and the Tigers are implied for just 3.7 runs while the Twins check in at -199 on the moneyline.
Jon Lester: It should be decent pitching conditions on Sunday for Lester as the wind is currently projected for 11-mph and blowing in from center field. Lester’s 3.51 xFIP is nearly two runs higher than his ERA, suggesting regression could be coming, so I wouldn’t lean on Lester in cash games.
- 1. George Springer (R)
- 2. Josh Reddick (L)
- 3. Alex Bregman (R)
- 4. Michael Brantley (L)
Total salary: $20,200
The Astros are set to face Adrian Sampson, who has slate-high 1.77 HR/9 over the past 12 months, along with abysmal Statcast data over his past two starts, allowing opposing hitters to average a 236-foot average distance, 93-mph exit velocity and 54% hard-hit rate.
Bregman has hit righties well over the past year, hitting them to the tune of a .405 wOBA and .277 ISO. He’s smashing the ball right now, sporting a +36-foot distance differential, +6-mph exit velocity differential, and a hard-hit rate that exceeds his 15-day/12-month average by 15 percentage points.
Brantley’s batted-ball data is just as good, averaging a 245-foot average distance, 96-mph exit velocity and 52% hard-hit rate. Per our Trends tool, hitters with comparable batted-ball data who are featured in the top four of the batting order in games with similar implied run totals have averaged a +1.85 DraftKings Plus/Minus.
One of the top stacks on FanDuel from the CSURAM88 Model belongs to the Minnesota Twins.
- 1. Mitch Garver (R)
- 2. Jorge Polanco (S)
- 3. Nelson Cruz (R)
- 5. Marwin Gonzalez (S)
Total salary: $13,500
The Twins’ 5.4 implied run total on Sunday’s main slate trails only the Astros, which is the same story with their Team Value Rating of 79 on FanDuel in our Vegas Dashboard.
The matchup against the lefty will put Cruz on the positive side of his splits, sporting a .395 wOBA and .289 ISO against lefties over the past year. He’s in a bit of a slump, averaging a -1.40 FanDuel Plus/Minus with a 20% Consistency Rating, but he’s generated a bunch of hard contact over the past two weeks with a 95-mph exit velocity and 46% hard-hit rate.
Gonzalez would also be cheap exposure to the Twins’ high total, so he could allow flexibility in roster construction to get to some of the higher priced pitchers, or other expensive bats. The switch-hitter has hit lefties well over the past year, boasting a .341 wOBA and .201 ISO.
Rhys Hoskins is popping in our models against Jake Junis. He’s throttled righties over the past year, flaunting a .387 wOBA and .301 ISO against them. He also has tremendous Statcast data, boasting a 249-foot average distance, 98-mph exit velocity and 60% hard-hit rate. All of which demolish his 15-day/12-month averages. He’s expensive, but the cleanup man could be worth it in this spot.
Matt Carpenter has a 94% Bargain Rating on DraftKings and leads all hitters in Projected Plus/Minus. The lefty-lefty matchup will put him on the negative side of his splits, but he still has a respectable .364 wOBA and .243 ISO against them over the past 12 months. Carpenter’s +30 Recent Batted Ball Luck (RBBL) also suggests he could be towards progression. It’s a decent spot as opposing pitcher Steven Brault has allowed an abundance of hard contact over his past two starts, evidenced by his 97-mph exit velocity and 63% hard-hit rate.
David Fletcher is one of the top third basemen in our Cash Game Model on FanDuel. He possesses a 94% Bargain Rating and could be a good source of salary relief hitting from the leadoff spot for the Angels. Historically, being the leadoff hitter in a projected high-scoring game (4.8) implied run total has historically been +EV as those hitters have averaged a +1.46 FanDuel Plus/Minus with a 46.4% Consistency Rating.
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: Yuli Gurriel, Josh Reddick, Alex Bregman
Photo credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports