The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Tuesday features a 14-game slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.
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Four pitchers stand out above the rest on DraftKings
- Justin Verlander (R) $12,600, HOU vs. COL
- Patrick Corbin (L) $11,900, ARI @ TEX
- Corey Kluber (R) $11,500, CLE @ CIN
- James Paxton (L) $11,100, SEA @ OAK
Verlander is the priciest option and coming off arguably his worst start of the season. He allowed seven hits and six earned runs to the Seattle Mariners and then got ejected before the start of the third inning.
That said, he looks to be in a prime bounceback spot at home vs. the Rockies. His opponent implied total of 2.8 runs is the top mark on the slate, while his moneyline odds of -217 rank second. He also leads all pitchers with 12 Pro Trends on DraftKings, and pitchers with a comparable number of Pro Trends have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +6.71 and a Consistency Rating of 75.0% (per the Trends tool).
Kluber is the largest favorite of all pitchers at -229, while his opponent implied team total of 3.4 trails only Verlander’s. He also might be the best pure value among the studs at $11,500 on DraftKings: He leads all top pitchers with a Bargain Rating of 29% and has posted a Plus/Minus of +8.75 with a comparable price tag over the past three seasons.
Still, there are concerns with Kluber on the road vs. the Cincinnati Reds. His strikeout production is way down this season (8.55 K/9) after he set a career high of 11.71 in 2017. His K Prediction of 6.8 is mediocre given his salary. He’s also pitching at the Great American Ballpark, which has historically been one of the toughest venues in baseball for opposing pitchers. He has a Park Factor of just 38, and comparably priced pitchers have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of -0.66 when pitching on the road in hitters’ parks.
Paxton’s Vegas data is not in the same category as Kluber’s and Verlander’s — he has an opponent implied total of 3.6 runs and moneyline odds of -123 — but he might offer the most upside for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs). He has posted an elite K/9 of 11.41 over the past 12 months and leads all pitchers with a K Prediction of 8.5. He also enters this contest in excellent recent form, owning a 15-day/12-month distance differential of -13 feet. Historically, pitchers with comparable distance differentials and K Predictions have posted an average Plus/Minus of +3.39 on DraftKings.
Corbin rounds out the stud tier and has struck out at least eight batters in each of his past four starts. He’s in another strong strikeout spot vs. the Texas Rangers, who own the sixth-highest strikeout rate against left-handers in 2018. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much all Corbin has going for him: He has an opponent implied total of 4.3 runs and has underperformed his 12-month averages in distance and exit velocity over his past two starts. The Rangers have also been effective when putting the ball in play against lefties, with their projected lineup averaging a .329 wOBA against southpaws over the past year.
Alex Wood has one of the best matchups of the day vs. the San Francisco Giants. Their projected lineup has really struggled against lefties over the past 12 months, owning a wOBA of .299 and a strikeout rate of 27.4%, and they’re implied for just 3.4 runs. Wood is also a strong -190 favorite and has posted a distance differential of -15 feet over the past 15 days. Historically, pitchers with comparable distance differentials and Vegas data have averaged a Plus/Minus of +2.74. He’s priced at just $8,200 on DraftKings, which makes him viable as either your first or second pitcher.
Jaime Barria is another pitcher with a strong matchup. He’s taking on the San Diego Padres, whose projected lineup has posted a ridiculous 35.3% strikeout rate and .277 wOBA against right-handers over the past 12 months. Barria proved he could have fantasy viability against a bad offense in his last outing, when he posted a Plus/Minus of +11.15 on DraftKings against the Detroit Tigers.
Rounding out the trifecta of crappy offenses is the Miami Marlins, who are taking on Braves right-hander Anibal Sanchez. He’s been effective through his first 86.0 innings in 2018, pitching to a 2.83 ERA and 8.79 K/9. The projected Marlins lineup has a splits-adjusted wOBA of .280 and strikeout rate of 24.6% over the past year, and Miami’s implied total of 3.6 runs is tied for the fourth-lowest mark on the slate. Sanchez has also limited his past two opponents to an average distance of 182 feet, exit velocity of 91 miles per hour and hard-hit rate of 23%, which puts him squarely on the fantasy radar.
Nick Pivetta: He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in each of his past four starts, thanks in part to his elite K/9 of 11.06 in 2018. He has a brutal matchup vs. the Boston Red Sox, who have been the best offensive team in baseball this season, but he has upside and should command minimal ownership.
Jameson Taillon: He’s coming off a complete game at Coors Field and owns an average Plus/Minus of +4.48 on DraftKings over his past 10 starts. His 3.52 FIP in 2018 suggests he’s more talented than his current salary across the industry.
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With the Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS lineups. Today’s top five-man DraftKings stack (per the Bales Model) belongs to the Baltimore Orioles.
- 1. Jonathan Villar (S)
- 2. Tim Beckham (R)
- 3. Adam Jones (R)
- 5. Trey Mancini (R)
- 6. Chris Davis (L)
Total Salary: $18,800
The Orioles are implied for 4.9 runs, which is tied for the fourth-highest mark on the slate, and yet they’re affordable given their implied total, resulting in a Team Value Rating of 73 on DraftKings. They have a strong matchup vs. Mets left-hander Jason Vargas, who has been one of the worst pitchers in baseball this season. He’s pitched to an 8.75 ERA, and his 6.09 FIP suggests his advanced metrics aren’t much better.
The Orioles also enter today’s contest in excellent recent form, with only Jones owning a negative distance differential over the past 15 days. Davis has been a joke for most of the season, but he’s posted a ridiculous hard-hit rate of 63% over his past nine games. He’ll likely have reduced ownership in a lefty-lefty matchup, which could make him a key member of Orioles stacks.
On FanDuel, the top stack when building by projected points belongs to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
- 1. David Peralta (L)
- 2. Paul Goldschmidt (R)
- 3. A.J. Pollock (R)
- 4. Eduardo Escobar (S)
Total Salary: $15,800
The Diamondbacks lead all teams with an implied total of 5.8 runs against Rangers right-hander Yovani Gallardo. The Diamondbacks have been strong against traditional pitchers since the start of July, owning a .331 wOBA, and are playing in one of the most hitter-friendly stadiums at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Gallardo has been awful over the past 12 months, owning a 1.82 HR/9 and a 1.65 WHIP.
The top four batters for the Diamondbacks will likely be chalky, but often DFS players attempt to be too contrarian when stacking. If you want, you can substitute No. 5 hitter Steven Souza for one of the stacked players. Souza enters this contest in outstanding recent form, posting an average distance of 240 feet, exit velocity of 94 miles per hour and hard-hit rate of 48% over his past 10 games. He’s also affordable at just $3,000 on FanDuel, which helps if you’re looking to roster one of the top pitchers as well.
Ronald Acuna has homered in six of his last seven games, including to lead off both legs of the doubleheader yesterday. The Statcast data from his past 15 games is unsurprisingly impressive with a 247-foot distance, 95-mph exit velocity and 52% hard-hit rate. He’s facing Marlins right-hander Trevor Richards, and Acuna has posted a .391 wOBA and .282 ISO against right-handers over the past 12 months.
Kole Calhoun continues to smoke the baseball, owning a distance differential of +49 feet over his past 13 games. He’s expected to occupy the leadoff spot in the lineup against Padres right-hander Brett Kennedy, and Calhoun has posted a .323 wOBA and .217 ISO against right-handers over the past year. He’s projected for just 2-4% ownership on DraftKings but is one of the highest-rated batters in our Models.
Jose Abreu is taking on Tigers left-hander Blaine Hardy, and he’s destroyed southpaws throughout his MLB career. He owns a .415 wOBA and .318 ISO against left-handers over the past 12 months and has also posted a hard-hit rate of 56% over his past eight games.
Good luck, and be sure to check out The Action Network if you’re looking for more in-depth MLB analysis.
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: Chris Davis
Photo credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports