The MLB Breakdown offers data-driven analysis using the FantasyLabs Tools and predictive metrics to highlight notable players.
Happy Father’s Day! Sunday features an 11-game main slate starting at 1:05 p.m. ET and a two-game afternoon slate starting at 4:05 p.m. ET.
Today’s slates are light on stud pitching options. Only two starters possess a salary above $9,000 on FanDuel:
- Trevor Bauer (R) $11,300, CLE @ DET
- James Paxton (L) $9,400, NYY @ CWS
Bauer has gotten off to a rough start in 2019. His 3.71 ERA is significantly higher than his mark from last season, and some of his advanced metrics suggest he’s been even worse. He’s struggled in particular with walks this season, allowing 4.08 walks per nine innings.
That said, his Statcast data from his past two starts suggests he might be turning things around. He’s allowed batters to post an average distance of just 185 feet, which represents a decrease of -22 feet when compared to his 12-month average. Historically, pitchers with comparable distance differentials and salaries have averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.24 on FanDuel (per the Trends tool).
Bauer also has a strong matchup today vs. the Detroit Tigers. Their projected lineup has posted a .301 wOBA and 25.6% strikeout rate against right-handers over the past 12 months, and their implied team total of 3.6 runs is tied for the lowest mark on the slate. Bauer’s K Prediction of 8.1 ranks tied for second on the slate, giving him solid marks across the board. He’s one of the safer pitching options available.
Paxton is more of a wild card. He’s made just three starts since coming off the disabled list on 5/29, and he’s pitched less than five innings in all of them. He was rocked by the Mets in his last outing, allowing six earned runs over just 2.2 innings pitched.
Paxton’s Statcast data from his past two starts is pretty frightening. He’s pitched to an average distance of 232 feet, exit velocity of 93 miles per hour, and hard hit rate of 39%, all three of which represent increases when compared to his 12-month averages.
That said, Paxton does provide significant upside today vs. the Chicago White Sox. He has averaged a K/9 of 12.01 over the past 12 months, and the White Sox’ projected lineup has struck out in 26.9% of at bats vs. southpaws over the same time frame. His resulting K Prediction of 8.4 is the top mark on the slate.
Paxton’s Vegas data is also solid. He owns an opponent implied team total of 3.8 runs and moneyline odds of -218. Historically, pitchers with comparable Vegas marks and K Predictions have been nice investments, averaging a Plus/Minus of +3.93 on FanDuel.
Paxton will likely command less ownership than Bauer, making Paxton an appealing pivot for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs).
Brad Peacock has posted a negative Plus/Minus on DraftKings in each of his past three starts, but there’s a lot to like with him today vs. the Toronto Blue Jays. For starters, he has arguably the best Vegas data on the slate. His 3.6 opponent implied team total is tied for the best on the slate, while his -216 moneyline odds rank second.
The Blue Jays are also one of the best teams to target from a strikeout perspective. Their projected lineup owns a strikeout rate of 26.7% against right-handers over the past 12 months, and they own the fifth highest strikeout rate against right-handers this season. Peacock is a capable strikeout pitcher as well, posting a K/9 of 10.83 over the past 12 months. His resulting K Prediction of 8.1 is tied with Bauer’s for second on the slate.
Overall, Peacock provides a lot of the same qualities as Bauer and Paxton at a pretty sizable discount.
Sonny Gray has found new life this season with the Cincinnati Reds. He’s pitched to a 3.65 ERA, and he’s 3.02 FIP is even better. He’s also increased his K/9 to 9.59, which would represent a new career high.
Gray’s Statcast data from his past two starts is also excellent. He’s limited opposing batters to an average distance of 179 feet, exit velocity of 88 miles per hour, and hard hit rate of 31%, all of which represent decreases when compared to his 12-month averages.
Gray has a difficult matchup today vs. the Texas Rangers, but he still possesses strong Vegas marks: 3.9 opponent implied team total, -170 moneyline odds. He’s one of the best pure values of the day on FanDuel, where his $7,500 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 89%.
Chase Anderson headlines the afternoon slate, and he’s priced at just $6,600 on FanDuel. He has an elite matchup vs. the San Francisco Giants, who have been anemic offensively. Their projected lineup has posted a .230 wOBA and 24.0% strikeout rate against right-handers over the past 12 months, and they rank just 27th in runs per game in 2019. He leads the afternoon slate in both K Prediction (6.4) and opponent implied team total (3.7 runs).
Anibal Sanchez: He has a strong matchup vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks, whose projected lineup has posted a .298 wOBA and 28.8% strikeout rate vs. right-handers over the past 12 months. He owns a 7.2 K Prediction and -165 moneyline odds at just $8,200 on DraftKings.
Chris Archer: The trade that brought Archer to Pittsburgh has been an unmitigated disaster, but he does get to face the Marlins on today’s slate. Right-handers have averaged the third highest Plus/Minus against the Marlins this season, and Archer is still capable of recording a handful of strikeouts.
- 1. Mookie Betts (R)
- 2. Andrew Benintendi (L)
- 3. J.D. Martinez (R)
- 4. Xander Bogaerts (R)
Total Salary: $16,300
The Red Sox have not been the same team offensively this season, but they might be starting to heat up. They’ve averaged 9.0 runs per game over their past three contests and have scored at least seven runs in all three games. They’re currently implied for 5.9 runs, which is the top mark on the slate.
They’re taking on Orioles’ left-hander John Means, who has actually pitched to a 2.60 ERA this season. That said, his 4.96 xFIP suggests he’s been one of the luckiest pitchers in the league. He’s benefited from a low BABIP, high strand rate, and good HR luck, all of which suggests regression moving forward.
Martinez in particular looks like someone who could provide some offensive firepower in this matchup. He’s destroyed left-handed pitchers this season, posting a .496 wOBA and 215 wRC+. Martinez has also made excellent contact over the past 15 days, resulting in an average distance of 245 feet, exit velocity of 95 miles per hour, and hard hit rate of 54%. He’s expensive at $4,300, but he has massive upside.
On the afternoon slate, the top five-man DraftKings stack belongs to the Oakland Athletics:
- 1. Marcus Semien (R)
- 2. Matt Chapman (R)
- 4. Khris Davis (R)
- 5. Mark Canha (R)
- 7. Ramon Laureano (R)
Total Salary: $20,400
The A’s own the top implied team total on the afternoon slate at 5.3 runs, and the above stack is pretty affordable. It averages out to less than $4,100 per player, which leaves a lot of flexibility with the rest of your roster. Overall, their Team Value Rating of 76 on DraftKings is the top mark on the slate by a significant margin.
They’re taking on Mariners right-hander Mike Leake, who is the definition of a mediocre pitcher. He’s pitched to a 4.26 ERA and 5.33 FIP this season while managing a K/9 of just 6.29. He’s also struggled with HRs, allowing 2.03 per nine innings in 2019.
None of the stacked batters has the splits advantage against Leake, but that shouldn’t matter too much: He’s been equally bad against both righties and lefties this season. Chapman and Davis stand out as the best pure values on FanDuel, with each owning a Bargain Rating of at least 94%.
Joey Votto has had a rough start to his season, but he appears to be in a nice spot today. The Reds are currently implied for 5.2 runs vs. Rangers right-hander Ariel Jurado, and Votto has posted a .340 wOBA and .144 ISO against traditional pitchers over the past 12 months. He’s also hit the ball well over the past 15 days, posting a hard hit rate of 50%. This is a nice opportunity to buy low on a perennial All-Star.
The Yankees are another team with an excellent matchup today. They’re implied for 5.8 runs vs. White Sox right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne, who has pitched to a 4.93 ERA throughout his career. Luke Voit has been awesome against right-handers over the past 12 months, posting a .403 wOBA and .268 ISO, and he’s expected to occupy the No. 2 spot in the lineup. Voit is a nice option if you’re looking to pay up at first base.
It’s typically tough to find a catcher who checks all the boxes for DFS, but Pedro Severino fits that description on today’s slate. He’s currently projected to bat third against Red Sox left-hander Brian Johnson, and Severino has posted a .398 wOBA and .286 ISO against southpaws over the past 12 months. Severino has also smoked the ball over the past 15 days, exceeding his 12-month averages in distance, exit velocity, and hard hit rate. Severino isn’t exactly cheap at $4,000 on DraftKings, but he costs significantly less than similar hitting catchers like Gary Sanchez and Robinson Chirinos.
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: Boston Red Sox OF/DH J.D. Martinez (28)
Photo credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports