FanDuel Pitching Primer: Monday 4/15/19

Monday's main slate boasts some top-shelf pitchers. Is Trevor Bauer the best of the bunch?

In daily fantasy baseball, success starts with nailing the starting pitcher spot in your lineup.

When compared to hitters, pitching performance tends to be much more predictable and stable throughout the course of the season. You know what you're getting from a top-level ace when you roster him: probably a dominant effort with only one or two implosions per season. In contrast, even the game's best hitters have days at the plate when they go 0-for-4.

As a result, lineup construction should begin with the starting pitcher. Each day we will highlight a starter to consider from each pricing tier, and we'll also look at one contrarian play for tournaments. Who should you consider on today's main slate?

High-Priced Stud

Trevor Bauer, Cleveland Indians

at Seattle Mariners
FanDuel Price: $11,200

There's four priced-up aces to choose from tonight, all garnering salaries greater than $9,000 on the main slate. For me, rostering Clayton Kershaw at his elevated price point of $10,800 just seems too risky in his first start back.

Noah Syndergaard and Aaron Nola face each other and are more than capable of a quality start, but they could find a win tough to come by.

That brings us Cleveland Indians stud Trevor Bauer, the most expensive pitcher on the block, and he could eat. He will have to tame a Seattle Mariners lineup that has smacked around righties in 2019. They've recorded a .353 wOBA in the split (fourth-best) and are capable of doing plenty of damage with a .235 isolated power (ISO).

But they also swing and miss quite a bit, recording a 24.9% strikeout rate, and Bauer's 30.4% strikeout rate has been majestic to begin the year. Our models have him as the clear top play tonight.

Mid-Priced Option

Joey Lucchesi, San Diego Padres

vs Colorado Rockies
FanDuel Price: $8,200

If this game were in Denver, rostering Joey Lucchesi wouldn't be advised. But with a Petco Park date against the Colorado Rockies, the lefty hurler makes for a tantalizing choice.

Among starting pitches on the main slate, Lucchesi sports the fifth-best strikeout rate on the young season (27.4%), but perhaps more importantly, he gets to attack a Rockies offense that yet again is markedly different away from Coors Field.

Venue Average wOBA K% ISO
Home .287 .362 21.0% .215
Road .225 .289 24.1% .144

So it's obvious they aren't as adept away from home, but they've been dreadful in general in 2019. They rank second-worst in wOBA (.250) and carry the sixth-highest in strikeout rate (26.4%).

If you want to be a little different tonight and save some cash, pay down for Lucchesi, the slate's third-ranked pitcher by our models.

Low-Priced Option

Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs

at Miami Marlins
FanDuel Price: $7,200

From a staff ace to a bargain basement play, Yu Darvish of the Chicago Cubs takes the mound against the Miami Marlins, and it could be make-or-break time for the right-hander.

There are plenty of reasons to roster Darvish -- against right-handed pitching, the Marlins are one of the worst offenses in the league, rocking a .263 team wOBA (fifth-worst), 31.3% strikeout rate (worst), and .123 ISO (fourth-worst). Two words: they stink.

The only reason Darvish doesn't cost more is that he's been pretty poor, as well. He's walked more hitters than he has struck out, although a silver lining is that his last start may have been his best of 2019. He did not allow a free pass, striking out four batters over 5 1/3 innings and posting a juicy 15.6% swinging-strike rate.

If Darvish can't get it done here, it could be a long 2019 for him, but he makes for a very intriguing cheap option on Monday.

Contrarian Play

Freddy Peralta, Milwaukee Brewers

vs St. Louis Cardinals
FanDuel Price: $7,800

Look, I get it -- Freddy Peralta 's game logs read like a yo-yo so far.

Start IP ER HA K
3-29 3.0 4 6 3
4-3 8.0 0 2 11
4-9 3.3 7 8 5

Trying to pick out when good Freddy Peralta is going to show up is a chore in and of itself. But there's a few things going for him today, and in a tournament setting, he offers the upside we crave.

The St. Louis Cardinals, Peralta's opponent tonight, are striking out at a 24.9% clip. They also can swing it from time to time, but the Birds are pretty average with a 102 wRC+ mark this year.

With a return to the friendly confines of Miller Park against a team that strikes out a bunch, it's not a bad idea to sprinkle Peralta into a GPP lineup or two.

Matt Kupferle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matt Kupferle also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username MKupferle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.