FanDuel Pitching Primer: Tuesday 4/30/19

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 Option

Trevor Bauer, Cleveland Indians

at Miami Marlins
FanDuel Price: $11,400

Ooh, mama. I love full slates, and this is the juiciest of the pitching slates. There's a whopping five pitchers above $10,000 tonight, so let's dive into the mega-aces tonight and comb through the best of the best.

There's no way to avoid Blake Snell tonight, who clocks in as the second-highest arm at $11,200. Snell has been a friggin' stud this year, and he checks in on the main slate with the highest strikeout rate of the bunch at 38.5%. The problem with rostering the southpaw is two-fold: he's coming off an injury and faces a Kansas City Royals team that ranks 19th in strikeout rate (22.6%) as a team (oh, and there's weather concerns).

For $10,300, it's probably best to avoid Gerrit Cole versus the Minnesota Twins. He faces the league's best offense in terms of wOBA, and they strike out at the third-lowest (19.5%) rate in 2019.

Zack Greinke ($10,300) and Luis Castillo ($10,000) both make for fine options, but with Trevor Bauer facing a poor Miami Marlins team, that appears to be our best bet. Bauer's racked up a 28.3% strikeout rate, and as a heavy favorite (-210), the Marlins' implied team total of 2.95 runs is pretty darn tasty. The Marlins rank eighth in strikeout rate (25.0%), so the upside seems bountiful for Bauer tonight.

Mid-Priced Option

Chris Paddack, San Diego Padres

at Atlanta Braves
FanDuel Price: $8,600

This slate is about as bananas as it gets for quality arms. There are six more pitchers priced between $8,000 and $10,000, so there's lots of ways to rack up points at the pitcher spot on FanDuel.

In that mid-priced tier, the best bet seems to be Chris Paddack of the San Diego Padres. The rookie righty has burst onto the scene with a 30.3% strikeout rate, which is third-best on tonight's slate.

Paddack's opponent, the Atlanta Braves, does come with some risk. It's a potent offense that doesn't strike out a ton (22.0%), but Paddack packs his own punch and is pitching in a pretty balanced ballpark, as SunTrust Park is not much of a hitter's venue nor is it a pitcher's paradise. Him and his Padres are slight favorites at -108 on the moneyline.

Low-Priced Option

Rick Porcello, Boston Red Sox

vs Oakland Athletics
FanDuel Price: $6,700

There's some obvious outliers when you peer into Rick Porcello's slow start for the Boston Red Sox so far in 2019. The numbers, no doubt, are ugly -- a 7.43 ERA spanning five starts and 23 innings pitched, and a decreased strikeout rate to 17.3%.

But the real issue lies in Porcello's control and command so far this season. His walk rate has more than doubled from 2018 to a whopping 12.8%, leading to some ugly starts. And 12 walks in your first 11 1/3 innings ain't gonna help your cause.

Porcello's last two turns have shown signs of serious improvement. He's walked only three batters in those outings, paired with a solid 20.4% strikeout rate and 11.5% swinging-strike rate.

The Oakland Athletics, Porcello's opponent tonight, have struggled out of the gates with a .314 wOBA, so look for the cheap right-hander to provide plenty of value.

Contrarian Play

Zack Greinke

vs New York Yankees
FanDuel Price: $10,300

This pitching slate is downright insane, and to take down a big tournament, there's always a differentiation point that you need to come out on top. Zack Greinke of the Arizona Diamondbacks could be in for a huge night, but he might not see a pile of ownership, making him a tantalizing option.

Check out Greinke's game log:

Date IP ER Hits Walks Strikeouts
March 28 3.7 7 7 2 3
April 2 6.0 3 6 0 10
April 9 6.7 3 7 1 9
April 14 7.0 2 4 1 6
April 20 6.0 0 3 2 4
April 25 7.0 0 2 1 7

That amounts to a 3.72 ERA, but Greinke pitched even better, as shown by a 3.44 SIERA.

He blew up in start one, which likely scared DFS'ers away from rostering him heavily, but he has been a boss ever since. A 2.20 ERA over those last five starts shows he's been pretty darn legit, including seven Ks or more in three of those.

A date with the New York Yankees lineup is pretty intimidating, but this is a lineup currently missing the likes of Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Clint Frazier, Didi Gregorius, and Miguel Andujar. With studs like Blake Snell and Trevor Bauer on the slate, along with a bevvy of other solid options, the veteran right-hander makes for an interesting play.

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.