FanDuel Pitching Primer: Monday 5/13/19

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

Shane Bieber, Cleveland Indians

at Chicago White Sox
FanDuel Price: $9,500

Today's main slate is a condensed one -- only six games -- and we've got a fairly even distribution of pitcher pricing, including four above $9,000.

Two of the most expensive ones are Jose Berrios ($10,400) and Matt Boyd ($9,900), both of whom have been great this season. However, both look to also have some tricky matchups as Berrios takes on the Los Angeles Angels, owners of the lowest strikeout rate in baseball (15.6%), and Boyd matches up with the Houston Astros, arguably the best offense in the game (league-best .362 wOBA).

The third-most expensive option on the main slate could be the guy to roll with, and that's Shane Bieber of the Cleveland Indians. He clocks in with the slate's third-best strikeout rate this year (26.8%), and the 3.96 implied total the Chicago White Sox are carrying is the second-lowest on the slate.

The White Sox also provide some helium to this matchup, holding the fifth-worst strikeout rate (26.0%). On a slate where pitching ownership could be fairly spread out, Bieber could be the best choice among the group, especially if you are looking to spend up.

Mid-Priced Option

Robbie Ray, Arizona Diamondbacks

vs Pittsburgh Pirates
FanDuel Price: $8,800

The Pittsburgh Pirates don't often present themselves as a prime DFS target as they don't provide the juicy strikeout upside that many teams do. So far in 2019, they have just the 20th-highest strkeout rate (22.7%).

But they do rank sixth-worst in team wOBA (.292), and if there's one thing Robbie Ray is good at, it's generating swings and misses. He has a healthy 29.7% strikeout rate, including a 12.5% swinging-strike rate, so he can provide the strikeouts on his own.

A peek at Pittsburgh's batted-ball profile reveals some ugly numbers, such as a 32.2% fly-ball rate (fourth-worst) and 33.7% hard-hit rate (sixth-worst).

Ray is a very reasonable mid-priced play, and as is usually the case with him, he offers a monster ceiling if he puts it all together tonight.

Low-Priced Option/Contrarian Play

Freddy Peralta, Milwaukee Brewers

at Philadelphia Phillies
FanDuel Price: $6,800

If you can figure out the roller coaster known as Freddy Peralta, can you let me know? Check out the right-hander's game log so far this season, which is all over the place.

DateInningsEarned RunsHits Plus WalksStrikeouts
March 29th3.0493
April 3rd8.00211
April 9th3.3795
April 15th3.3373
May 2nd4.06113
May 7th5.0055

The April 3rd and May 7th gems stick out, but there's some real ugly outings mixed, as well. While the splashy off-season changes the Philadelphia Phillies made would seemingly turn them into a nightmare matchup, a 33.6% hard-hit rate (fifth-worst) and 34.4% fly-ball rate (eighth-worst) show the offense isn't clicking.

Peralta's 11-strikeout performance early this season tells us he has some upside, and a 10.3% swinging-strike rate this season shows that Peralta can generate plenty of swings and misses. If he can recapture his good form, he makes for an interesting play. If bad Freddy shows up, buyer beware. That makes him a GPP-only 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.