FanDuel Pitching Primer: Wednesday 6/5/19
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?
Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox
at Kansas City Royals
FanDuel Price: $11,500
A night after many high-priced pitchers were bombed, including Stephen Strasburg, Chris Paddack, and Blake Snell, it seems a bit scary to go back to the well with an ace like Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox. However, there's too many positives around Sale and some question marks around other arms at the top, so let's examine the why
A quick peep at some of the other studs tonight -- James Paxton was unhittable in his last start (literally), throwing four hitless innings and striking out seven. But until he can go deep enough to register a win and/or a quality start, Paxton is a stay-away.
German Marquez could be appealing away from Denver, but he faces a Chicago Cubs offense that is sporting a .338 team wOBA and makes his matchup challenging. Charlie Morton against the offensively-challenged Detroit Tigers also looks interesting, but he's only reached double-digit whiffs one time in 2019, limiting his upside.
That brings us to Sale, who's on an absolute tear. In his last eight starts, he's hit double-digit strikeouts six times, including 14 or more twice. While the Royals season-long strikeout rate of 23.0% is middle of the pack, their rate has jumped up to 25.0% (ninth-worst) in the last 14 days. Their team wOBA is also third-lowest in the league over that abbreviated time span (.296).
All of this adds up to a potentially monster night for Sale.
Brad Peacock, Houston Astros
at Seattle Mariners
FanDuel Price: $8,600
Since moving into the starting rotation, Brad Peacock of the Houston Astros has been a bit of a revelation. When you consider that Collin McHugh has been ineffective and Josh James not yet ready to step into the rotation, he's been a shot in the arm.
His recent run of form shouldn't go unnoticed, either. Over his last five starts, Peacock has posted three wins and quality starts each, and there's been plenty of strikeout juice. In 29 innings over those five starts, he's racked up 35 strikeouts, leading to a 0.93 ERA and 0.90 WHIP.
The Seattle Mariners, Peacock's opponent, have been bad at the dish lately, too. Over the last two weeks, they are rocking an inflated 25.7% strikeout rate, and clock in sixth-worst with a .305 wOBA.
To save some coin, pivot down to Peacock and it could still make for a profitable evening.
Dakota Hudson, St. Louis Cardinals
vs Cincinnati Reds
FanDuel Price: $7,300
On a 24-team main slate tonight, only 10 of the pitching options are priced at or above $8,000. That likely leads to your cheap play also being one to focus on could be a viable tournament option we need to consider.
Dakota Hudson of the St. Louis Cardinals looks to be somewhat of a sneaky option this season. Despite a reduced strikeout rate of 15.8%, his 9.3% swinging-strike rate portends that some additional whiffs could be coming soon.
It's even better when you consider how pitching-friendly Hudson's home ballpark has been playing. In looking at the last three years, Busch Stadium ranks 24th in park factor and 25th in home run factor, and that's a big step change for a Cincinnati Reds offense that plays in Cincinnati that ranks fourth in home run factor and 11th in park factor.
The Reds are also pretty offensively challenged. They rank eighth-worst in team wOBA (.302), 14th-worst in hard-hit rate (37.1%), and their .235 batting average is sixth-worst in the league.
Hudson does not stand out as a premium option on a large main slate, but he could make for one that saves you some significant dollars to spend on hitting with some upside looming.
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.