FanDuel Pitching Primer: Tuesday 6/18/19
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?
Justin Verlander, Houston Astros
at Cincinnati Reds
FanDuel Price: $12,000
A season ago the Cincinnati Reds finished a respectable 14th in team wOBA (.317), and they spent this offseason adding bats like Yasiel Puig, Derek Dietrich. They're also some serious playing time to promising youngsters in Nick Senzel and Jesse Winker. This offense should have improved.
Instead, it stinks. The Reds rank 24th in team wOBA (.301), strike out at a 23.4% clip, and are just a poor offense all around. Enter Justin Verlander, who's following up a seven inning, 15 strikeout performance his last time out, and he tops the slate with a 32.8% strikeout rate.
Combining a bad offense with an explosive pitcher capable of a monster evening, Verlander is worth his expensive price point.
Jack Flaherty, St. Louis Cardinals
vs Miami Marlins
FanDuel Price: $8,000
Rinse and repeat, as I tell my kiddos as they get cleaned up for the day. Everything that was key for Justin Verlander is on point for Jack Flaherty of the St. Louis Cardinals, who may have an even better matchup tonight, but at a cost $4,000 lower.
The Marlins, Flaherty's opponent, are actually a far worse offense than Verlander's matchup with -- they are the league's worst group in team wOBA (.279), they strike out at a slightly higher clip than the Reds (23.7%), and also rank dead-last in fly-ball rate (29.1%).
It's no surprise that Flaherty clocks in with one of the lowest allowed implied team totals. All stars are aligning for Flaherty with a wind that's blowing slightly in, a pitcher-friendly park over the last three seasons, and a poor offense. Take him as a very strong pitching option tonight.
Brett Anderson, Oakland Athletics
vs Baltimore Orioles
FanDuel Price: $7,000
The Oakland Athletics are heavy favorites tonight (-280 moneyline), which should catch your eye from a pitching perspective. Lucky for Brett Anderson, he mans the hill tonight and should be on our radar screens.
Ignoring the opponent, Anderson has actually been pretty solid so far in 2019. While is 12.6% strikeout rate is a bit ugly, the 27.2% fly-ball rate show cases he's also tough to score on.
Now consider that the Baltimore Orioles, Anderson's opponent, strike out plenty, with a 23.8% strikeout rate that clocks in ninth-worst. Just looking at road splits, Baltimore ranks fourth-worst in team wOBA (.290) while whiffing at an elevated 25.4% clip.
To pivot down at the pitcher slot, consider Anderson.
Jordan Yamamoto, Miami Marlins
at St. Louis Cardinals
FanDuel Price: $7,500
Pitching prospects that don't light up radar guns can go under-noticed at times, and that's exactly what Jordan Yamamoto represents for the Miami Marlins. Similar to a Kyle Hendricks-type, he's more of a command and control guy, rarely breaking 90 miles-per-hour.
What absolutely cannot be ignored is that this guy can pitch. In eight minor league stops, Yamamoto has ignored his lack of velocity and topped a 20% strikeout rate seven times, notching marks above 30% in three of them.
Yamamoto tamed this same St. Louis Cardinals offense his last time out, and while it's no Marlins Park, as we noted with Flaherty, tonight he's in a pitcher-friendly park with a slight breeze blowing in.
Let's also not ignore that this is a struggling Redbird offense -- over the last month, they have struck out the seventh-most (24.8%) and rank third-worst in team wOBA (.289).
Given their status as heavy underdogs (+182 moneyline), Yamamoto's 4.94 implied run total is no surprise, but that should keep his ownership low, and there are enough positives here to consider rostering the righty in tournaments.
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.