FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 6/21/19

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

vs Detroit Tigers

FanDuel Price: $11,500

There's five hurlers priced at $9,800 or above, giving us a plethora of options to consider in cash games or GPP formats if paying up for pitching is your jam.

Chris Sale and Trevor Bauer are the headliners of this crew, and are priced within 500 bucks of one another. Even our projections for tonight have them neck and neck.

So why Bauer? Let's peep the opponents. Both struggle at the dish, but Bauer's matchup with the Detroit Tigers (.285 team wOBA) is slightly better than Sale's with the Toronto Blue Jays (.291). The Tigers also swing and-miss more (26.4% strikeout rate to 24.6%), have a lower isolated power mark (.149 versus .168, ISO), and sport a lower fly-ball rate (38.0% versus 39.6%).

Fire in a breeze blowing in at Cleveland, and Bauer is your pick to click.

Mid-Priced Option

Griffin Canning, Los Angeles Angels

at St. Louis Cardinals

FanDuel Price: $8,000

There's an extremely small cluster of pitchers in what I call the mid-tier -- between $8,000 and $9,200 -- tonight, so choices are thin if you want to operate in the space.

James Paxton ($9,200) carries some risk against a great Houston Astros offense, Aaron Nola has been rough this year, and Mike Leake doesn't strike anyone out. So it's Griffin Canning by the process of elimination, right?

Maybe, but he's in a great spot, too. The Cardinals, a once mighty offense, rank only 19th in the league with a .311 wOBA, and prior to some late inning runs, scored a combined seven tallies in their first three games of their series with the Miami Marlins, and were in the process of being shut down by Zac Gallen.

Canning also benefits from a major park factor shift -- from his home field, which ranks 11th in home run factor over the last three years, to Busch Stadium, which clocks in 25th over the same time period.

The only major thing to watch out for is the weather, as it's currently very stormy in St. Louis, though that is expected to clear out by game time. If you want to pivot down from the studs, peep Canning, who ranks sixth on the main slate among primary pitchers in strikeout rate.

Low-Priced/Contrarian Play

Sandy Alcantara, Miami Marlins

at Philadelphia Phillies
FanDuel Price: $7,400

This could be the worst group of pitchers under $8,000 in recent memory, and there's 20 of them to choose from.

Moving down the list of those most expensive, there are land mines everywhere. Martin Perez hasn't cracked 30 FanDuel points in his last four starts, throwing a negative score in there for grins. Dallas Keuchel makes his major league debut for 2019. German Marquez recorded a win in his last start, but he has been bombed for 19 earned runs in his last three outings.

So why not take a shot at Sandy Alcantara of the Miami Marlins? He's got my vote, and let's understand the risk but also why he makes sense.

First, the negatives. The road tilt against the Philadelphia Phillies stinks -- as the Phillies' park ranks second in home run factor over the last three years. Alcantara also boasts the lowest strikeout rate on the main slate tonight.

Here's the positives -- the Phillies aren't that good on offense, ranking 18th in team wOBA (.313), 19th in fly-ball rate (36.9%), and 20th in slugging percentage (.415). Alcantara has been consistent, too -- he's recorded 30-plus FanDuel points in each of his last four outings, and he showcased his upside potential with a 61-point complete game six starts ago against the New York Mets.

To save yourself some serious cash, pivot down and consider the young righty.

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.