FanDuel Pitching Primer: Thursday 9/10/20
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. Which pitchers should you consider on today's main slate?
Sonny Gray, Cincinnati Reds
Vs. Chicago Cubs
FanDuel Salary: $10,100
Bauer obliterated the Chicago Cubs last night with a 7 2/3 scoreless, 10-strikeout performance. That, my friends, will play. But Gray can repeat that dominant outing. The Cubbies have struggled against righties in 2020, sporting a .323 wOBA and inflated 25.5% strikeout rate in the split.
That could be all Gray needs. He's been masterful in his own right this season with a 3.70 SIERA and 31.6% strikeout rate. He's not cheap, but compared to the bumpy Gerrit Cole in a third matchup with the Baltimore Orioles or the up-and-down Sandy Alcantara, both of whom are priced above $9,000, Gray seems like the best play.
Josh Fleming, Tampa Bay Rays
Vs. Boston Red Sox
FanDuel Price: $7,700
The Tampa Bay Rays' pitching staff looks a little bit like a M.A.S.H. unit. Missing due to injury, at some point this year, have been Charlie Morton, Chaz Roe, Yonny Chirinos and Nick Anderson -- among others.
So who has stepped in? Rookie Josh Fleming, that's who. If you are unfamiliar with Fleming, over 15 1/3 innings this year, the southpaw has used elite control and command (3.3% walk rate) to confuse hitters for a 3.52 ERA. He's also generating a hefty 51.1% ground-ball rate, which helps limit damage.
And these Red Sox don't look like the same old squad. They have been a middle-of-the-pack lineup with a .332 wOBA, .175 ISO and 38.9% hard-hit rate against lefties this year.
In the mid-range, peep Fleming.
Trevor Cahill, San Francisco Giants
At San Diego Padres
FanDuel Price: $6,200
Similar to our recommendation yesterday with JT Brubaker, this is not a tier we want to foray into, especially tonight. There are landmines we are stepping around all over the place, including guys like Madison Bumgarner and Adbert Alzolay who we need to avoid altogether.
If you need a salary saving option, Trevor Cahill is interesting, but he does come with some warts. First of all, he faces a juggernaut offense in the San Diego Padres, one that has a 43.7% hard-hit rate against righties, the second-best mark in the split. This could go poorly for Cahill.
However, Cahill has been really strong this year with a 27.8% strikeout rate, and in the homer-happy fun ball era, Cahill has also limited big flies to 1.06 home runs per nine innings. The punchout ability makes Cahill worth a look.
This is not without danger, but if you are looking for a low-salary arm, consider the veteran 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.