FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Wednesday 6/2/21
We have an interesting dilemma at pitcher on tonight's eight-game slate, with what may be a surprising name checking in with the night's highest salary. Coors Field is back again, as well, and we're more likely to see some fireworks with this evening's bout.
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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Alek Manoah ($10,000): That's right, a guy with one MLB start under his belt has the highest salary on the board and the only one hitting five digits. That all might seem a little nuts at first glance, but when you look at the alternatives, you might find yourself circling back to Manoah.
He's a top prospect for the Blue Jays and was stellar in his debut, shutting down the Yankees over six scoreless innings with seven strikeouts on his way to 49 FanDuel points. This didn't entirely come out of nowhere, either, as Manoah was crushing it in Triple-A before his promotion with a 40.9% strikeout rate over three starts. Workload also shouldn't be an issue, as Manoah reached 88 pitches in that Yankees outing.
On top of all that, he's facing the Marlins tonight, a team with a 26.4% strikeout rate and 86 wRC+ versus righties this season, and he seems to be getting the benefit of the doubt given Miami's low implied total (3.61). We're obviously taking some leaps of faith here, so I can understand looking elsewhere in cash games, but Manoah should be a full go in tournaments tonight.
Walker Buehler ($9,700): Buehler is next up in salary, and in terms of name value and track record, he's the far more conventional choice. With solid marks across the board for Buehler and a slate-low 3.26 implied total for a mediocre opposing Cardinals offense, it's unlikely the Dodgers' right-hander submits a poor performance. He's been efficient on the mound, reaching at least six innings in all 10 starts and earning a quality start eight times. However, with a 25.3% strikeout rate, Buehler also hasn't demonstrated a high ceiling on most nights, exceeding 50 FanDuel points just once in 10 starts.
Sean Manaea ($8,500): Lefties Manaea and Jordan Montgomery round things out as solid value options in appealing matchups. The two actually have pretty similar season-long numbers, but Manaea gets the slight edge due to his pitch counts typically surpassing 90, whereas Montgomery's workloads generally fall below that mark. The Oakland hurler faces a familiar foe we've attacked this year in the Mariners, who are showing a 28.0% strikeout rate and 91 wRC+ versus southpaws. Manaea's 24.2% strikeout rate isn't far off from Buehler's, and the matchup lends itself to an easier path to more upside.
Others to Consider: Jordan Montgomery ($7,500)
The Rangers face Antonio Senzatela, who has a paltry 13.7% strikeout rate but a solid 52.6% ground-ball rate. In Senzatela's splits, it boils down to a lower strikeout rate against lefties (11.1%) and a lower ground-ball rate against righties (47.8%), so there are positives to attacking with all comers. Unfortunately, this lineup's seen a significant jump in salaries, but Adolis Garcia ($4,500), Joey Gallo ($4,000), and Nate Lowe ($4,200) have the highest barrel rates on the team if you can fit them in. Willie Calhoun ($3,700) and Nick Solak ($3,500) also have some pop at slightly more reasonable salaries.
On the other side, the Rockies enjoy a matchup against Jordan Lyles, who's allowing 1.77 homers per nine innings while giving up a 40.2% hard-hit rate and 41.2% fly-ball rate. Ryan McMahon ($3,800) is arguably the only standout bat these days, but Colorado's lineup is easier to stack than Texas with Raimel Tapia ($3,300), Yonathan Daza ($2,500), and C.J. Cron ($3,400) potentially batting in the top half of the order.
Atlanta Braves: The Braves are right there with Rangers and Rockies, sporting a 5.49 implied total, and it's for a good reason against lefty Jon Lester. Although Lester seems to be doing something right by limiting hard contact, he's displaying a 5.11 xFIP, 17.2% strikeout rate, 9.7% walk rate, and 30.9% ground-ball rate against righties, which could spell disaster when facing a strong lineup like Atlanta. It probably doesn't help that Lester will also be pitching on short rest.
In addition to Ronald Acuna ($4,400), we can stack Ozzie Albies ($3,100), Austin Riley ($3,000), and Dansby Swanson ($2,500) at modest salaries, and don't sleep on William Contreras ($2,700), as well, who has a 17.8% barrel rate over his 82 plate appearances.
Minnesota Twins: The Twins were mildly disappointing yesterday, but they have another opportunity for a big night with Matt Harvey taking the mound. As always, it's left-handed batters who really benefit against Harvey (5.93 xFIP in the split), so we really have to like Alex Kirilloff ($3,000) at his salary, followed by Jorge Polanco ($2,800) and Trevor Larnach ($2,500).
Harvey continues to limit quality contact against right-handed batters, but with just a 20.9% strikeout rate against them, the power of guys like Nelson Cruz ($3,200) and Josh Donaldson ($3,000) are firmly in play, and Miguel Sano ($2,600) could be a better bet to "boom" instead of "bust" against the low-strikeout pitcher.