FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Wednesday 6/23/21
The Houston Astros failed to live up to expectations on Tuesday, but they figure to be a chalk offense yet again tonight. We also get an enticing group of upside arms to choose between, which includes four different hurlers exceeding a 29% strikeout rate.
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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Robbie Ray ($11,000): Only two guys have five-digit salaries tonight, and it's Ray and Trevor Bauer at the exact same mark. But it's Ray who draws the far easier matchup against the Marlins, making him the preferred choice of the duo. Ray enters the night with an excellent 3.15 SIERA, 31.5% strikeout rate, and 6.5% walk rate, and that should do nicely against an active roster with a 28.1% strikeout rate versus southpaws. The game is also at Miami's pitcher-friendly loanDepot park, and combining all those factors, it's easy to see why the Marlins have one of the slate's lowest implied totals (3.32).
Trevor Bauer ($11,000): Bauer has a much more difficult matchup against the Padres, but his upside keeps him in play for tournaments. Bauer's underlying numbers closely mirror Ray's with a 3.44 SIERA, 31.5% strikeout rate, and 8.5% walk rate, and he'll also benefit from a run-suppressing venue in Petco Park (3.78 implied total). Although the Padres have plenty of star power and are a tough matchup for strikeouts, they've actually been an average offense versus right-handed pitching at exactly a 100 wRC+. Spin rate concerns continue to surround Bauer, but he's coming off a 55-point outing versus Arizona, and we have to remember that even with a dip in strikeout rate, Bauer can make up for it through sheer volume, as few can touch his workload. He's exceeded 100 pitches in seven of his last eight starts, which includes going over 110 five times.
Joe Musgrove ($7,900): Trevor Rogers and Musgrove are the other two hurlers with strikeout rates hovering around 30%, but they have rough matchups against the Blue Jays and Dodgers, respectively, and are both unlikely to hit 100 pitches, making them tougher sells tonight. But of the four I've mentioned here, Musgrove has far and away the lowest salary, so he still deserves some consideration. The Padres righty has been frustrating to roster at times this season, but his 2.97 SIERA is tops on the slate, and his 31.5% strikeout rate is identical to Ray and Bauer. It's hard to see him having a ceiling performance versus Los Angeles, but the talent is there to surprise, and his low salary will give your lineup a far different look for stacks in tournaments.
Houston Astros: The Astros flopped last night, but I doubt it affects their popularity tonight, as their 5.72 implied total is yet again tops on the board.
Thomas Eshelman is the opposing arm this time around, and there's little reason to expect him to get through this Houston lineup unscathed. Eshelman is making just his second MLB start of the season, and his Triple-A numbers have been nothing to write home about, as he's submitted a poor 5.19 xFIP and 11.0% strikeout rate over 19.2 innings. That falls in line with what we've seen from him over 75.1 career big league innings, too, where he's posted a 5.51 SIERA and 12.6% strikeout rate.
Even with high expected roster percentages, it's tough to argue fading such a great spot. Eshelman has a pitiful career 8.7% strikeout rate versus left-handed batters, so Yordan Alvarez ($3,800), Michael Brantley ($3,500), and a returning Kyle Tucker ($3,000) are all top options, and switch-hitter Abraham Toro ($2,100) gives us a near-minimum punt. But overall, all the usual candidates are in play for this deep lineup against one of the weakest starters of the night.
Foltynewicz is getting rocked for 2.07 home runs per nine innings, and between a low strikeout rate (15.9%), high fly-ball rate (40.4%), poor Statcast metrics, and a history of home run issues, it's pretty safe to say that his woes should continue.
The struggling righty is getting obliterated by left-handed batters (6.30 xFIP), so Matt Olson ($4,100) is one of the top overall bats, and low-salaried hitters like Mitch Moreland ($2,200) and Jed Lowrie ($2,800) could also take advantage. Foltynewicz isn't anything special versus right-handed bats, though, so also prioritize the usual righties like Ramon Laureano ($3,600) and Mark Canha ($3,300).
On the one hand, Duffy is a left-hander coming off a lengthy stint on the injured list, which clearly favors a big night for New York's army of right-handed batters at hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium. On the other hand, Duffy was in the midst of a strong campaign before his injury and produced a solid 4.01 xFIP, 26.5% strikeout rate, and 8.1% walk rate versus righties while giving up zero home runs.
Attacking a pitcher coming off injury is always a sound move, though, and Duffy's track record against right-handed batters isn't exactly stellar (5.16 xFIP from 2018-20), and he's consistently carried a sub-40% ground-ball rate, often making him prone to home runs.
Aaron Judge ($3,600) and Giancarlo Stanton ($3,400) are the first guys to try and fit in, but we can also find cheap pop in guys like Luke Voit ($2,500), Gary Sanchez ($2,900), and Gio Urshela ($2,800).