FanDuel Pitching Primer: Monday 5/16/22
Nailing the pitcher slot is the first step to having success in MLB DFS on FanDuel.
While it's possible to cash if you get a bad outing from a starter, it's markedly easier to do so when you get a good or excellent showing from your pitcher.
Weighing the importance of a pitcher's skill, salary, matchup and park factors is the game within the game in MLB DFS. This piece is your home for a breakdown of the top pitching options each and every day. Let's dig in.
Top of the Heap
Freddy Peralta, Brewers ($9,700)
It's a fairly blah pitching slate, and while Peralta looks like the best of the bunch, he's not a slam-dunk play by any means.
Let's start with the positives -- Peralta has a 30.6% strikeout rate and 3.02 SIERA. He's good, and he has big-time upside. If Peralta is on, there aren't many guys going tonight who can touch his ceiling. He's gone at least 92 pitches in three straight outings, so the workload is solid.
The matchup with the Atlanta Braves isn't as bad as it may seem. Atlanta owns the highest strikeout rate (25.9%) and isn't performing like the elite offense most thought they'd be coming into the year. However, FanGraphs' rest-of-season projections have Atlanta as the second-best offense.
The big negative for me is Peralta's inefficiency. Despite the solid pitch counts, Peralta has completed six innings only once this season. Notching just one quality-start bonus has kept Peralta from a true ceiling performance as his high for the campaign is 44 FanDuel points.
On this slate, though, Peralta likely won't need a ceiling performance to be worth rostering, and he sits atop our projections at a total of 33.2 FanDuel points.
Luis Severino, Yankees ($8,100)
Severino is very appealing at his salary, especially with this being a Coors slate.
The matchup is there as the New York Yankees' righty is taking on the Baltimore Orioles, a team that is 22nd in wOBA (24.5) with the 7th-highest strikeout rate (.292). It doesn't hurt that the new dimensions at Camden Yards appear to have really lessened offense if you go by ESPN's Park Factors -- although the sample is still small, obviously. Baltimore's 3.24 implied total is a slate-low number.
Severino has barely pitched since 2018, and while he hasn't been amazing so far this year, he's got enough in the tank to come through in this spot. Through 28 2/3 innings, Severino sports a 25.0% strikeout rate and 3.40 SIERA and got up to 97 pitches last time out.
Severino will likely be pretty popular, and there's a lot to like. We project him for 30.2 FanDuel points and rate him as the best point-per-dollar play among those with a salary above $6,000.
Zach Logue, Athletics ($8,300)
I'm into two guys in Severino's salary range, and I'm thinking they'll both go a little under-rostered with Severino in such a solid spot.
Logue has only 13 1/3 MLB innings on his resume, but between what he's done thus far and his minor-league output, he needs to be on our radar.
In those 13 1/3 innings, Logue, a lefty, has amassed a 3.90 SIERA, 22.2% strikeout rate and 5.6% walk rate. In 89 1/3 frames in Triple-A last year, he posted a 25.2% strikeout rate, 5.4% walk rate and 12.1% swinging-strike rate. Dude is pretty dang good, and with Logue's pitch counts at 90 and 97 through two outings, there's a lot to like here.
While Logue is still a bit of a leap of faith, he isn't going to see much love tonight at a salary $200 more than Severino's, and he fits perfectly for tournaments. Our algorithm projects Logue for 26.8 FanDuel points, the fourth-most on the slate.
Ian Anderson, Braves ($7,900)
Anderson just hasn't been that good this year, which is why his salary is where it is. But he's another guy who can hit at a low draft percentage.
With a 17.1% strikeout rate and 12.4% walk rate, Anderson is struggling out of the gates. There are reasons to think he'll turn it around. His 13.3% swinging-strike rate is actually a career-best mark, and in 160 2/3 career MLB frames prior to this year, Anderson has recorded a 24.5% strikeout rate and 10.0% walk rate. In short, he's proven to be a pretty decent pitcher, and his ability to generate swings and misses gives him upside in DFS.
Anderson is taking on a Milwaukee Brewers offense that has the fourth-highest strikeout rate (24.8%) and sixth-highest wOBA (.324), so it's a matchup that makes sense for tournaments.
Our projections aren't a fan of Anderson, forecasting him to produce just 24.3 FanDuel points, but there's upside for more if he's dialed in.
Yusei Kikuchi, Blue Jays ($7,500)
The value options are pretty rough. Kikuchi is at least defensible.
The Toronto Blue Jays' southpaw has a 23.7% strikeout rate and 11.3% swinging-strike rate. His swinging-strike rate in each of his last three starts is 12.4%, 15.4% and 16.7%, and those outings came against the Yankees (twice) and Houston Astros. There's legit strikeout juice here.
While he's also got a horrific 14.9% walk rate, Kikuchi's career walk rate is only 8.8%, and his rest-of-season ZiPS numbers have him at an 8.7% walk rate.
He's taking on the Seattle Mariners, his old team, and Seattle's 4.08 implied total isn't too scary.
We have Kikuchi scoring 26.7 FanDuel points, the fifth-most of the night.
Quick Mound Visits:
Miles Mikolas ($10,200): Highest-salaried pitcher. Has a 7.5% swinging-strike rate and 18.7% strikeout rate. I just can't.
Noah Syndergaard ($9,900): Decent matchup with Texas and an enticing 3.93 SIERA and 12.0% swinging-strike rate this year. Got to 97 and 100 pitches past two starts. Probably the best of the rest.
Tony Gonsolin ($8,700): Dodgers are the slate's biggest favorite (-240), and Arizona is a nice matchup. But Gonsolin has topped out at 84 pitches this season. Pass.
Garrett Whitlock ($8,000): Love the talent and think he will eventually be a stud. Hate the matchup (Astros) and current workload (78 and 82 pitches last two starts).
Wade Miley ($5,700): Salary allows you to go HAM with your bats. Matchup (Pirates) is there, too. But just 64 pitches last week in his first outing of the year.