FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 5/20/22
Pitchers lay the foundation for daily fantasy baseball teams. So it's not coincidental they have the highest salaries in FanDuel contests. Of course, it's possible to overcome a bad outing from a starter, but it's markedly easier to cash in contests with a good or excellent start.
Simply nailing your pitcher can cover up for a miss or two among your hitter selections. Thankfully, pitchers are less volatile to project than their hitting counterparts. First, pitcher skills such as walk rate and strikeout rate help separate the genuinely talented pitchers from their lesser peers. In addition, park factors and the offensive strength of the opponent are integral considerations for picking your FanDuel pitchers.
Weighing the importance of a pitcher's skill, park factors, opponent, and accounting for their salary is the game within the game on FanDuel. This piece is your home for my favorite pitcher picks for FanDuel's main slate every day. So, let's get to today's top hurlers.
Tarik Skubal, Detroit Tigers
at Cleveland Guardians
FanDuel Salary: $9,500
This year, Tarik Skubal is pitching like a top-of-the-rotation starter for the Detroit Tigers.
According to FanGraphs, in seven starts totaling 39 and 2/3 innings, he's had a 2.50 ERA. Thankfully, his excellent ERA has been supported by his 2.36 Expected ERA (xERA), 2.71 Expected Fielding Independent Pitching (xFIP), and 2.80 Skill-Interactive ERA (SIERA).
The young southpaw has also struck out batters at a 28.3% clip. Tonight, he has a good matchup with the Cleveland Guardians. They're 25th in Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) against southpaws this year. Moreover, only three hitters on their active roster have been above average against righties since 2019.
So, Skubal offers gamers talent and a plus matchup. As a cherry on top, his salary isn't prohibitive to stacking tonight's top offenses.
Mid-Salaried GPP Play
Robbie Ray, Seattle Mariners
at Boston Red Sox
FanDuel Salary: $9,100
Robbie Ray has an upside that is on par with Skubal. However, he also carries a bit more risk. The Boston Red Sox have a few hitters who've ripped lefties in recent years. Thankfully, they are 29th in wRC+ (70) against lefties this season.
The other risk for Ray is pitching at Fenway Park. Boston's home park is one of the top offensive environments in Major League Baseball. Regardless, Seattle's Ray is the defending American League Cy Young Award winner. He has also been a strikeout machine lately. In his last four starts, he's had a 32.7% strikeout rate.
Unfortunately, Ray has also been unlucky. He's had a 5.40 ERA, markedly higher than his 3.12 xFIP and 3.06 SIERA. So, diving into Ray's ERA estimators and chasing his strikeout upside is an excellent GPP move.
Chase Silseth, Los Angeles Angels
vs. Oakland Athletics
FanDuel Salary: $6,400
Chase Silseth has a chance to shine for the second Friday in a row. He debuted for the Los Angeles Angels and held the Oakland Athletics scoreless across six innings.
Does that mean he's without risk? No. However, the A's have stunk against righties this year. Oakland is dead last against righties with a 73 wRC+. Further, Silseth was dominant in his brief stay at Double-A this year.
Combine Silseth's stellar pitching with his excellent offense and the ineptitude of the A's, and it's understandable why the Angels are favored heavily. The game's total is non-threatening (8.0 runs), and FanDuel Sportsbook lists the Angels as -176 favorites.
Silseth's tiny salary gives him a chance to provide huge value while simultaneously leaving tons of cap space to jam stud hitters into lineups.
Joshua Shepardson is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Joshua Shepardson also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username bchad50. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.