FanDuel Pitching Primer: Monday 6/13/22
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.
Sandy Alcantara, Marlins
FanDuel Salary: $11,300
Perhaps more than any single MLB slate this year, you can go to any salary tier and potentially pick up the day's top arm.
At the top, Sandy Alcantara stands out just a bit ahead of Alek Manoah and Aaron Nola. Those two are still fine plays, but they're both facing matchups that are more dangerous against right-handers than Alcantara's opponent -- the Philadelphia Phillies.
Philly's active roster has mustered just 103 wRC+ against righties, and their active roster's strikeout rate against them (23.3%) is the ninth-highest in baseball. They've improved since firing Joe Girardi, but they were just quelled by a right-handed dominant Diamondbacks bullpen on Sunday.
Alcantara will toe the slab for the visiting Marlins, and he's enjoyed a tremendous season headlined by a 2.96 FIP and 24.1% strikeout rate. Importantly, he's efficient with his pitches as well, logging at least seven innings in each of his last four starts.
Philadelphia's offense has some notable bats, but Alcantara's electric start to 2022 is hard to ignore at the top.
Alex Wood, Giants
FanDuel Salary: $9,200
When speaking in terms of benign, the Royals' offense absolutely qualifies.
Wood's 4.23 ERA is a bit unlucky. His 3.44 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) is actually even lower than Alcantara's, and he's also provided a 23.3% strikeout rate this season. In terms of single-game upside, Wood can have it in the right matchup.
K.C. is a low strikeout squad (just a 17.9% rate against lefties), so Wood will be tasked with bringing his own upside. It's still very much present; oddsmakers are giving the Royals just a 3.54 implied team total on the road tonight.
A lot of the arms inside the $8,000 range on FanDuel tonight are stack candidates, but Wood has a great chance to toss out a quality effort.
Lance Lynn, White Sox
FanDuel Salary: $5,500
The presence of Lance Lynn at minimum salary has this slate's pitching hierarchy turned on its head.
Normally, minimum salary arms are bullpen guys or low-end starters. Returning from a knee injury, Lynn is just here since he wasn't expected to start until Tuesday.
In 2021, Lynn held a 3.32 FIP and a 27.9% strikeout rate. Even at a five-digit salary, he was worth some attention any time the White Sox sent him to the mound. Now, at $5,500, he's going to be the top projected pitcher from any source today.
It doesn't help the blowup risk is minimal. The opposing Tigers' active roster has a league-worst 67 wRC+ against right-handers, and they strikeout out the fifth-most against orthodox hurlers (24.4%) as well.
Lynn didn't eclipse four innings in any of his three rehab starts, so don't expect a complete game right out of the chute, but there's no doubt that he helps squeeze in some of the more enticing stacks of the day.