FanDuel Pitching Primer: Wednesday 6/15/22

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.

High-Salaried Play

Shane McClanahan, Tampa Bay Rays

At New York Yankees
FanDuel Salary: $11,400

Shane McClanahan had an excellent rookie season in 2021. However, he's blossoming into one of the game's best pitchers in his sophomore campaign. According to FanGraphs, among qualified pitchers, McClanahan is fourth in ERA (1.87), second in WHIP (0.86), and first in xFIP (2.20), SIERA (2.21), and strikeout rate (35.5%). Therefore, he's been arguably the best pitcher in MLB this year.

So, while the New York Yankees are a formidable foe, McClanahan has pitched at a matchup-proof level. Still, a matchup with the Bronx Bombers and opposing fellow ace Nestor Cortes renders McClanahan a significantly better GPP pick than cash game selection. Nonetheless, McClanahan's elite ceiling is worth chasing in tournaments.

Mid-Salaried Play

Jose Berrios, Toronto Blue Jays

Vs. Baltimore Orioles
FanDuel Salary: $8.700

The season couldn't have gotten off to a worse start for Jose Berrios, short of suffering an injury. The righty coughed up four runs and was chased after only 1/3 of an inning. He's endured a few hiccups since but has settled into a good form lately. He's spun a quality start in back-to-back turns and four of his last five. Berrios has also had his two highest strikeout efforts in his last four starts.

Even with a clunker mixed into his previous five starts, Berrios has had a 3.52 ERA, 3.39 SIERA, 1.08 WHIP, 5.0 percent walk rate, and 25.0 percent strikeout rate. Thus, Berrios' salary is out of whack with his recent performance. Further, he has a good matchup tonight.

The Baltimore Orioles are tied for 20th in wRC+ (93) with a 22.9 percent strikeout rate against righties that Berrios can take advantage of. In addition, the Toronto Blue Jays are commanding -260 favorites, per FanDuel Sportsbook. Add in Berrios' salary discount from McClanahan, and he's the top cash game pick. Having said that, Berrios is an excellent GPP pick, too.

GPP Dart

Spencer Strider, Atlanta Braves

At Washington Nationals
FanDuel Salary: $7,500

Spencer Strider is the prototype for a value GPP dart. The Atlanta Braves have transitioned him from the bullpen to rotation, and he's done well so far. In three starts lasting 14 innings, he's had a 2.57 ERA, 3.04 xFIP, 3.48 SIERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 33.3 percent strikeout rate.

However, as his underwhelming WHIP indicates, he hasn't been perfect. Strider has walked 13.3 percent of the hitters he's faced in his starts, creating the potential for a dud if he can't find the strike zone. Nevertheless, his elite punchout prowess is perfect for GPPs.

Moreover, after throwing a season-high 92 pitches in 5 and 2/3 innings in his most recent start, Strider is poised to record his first quality start. He has a mid-pack matchup tonight. The Washington Nationals are 18th in wRC+ (99) against righties.

So, Strider's success or lack thereof tonight probably comes down to his control. If he can find the strike zone regularly or pitch effectively wild, he can carve up the Nationals. As a result, he's a GPP-only suggestion since embracing volatility is frequently part of chasing upside in tournaments.

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.