FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 6/17/22

Carlos Rodon offers huge upside against a poor Pirates offense. Which other pitchers need to be in your lineups on Friday?

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

Carlos Rodon, San Francisco Giants

At Pittsburgh Pirates
FanDuel Salary: $10,700

Carlos Rodon has the ideal work assignment easing into the weekend, facing the pathetic offense of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

This year, the Pirates are tied for 26th in wRC+ (86) versus lefties, striking out at the third-highest rate (24.3 percent) in the split, per FanGraphs. Over the last 14 days, they've struck out at the second-highest rate (26.8 percent) while tallying a pitiful 71 wRC+.

Rodon should be licking his chops.

But, of course, this isn't merely a matchup-driven suggestion. Rodon has been very good for the San Francisco Giants. The 29-year-old lefty has had six quality starts in 12 turns. In the other six contests, he's allowed three runs or less five times -- just failing to complete six frames. Rodon has the strikeout ability to maximize this matchup, retiring 30.6 percent of the hitters he's faced this year via punchout.

Upper-Mid-Salaried Play

Robbie Ray, Seattle Mariners

Vs. Los Angeles Angels
FanDuel Salary: $9,200

So far this year, Robbie Ray hasn't been the same superstar pitcher who captured AL Cy Young Award hardware last season. In fact, his 4.52 ERA indicates he hasn't been close to as good as last year. However, his 3.91 Expected ERA (xERA), 3.92 xFIP, and 3.81 SIERA are markedly better than his underwhelming ERA.

The lefty has also struck out a solid 25.1 percent of the batters he's faced. Still, Ray has untapped strikeout upside, squashing the 2022 MLB average 11.1 percent swinging-strike rate with a mark of 15.1 percent. Thankfully, Ray should add to his strikeout total tonight against the Los Angeles Angels.

The Halos have struck out at the fifth-highest rate versus lefties (24.0 percent) in 2022, and they've struck out at the highest rate (29.8 percent) over the last 14 days. As a result, Ray's strikeout potential and FanDuel scoring upside are through the roof.

The betting info is good, too. The Seattle Mariners are -126 favorites at FanDuel Sportsbook, and the game's total is only 7.5 runs. Ray is an acceptable alternative to Rodon in cash games and a superb tournament pick.

GPP Dart Throw

Jon Gray, Texas Rangers

At Detroit Tigers
FanDuel Salary: $8,600

Jon Gray hasn't had a storybook start out with his new ballclub, as evidenced by his 4.85 ERA. But he's been quite unlucky. The veteran righty's 3.78 xERA, 3.76 xFIP, and 3.83 SIERA paint a more favorable picture of his work with the Texas Rangers. The righty has also struck out a whopping 26.0 percent of the hitters he's faced.

Additionally, he's dominated in two of his previous three starts, allowing one run with 12 strikeouts in seven innings on June 1st before permitting one run with 10 strikeouts in six innings on June 12. Gray has a perfect matchup for another dominant turn tonight, opposing the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers have resembled kittens against righties this year, ranking dead last with a 65 wRC+. They've also struck out in 24.9 percent of their plate appearances in the split.

As if their full-season marks aren't enjoyable enough to use Gray against, Detroit's recent struggles have been even more hideous. Over the last 14 days, the Tigers are in the basement in wRC+ (42) and striking out in a comical 26.2 percent of their plate appearances.

Gray's recent play and Detroit's ineptitude make the righty an elite GPP option.

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.