FanDuel Pitching Primer: Wednesday 6/22/22

George Kirby has a sweet matchup with the A's. Should you take the salary savings he offers and roll with him tonight?

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

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels

Vs. Kansas City Royals
FanDuel Salary: $10,000

Shohei Ohtani is the top hurler going tonight.

The ace for the Los Angeles Angels has pitched great this year and has an excellent matchup. According to FanGraphs, in 11 starts (60 and 1/3 innings), Ohtani has twirled a 3.28 ERA that's supported by his 3.17 Expected ERA (xERA), 2.84 xFIP, and 2.84 SIERA. In addition, he's been a strikeout machine, punching out 31.2 percent of the hitters he's faced.

Ohtani has also been consistently sharp. In his last nine turns, he's had six quality starts.

As for the matchup, the Kansas City Royals are a delectable cupcake. This year, they're 22nd in wRC+ (91) against right-handed pitchers.

Finally, the betting info is what you'd like to see. According to FanDuel Sportsbook, the Angels are -225 favorites, and the game's total is a non-threatening 8.0 runs.

Ohtani is the top option in cash games, and we project him for 37.5 FanDuel points -- 6.0 more than anyone else.

High-Salaried GPP Play

Charlie Morton, Atlanta Braves

Vs. San Francisco Giants
FanDuel Salary: $9,200

Charlie Morton is a risky pick against a capable San Francisco Giants offense at a hitter-friendly park. However, Morton has been in a strikeout groove with impressive ERA estimators, making him an attractive gamble in GPPs.

In his last three starts (18 innings), Morton has recorded a 39.2 percent strikeout rate, 1.96 xFIP, and 1.95 SIERA. Sadly, he's had a less impressive 4.00 ERA in that span, yielding 1.50 homers per nine innings. Thus, there's a chance Morton continues to fall short of his sterling ERA estimators.

But Morton's strikeout potential is also boosted by facing the Giants. In the last 14 days, San Francisco's 25.3 percent strikeout rate has been the fifth-highest mark.

Despite opposing Carlos Rodon, the Atlanta Braves are -126 favorites. Gamers willing to embrace variance have a chance at a massive payoff if Morton is sharp. We have him scoring 31.1 FanDuel points.

Mid-Salaried Play

George Kirby, Seattle Mariners

At Oakland Athletics
FanDuel Salary: $8,800

George Kirby isn't a screaming value pick, but he's a value nonetheless.

The rookie righty has hit the ground running in 2022, tallying a 3.56 ERA, 3.80 xERA, 3.33 xFIP, and 3.33 SIERA in eight starts (43 innings). He's been stingy with free passes while striking out a respectable number of hitters, as evidenced by his 2.8 percent walk rate and 22.9 percent strikeout rate.

Kirby has also had four quality starts in eight turns, allowing three or fewer earned runs in two of his non-quality starts. The first-round pick of the Seattle Mariners in the 2019 MLB Draft is living up to his prospect billing.

He has a great matchup tonight. Yes, the Oakland Athletics scored four runs in only five innings against him on May 24, but Kirby also struck out nine batters in that outing. Oakland is just 29th in wRC+ (73) versus right-handed pitchers this year.

Finally, the Mariners are -134 favorites, and the game's total is just 7.5 runs. Gamers who want to jam in an extra stud hitter or two can turn to Kirby, who is a fairly safe option at a reasonable salary.

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.