FanDuel Pitching Primer: Tuesday 7/5/22

In daily fantasy baseball, success starts with nailing the starting pitcher spot in your lineup.

When compared to hitters, pitching performance tends to be much more predictable and stable throughout the course of the season. You know what you're getting from a top-level ace when you roster him: probably a dominant effort with only one or two implosions per season. In contrast, even the game's best hitters have days at the plate where they go 0-for-4.

As a result, lineup construction should begin with the starting pitcher. Which pitchers should you consider on today's main slate?

High-Salary Play
Luis Garcia, Houston Astros

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

Projected to be one of the top arms of the day, according to our model, Luis Garcia is someone we can feel good about tonight -- and that's not something we can say for many hurlers on this slate.

First, let's start with the matchup -- the Kansas City Royals are a pretty blah offense. Against righties this year, the Royals clock in 23rd in wRC+, 25th in wOBA, and 27th in isolated power (ISO). That's not good.

Garcia has been pretty potent as a starter. In 14 starts and 76 1/3 innings pitched, he's posted a 25.7% strikeout rate and a very strong 32.3% hard-hit rate. In 9 of his 14 starts, he's allowed two runs or fewer, and that consistency is pretty incredible.

On a lot of slates, Garcia wouldn't be a great play at $10,000, but he makes plenty of sense tonight.

Midrange Plays
Alex Wood, San Francisco Giants

at Arizona Diamondbacks
FanDuel Salary: $8,000

If you are truly an advanced stats believer, Alex Wood of the San Francisco Giants is a guy you should really want to believe in.

Across 73 1/3 innings pitched, Wood's 5.03 ERA isn't a mark that will get you excited. But his 3.58 FIP shows that there's been some bad luck for Wood along the way. He sports nearly a 50% ground-ball rate (49.8%), and his 22.5% strikeout rate and 6.3% walk rate are nice, too. His 23.6% hard-hit rate is another good clip.

Wood has been dinged by unlucky marks of a 66.8% strand rate and .340 BABIP.

He can come through today versus the Arizona Diamondbacks, an offense that ranks fifth-worst in wOBA (.294) against left-handed pitching. They've also struggled in terms of strikeout rate (23.5%, eighth-highest) and ISO (.139, ninth-worst) in this split.

At an easy-to-like salary, Wood is a quality play who gives you a ton of flexibility with your bats.

Yusei Kikuchi, Toronto Blue Jays

at Oakland Athletics
FanDuel Salary: $7,900

Is Yusei Kikuchi starting to get back to his old, nasty ways?

Like Wood, Kikuchi's full-season traditional marks aren't pretty. He sports a 4.74 ERA over 62 2/3 innings pitched. But there are some things -- including a 26.3% strikeout rate and 12.4% swinging-strike rate -- that we can be excited about. In his last start, he allowed only a singular earned run over six innings while fanning eight batters.

We have been picking on the Oakland Athletics' offense all year long. If you thought the Snakes were bad against lefties, the A's are just as bad, ranking 3rd-worst in wOBA, 4th-worst in ISO, and 12th-worst in strikeout rate.

All of this makes Kikuchi a pretty spicy play tonight.

Matt Kupferle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matt Kupferle also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username MKupferle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.