FanDuel Pitching Primer: Wednesday 7/6/22

Luis Severino's swing-and-miss ability should be on display in Pittsburgh tonight, but which other sleepers make sense for tournaments?

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

Luis Severino, New York Yankees

at Pittsburgh Pirates
FanDuel Salary: $9.500

While you can also make a strong case for Aaron Nola ($10,500), Luis Severino is the top pitcher on tonight's slate in my eyes, partly because he has a cushy matchup with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

According to FanGraphs, Pittsburgh is 26th in wRC+ (86) against right-handed pitchers. In addition, they're tied for the second-highest strikeout rate (25.1 percent) against them.

Of course, Severino isn't only a matchup-driven suggestion. He's been outstanding this year. In 14 starts, he's had a 3.35 ERA with excellent ERA estimators to match, such as his 2.90 Expected ERA (xERA), 3.36 xFIP, and 3.24 SIERA. Severino has also done a superb job of striking batters out (28.9 percent strikeout rate). Further, the talented righty has had a quality start in back-to-back starts and six of his last eight turns.

The New York righty should carve up the Pirates tonight. As a result, Severino is the top pitching option across all game types tonight.

High-Salaried Alternative

Cristian Javier, Houston Astros

vs. Kansas City Royals
FanDuel Salary: $9.700

Cristian Javier has been a strikeout machine lately.

In his previous two starts, he's struck out 27 of 45 batters. Moreover, since May 20, he's struck out at least seven batters in five of his eight turns. The Houston Astros backed into an excellent starter after using him in the bullpen to start the year.

In 11 starts spanning 58 and 1/3 innings, he's had a 3.09 ERA, 3.27 SIERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 33.1 percent strikeout rate. Thus, he's pitching like a top-shelf starter. Tonight, Javier has a good matchup for continuing his heater.

The Kansas City Royals are tied for 23rd in wRC+ (90) against right-handed pitchers this season. They're a more challenging matchup lately, ranking tied for 10th in wRC+ (112) over the last 14 days. Nevertheless, the larger sample paints a better picture for Javier's outlook. And, of course, he's been a stud lately. Finally, the Astros are monstrous -290 favorites, per FanDuel Sportsbook.

He's an excellent alternative to Severino -- especially for gamers using multiple entries in tournaments.

GPP Dart

Brayan Bello, Boston Red Sox

vs. Tampa Bay Rays
FanDuel Salary: $6,000

Brayan Bello is a risky pick in Boston for his first big-league start.

Fenway Park is a top-five offensive venue, and it's always risky trusting a player in his first start in the majors. Nonetheless, Bello has appeal in GPPs.

He's pitched five-plus innings in all 15 games pitched in the minors this season and punched out at least seven batters in 11 games -- and no less than five hitters in any contest. In 85 innings in the upper minors this year, he's spun a sterling 2.33 ERA, 2.88 FIP, 1.04 WHIP, and 33.7 percent strikeout rate. Thus, Bello's penchant for punchouts is perfect for GPPs.

Additionally, the Tampa Bay Rays elevate his striking ceiling. The Rays are tied for the second-highest strikeout rate (25.1 percent) versus righties this year.

Again, Bello is a risky pick. Thankfully, with great risk can come great reward, and he should be a contrarian pick.

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.