FanDuel Pitching Primer: Wednesday 8/3/22

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

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels

Vs. Oakland Athletics
FanDuel Salary: $11,300

Shohei Ohtani has been pitching like he might add a Cy Young Award to his mantle to go with his 2021 American League MVP hardware. He has been toying with opponents as a predator plays with their food.

According to FanGraphs, in his last nine starts, Ohtani has a 2.29 ERA, 2.11 xFIP, 1.00 WHIP, 6.0 percent walk rate, and 37.6 percent strikeout rate. He has struck out at least 10 batters in his last half-dozen turns.

Ohtani has a compelling case for usage against any opponent, and he's a slam-dunk selection today against the Oakland Athletics. The A's are 29th in wRC+ (78) against righties, and their 24.0 percent strikeout rate in the split is the seventh-highest mark. Oakland's 2.85 implied total is a slate-low mark.

Ohtani is positioned to dazzle and pile up FanDuel points. We project him for 39.7 FanDuel points, 5.9 more than any other pitcher.

High-Salaried GPP Pivot

Julio Urias, Los Angeles Dodgers

At San Francisco Giants
FanDuel Salary: $9,300

Ohtani is the no-doubt pick in cash games. Julio Urias is a high-upside pivot in GPPs.

The stud lefty has been great on the road this year. In 61 and 1/3 innings in the split, he's posted a 2.49 ERA, 3.62 xFIP, 0.98 WHIP, 5.4 percent walk rate, and 24.2 percent strikeout rate.

Urias has also been in a groove overall of late. The southpaw has recorded three straight quality starts. He's got four such outings across his last five games and nine in his past dozen turns. In Urias's last 10 starts -- a span of 56 and 2/3 innings -- he's had a 2.54 ERA, 3.20 SIERA, 0.85 WHIP, and 27.7 percent strikeout rate.

The San Francisco Giants have challenged lefties this year, ranking sixth in wRC+ (114) in the split. However, they traded lefty-killer Darin Ruf yesterday. In addition, San Francisco's slumping right now. Over the last 30 days, the Giants are tied for 18th in wRC+ (98). They're also tied for the ninth-highest strikeout rate (24.1 percent) in that timeframe. They're a high-upside matchup for Urias.

GPP Dart

Blake Snell, San Diego Padres

Vs. Colorado Rockies
FanDuel Salary: $9,100

Blake Snell, the former American League Cy Young winner, has been maddeningly inconsistent this year. Still, he's allowed no more than one run and pitched at least five innings in four of his last five starts.

In those turns, Snell owns a 2.81 ERA, 3.20 xFIP, and 36.4 percent strikeout rate. Snell's 13.6 percent walk rate during this current heater is a reminder he has below-average control. Snell walks the fine line between being effectively wild and making messes that result in a blow-up start.

Unfortunately, Snell's inconsistency means he can mow down a great lineup and flub a dreamy matchup. Nevertheless, he has a great matchup tonight.

The Colorado Rockies are dreadful on the road. They're tied for 27th in wRC+ (79) away from Coors. Snell can be a GPP-winning hurler if he's sharp but can just as easily get rocked. He's built perfectly for GPPs, where embracing volatility is part of the game.

Our model has Snell totaling 33.8 FanDuel points, the second-most among all pitchers.

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.