Baseball is BACK FanCavers! I can speak on behalf of the entire FanCave organization when I say that pumped in an understatement.
We have a ton in store for you this season. Our MLB Director, Justin Savage, has personally taken down numerous GPPs last season. We also have myself, Andrew, Michael, Jacob and an array of other MLB analysts that are excited to help you destroy this season each and every day!
Personally, I will be breaking down the pitching position on FanDuel as much as possible. I switched up my format a bit from last season. The new format will include these elements:
- “the metrics” – The sabermetrics that make Pitcher X a strong play in their respective tier.
- “the opponent” – The stats regarding Pitcher X’s opponent that strengthen his case, or that could increase risk.
- “the history” – The BvP from the previous 3 seasons for Pitcher X against his respective opponent
- “the verdict” – Brief breakdown of these numbers, with recommended formats for Pitcher X. For example, Cash game lock/chalk, strong cash play, GPP-only, GPP flier, etc.
*ALL ADVANCED STATS ARE 2017 NUMBERS
Clayton Kershaw ($11,700)
- 29.8% Strikeout Rate (30.8% vs R, 25.7% vs L)
- 4.4% Walk Rate (4.6% vs R, 3.6% vs L)
- 27.4% Hard-Contact Rate (26.5% vs R, 30.3% vs L)
The Opponent: San Francisco Giants (vs LHP)
- 19.5% Strikeout Rate
- 0.293 wOBA (28th)
- 0.369 SLG% (29th)
The current Giants lineup is a lifetime 0.197 against Kershaw (97-516) with a 0.260 SLG% and only 6 HRs.
The Verdict: Cash Game Chalk
Much like Russell Westbrook on NBA DFS slates, there’s rarely much explanation needed with Kershaw. His rates are Hall of Fame worthy and he takes on a rather power-less lineup in a pitcher-friendly ballpark. Fun fact, Kershaw also has a 0.99 ERA in Opening Day starts. The additions of Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen might slightly raise risk, but nothing that would deter him from being a strong play in all formats.
Chris Sale ($11,200)
- 36.2% Strikeout Rate (31.1% vs L, 37.1% vs R)
- 5.1% Walk Rate (4.6% vs L, 5.2% vs R)
- 29.7% Hard-Contact% (17.9% vs L, 32.1% vs R)
- 14.9% SwStr%
The Opponent: Tampa Bay Rays (vs LHP)
- 25.9% Strikeout Rate (2nd highest)
- 0.303 wOBA (26th)
- 0.152 ISO (25th)
The current Tampa Bay Rays lineup is a lifetime 0.191 (17/95) vs Chris Sale with a 0.266 wOBA, 0.360 SLG% and 28 Ks.
The Verdict: Cash Game Chalk/Lock
Sale is the sole reason that I am not locking in Clayton Kershaw on this slate. Not only did he post ridiculous numbers last season (many career bests), but he also takes the mound against a AA team (not even good enough to call them AAA). The Rays lost their two best hitters against lefties (Evan Longoria and Steven Souza) and also lost Corey Dickerson. Sale should flirt with 27 strikeouts here.
Danny Duffy ($7,700)
- 21.4% Strikeout Rate (20.5% vs R, 25.2% vs L)
- 6.7% Walk Rate (7.2% vs R, 4.7% vs L)
- 0.80 HR/9
- 29.8% Hard Contact % (32.1% vs R, 18.7% vs L)
The Opponent: Chicago White Sox vs LHP
- 0.331 wOBA (9th)
- 0.159 ISO (19th)
- 21.2% Strikeout Rate (18th)
The current White Sox lineup has a lifetime 0.337 batting average (58/185) against Duffy with a 0.366 wOBA, a 0.459 SLG%, but only 2 HRs.
The Verdict: GPP Only
After a down 2017, Duffy looks to bounce back right away against the White Sox. His strikeout rate from last season is right in line with Chicago’s vs LHP, so you can expect about 8 Ks here (his 2017 season average). Jose Abreu has historically destroyed Duffy (15/43 in his career), but the rest of this lineup is nothing to fret about. There’s enough risk here to fade in cash (as you can see by Chicago’s effectiveness vs LHP), but Duffy is a great GPP play.
Chase Anderson ($7,600)
- 23.4% Strikeout Rate (22.1% vs R, 25.1% vs L)
- 7.2% Walk Rate (7.5% vs R, 6.9% vs L)
- 31.7% Hard Contact% (32.6% vs R, 30.5% vs L)
- 0.89 HR/9
The Opponent: San Diego Padres vs RHP
- 0.299 wOBA (29th)
- 0.161 ISO (23rd)
- 25.3% Strikeout Rate (2nd highest)
The current Padres lineup owns a lifetime 0.220 batting average, 0.256 SLG% and 0.296 wOBA vs Anderson, with 11 Ks in 66 ABs.
The Verdict: Strong cash game pivot
If you don’t like spending top dollar for starting pitching, I think that Chase Anderson is the best play on the board. He gets a great park shift heading to Petco. and takes on a Padres lineup that has been a lineup to pick on for the last 2-3 years. The addition of Eric Hosmer and Freddy Galvis add a bit of pop to the lineup, but with such a high-octane offense backing Anderson up, the W bonus should be almost guaranteed here.
Patrick Corbin ($6,400)
- 21.6% Strikeout rate (21.8% at home, 21.3% on the road)
- 7.4% Walk rate (7.9% at home, 6.8% on the road)
- 31.6% Hard contact% (31.8% at home, 31.3% on the road)
- 1.23 HR/9 (0.61 at home, 1.97 on the road)
The Opponent: Colorado Rockies vs LHP
- 0.345 wOBA (3rd)
- 23.2% Strikeout rate (9th highest)
- 0.190 ISO (3rd)
The current Rockies lineup has a 0.264 wOBA and a 0.275 average against Patrick Corbin. In their last two meetings, however, Corbin has pitched 12 innings, surrendering only 2 earned runs with 11 Ks.
The Verdict: Strong GPP play
Corbin clocks in as my favorite GPP play on the day. The Rockies lineup is potent, we all know that. But the home/road splits and history against the Rockies (especially the last 2 games), are noteworthy. Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez losing the platoon advantage strengthens his case and Nolan Arenado’s career 0.242 wOBA and 0.176 AVG against Corbin helps even more. There’s definitely risk here, but I love Corbin in GPPs, especially pairing him with Arenado in the same line for leverage.
Thank you for reading and good luck in your Opening Day DFS contests!