3/31 FanDuel MLB Pitching Breakdown: They Got Nothin’ on Yuuuu Baby!

It’s day 3 of MLB and I haven’t seen any “MLB sucks bro, can’t wait for NFL” tweets yet so I would say this season is off to a roaring start!

The humidor in Arizona, while only through 2 games, seems to have had little to no effect on the offensive output (17 total runs last night) and Giancarlo Stanton is still on pace for 162 homers.

Our team of analysts and patrons has quietly been off to a super hot start in MLB in both cash and GPP formats. If you have an urge to perfect your way of play, or just want to join an awesome community, check out our membership tiers over at Patreon.com/FanCave and sign up for as little as $5 per month.

Today’s main slate is smaller than the previous two, giving us less attractive options at the pitching position and frankly, only three that I would consider playing, as listed below.

As a refresher, here is how I am breaking down my pitching article:

  • “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.

Good luck in your MLB DFS games today and let’s go make some cheese!

*Batting stats are 2018 numbers, Pitching stats are 2017 numbers

Top Tier

Yu Darvish ($9,400)

The Metrics (2017):

  • 27.3% Strikeout Rate (26.9% vs L, 27.6% vs R)
  • 33.1% Hard-Contact% (34.5% vs L, 31.6% vs R)
  • 3.71 SIERA
  • wOBA – 0.333 vs L, 0.260 vs R

The Opponent: Miami Marlins (vs RHP in 2018)

  • 0.241 wOBA (23rd)
  • 0.017 ISO (28th)
  • 0.250 BABIP (21st)
  • 22.1% Strikeout rate (19th)

The History:

The current Miami Marlins lineup is a lifetime 2/17 (0.118) against Darvish with a 0.211 wOBA, 0 home runs and 10 Ks in 20 plate appearances.

The Verdict: Cash Game Chalk/Lock

Darvish had a rather pedestrian (if not worse) 2017 season, but after a fully healthy spring, there’s no reason he shouldn’t bounce back this season. His strikeout rate dipped to 27.3% from north of 30% in 2016, but that’s still nothing to scoff at. My one concern with Darvish is the amount of hard contact he gave up last season and his 1.30 HR/9, but this isn’t a Marlins lineup that I expect to exploit that.

The Cubs/Marlins game last night lasted 5 hours and 18 minutes as it took 17 innings for the Marlins to snag a 2-1 victory. The Cubs used a total of FIVE pitchers from their bullpen in this game, leaving Darvish win the opportunity to eat up a ton of innings today against a lineup that should be absolutely gassed tonight.

Mid Tier

Kenta Maeda ($8,300)

The Metrics (2017):

  • 19.0% Strikeout Rate (17.6% vs L, 32.6% vs R)
  • 283% Hard-Contact% (28.2% vs L, 28.5% vs R)
  • 3.79 SIERA
  • wOBA – 0.331 vs L, 0.275 vs R

The Opponent: San Francisco Giants (vs RHP in 2018)

  • 0.219 wOBA (27th)
  • 0.300 ISO (2nd)
  • 30.0% Strikeout Rate (6th highest)
  • 0.000 BABIP (30th)

The History:

The current Giants lineup is a lifetime 18/64 (0.281) against Maeda with a 0.388 wOBA, 0.562 SLG% and 4 home runs, but has also struck out in 17 of those 64 at-bats.

The Verdict: Safe Cash Game Pivot

If you opt to save a bit of salary at the position and want some stability, I think that Maeda is a fine bet. He, like Darvish, had a disappointing 2017 season, but all signs are pointing to positive regression.

He had some rather heavy reverse splits last season (as shown in his K-rate splits) and gets a right-handed heavy Giants lineup tonight. On top of the heightened strikeout upside, The Giants are pitching a gas-can in Derek Holland tonight, making Maeda a rather heavy -210 favorite (per FantasyLabs).

Low Tier

Lucas Giolito ($7,400)
The Metrics (2017):
  • 19.0% Strikeout Rate (17.7% vs L, 20.2% vs R)
  • 35.4% Hard-Contact% (30.3% vs L, 40.6% vs R)
  • 4.49 SIERA
  • wOBA – (0.270 vs L, 0.283 vs R)

The Opponent: Kansas City Royals (vs RHP in 2018)

  • 0.316 wOBA (14th)
  • 0.167 ISO (11th)
  • 3.0% Strikeout Rate (30th)

The History:

The current Kansas City Royals have a lifetime 0.118 batting average (5/28) against Giolito with a 0.231 wOBA and 5 Ks.

The Verdict: Strong GPP Play, Risky cash game flier

The hype around this kid is real. From 2016-2017, Giolito raised his strikeout rate 9% (from 10% to 19%), cut his SIERA by over 1.00, and saw his hard-contact% decrease as well. The strides he’s making are blatantly obvious. He followed up his improved 2017 this spring, Giolito posting a 2.04 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 17 innings while only walking 4 batters, showing that 2018 might be his breakout season.

He gets the Kansas City Royals tonight, who have been rather hot, making this more of a GPP play with immense upside due to his history of success with this lineup. Giolito is one of those players that you won’t want to fall behind the masses on, so you might as well get ahead and roster him tonight in a GPP.


Thank you for reading and good luck in your contests!


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