It’s the weekend and that means loaded early-only slates for MLB DFSers!
Early-only slates are often times my favorite in MLB, because it allows you to tilt from early afternoon all the way until you fall asleep constantly refreshing your main slate MLB and NBA lineups. Hopefully, after reading this article, it will also give you some added bankroll to attack the main slates with.
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 between that the opponent holds against Pitcher X
- “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!
*All Stats are 2018 numbers
Zack Greinke ($9,500)
- 40.9% Strikeout rate (50.0% vs L, 33.3% vs R)
- 53.8% Hard-contact% (20.0% vs L, 75.0% vs R)
- 23.1% GB rate (0.0% vs L, 37.5% vs R)
- wOBA – (0.298 v L, 0.254 vs R)
The Opponent: St. Louis Cardinals vs RHP
- 0.320 wOBA (11th)
- 0.180 ISO (9th)
- 26.7% K rate (5th highest)
The current Cardinals roster is batting a lifetime 0.248 vs Greinke with a 0.310 wOBA and 32 strikeouts in 105 at-bats.
The Verdict: Cash Game Chalk, viable in all formats
If you combined Greinke’s ridiculous strikeout performance from last game and the fact that he’s shown positive regression over the last year, he should find himself to be a rather chalk option tonight.
The unusually high hard-contact% and unusually low GB% from his first start will begin to regress to their norms, and the fact that the Cards are striking out at a 26.7% clip bodes very well for Greinke’s heightened K numbers over the last year.
Sonny Gray ($8,800)
- 38.1% Strikeout rate (42.9% vs L, 35.7% vs R)
- 40.0% Hard-contact% (0.0% vs L, 57.1% vs R)
- 70.0% GB% (33.3% vs L, 85.7% vs R)
- wOBA – 0.353 vs L, 0.416 vs R
The Opponent: Baltimore Orioles vs RHP
- 0.250 wOBA (28th)
- 0.122 ISO (23rd)
- 29.0% K Rate (2nd highest)
The current Orioles roster has a career 0.333 batting average and 0.392 wOBA vs Gray with 26 strikeouts in 108 plate appearances.
The Verdict: Viable in all formats, my personal top option
Gray isn’t ever a popular fantasy pitcher, but he was able to rack up 8 Ks in only 4 IP last outing. He allowed 7 hits, but was able to keep the ball on the ground (85.7% GB rate vs RHB), limiting the damage to 1 earned run.
The Orioles have started to come around lately, but they still have a putrid 29% strikeout rate and have struggled to hit the ball for power, posting a 0.122 ISO. If Gray can build on his solid strikeout rate and keep the ball on the ground, there’s no reason he shouldn’t have a dominate outing and a win here.
Gio Gonzalez ($8,500)
- 29.2% K rate (30.0% vs L, 28.6% vs R)
- 43.8% Hard-contact% (42.9% vs L, 44.4% vs R)
- 4.2% BB rate (0.0% vs L, 7.1% vs R)
- wOBA – 0.305 vs L, 0.204 vs R)
The Opponent: New York Mets vs LHP
- 0.368 wOBA (8th)
- 0.071 ISO (29th)
- 25.0% K rate (13th)
The current Mets roster is batting a lifetime 0.226 with a 0.295 wOBA against Gonzalez with 36 Ks in 184 plate appearances. The only player that smashes Gonzalez is none other than Yoenis Cespedes (0.538 average in 13 ABs)
The Verdict: Cash game pivot, strong GPP play
I absolutely love the upside for Gio here. His strikeout rates have been elite since the beginning of 2017 and we seem to be seeing a late-career renaissance. The Mets strike out a decent amount and possess little power against lefties this season, making this all the more attractive.
Wilmer Flores, the Mets lefty killer, will be chalky on FanDuel due to his min-salary, and hedging him with Gio is a fantastic way to get yourself some leverage on the rest of the field.
Rick Porcello ($8,300)
- 17.4% K rate (30.8% vs L, 0.0% vs R)
- 4.4% BB rate (0.0% vs L, 10.0% vs R)
- 16.7% Hard-contact% (22.2% vs L, 11.1% vs R)
- wOBA – 0.137 vs L, 0.463 vs R
The Opponent: Tampa Bay Rays vs RHP
- 0.290 wOBA (23rd)
- 0.107 ISO (26th)
- 25.9% K rate (7th highest)
The current Rays lineup has a lifetime 0.268 batting average and 0.313 wOBA in 208 plate appearances against Porcello with 31 strikeouts.
The Verdict: Low-end cash play, safe floor/low ceiling
Porcello is a boring play, but a safe one nonetheless. He’s not going to go out and get you 11 Ks in 7 dominant innings, but he will contain the Rays and manage the game.
His strikeout rate both this season and against the Rays is lower than we’d like, but the Rays current 25.9% strikeout rate should negate that a bit.
There isn’t one player in this lineup that scares me and if I had to bet my money on ONE pitcher that I’m positive will get a W tonight, Porcello would likely be the guy.
Thank you for reading and good luck in your contests!