FanDuel Pitching Primer: Monday 8/19/19
In daily fantasy baseball, success starts with nailing the starting pitcher spot in your lineup.
When compared to hitters, pitching performance tends to be much more predictable and stable throughout the course of the season. You know what you're getting from a top-level ace when you roster him: probably a dominant effort with only one or two implosions per season. In contrast, even the game's best hitters have days at the plate when they go 0-for-4.
As a result, lineup construction should begin with the starting pitcher. Each day we will highlight a starter to consider from each pricing tier, and we'll also look at one contrarian play for tournaments. Who should you consider on today's main slate?
Trevor Bauer, Cleveland Indians
vs. San Diego Padres
FanDuel Price: $10,200
There's no skirting around it -- owning Trevor Bauer has been a challenging exercise in 2019, to say the least. Perhaps 2018 was a career year, but if you banked on monster efforts from the right-hander and he gave you a stinkbomb like last time out, it likely ruined your lineups.
Over Bauer's last four starts, he's actually been pretty mediocre, averaging only 22 FanDuel points per game. But there's a reason we have him slotted in as the highest-earning arm of the day, and facing the San Diego Padres, who lead the league in strikeout rate, is a big part of that.
Bauer's 12.0% swinging-strike rate, the second-best mark of his career, shows that his swing-and-miss stuff matched with the Friars could be a match made in heaven. While he has struggled with the long ball (1.30 home runs per nine innings pitched, HR/9), his 27.6% strikeout remains strong.
It could be a volatile matchup, but Bauer definitely has a high ceiling we want to consider owning.
Marco Gonzales, Seattle Mariners
at Tampa Bay Rays
FanDuel Price: $8,700
If this matchup feels a bit familiar, it's because it is -- two starts ago, Marco Gonzales faced these same Tampa Bay Rays and walked away with a 44 point FanDuel effort, striking out nine over 6 1/3 innings pitched.
There's no reason to not expect more of the same tonight, as the southpaw faces an offense that ranks second-worst in team strikeout rate against lefties (26.1%), rank 22nd in team wOBA (.314), and 25th in fly-ball rate (33.2%).
This isn't an offense that's been white-hot against any arms recently, either -- they scored eight runs this weekend against the Detroit Tigers in four total games.
For an arm that could be primed for a big night at a cheaper price point, consider Gonzales.
Kyle Gibson, Minnesota Twins
vs. Chicago White Sox
FanDuel Price: $7,400
Over his last five starts, Gibson has recorded a 5.33 ERA and 1.67 WHIP. That's bad. But, included in that same stretch is a brilliant start against these same Chicago White Sox that he will face tonight, where he allowed only one run over six innings, fanning nine batters in the process.
And that's not a one-off -- the White Sox love to swing and miss, ranking second-worst in strikeout rate against righties (26.4%), as well as owning the second-worst ISO (.151) and third-worst wOBA (.293).
Don't fear Gibson's poor outings recently, and expect a big bounce-back effort from the righty tonight.
Matt Kupferle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matt Kupferle also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username MKupferle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.