FanDuel Pitching Primer: Tuesday 8/10/21

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. Which pitchers should you consider on today's main slate?

High-Salaried Play

Alex Wood, San Francisco Giants

Vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
FanDuel Salary: $8,600

On a monster main slate, it's interesting parsing through the high-end options. The highest-salaried pitcher, Max Scherzer ($10,600), faces a Philadelphia Phillies offense that's been one of the league's best of late (sixth in wOBA over the last 30 days), and Aaron Nola ($9,900) has an even more difficult matchup on the other side of that game.

While you can make a solid case for Sean Manaea against the Cleveland Indians, I find myself leaning toward Alex Wood.

A big part of my interest in Wood stems from a juicy matchup with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Over the last 30 days, Arizona ranks 24th in wOBA (.307) with the 5th-highest strikeout rate (24.6%). Across the last week, they sport the second-worst wOBA and pair that with a massive 30.3% strikeout rate, the third-highest.

Wood's season-long numbers check out. He's carrying a 3.77 SIERA and 25.1% strikeout rate. The lone concern is pitch count as Wood has gone just 80 and 68 pitches in his last two games, but that was mostly due to a lack of effectiveness in a pair of four-run outings. That shouldn't be an issue tonight against the Snakes.

Mid-Salaried Play

Casey Mize, Detroit Tigers

At Baltimore Orioles
FanDuel Salary: $7,600

The mid-range isn't all that appealing today, but one notable standout is Casey Mize.

While Mize will need to tame the beast of Camden Yards, it is not quite as intimidating when you consider the recent performance of the Baltimore Orioles. Over the last week, the O's have logged a mere 4.3% walk rate while striking out out at a 23.1% clip.

Mize, meanwhile, has thrived with a 50.0% ground-ball rate this season. His 19.2% strikeout rate leaves a little to be desired, but among the guys at $8,000 and below, there just isn't much out there outside of Carlos Carrasco, who has been on a tight pitch count in his first starts off the injured list.

Low-Salaried Play

Steven Brault, Pittsburgh Pirates

Vs. St. Louis Cardinals
FanDuel Salary: $6,500

The St. Louis Cardinals just aren't a good team, and their offensive metrics showcase as much. Over the last week, they sport a lowly .133 ISO mark with a .327 wOBA.

That makes Steven Brault worth thinking about in the value tier.

The Pittsburgh Pirates' lefty could be off of the radar for many as he has only recently returned to game action, but last season, Brault allowed only 0.42 homers per nine with a respectable 21.8% strikeout rate. He's tied for the best win projection, per our model, among hurlers salaried below $7,000.

There isn't much upside here, but Brault is someone I'll consider if I'm looking for a low-salary arm.

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.