FanDuel Pitching Primer: Tuesday 5/10/22
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?
Jesus Luzardo, Miami Marlins
At Arizona Diamondbacks
FanDuel Salary: $10,000
In my eyes, Jesus Luzardo is probably the best play of this slate's high-salary pitchers.
In a minute, we will dive into why some of the other high-salary options are picks I'm not in love with, but if there's one I am cool rostering, the young southpaw is it. While he has struggled with free passes (11.4% walk rate), he has been outstanding with a 33.1% strikeout rate. That gives him a huge ceiling each time out.
He also has the best matchup of any of the high-salary arms on the day, squaring off with the Arizona Diamondbacks. They are among the league's worst offenses with a 25.1% strikeout rate (fourth-worst) and .287 wOBA (eighth-worst).
Luzardo is a strong play.
Corey Kluber, Tampa Bay Rays
at Los Angeles Angels
FanDuel Salary: $8,500
I'm drawn to the midrange on this slate. Here's why.
Starting at the top on FanDuel, Kyle Wright ($10,900) headlines the high-salary plays, but he faces a Boston Red Sox that is the 10th-hardest team to strike out. Next up is Justin Verlander ($10,800), but with Byron Buxton back, the Minnesota Twins' offense has surged to the tune of a .318 wOBA and .152 isolated power (ISO). Other arms over $10,000 include Joe Ryan and Lucas Giolito, but both have tough matchups.
So if I don't go with Luzardo, I may go for Corey Kluber. He's far lower in salary (just the 10th-highest on the day), and the matchup is tantalizing. The Los Angeles Angels are powerful (.330 wOBA, .172 ISO), but they also give us the strikeout upside (24.7%, seventh-highest) we so desperately crave.
In his age-36 season, Kluber has turned back the clock. He's recorded a solid 23.8% strikeout rate, and that is is paired with a 30.1% hard-hit rate, leading to a stellar 2.97 SIERA on the year.
By no means is this an easy matchup, but the Tampa Bay Rays' stud could be a unique pick tonight.
Brad Keller, Kansas City Royals
at Texas Rangers
FanDuel Salary: $9,000
Normally, a $9,000 option doesn't fall into the mid-tier, but today, it does. And Brad Keller could make for a spicy play.
Keller faces a Texas Rangers offense that added thumpers Marcus Semien and Corey Seager, but Texas isn't swinging it well so far. They are the owners of a dreadful .280 wOBA and .117 ISO -- numbers that rank among the league's worst.
Keller's 1.74 ERA is wildly unsustainable due to his 16.5% strikeout rate, but here is why we can be bullish on Keller, both in the short-term and long-term. He induces a ton of ground-balls (51.1% rate), and his 6.8% barrel rate shows that he is extremely hard to square up.
All of those things considered, he makes for a very interesting option on today's challenging pitching platter.
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.