We have nine games on tonight’s main FanDuel slate, and in terms of pitching, there’s one play that stands head and shoulders above the rest. We also have several pitchers worth targeting with our hitters, and a game at Coors Field that we’ll want to have plenty of exposure to. Let’s dive more into the plays and see who today’s top options are.
Yu Darvish, Los Angeles Dodgers, $10,400 – Darvish is the clear number one play today at starting pitcher. He faces a woeful White Sox offense that ranks 28th in team wOBA and 23rd in team ISO against right-handed pitching. They’re also striking out at a 23% clip and rank second-to-last in walk rate. Darvish, meanwhile, is striking out 28.8% of lefties and 26.3% of righties. He’ll face a balanced mix of both in what should be an easy win. He should be in the first guy in your cash game lineup, and I would go overweight on him in tournaments as there is a very steep drop in pitcher quality after him.
Marcus Stroman, Toronto Blue Jays, $8,800 – Stroman is hovering around a 20% strikeout rate, which normally isn’t very exciting, but he draws a terrific matchup against a Rays team that is striking out 25.1% of the time against right-handed pitching. Only the Brewers are striking out more. The Rays do have power, and there’s no way I would recommend using Stroman over Darvish in cash games, but if you want to play the Darvish fade and save a bit while maintaining some upside, I really strike Stroman as he should neutralize Tampa’s power with his elite ground ball rates and rack up a couple of extra punch outs given their propensity to swing and miss.
Additional Plays: Carlos Carrasco
Robinson Chirinos, Texas Rangers, $2,500 – Paying up at catcher doesn’t interesting me much today, and whenever gas can Anibal Sanchez is pitching, the opposing team is the first place I go to find hitting options. Sanchez has allowed an appalling 12 home runs while facing only 173 right-handed batters this season. His hard contact rate allowed is over 42%, and he does a very poor job keeping the ball out of the air. Pitching in Texas in the heat is a recipe for disaster for the Detroit righty, and I’m expecting the Rangers to launch multiple home runs tonight. Chirinos is a number nine hitter with a low average, so he’s not the most exciting play, but he has power and a fantastic matchup to send one into the seats.
Additional Plays: Alex Avila
Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs, $4,400 – Homer Bailey has been an absolute disaster. He sporting xFIP rates over 5.20 against both righties and lefties, striking batters out just 13% of the time, and allowing an absurd 29% line drive rate to left-handed hitters. Rizzo isn’t having quite the season that many expected, but he’s still posting a very solid .365 wOBA and .223 ISO against right-handed pitching. Given Bailey’s struggles, these numbers look extremely attractive, and I would expect Rizzo to see a ton of run-producing opportunities given Bailey’s propensity to implode.
Ian Happ, Chicago Cubs, $3,100 – The switch-hitting second baseman has shown much more power from the left side, posting a .349 wOBA and .273 ISO against right-handed pitching. His biggest weakness is his 30% strikeout rate, but that should be mitigated by Homer Bailey’s inability to generate swings and misses. Bailey is just getting mauled by everyone right now, and this one could get ugly in a hurry. Happ is the clear best per dollar play at the second base position, and he’s a cash game lock for me.
Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers, $4,200 – The ageless Beltre draws that same fantastic matchup against Anibal Sanchez that we already discussed. Beltre isn’t a 30 home run hitter anymore, but he’s still generating hard contact 37.2% of the time against right-handed hitters. He’s also sporting a .372 wOBA and .245 ISO against right-handed pitching, which makes him an elite play against Sanchez at hitter-friendly Globe Life Park. He’s worth the elevated price tag tonight as the upside is extremely high.
Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians, $3,800 – Indians lefties are all very strong plays tonight against Kyle Gibson. Gibson really struggles with left-handed hitters as he’s currently sporting a 5.47 xFIP, 13.7% strikeout rate, and 10.5% walk rate. He’s also allowing a 35.6% hard contact rate. Lindor’s numbers against lefties are better this season, but we can attribute much of that to the fact that his BABIP against lefties is nearly 100 points higher. His 31.7% hard contact rate is solid, and given the strength of the offense around him and how weak Kyle Gibson is, he’s a top play at a very weak shortstop position.
Jay Bruce, Cleveland Indians, $3,300 – Bruce’s .372 wOBA and .267 ISO are terrific on their own, and when you match him up with a below average starting pitcher like Kyle Gibson who can’t get lefties out reliably, he becomes an elite play. He’s very affordable, has a ton of upside, and bats in the middle of a very strong Indians lineup that could put up a very gaudy run total tonight.
Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs, $3,500 – Don’t let the sub .200 batting average scare you away, Schwarber is still sporting a .325 wOBA and .254 ISO against right-handed pitching this season. Further, much of his struggles are related to an elevated strikeout rate, and since we already established that Homer Bailey has extremely poor strikeout stuff right now, the risk of an unproductive out drops significantly. Schwarber has a ton of power, and given the fact that he’s likely to make a lot of hard contact against Bailey’s pitches, he has significant home run potential tonight. He’s likely more of a tournament play, but he’s a strong one.
Justin Upton, Detroit Tigers, $4,000 – I love Upton as a tournament play as I believe he will be extremely low-owned due to the mirage that is Cole Hamels’s season numbers. Hamels’s strikeout rates are atrocious, his SIERA is well over a full run higher than his ERA, and he’s lucked his way to success with unsustainably low BABIP rates. He’s allowing a 38% hard contact rate to right-handed batters, and Upton just happens to be having a fantastic season against lefties. He’s sporting a .465 wOBA and .333 ISO, and these elite numbers make him one of my top tournament plays against Hamels.