WATCH: BvP BREAKDOWN
Today’s main slate features 13 games and starts at 7:05 pm ET. Here’s a data-driven breakdown featuring five key stats, courtesy of FantasyLabs contributor, Matt LaMarca.
FantasyLabs is a daily fantasy tool and real-time analytics platform that enables players to test theories, create and backtest models and construct customized lineups. In this piece, I leverage the same tools used by co-founders Jonathan Bales and Peter Jennings (CSURAM88) for each slate.
8.3 K Prediction – Max Scherzer
Scherzer has been absolutely dominant over his last eight starts, going at least seven innings and striking out double-digit batters in all but one of them. At FantasyLabs we have a proprietary Plus/Minus metric that measures actual vs. expected fantasy production based on the historical performances of previous players at comparable salaries. Despite owning one of the highest salaries on DraftKings, he’s posted a ridiculous Plus/Minus of +15.97 in his last eight outings. Basically, he’s been the best pitcher in baseball for the better part of six weeks.
Unsurprisingly, he leads the slate in a lot of pitching categories. In addition to having the highest K Prediction, he has slate-best marks with his opponent implied total of 3.1 runs and margin of victory of +1.9 runs. Pitchers with comparable numbers in all three categories have typically been awesome values with a historical Plus/Minus of +3.56. His Statcast data over his last two starts is also solid, with a batted ball distance of 209 feet, exit velocity of 88 miles per hour and hard hit rate of 34 percent.
As if that weren’t enough, Scherzer also has home-plate umpire Chad Whitson, who has historically rewarded pitchers with a Plus/Minus of +1.23. Scherzer will likely be popular on a day with plenty of appealing options, but with the way he’s been pitching, it’s hard to consider fading him.
-86 Recent Batted Ball Luck – Carlos Martinez
Martinez has been excellent for most of the season, owning a 3.15 ERA and a 10.02 K/9, and he’s averaged a nice Plus/Minus of +4.65 over his last 10 starts. He has an opponent implied team total of 3.7 runs in today’s matchup against the Mets, although a tough pitching matchup against deGrom has made him a small favorite of only +0.2 runs. Still, given how well he’s done from a fantasy perspective this season, he should be a relatively popular option on this slate.
Digging deeper, however, it’s fair to question if Martinez has actually pitched as well as his recent results suggest. At FantasyLabs, we have a Recent Batted Ball Luck metric that measures the difference between a player’s percentile rank in batted ball distance and fantasy scoring over the past 15 days. Martinez has an absolutely terrifying mark of -86 thanks to some horrid Statcast data over his last three starts. He’s posted 15-day/12-month distance, exit velocity and hard hit differentials of +36 feet, +5 miles per hour and +7 percentage points, and pitchers with comparable differentials have a historical Plus/Minus of -1.28. He’s likely due for some regression, and the Mets own the fourth-lowest strikeout rate against right-handed pitchers on the year: this could be a spot where more balls than usual are put in play against him.
12 Pro Trends – Paul Goldschmidt
At Fantasy Labs we have what are called “Pro Trends” — angles we’ve identified that historically yield value. Paul Goldschmidt leads today’s slate with 12 Pro Trends, which has historically yielded a Plus/Minus of +2.50. The Diamondbacks are currently implied for 5.3 runs, a solid total but one that ranks only eighth on what is expected to be a high-scoring day.
Goldschmidt has actually been a pretty bad producer in terms of fantasy points lately with an average Plus/Minus of -3.06 over his last 10 games. His recent Statcast data, however, paints a different picture, with 15-day/12-month distance and hard hit differentials of +12 feet and +3 percentage points. Those numbers aren’t elite marks by any means, but he’s definitely not hitting poorly. He returns home to Chase Field today, which might be just what he needs from a fantasy perspective: he’s averaged a historical Plus/Minus of +1.52 when playing at home.
Opposing pitcher Tim Adelman has also allowed 1.96 homers per nine innings over the past 12 months — the second-worst mark on the slate — and his right-handedness puts Goldschmidt on the positive side of his batting splits. Given his poor recent production and the plethora of high-scoring teams on the slate, Goldschmidt could be owned at a lower than normal rate.
100 Park Factor – White Sox and Rockies
Park Factor is a 0-to-100 FantasyLabs metric that measures the friendliness of a park based on the handedness of the batter. Coors Field is the mecca for batters in daily fantasy baseball, affording both left and right-handed batters a perfect Park Factor of 100. Batters at Coors have historically dominated, averaging more fantasy points (9.02) and a higher Plus/Minus (+1.21) there than at any other stadium in the league. Of course, these batters also have the highest average ownership rates, so when playing hitters at Coors doing so in a contrarian manner is more important than usual.
The Rockies lead the slate with an absolutely massive implied team total of 6.6 runs, which will likely result in high ownership. Intriguingly, batters at Coors with comparable implied team totals have a historical Plus/Minus of just +0.32 — nearly 75 percent less than the baseline Plus/Minus at Coors — and their average ownership of 16.9 percent is massive. Additionally, not a single projected starter has a positive 15-day/12-month distance differential, and four batters have differentials of -22 feet or worse. Opposing pitcher Derek Holland hasn’t been great this season with an ERA of 4.52 through his first 16 starts, but there’s reason to believe he’s been better than his recent numbers suggest. He’s posted an incredible distance differential of -41 feet over his last two starts. Some fade consideration is definitely warranted here.
The White Sox’ implied total of 5.4 runs ranks just sixth on the day and should make their average ownership much more manageable. Leadoff hitter Adam Engel is particularly cheap at only $3,800, and comparably priced leadoff hitters at Coors have a historical Plus/Minus of +2.25. Third baseman Todd Frazier is in the best recent form among the White Sox batters with 15-day/12-month distance, exit velocity and hard hit differentials of +11 feet, +1 mile per hour and +7 percentage points. Batters with comparable differentials at Coors have a historical Plus/Minus of +1.88. Finally, catcher Carlos Sanchez could be a potential differentiator for White Sox stacks. Projected to bat sixth, Sanchez is on the positive side of his batting splits against Rockies starter German Marquez, owning a .321 wOBA and .164 ISO against right-handed pitchers over the past 12 months.
94 Team Value Rating – New York Yankees
Team Value Rating is a 0-to-100 grade showing a team’s value based on its implied run total and collective salaries. The Yankees own the slate’s most expensive hitter in Aaron Judge at $5,600, but besides him, they’re relatively cheap with five projected starters priced at $3,500 or less. They trail only the Rockies on the day with an implied team total of 6.2 runs, and they’ve averaged the third-highest Plus/Minus this season when playing at home.
It feels as if Judge homers on every slate, and predictably his Statcast data over his last 14 games is impressive: 251-foot distance, 95 mph exit velocity and 50 percent hard hit rate. He’s also moved up to the second spot in the batting order relatively recently, and batters with comparable recent Statcast data and lineup spots have a historical Plus/Minus of +1.88. Leadoff hitter Brett Gardner has the best 15-day/12-month distance differential of all Yankees at +19 feet, and leadoff hitters with a comparable differential have a historical Plus/Minus of +1.00. Those two batters will likely be chalky, but Ji-Man Choi could be a contrarian option for a Yankee’s stacks. He’s played only one game for the Yankees so far this season, but he has an excellent 12-month ISO split of .239.
Opposing pitcher Junior Guerra has been horrible recently, allowing an average batted ball distance of 256 feet over his last two starts. If the Yankees can get past him early they’ll have a chance to take on one of the most overworked bullpens in the league. At FantasyLabs we have a 0-to-100 Opponent Bullpen Strength metric that measures how overworked an opposing bullpen has been over the last three days. The Yankees current rating of 88 is the highest mark on the day.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.