WATCH: BvP BREAKDOWN
Today’s main slate features 11 games and starts at 7:05 pm ET. Here’s a data-driven breakdown featuring five key stats, courtesy of FantasyLabs Editor-in-Chief, Matthew Freedman.
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.
8.1 K Prediction – Corey Kluber
The slate’s most expensive pitcher at $12,500, Kluber will probably be the stud whom DraftKings players choose to roster, although there are cases to be made for Michael Pineda ($11,100) and Ervin Santana ($10,300). Pineda is second in the slate with a 7.0 K Prediction, and the Yankees are favored by 0.6 runs over the Angels, who are implied for a slate-low 3.7 runs. Pitching at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Pineda is third on the slate with an 83 Park Factor. Similarly, Santana is a viable pivot option from Kluber in that the Twins are favored over the Mariners by 0.8 runs, and on the season Santana has been a strong producer with his 8-3 record and 2.20 ERA. The problem with Santana is that the Mariners are still implied for 4.9 runs, and he has a weak 5.2 K Prediction. Pineda and Santana both may be viable, but neither is desirable in comparison to Kluber.
In his two starts since returning to action after spending a month on the disabled list with a back injury, Kluber has looked good. Despite likely being on a pitch count in his first start (June 1) and throwing only 77 pitches, Kluber seems to have returned to form. In his second start (June 9th) Kluber threw 98 pitches. Across the two games, he struck out 18 batters and had a 1.0 WHIP while allowing three earned runs in 12 innings. He also put up some fantastic Statcast data, holding hitters to a batted ball distance of 180 feet, exit velocity of 83 miles per hour and hard-hit rate of 16 percent. Unsurprisingly, Kluber leads the slate with an 8.1 K Prediction, and the Indians are favored at home by 0.7 runs over the Dodgers, who (like the Angels vs. Pineda) are implied for a slate-low 3.7 runs.
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. Historically, when Kluber has pitched at home with a comparable K Prediction and opponent implied total, he’s averaged a +4.09 Plus/Minus with a 54.5 percent Consistency Rating. Kluber’s likely to be chalky. Just be sure to monitor the weather as lineup lock approaches. As of writing, the Dodgers-Indians game has a 50 percent chance of light rain.
92 Recent Batted Ball Luck Score – Matt Garza
Returning from the disabled list after exiting his June 3rd outing early with a chest contusion suffered via an in-game collision, Garza isn’t a high-upside strikeout pitcher — especially at this stage of his career — but he’s a solid veteran priced at only $5,200 and carrying a respectable 3.83 ERA on the season. Although there are lots of obvious reasons for not playing him this slate — he has an embarrassing 4.9 K Prediction and is on the road against the Cardinals, who are favored by 1.1 runs and implied for 5.1 runs — Garza is a strategic contrarian play. He will likely have low ownership and provide some leverage against the Cardinals. At least he has a beneficial Park Factor of 77 at Busch Stadium.
On top of that, it’s likely that Garza — who was on a string of unproductive starts before his injury — has been unlucky lately and could be in line for positive regression. 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. Garza has made only one start in that time period, but of all the slate’s starting pitchers he has the slate’s highest mark at +92: Even though he’s in the bottom eight percent of recent fantasy production, he’s in the top eight percent of all pitchers in batted ball distance. Before exiting his June 3rd start, Garza was pitching well, holding opposing hitters to slate-low marks with a batted ball distance of 132 feet and exit velocity of 81 miles per hour. Even as underdogs with similar opponent implied totals, pitchers comparable to Garza in Recent Batted Ball Luck have historically averaged a +3.49 Plus/Minus and 69.4 percent Consistency Rating with only a 1.6 percent ownership rate in large-field guaranteed prize pools.
Garza’s not a great pitcher, but his chances of significantly exceeding value are probably greater than 1.6 percent.
10-12 Pro Trends – Eddie Rosario, Yulieski Gurriel and Matt Carpenter
At FantasyLabs we have what are called “Pro Trends” — angles we’ve identified that historically yield value. Even though he hadn’t batted in a run over the last half-month till yesterday, Rosario leads the slate with 12 Pro Trends, and he’s followed by Gurriel and Carpenter, who have 11 and 10 Pro Trends. I’ll highlight Rosario later, but for now, Gurriel and Carpenter deserve some coverage.
Projected to bat seventh, Gurriel is an afterthought in the Astros lineup, especially since he might be squeezed out of Astros stacks by No. 2 hitter Marwin Gonzalez, a switch-hitter with eligibility at Gurriel’s position of first base. As a result, Gurriel could be a differentiating player in lineups that heavily roster the Astros, who are second in the slate with 5.3 projected runs. Batters comparable to Gurriel in lineup spot and Pro Trends historically average a +1.80 Plus/Minus and 48.6 percent Consistency Rating.
Unlike Gurriel, Carpenter is likely to be popular as the leadoff batter for the Cardinals, who are fifth on the slate with 5.1 runs. However high his ownership rate is, Carpenter will likely deserve the exposure. Although he has only a .233 batting average, he’s still slugging the ball with 12 home runs on the season, and over the last half-month, he’s crushed with a batted ball distance of 254 feet. Historically, batters comparable to Carpenter in lineup spot, Pro Trends and Statcast data have averaged 9.98 DraftKings points and a +1.89 Plus/Minus.
65 Park Factor – Right-Handed Orioles and White Sox
Park Factor is a 0-to-100 FantasyLabs metric that measures the friendliness of a park based on the handedness of the batter and the starting pitcher. With no games at Coors and Chase Fields — or even Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards or Globe Life Park — this slate doesn’t have a venue that dramatically juices hitting production. Nevertheless, the righties at Guaranteed Rate Field (a.k.a. Comiskey Park in Chicago’s south side) lead the slate with a Park Factor of 65. Home to the big sticks of Frank Thomas in the 1990s and Paul Konerko in the 2000s, this venue has witnessed a lot of right-handed power since opening in 1991. With distances of 330 feet to the left-field foul pole and 375 feet to left-center field, Guaranteed Rate Field is historically friendly to righties.
Combining for 24 runs in the first two games of this series, the Orioles and White Sox — especially the Orioles — have upside. Tied for second in the slate with 5.3 implied runs, the Orioles are facing righty Miguel Gonzalez, who in his last eight starts is 1-7 with a 6.56 ERA. Even though they are without left-handed slugger Chris Davis, who was recently placed on the disabled list with an oblique strain, the Orioles still have plenty of potential, as the batters in the top half of their order — the lefty Seth Smith and the righties Adam Jones, Manny Machado, Mark Trumbo and Trey Mancini — combine to hit right-handed pitching well. With a Weather Rating of 70, the Orioles are primed to punish.
Historically, batters in the top half of the lineup with comparable team totals and Weather Ratings have averaged a +1.13 Plus/Minus with a 45.0 percent Consistency Rating.
89 Team Value Rating – Twins
Team Value Rating is a 0-to-100 grade showing a team’s value based on its implied run total and collective salaries. The Twins lead the slate with an implied total of 5.7 runs and a high Team Value Rating of 89. Going against Mariners’ rookie righty Sam Gaviglio, the Twins are in a good spot. Although Gaviglio has an impressive ERA of only 2.67 in his five starts, he’s last on the slate with his 5.0 K/9 and third to last with his 1.67 HR/9. Additionally, he’s yet to make it into the seventh inning in any of his starts. If he’s unable to pitch deep into the game, the Twins would have the opportunity to leverage their Opponent Bullpen Rating of 91 by facing the overworked Mariners relievers for multiple at-bats per hitter. They aren’t cheap — Brian Dozier, Robbie Grossman, Joe Mauer and Miguel Sano are collectively $17,500 — but the Twins are likely to slug at Target Field, where the wind is blowing to left field at nine miles per hour.
While the Twins are likely to be popular, it is possible to stack them in a contrarian way with the aforementioned Rosario, who is batting eighth. Wonderfully cheap at just $2,700 and (again) leading the slate with 12 Pro Trends, the left-handed Rosario is on the positive side of his splits with his team-high .155 ISO differential. Crushing the ball over the last 15 days, Rosario has a batted ball distance of 252 feet over that span. Batters comparable to Rosario on the basis of lineup spot, Pro Trends and Statcast data have historically averaged a +2.21 Plus/Minus and 48.6 percent Consistency Rating.
Although Rosario might have an inflated ownership rate today because of his three home runs yesterday, it’s probable that he will still have limited exposure because of his spot in the batting order.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mefreedman) 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.