Today’s main slate features 15 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.
11 K Prediction – Max Scherzer
Max Scherzer is on a different level than just about every pitcher in baseball right now, striking out double-digit batters and scoring at least 30 DraftKings points in six straight starts. 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 being a minimum of $12,600 for all six of those starts, he’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +17.50 over that time frame. That’s just not fair. Even against the defending champion Cubs, Scherzer is a bargain at $13,000 given how dominant he’s recently been.
Predictably, his data in this matchup is excellent. His current K Prediction of 11 is massive; it’s never been exceeded in our database and has been matched only three previous times over the past three seasons. A K Prediction of at least 10 has rewarded pitchers with a Plus/Minus of +6.31, and Scherzer also leads the slate with an opponent implied total of 3.3 runs. As if that weren’t enough, even when batters have managed to put the ball in play against Scherzer recently he’s been able to limit the damage, posting 15-day/12-month distance, exit velocity and hard hit differentials of -32 feet, -2 miles per hour and -12 percentage points. Only two other pitchers in our database have paired the same kind of strikeout upside and recent batted ball profile as Scherzer has, and they’ve had a historical Plus/Minus of +8.50 and a Consistency Rating of 100 percent.
It’s hard to overstate how good of a spot this is for Scherzer, and given the plethora of quality pitching options, it’s possible he’ll be owned at a lower rate than normal.
-96 Recent Batted Ball Luck Score – Carlos Martinez
One potential pivot to Scherzer is Carlos Martinez. He’s been almost as good as Scherzer recently with an average Plus/Minus of +7.30 over his last 10 starts. Unlike Scherzer, however, Martinez has horrible Statcast data over his past two outings with an average batted ball distance of 235 feet, exit velocity of 93 miles per hour and hard hit rate of 36 percent. 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 the worst mark on today’s slate at -96, and pitchers with comparable Rec BBL scores, salaries and recent distances have a historical Plus/Minus of -2.17 on DraftKings. Martinez is a prime candidate for negative regression.
Martinez also has a tough matchup against the Diamondbacks — their .343 wOBA against right-handed pitchers is the fifth-best mark in the league — and pitching on the road at Chase Field gives him with a low Park Factor of 49. He could have relatively low ownership on this slate, but it probably won’t be as low as it should be due to his recent fantasy production.
11 Pro Trends – Cody Bellinger and Jake Marisnick
At FantasyLabs we have what are called “Pro Trends” — angles we’ve identified that historically yield value. The batters with the most Pro Trends on today’s slate are Cody Bellinger and Jake Marisnick with 11. These are two drastically different hitters — Bellinger bats fourth and has 24 home runs on the season; Marisnick bats ninth and has a .239 batting average — but both are in terrific recent form.
Bellinger has an average Plus/Minus of +5.71 over his last 10 games, and the Dodgers are implied for 5.2 runs today. His Statcast numbers are excellent with an average distance of 255 feet, exit velocity of 97 miles per hour and hard hit rate of 65 percent over his last 13 games. Batters with comparable Statcast data and implied team totals have a historical Plus/Minus of +2.63. Opposing pitcher Jesse Chavez was roughed up for five earned runs over four innings in his last start and has allowed at least one home run in 14 of 15 starts this season.
Marisnick worked on adding more power to his swing in the offseason, and so far, the investment is paying dividends. He’s blasted 10 home runs so far this season — already a career high — and over his last nine games he’s posted 15-day/12-month distance and hard hit differentials of +55 feet and +24 percentage points. The Astros are implied for 5.0 runs today, and batters with comparable differentials, implied team totals and lineup spots have a massive +3.17 Plus/Minus and 36 percent Upside Rating. He could be minimally owned at only $3,200 and could help to differentiate Astros stacks.
67 Park Factor – Right-handed Brewers and Reds
Park Factor is a 0-to-100 FantasyLabs metric that measures the friendliness of a park based on the handedness of the hitters. The highest Park Factor on today’s slate belongs to the righty bats for the Brewers and Reds in Cincinnati, where batters have averaged the fourth-highest Plus/Minus this season. The Reds’ current implied team total of 5.1 runs ranks sixth on the day, while the Brewers’ total of 4.5 runs is tied for eleventh.
Both teams are starting right-handed pitchers in this contest so the ideal batter is a reverse splits hitter — a right-handed batter who hits better against right-handed than left-handed pitchers. One player who fits the bill is Reds’ catcher Devin Mesoraco. He has a .421 wOBA and .283 ISO against righties over the past 12 months, and he also has 15-day/12-month distance and hard hit differentials of +26 feet and +9 percentage points. Batters with comparable differentials and implied team totals have a historical Plus/Minus of +1.37, and as the projected No. 8 hitter he will likely carry minimal ownership.
Another guy to keep your eye on is Ryan Braun. Expected to make his return from the disabled list, he has an average Plus/Minus of +2.42 and Consistency Rating of 50 percent when playing in Cincinnati.
96 Team Value Rating – Boston Red Sox
Team Value Rating is a 0-to-100 grade showing a team’s value based on its implied run total and collective salaries. The Red Sox lead the slate with an implied team total of 6.2 runs, and with only Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts priced above $4,000, they represent the slate’s best value as well. Twins’ pitcher Hector Santiago hasn’t pitched in nearly three weeks, but his 12-month fly ball rate of 51 percent ranks first among today’s starting pitchers, and his batted ball distance of 223 feet ranks fourth.
The Red Sox are projected to roll out a righty-heavy lineup against the southpaw, with Jackie Bradley Jr. as the lone left-handed batter. Betts has raked against lefties over the past 12 months with a .375 wOBA and .273 ISO, and he’s posted positive distance and hard hit differentials over his last 13 games. Hanley Ramirez has been the team’s most dangerous hitter against southpaws with a .282 ISO over the past 12 months, and his Rec BBL score of +44 is the highest among all projected Red Sox hitters.
The Boston bats will likely be chalky, but rostering third baseman Deven Marrero could be a way to diversify Red Sox stacks. Projected to bat ninth at only $2,600, Marrero has a .416 wOBA and .429 ISO against lefties over the past 12 months. Just be sure to monitor the weather as lineup lock approaches. The Twins-Red Sox game currently has a 49 percent chance of rain.
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.