MLB DFS: Breaking down the top daily fantasy baseball pitchers on FanDuel & DraftKings for May 2, 2021
Diving into today’s MLB DFS slate to uncover your best pitching plays.
If you’ve been reading this column lately, you’ll know that we’re a big proponent of sticking to the core principles that came out of a deep analysis of 2020 data. Don’t be afraid to pay up for pitching (both sites), and spending around $15,000 to $18,000 is often the optimal range in that department (DK).
Main Slate Targets
It’s a pretty clear-cut group of 4 arms that we’ll want to shortlist on the slate today.
Let’s start with Scherzer and Giolito.
Scherzer’s 3.15 SIERA and 3.00 ERA on the year, along with a 11.4 K/9 and 15% chase% make him a tremendous option today. Especially facing a Marlins offense with a .281 wOBA split and a 27% K% as well (sub-30% hard hit%). Trevor Rogers is a tough draw for Washington themselves, but it’s really hard to go for him against a talented Nationals group with a slate-best .381 wOBA split vs LHP this year.
Scherzer’s allowed a lot of hard contact this year and has barely kept the ball on the ground (19% GB% in his 30 IP this year), but is still doing a good job limiting damage. The 25.8 degree average launch angle may be a little concerning on the surface, but those generally will lead to more lazy flies than homers, which has been his mantra pretty much all throughout his career. He’s pricey, but a great option today.
Giolito’s 5.68 ERA on the year appears a bit concerning on the surface, but the 11.7 K/9 and 3.78 xERA with a solid 29.5% CSW% (22.7% HR/FB%) tell us there’s more skill underneath it all. His 15% whiff and 37% chase rates are tremendous as a combo, and the .286 wOBA / 25% K% split are also nice to get him in against CLE. They do make a lot of hard contact (36.5% on the year), but I feel a bit better about it if Franmil Reyes happens to remain out (paternity leave) which would take a big bat out of the opposing lineup. He’s over $1,000 less on DK and $1,400 less on FD (compared to Scherzer), with an equally high ceiling.
Jumping down a little bit here brings us Mahle in a sneaky good spot against the Cubs. His 3.9 opponent total and 58% win% to go with a 12.6 K/9 on the year (best on the slate) are some really appealing metrics to work with today. Especially on DK where his $7,800 price tag makes him a very, VERY easy SP2 candidate. His barrel rate (7.5%) with just 4 allowed this year are some of the best in that regard on the slate, and the 27% K% split for CHC makes them a group that a strikeout-skilled RHP can definitely pick on. Dollar for dollar on DK, he may be the best mid-tier play on this slate.
The last name that we can consider here – and I think he’ll be somewhat popular on FD for his $7,300 price tag in particular – is Corey Kluber. His $8,100 on DraftKings is a little too high for a guy with a 5.27 SIERA on the year and a 5.4 BB/9, even for a DET club whose team wOBA is only .249 this year. I should note that this is their stronger split (.281 wOBA vs RHP compared to .217 and a whopping 37% K% vs LHP), but the numbers are still incredibly weak overall. His skills have eroded quite a bit over the years, but there’s still enough in the tank to be a useful QS/W candidate (71% win% leads the slate, actually) on Sunday. On DK though, I’d much prefer a Mahle + Scherzer/Giolito combo.
That will do it for our version of the Pitching Primer today. Best of luck in your contests!