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MLB DFS: DraftKings and FanDuel Pitching 8/20



MLB DFS: DraftKings and FanDuel Pitching 8/20

The nine-game slate tonight is a little light on quality options and the list drops off very quickly. Even the ones that we probably will feel good about feel overpriced so this is going to be a tricky slate. Let’s get into things and figure out who we like in the MLB DFS: DraftKings and FanDuel Pitching 8/20! 


Cristian Javier 

The price is really up there and that does make me very nervous because Javier has a wider range of outcomes than I’d love here. Atlanta has the second-highest K rate against righties at 25.2% but they are also fifth in OPS and they lead the league in ISO. Every pitch he throws has a whiff rate over 26.5% and his slider is especially evil at 39.1% with a .186 wOBA allowed. Now, Atlanta is third against the slider so that’s not ideal as well but the ceiling is immense. After all, Javier is better when he faces a righty and he’ll face at least five. They only have a .248 wOBA, a 0.89 WHIP, and a massive 39.7% K rate. The left side of the plate makes me nervous with a 4.49 xFIP but even then, the K rate is 25.8%. I wish he were cheaper, but the slate is bereft of options that can match his ceiling. 

Spencer Strider 

This isn’t for the faint of heart, but Strider carries upside every time he steps on the mound, regardless of the opponent. That doesn’t mean this isn’t going to be a very tough opponent since the Astros don’t carry a high strikeout rate this season but we need to keep an eye on this lineup as well. Yordan Alvarez left the game early last night and that would change the complexion of things. Strider has held both sides of the plate under a .245 wOBA and righties have been demolished. They have a 43.7% K rate and the Astros lineup skews righty-heavy even if Alvarez plays. The FIP and xFIP are both under 2.00 and even as a starter, the WHIP is under 1.05 and the xFIP is under 2.75. His fastball has 89 strikeouts and the slider has a 52.3% whiff rate so it’s easy to see where the ceiling comes from. Houston is still in the top eight in OPS, wOBA, OBP, wRC+, and ISO so there is plenty of risks here as well. 

Honorable Mention 

If I spend into the five-digit range tonight, I will lean with Javier but Joe Musgrove could have a big game, in theory. I say it that way because his seasonal data looks great but his metrics since the start of July have taken a sharp and ugly turn. His ERA is over 4.40, the wOBA is over .320, his K rate is under 22%, and the xFIP is hovering around 4.00. Even though the outcome of a strong performance is possible against a weaker Nationals team, I feel more on edge paying for him than do for Javier. 


David Peterson 

The Mets need help in the rotation and fortunately for them, Peterson has had a very strong season when he’s pitched. He’s only logged 79 innings but has a 3.53 xFIP, a 3.30 ERA, a 1.03 HR/9, and a K rate over 27%. He’s displayed the best swinging-strike rate of his career at 12.1% and his slider has a 47.5% whiff rate and 61 strikeouts. That slider could be key since the Phillies are 18th against that pitch because, past that, they have handled lefties well. Philly ranks seventh in wRC+, fourth in wOBA, seventh in ISO, and fourth in OPS this year so this is not an easy path (which seems to be a theme on this slate). There haven’t been any major splits with Peterson as both sides of the plate are right around a .305 wOBA and both sides are over 25% for the K rate. He’s been coming up big for the Mets and that could continue tonight. 

Josiah Gray 

We all know the story here that Gray could score 20+ DK points or he can get absolutely lit up. Last time, he reminded us how good his stuff can be with 10 strikeouts and three runs given up, but he also gave up two home runs. The Padres played four lefties last night, which would help and they’ve been mostly cold as well. In fairness, the xFIP of 4.16 is lower than the 4.79 ERA and that just points to his not being bad, he just is very home run prone with a 2.36 HR/9. Anyone who can have a 27% K rate throughout 118.1 innings has some solid stuff, to be sure. Righties have a .304 wOBA against Gray this season and the K rate climbs to 28.7% with a 1.06 WHIP. What does get interesting is he has performed far better on the road with a 1.07 WHIP, a 4.07 xFIP, and a 3.21 ERA so he does make a lot of sense, as far as those metrics lead. Predicting him can be tough and the Padres have been so disappointing after their big trade, I have no issues rolling the dice. 

Logan Gilbert 

I very much expect Gilbert to be popular given the venue and opponent but we have to hope he can turn things around here a bit. His 27.1 innings in the second half so far have been a disaster with a 6.59 ERA, a .401 wOBA, a FIP over 5.00, and a WHIP of 1.61 to go along with a K rate that is under 19%. It’s a little difficult to not look at the four-seam as a major issue with a .349 wOBA allowed and he throws it too much to give up that high of a wOBA and 14 of his 17 home runs. Gilbert is still near 55% with his fastball but the good news in that respect is Oakland is 25th against that pitch this year. They also are in the bottom 10 in every offensive category and Gilbert should get a least four lefties. He’s held them to a .267 wOBA so hopefully, he gets right here. 

Missed The Cut 

Dustin May – He does get the Marlins, which is interesting to me but he’s pretty high in salary for a player who is making his first start after Tommy John. He did get up to 70 pitches in rehab, but I’d be surprised if the Dodgers pushed him much past 80 and it takes the after you’ve had surgery to get back all the way. 

Braxton Garrett – I couldn’t quite pull the trigger but my goodness could Garrett be a pivot on Gilbert. The Dodgers are a very nasty matchup BUT the profile here looks strong. He does have a 3.41 xFIP, a 24.5% K rate, and a hard-hit rate under 28%. However, he’s holding a .349 wOBA against the right side and that could be tough in LA. 








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