The MLB Deep Dive is back! This article is intended to give you an in depth look into the top MLB DFS plays on the day’s MLB DFS slate. It is recommended that you use this article in conjunction with Awesemo’s MLB projections, ownership projections and the Top Stack tool.
Weather Notes: There looks to be a substantial risk of rain in the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. There is a good chance that it is postponed between now and lock, so be sure to keep an eye on its status.
MLB DFS Deep Dive: DraftKings + FanDuel Picks | Aug. 9
Freddy Peralta ($10,500 DraftKings, $10,200 FanDuel) threw 98 pitches in six innings during his last start, which was good to see after he was limited to 51 and 68 pitches in his two previous starts as the Brewers look to limit his workload. There will be some risk with Peralta going forward since it is not known if and when Milwaukee will limit him again. Peralta leads the slate with a 34.0% strikeout rate this season, and he also has a strong 3.68 xFIP. The only underlying issue for Peralta is an elevated 10.6% walk rate.
He has a favorable matchup against the Cubs, who traded away most of their good hitters at the deadline. Chicago’s projected lineup has an average strikeout rate of 26.5% against right-handed pitching since the start of last season (using Steamer projections for the hitters with fewer than 100 plate appearances over that time), and that does not include the pitcher’s spot in the order.
Luis Castillo ($10,000 DraftKings, N/A FanDuel) is only available on DraftKings, as FanDuel excluded this game from the slate. He has a favorable matchup against the Cleveland Indians, who have an average wRC+ of 90.5 against right-handed pitching since the start of last season in their lineup tonight. They also have an average strikeout rate of 25.2%, with three different hitters (Franmil Reyes, Bradley Zimmer and Owen Miller) who have struck out more than 30% of the time.
Castillo’s strikeout rate has dropped from 28.9% in 2019 and 30.5% last season to 23.2% this season, but he has seen an uptick recently as he has struck out 30.2% of hitters over his last five starts. He is currently the only one of the pay-up options that has a top-two pitcher rate greater than his ownership rate according to Awesemo’s Top Pitchers Tool.
Lucas Giolito ($9,300 DraftKings, $9,500 FanDuel) rounds out the top-tier pitchers on this slate. He faces a Minnesota team that has a weaker lineup than they did earlier in the season thanks to the departure of Nelson Cruz. The Twins offer some strikeout upside, though it is important to note that there are several players that strike out at below-average rates, so Giolito will probably need to rely on getting multiple strikeouts against a few of the other hitters. Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco, Josh Donaldson, Luis Arraez and Andrelton Simmons have all struck out less than 21% of the time against right-handed pitching since the start of last season, while Brent Rooker (27.7%), Mitch Garver (36.9%), Miguel Sano (40%) and Trevor Larnach (33.5%) increase the team average.
Giolito has struck out 27.7% of hitters this season, which is the third-highest strikeout rate on the slate. He has a respectable 3.86 xFIP and 7.5% walk rate, though he has allowed 1.53 home runs per nine innings.
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Our Awesemo MLB DFS Top Pitchers Tool gives you the probabilities that each pitcher will be one of the highest-scoring options of the night. On DraftKings where you get two pitchers, we give the odds of a pitcher being one of the Top 2. The top pitcher percentage is defined as overall points and the value by top points per dollar, according to their respective salaries.
Joe Musgrove ($8,500 DraftKings, $9,000 FanDuel) is less expensive than the three pitchers mentioned before him, but he is the top pitching option on tonight’s slate. He has a fantastic matchup against the Marlins, who sport a 2.9 implied run total. The Marlins’ projected lineup has an average strikeout rate of 28.1% against right-handed pitching since the start of last season, not including the pitcher’s spot.
Musgrove has a 28.2% strikeout rate that is the second-highest mark on the slate. He also leads the slate with a 3.45 xFIP. It is worth noting that he has had some struggles since the crackdown of foreign substances, however. Since the start of June Musgrove has struck out 22.9% of hitters while walking 7.6% and allowing 1.2 home runs per nine innings. He has a 4.29 xFIP over those 11 starts. By comparison, Musgrove struck out 33.5% of hitters and posted a 5.1% walk rate, 2.70 xFIP and 0.90 home runs per nine innings in the 11 starts that he made before the beginning of June.
This matchup alleviates most concerns about Musgrove since it is such a great spot, but his recent issues are worth keeping in mind in tournaments since he is currently projected to be the most popular pitcher on both DraftKings and FanDuel.
Jameson Taillon (7,800 DraftKings, $8,100 FanDuel) is a natural pivot to Musgrove in tournaments if looking to get away from the field. While Taillon’s matchup against Kansas City is not as favorable as Musgrove’s matchup against Miami, it is still a good spot for Taillon. Since the start of last season, Salvador Perez leads Kansas City with a 112 wRC+ against right-handed pitching. Edward Olivares is next at 102. After that, nobody is above 100. The Royals’ projected lineup only has an average strikeout rate of 22.5%, but there are still five individual hitters that have struck out at least 23.5% of the time.
Taillon has a respectable 24.1% strikeout rate this season, though his 4.56 xFIP and 1.43 home runs per nine innings leave plenty to be desired. Most of his issues have come against left-handed bats, however, as he has held righties to a .275 xwOBA and .130 xISO compared to a .338 xwOBA and .207 xISO to left-handed hitters. The four left-handed hitters in Kansas City’s projected lineup are Carlos Santana, Andrew Benintendi, Ryan O’Hearn and Nicky Lopez. Since the start of last season they have ISOs of .160, .139, .065 and .169, respectively, against right-handed pitching, so this does not profile as a team that is likely to take advantage of Taillon.
Check out today’s MLB Deeper Dive & Live Before Lock for all of the breaking news, starting lineups and expert DraftKings and FanDuel picks.
Salvador Perez ($5,000 DraftKings, $3,200 FanDuel) has a relatively difficult matchup against Taillon, but with so many good pitchers on a small slate, it is a better matchup than several other teams. He is more valuable on DraftKings than FanDuel since FanDuel does not require a catcher. Perez projects as the highest-scoring catcher tonight and has posted a 112 wRC+ and .215 ISO in 444 plate appearances against right-handed pitching since the start of last season.
Jose Abreu ($6,000 DraftKings, $3,600 FanDuel) projects as the top first base option. He is much more favorably priced on FanDuel than DraftKings, but he is a strong play regardless of site. He has one of the better matchups on the slate as he faces Beau Burrows and then likely Charlie Barnes for the Twins. Burrows has allowed a .445 xwOBA and .407 xISO to right-handed hitters in his limited time in the big leagues while Barnes has allowed a .346 xwOBA and .133 xISO over a limited sample. Abreu has a .376 xwOBA and .290 xISO in 166 plate appearances against left-handed pitching (Barnes) since the start of last season, while he has produced a .361 xwOBA and .221 xISO in 538 plate appearances against righties (Burrows) over that time.
Jonathan India ($4,800 DraftKings, N/A FanDuel) has had plenty of success in his rookie season. India has posted a .377 wOBA and 133 wRC+ through his first 101 games. He has a .176 ISO with 13 home runs and has also stolen seven bases. He will essentially face Cleveland’s bullpen tonight, as Sam Hentges is starting the game but is unlikely to pitch more than a couple of innings. While bullpen games are not typically the best spots to target, this is a small slate with a lot of good pitching.
Yoan Moncada ($4,900 DraftKings, $2,800 FanDuel) is a switch hitter, so he will have the platoon advantage against both Burrows and Barnes. Moncada has been relatively disappointing at the plate since the start of last season, producing only a .336 xwOBA and .159 xISO against right-handed pitching and a .314 xwOBA and .110 xISO against left-handed pitching. Still, he has one of the better matchups on the slate and is a bit less expensive than other top third base options.
Tim Anderson ($6,000 DraftKings, $3,400 FanDuel) has a .358 xwOBA and .228 xISO against left-handed pitching since the start of last season. He has been worse against right-handed pitching with just a .316 xwOBA and .148 xISO over that time, but it is likely that he will get more at-bats against the left-handed Barnes than the right-handed Burrows. It also is likely that Burrows is a below-average pitcher, so the matchup against him is not exactly one to shy away from either.
Aaron Judge ($5,300 DraftKings, $4,300 FanDuel) faces Carlos Hernandez and the Royals. Hernandez is a hard thrower and has put together impressive numbers in 16 appearances with the Royals (four starts) this season. It is likely that his numbers regress, however, as Hernandez has struck out 28.1% of hitters in MLB this season compared to only 23% at Triple-A and 19.4% with the Royals last season. He has also only allowed 0.92 home runs per nine innings with the Royals this season compared to 2.05 home runs per nine innings at Triple-A and 2.45 home runs per nine innings with Kansas City last season. Pitchers also typically have less success as starters than they do as relievers, so Hernandez should not have the same sort of success that he has had this season. Judge enters the game with a .387 xwOBA and .249 xISO against right-handed pitching since the start of last season.
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Eloy Jimenez ($4,400 DraftKings, $3,100 FanDuel) homered twice on Saturday, so he is finding his timing at the plate. In nine games since returning from injury, he has hit three home runs and posted a 157 wRC+. He produced a 140 wRC+ in 55 games last season and a 116 wRC+ in 122 games in 2019. Jimenez is one of the best young hitters in baseball, and he has a favorable matchup tonight against Burrows and Barnes.
Joey Gallo ($5,100 DraftKings, $3,800 FanDuel) will not get to benefit from the short porch at Yankees Stadium tonight, but he gets to hit in favorable weather as it is hot and humid with the wind blowing out in Kansas City. Gallo has been one of the best hitters in baseball this season, posting a 134 wRC+ with a .259 ISO in 105 games between the Rangers and the Yankees.
Nick Castellanos ($4,000 DraftKings, N/A FanDuel) continues to be one of the most mispriced players on DraftKings. Castellanos enters tonight’s game with a 149 wRC+ and .252 ISO in 90 games played for Cincinnati this season. In 145 plate appearances against left-handed pitching since the start of last season, Castellanos has a .372 xwOBA and .221 xISO. He is one of the top cash options and is useful in tournaments as long as the lineup is contrarian elsewhere.
Luis Robert ($3,400 DraftKings, $2,000 FanDuel) makes his return from the Injured List tonight, and he is not priced correctly on either site. Robert played 56 games with the White Sox last season and produced a 101 wRC+ with a .203 ISO. He hit 11 home runs and stole nine bases. In 25 games this season Robert has a 128 wRC+ and .147 ISO. He is one of the top prospects in all of baseball, and he stands out as one of the best value options on tonight’s slate despite hitting seventh in the order.
Note: Be sure to check out the Top Stacks Tool to compare a team’s chances of success to their aggregate ownership.
- New York Yankees
- Chicago White Sox
- Cincinnati Reds
Top Contrarian Stack: San Diego Padres
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