In the MLB DFS 6-18-2021 Pitching Primer, we see a lot of variance in pricing across FanDuel and DraftKings. For example, Robbie Ray is the fourth-highest-priced pitcher on DraftKings, while FanDuel prices him all the way up top, ahead of Trevor Bauer. While Ray does get a juicy matchup with the Baltimore Orioles, I am just not going to be the guy on Robbie Ray chalk day.
As we inch closer to Monday, the day that in-game inspections for sticky substances resulting in suspensions will begin, we will see the offense begin to ramp up. We see only one game on the entire slate today with a total below 8. It's time to read between the lines and build some bankroll.
MLB DFS 6-18-2021 Pitching Primer
Trevor Bauer, LA Dodgers ($10.5K FanDuel, $10.6K DraftKings ) @ AZ
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Trevor Bauer is the public whipping boy for the sticky substance scandal. It is fairly safe to say he has been affected, his spin rate has been down three games in a row. But, there is a perception that he is worthless without it and a minute away from falling below mediocrity. There is definitely a 10 percent price reduction baked in here because of that.
The Diamondbacks return home after smashing a record 23 consecutive road losses. While they don't necessarily strike out very much, this is straight-up a bad baseball team. Bauer carries a .293 xwOBA into the contest with a 36.3 percent strikeout rate and .191 batting average against with this opponent. At -240, the Dodgers are the largest favorite on the slate.
Fade the Bauer bashers, this is an easy spot for him. The price reduction lowers the required floor for us to get to the ticket window.
Yusei Kikuchi, Seattle Mariners ($9.2K, $8,6K) vs. TB
This game has the lowest total on the board at 7.5. Tampa Bay is the worst team in the league at striking out. When it is implied that they will not score many runs, they are certainly a team to pick on with your pitcher. While Kikuchi is not exactly known as a strikeout pitcher, his 25.7 percent strikeout rate represents the best so far of his career.
In his last eight starts, he has recorded seven Quality Starts. He has struck out seven or more five times across those same games. While he is a viable option on both sites, he is basically a plug-and-play on DraftKings. He is severely mispriced on the two pitcher site.
Jose Berrios, Minnesota Twins ($9K,$8.5K ) @ TEX
Meanwhile, the price on Jose Berrios will suppress Kikuchi's ownership on FanDuel. Berrios has had one of the softest schedules for a starter in the league this year, and it continues with a lopsided tilt against the Texas Rangers. Against the expected starting lineup, Berrios sports a .210 xwOBA, which is the lowest of all starters on the bump today. He comes in with an impressive 40 percent strikeout rate and minuscule .143 batting average and .107 ISO against the Rangers.
Berrios has recorded a Quality Start and/or a Win in five consecutive starts. Meanwhile, the Rangers have lost three straight and find themselves seventeen back in their division. They are 8.5 games out of fourth place. They have mailed it in, and should be a walk-over today for Berrios. He is safe today for cash games and GPP on both sites.
Nick Pivetta, Boston Red Sox ($7.7K, $8.2K) @ KC
The Royals come into today's contest having lost nine of their last ten games. They have only scored five runs or more once across that span, and starting pitcher Jackson Kowar has been a gas can thus far in the early stages of his career.
While the Royals do not strike out a lot as a team, Pivetta has now struck out six or more batters in six innings. He does not regularly pitch deep into games, but a 10.4 k/9 makes up for that. This is strictly a GPP play. The depth volatility and potential control issues do not offer a high enough floor for cash play.
Alex Cobb, LA Angeles ($7.5K,$8.8K) vs. DET
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Alex Cobb has been erratically inconsistent this year and is coming off of a poor start against the Diamondbacks in which he could not get into the fourth innings. Today, he gets a home game against the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers are in the bottom five in the league at scoring runs and are eleven games under .500. Despite the Angels' own problems, they come into this game as the third-highest favorite on the slate at -210.
Cobb's 28 percent strikeout rate is by far the best of his career. The Tigers are the second-worst team in baseball at striking out, averaging 10.1 punchouts per game. Somehow he is priced above Kikuchi and Berrios on DraftKings and therefore only a GPP dart-throw option on that site. Meanwhile, on FanDuel, he is priced right in our wheelhouse and allows us to fit in as many Coors bats and other studs as we feel fit.
Zach Davies, Chicago Cubs ($7K, $7.3K) vs. MIA
This may be hard to swallow, but I feel Zach Davies and other soft-tossing, control-type pitchers will be the beneficiary of the exile of the sticky substance from Major League Baseball. We saw his teammate Kyle Hendricks toss a two-hit, seven-strikeout gem just yesterday. I think we should see these low spin rate, low strikeout pitchers that have seemed inferior this year stand out a bit as some of the power pitchers come back to the pack.
Davies has been over 40 FanDuel points in each of his last two starts. This represents a 6x return on price, well beyond our required threshold.
While Davies' does not have an impressive xwOBA against the Marlins at .381, the .105 ISO against suggests he will limit the hard contact and keep the ball in the ballpark, and ultimately the score down. It looks like a light inwardly-blowing breeze and low humidity at Wrigley Field will aide his cause tonight. I look for Davies to win his third straight decision tonight.
For any questions related to the MLB DFS 6-18-21 Pitching Primer, or for additional options, you can reach me on Twitter @jtrela20. Otherwise, check me out streaming LIVE every Sunday at 7:30 PM EST on the Stack Attack Fantasy Podcast, now part of the Fantasy Six Pack YouTube network of podcasts.