Data in baseball runs deeper and is more comprehensive than any other sport. These are the five stats I find most relevant to Tuesday’s DFS slate.
1. Sean Manaea has a 3.71 ERA this month
Sean Manaea is my favorite expensive pitcher on DraftKings Tuesday, but he’s just $9,000. He’s at home where he’s been pitching great recently, as his last three home starts and four of his last five home starts have been quality starts. On the season, Manaea has a 4.35 xFIP, 25% K%, 8% BB% and 41% ground ball percentage. This is a good matchup for him against the Diamondbacks, who have a lot of left-handed hitters and are typically a better offense against right-handed pitching. The only real power threats in this lineup against left-handed pitchers like Manaea are Jordan Luplow, Ketel Marte and Christian Walker. The projected Diamondbacks lineup has just two hitters with a K% below 20% against left-handed pitching this season, giving Manaea some added strikeout upside in this matchup.
2. Nestor Cortes has a 1.94 ERA
After Manaea, you really can’t go wrong with Nestor Cortes against the Rays. Cortes has already beat Tampa Bay twice in his last four starts. The last time he faced the Rays in Tampa, he threw eight innings of one-run ball before being removed in the ninth innings. Most recently at Yankee Stadium, Cortes beat the Rays by going 5.1 innings and allowing just one earned run. At $10,400 on DraftKings, you’re going to need Cortes to be more like his first start against Tampa Bay, but I like his chances. The Rays lineup was already without star infielders Brandon Lowe and Wander Franco, and it seems their lineup has been dealt another injury as outfielder Manuel Margot had to be carted off the field last night with the knee injury. Margot was especially a key part of the Rays lineup against left-handed pitchers like Cortes. Recently recalled rookie outfielder Josh Lowe is left-handed and likely won’t be much help against Cortes, who is my second-favorite expensive pitcher on this slate.
3. Spencer Strider has a 2.45 ERA
Spencer Strider has really impressed in his last two starts. He’s been money — just ask our own David Jones, who took down $100K in a contest last week while using Strider as part of his lineup. Strider is transitioning to the rotation from the bullpen and has completed at least five innings and recorded at least eight strikeouts in each of his last two starts. The competition wasn’t great in those starts as he took advantage of good matchups against the Nationals and the Pirates. His price has started to come up as he’s $8,600 on DraftKings here and he’ll face his toughest test yet against the Giants. Those two factors should keep Strider’s rostership percentage below 10% tonight, making him a very intriguing play in tournaments.
4. Zac Gallen has a 2.91 ERA
Zac Gallen is on the other side of the game with Manaea. He’s more expensive than Strider at $9,300 on DraftKings and will likely have a higher rostership percentage. Gallen is having a good season with his ERA under 3.00, 22% K%, 6% BB% and 47% ground ball percentage. He’s completed at least six innings and allowed two earned runs or less in two of his last three starts. Gallen’s K% goes up to 25% against right-handed batters, but the Padres project to have more left-handed hitters in the lineup tonight. San Diego will likely be without star third baseman Manny Machado in this one after he suffered an ankle injury over the weekend. Gallen is my third-favorite expensive pitcher on DraftKings behind Manaea and Cortes, but he’s firmly in the mix for consideration.
5. Anthony DeSclafani has a 6.08 ERA
Anthony DeSclafani’s xFIP is just 4.60 so maybe he’s due for some correction here, which wouldn’t be good news if you planned on stacking the Braves. The Braves’ offense has certainly picked it up lately as they had a 14-game winning streak and Ronald Acuña Jr. returned to the lineup. However, Atlanta also lost Ozzie Albies to a significant leg injury and the lineup is down to just Matt Olson and Michael Harris as the left-handed hitters. That’s important because DeScalfani has allowed a .296 ISO to left-handed hitters this season compared to just .133 against right-handed hitters. A Braves stack could still work tonight as Atlanta is one of the few teams with an implied total over five runs, but their hitters are expensive and mostly right-handed. I’d definitely look at Olson and Harris first in the Atlanta lineup.
6. Jonathan Heasley has a 6.23 xFIP
Jonathan Heasley’s ERA is somehow 3.72 despite his horrendous xFIP, 16% K%, 12% BB% and 36% ground ball percentage. In seven starts with the Royals this year, he’s also somehow not allowed more than three earned runs in a single start. The Angels lineup should have enough power to make Heasley pay here, as Taylor Ward, Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Jared Walsh and Max Stassi all have ISOs of at least .193 against right-handed pitching this season. Only Ohtani and Walsh are left-handed hitters out of that group, and they should be prioritized tonight as Heasley has allowed a .303 ISO to left-handed hitters this season compared to .059 against right-handed batters. Walsh is very cheap on DraftKings at $3,400 and Brandon Marsh is an incredible value option at $2,400.
7. Chi Chi González has a 7.71 ERA
The Brewers picked up Chi Chi González after he was DFA’d by the Twins, and they’re actually starting him against the Cardinals Tuedsay. González only made two starts for Minnesota and failed to complete five innings or allow fewer than three earned runs in either game. He’s not any good. His ERA last year was 6.46 and his career ERA is 5.69. González is highly unlikely to complete five innings without giving up a handful of runs here. There should also be some home runs as he allowed two in his first start, but none in his second start which was against the Rays, who lack power. Stack the Cardinals here. Paul Goldschmidt is in the midst of an MVP campaign and there are more than a few interesting cheap bats elsewhere in this lineup. Harrison Bader is completely mispriced at $2,200 here and Juan Yepez has a .229 ISO against right-handed pitching this season and is only $3,100 while having first base and outfield eligibility.