Baseball lends itself to numerical intrigue — there have long been bountiful statistics surrounding the game, and in today’s analytics-heavy version of the game, there are more numbers than ever before. Knowing what numbers are meaningful and from which actionable information can be ascertained can make all the difference. The margins have never been thinner, and the impact of every discernible edge has never been more pronounced.

 

Here are some of the numbers that jump out at me when taking a look at Wednesday’s DFS slate. 

1. 2.8%

This is brand favorite George Kirby’s BB% in his young season thus far. For all of their ineptitude, the Mariners have been able to find young, reliable arms that don’t walk people, and Kirby is the most recent iteration of that. For his brief minor league career, he has always shown excellent control, exhibiting a sub 7% BB rate at each level of pro ball, but no one should or could have expected him to display a sub 3% BB rate through his first eight starts. 

It’s not all roses — he’s also given up 8 home runs in that same span. Rare is the pitcher who gives up more home runs than walks, and I supposed it would stand to reason that there is an argument Kirby ought to find less of the plate. But against a can’t hit for average (lowest average in MLB), can’t hit for power (second-lowest ISO in MLB) team like the A’s is the matchup — well the ball being put in play is usually the best possible thing, as an out is very likely going to be the result. Kirby should be able to cruise along and mix in some strikeouts along the way with his 22% K rate, and at only $6,600 on DK he is an excellent SP2 option. 

2. 30.1%

This is Jordan Montgomery’s CSW%, tied with Pablo López for ninth in MLB, sandwiched in between Dylan Cease and Chris Bassitt. This is notable, as there are also nine pitchers more expensive than Montgomery on this slate alone, and it’s not as though his matchup against the Rays is particularly daunting, or the ballpark is particularly hitter friendly (the Trop is one of the best pitchers parks in all of baseball). 

The thing that is unexciting about Montgomery is his consistency — that sounds counterintuitive, but he doesn’t really have spike games in which he amasses 10 K’s and puts up an outing of 30-plus DK points. He pitches to contact, generally gets a lot of ground balls (48.8% GB rate), doesn’t allow much hard contact (only 24.7% on the season) and coasts through 6-7 innings without much damage and a handful of strikeouts. That isn’t sexy, but it can be useful. Especially at a discounted price, a 20- to 25-DK-point outing is completely acceptable if the savings are put to good use elsewhere. Without much in the way of an elite option and an elite matchup in either the SP1 or SP2 tiers, the consistency and relative floor of Montgomery becomes more appealing than if we were on a slate full of Gerrit Cole, Corbin Burnes, Shane McClanahan types. 

3. 11.5%, 34.9%

Those are Tarik Skubal’s HR/FB and hard-contact rates in June, respectively. These are going in the wrong direction for the Tigers young but promising de facto ace. With a stellar start to his 2022 campaign and not allowing a single home run in the season’s first month, as well as very minimal hard contact, there are starting to be some issues for Skubal. 

Whether it is teams continuing to develop a book on how he pitches, or the weather warming up and lessening the impacts of the ball being deadened this year, Skubal is having a rough go of it in June and gets no reprieve against a tough Boston lineup in a hitters park.

4. 10.1%

This is Patrick Corbin’s barrel rate, which would be fifth-highest among qualified pitchers, except he does not qualify as he does not have enough innings under his belt, due primarily to him being knocked around so hard. Time really is a flat circle sometimes. 

You already knew Corbin was bad, but is he bad enough that you should stack the Orioles, especially in a game that has PPD risk? I think he might be. We’ll need to follow along closely to weather updates to determine how much of an impact that will have, but if it plays, then our familiar Oriole RHB friends Austin Hays, Ryan Mountcastle, Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander (El Banco!) are very much in play.

 

5. .221 

This is the Braves’ ISO against LHP — best in MLB by a good bit. It stands to reason — they have a number of power RHBs in Ronald Acuña Jr., Dansby Swanson, Austin Riley, Marcell Ozuna, Adam Duvall and their talented catching combo of Travis d’Arnaud and William Contreras. Also doesn’t hurt that their primary lefty slugger, Matt Olson, is no slouch against LHP, posting a .143 ISO against LHP in his own right. 

Their matchup Wednesday isn’t against just any LHP of course — it is against Carlos Rodón, who has an overall 30.8% K rate and is one of baseball’s best pitchers, but his primary weakness is pitching on the road against a bunch of power RHBs. All week, our own David Jones has been on his hometown Braves and it missed the mark by quite a bit Monday due to a standout performance from Logan Webb (who was my top pitcher on Monday’s slate, just FYI). But Tuesday night, the Braves came back in a big way, and despite their 10 runs not actually being enough to win the game, there were some fantastic DFS performances. 

The fact that Rodón will scare people away, combined with the Braves not really getting a break on pricing (Acuña, Riley and Swanson are all $5,500-plus on DK) and that the wind is blowing out to left center and a considerable rate all point to this being an excellent spot to once again stack the Braves, who should come in less rostered than their offensive profile usually dictates. 

6. 14.8%

This is Adam Wainwright’s road K%. I don’t want to be a believer in home/road splits for Wainwright at this advanced stage of his career, but the numbers don’t lie. He has a 22.8% K rate at home and a 14.8% K rate on the road. Maybe he has a Tempurpedic mattress at home that he really likes and gets a better night’s sleep and thus performs better in home starts when fully rested. Maybe he misses his family (wife and four daughters) when he’s on the road. Whatever the case may be, he is not only not rosterable in a road start with a tough matchup in a hitters ballpark, the case can be made that he should be stacked against. 

7. 22.2% 

This was Daniel Lynch’s swinging strike rate in his most recent outing, an absolute gem against the A’s. While it is no surprise that a pitcher did well against the A’s, it is a little surprising that Lynch was able to miss this many bats, as his SwStr% on the season is only 12.9%. This of course resulted in a season high 10 Ks, and he gets another matchup with some potential here against the Angels, whom, while they exploded for a massive game Tuesday night, are still prone to striking out, with a 24% K rate against LHP, good for fifth highest in MLB. 

It is a rare slate in which you can get two viable 20-plus-DK-point performances for less than $7K, but Kirby-Lynch not only sounds like the latest country music act out of Nashville, but a viable DK pitching pairing as well.