MLB FanDuel: Daily Pitching Focus July 18

MLB FanDuel

HOUSTON, TX – JUNE 29: Brad Peacock, a top MLB FanDuel pitcher option tonight.

This is the MLB FanDuel: Daily Pitching Focus for Tuesday, July 18th.  Once again, we’ll arm your MLB FanDuel knowledge with the top pitching play of the night, best mid-range salary pick, top value, and offensive stacking targets.

After a solid weekend, but two-day hiatus, we’re digging through all 30 pitchers for tonight’s MLB FanDuel Main slate of games.  Every team is on the mound tonight, and there is a plethora of great pitching options, but also some trap plays.  We also have a long list of bad pitching to consider for offensive stacking targets.

While there are several great pitchers on the hill tonight like Robbie Ray ($10,400) and Brad Peacock ($9,200), some of the match ups these pitchers have aren’t ideal or do not offer the best value with their picks.  So we’ve narrowed our focus down to six games, each presenting top play or incredible value.

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Here is the list of games we’ve narrowed our search down to:

MIL Junior Guerra at PIT Ivan Nova (7:05pm EDT)

ARZ Robbie Ray at CIN Sal Romano (7:10pm EDT)

LAD Clayton Kershaw at CHW Miguel González (8:10pm EDT)

SEA Sam Gaviglio at HOU Brad Peacock (8:10pm EDT)

SD Dinelson Lamet at COL Antonio Senzatela (8:40pm EDT)

CLE Mike Clevinger at SF Ty Blach (10:15pm EDT)

We’ll start with the top pitching plays for tonight…

MLB FanDuel

MIAMI, FL – JULY 10: Clayton Kershaw, the clear MLB FanDuel top pitcher pick tonight.

Top MLB FanDuel Pitching Play

As we’ve already mentioned, Ray and Peacock are on the mound tonight.  Robbie has been a great MLB FanDuel play over the first half of the season due to a high 32.1% strikeout rate, tied with Brad for the highest among all starters on the bump tonight.

However, Ray also has a high 11.9 % walk rate, as does Peacock with a 14.1% walk rate.  So there’s a WHIP problem each time you play them, putting a QS at risk and increasing the odds of earned runs reducing your point total.

Ray has a solid match up against the Reds, but their offense has performed well in Cincinnati.  And Peacock is facing a challenging Mariners lineup in Houston.  So with Clayton Kershaw ($12,700) taking on a juicy match-up in Chicago against the White Sox, I’m going to fade Ray and Peacock and pay up for Kershaw.

Clayton leads all starters tonight with a low 2.88 SIERA, the only pitcher under 3.00 tonight. Kershaw has a great 31.4% strikeout rate, third after Peacock and Ray among all SP’s.  The other intriguing part about Kershaw is the low 4.4% walk rate along with the best WHIP on the mound, 0.88, tonight.

You may hear a lot of chatter about how well the White Sox have slugged left-handed hitters this season, but taking a closer look, they did better earlier in the season and against worse performing lefties.  The White Sox wRC+ is falling, now 120, against LHP’s at home and their K rate has climbed over 20%.  Applying the recent drop in performance to the White Sox are facing one of the best southpaws in baseball, we realize this is clearly the top pick tonight.

MLB FanDuel

CLEVELAND, OH – JULY 08: Starting pitcher Mike Clevinger, the best mid-salary range MLB FanDuel pitcher tonight.

MLB FanDuel Top Mid-Salary Pitcher

In late June, I finally jumped onto the Mike Clevinger ($8,500) train, and Clevinger has averaged around 44 MLB FanDuel points each time I played him since, over a three game period.  In late June, Mike has averaged six innings per start, a quality start in each game, and a win in two of the three games.  Clevinger is also averaging just under seven strikeouts per game, over the last three starts.

Each of Mike’s recent starts have been against quality competition, twice against the Tigers and once against the Rangers potent lineup.  So the match-ups weren’t creating the better outcome, its Clevinger’s performance.

Tonight, Mike is facing a terrible Giants offense against RHP’s in San Francisco.  The Giants are now dead last in wRC+ in this scenario, a 76 result.  While the Giants are only striking out at a 19.1% rate, they’re also walking at a low 6.4% rate.  With a .290 on base percentage (the worst in baseball), a .349 slugging percentage (the worst in baseball), and .110 ISO (the worst in baseball), it’s very safe to assume Clevinger has the best match up tonight.

Mike has a 4.35 SIERA, eighth best among all starters tonight.  While Clevinger has a high 12.9% walk rate, keep in mind, the Giants aren’t getting on base much against RHP’s in San Fran.  Also, with a high 27.5% strikeout rate, Mike really seems like a bargain at only $8.5K with a very juicy match-up.  If you’re looking for more salary to stack bats, fade Kershaw and pick Clevinger.

MLB FanDuel

DENVER, CO – JUNE 22: Starting pitcher Antonio Senzatela, our top MLB FanDuel value pick for pitcher tonight.

MLB FanDuel: Top Value Play

When you’re looking for a value play, you have to understand you’re taking on plenty of risk.  A value pick at pitcher can significantly inflate your point total on a low salary.  But a value pick could also bomb and plague your lineup with a negative point pick.  There are plenty of negative-point possibilities in the lower range of salaried pitchers tonight.

Antonio Senzatela ($5,900) started the season strong and was a darling among many Fantasy Baseball players.  But after a terrible May, Senzatela was relegated to the bullpen and eventually even sent back into the minors, Triple-A.  However, after some injury problems and other poor performances from the Rockies starting rotation, Antonio has been called up for another start in Coors Field tonight.

This could be a confidence-boosting match-up for Antonio.  While pitching in Coors Field is always dangerous, Senzatela is facing one of the worst offensive lineups in baseball, the Padres.  Against RHP’s away from San Diego, the Padres have a 75 wRC+, tied with the Phillies for the worst in baseball. They have a horrendous 28.4% strikeout rate, providing big K upside potential out of a low salary pick.  If you really want to spend big on bats tonight and need a cheap pitcher with great upside, Senzatela is your guy.

MLB FanDuel

DENVER, CO – JULY 06: Starting pitcher Sal Romano, one of the top pitchers to target for offensive MLB FanDuel stacks.

Pitching Targets / MLB FanDuel Offensive Stacks

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Sal Romano

With only two starts and eight total innings, we don’t have much data from Romano.  But against the Brewers and Rockies, we know Sal was unable to get a quality start, gave up nine hits and fours walks, along with four earned runs in those eight innings.

The Diamondbacks have a mediocre result against right-handed pitchers away from Chase Field. However, as we’ve seen over the last four days from the Nationals, bats have been very active in Cincinnati this season.  They’re expensive, but the DBacks bat should be very productive in a hitter-friendly field against a sup-par starter from the Reds tonight.

Houston Astros vs. Sam Gaviglio 

The Astros are the best offensive against left-handed and right-handed pitchers regardless of the field.  Tonight, the Astros welcome Gaviglio to the mound, for the Mariners, in Houston.

Sam has a poor 5.87 SIERA.  Gaviglio is only striking out hitters 15.9% rate and walking with a 8.2% rate.  The really juicy stat for this stack is 2.08 home runs per nine innings from Gaviglio.  We should see several home runs from the Astros lineup tonight, in Houston.  This could be a great stack with Clevinger or Senzatela.

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Junior Guerra

I’ve picked on Guerra all season, as he continues to pitch poorly.  With a 5.75 SIERA, Guerra has the worst pitching statistics among all starters tonight, who have been on the mound consistently through the season.  Junior is walking hitters at a nearly 14% rate, and is giving up 2.38 home runs per nine innings.

While the Pirates bats have been quiet at the start of the season, they really heated up approaching the ASB (All Star Break), and have continued since.  The Pirates are even in a competitive position to take the division crown from the Brewers.  This is an affordable and high-value stack for your MLB Fanduel lineups tonight.

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