FanDuel MLB DFS Pitching Primer for Friday 4/26/24

Nicholas Vazquez
Nicholas Vazquez@nickvaz

Nailing the pitcher slot is the first step to having success in MLB DFS on FanDuel.

While it's possible to cash if you get a bad outing from a starter, it's markedly easier to do so when you get a good or excellent showing from your pitcher, and it's darn near impossible to take down a contest without a big score from your hurler.

Weighing the importance of a pitcher's skill, salary, matchup and park factors is the game within the game in MLB DFS. This piece is your home for a breakdown of the top pitching options on today's main slate.

All betting references come from the MLB odds at FanDuel Sportsbook. All stats come from FanGraphs and Baseball Savant unless noted otherwise.

MLB DFS Pitcher Picks

Top Options

Corbin Burnes, Baltimore Orioles ($11,500)

The big trade for the Baltimore Orioles this offseason saw them acquire Corbin Burnes ($11,500) as they looked to add a true ace to their pitching staff.

Burnes has been what they were looking for through his first month on the team. He has a 3.04 xFIP and 3.13 SIERA. His strikeout rate is a respectable 25.4% and a 45.6% ground-ball rate helps him limit dangerous contact.

He'll get a great matchup tonight against the Oakland Athletics. Oakland has struck out at the third-highest clip against right-handed pitching this season (27.5%) and also has the third-lowest wRC+ against righties (85).

Burnes has a high salary, but he offers a fairly good floor/ceiling combination. He has our top projection on the slate tonight and is usable in all formats.

Shota Imanaga, Chicago Cubs ($10,200)

Technically, Shota Imanaga ($10,200) is coming off the worst start of his MLB career. That start was still a quality start and saw him surrender just two runs in six innings. It was the first time he's allowed any runs in a game.

Teams have yet to get a good read on Imanaga. He's struck out 25.6% of hitters while allowing a 3.17 SIERA and 3.33 xFIP.

He's going to Fenway Park tonight to face the Boston Red Sox. Boston is normally dangerous at home but not this season. They have the lowest wOBA (.259) and wRC+ (54) at home so far in 2024. They also have the highest strikeout rate (30.6%).

There are a lot of boxes checked for Imanaga tonight, so he's definitely someone I'll roster.

Next Men Up

Zach Eflin, Tampa Bay Rays ($9,500)

There isn't much that will wow you about Zach Eflin ($9,500), but he does offer stability most of the time. Tonight's matchup should only help that.

Eflin wasn't too good to start the season, but he's recovered since then. He hasn't allowed an earned run in either of his last two starts. He's struck out at least five batters in all of his outings and has a 3.30 SIERA to go with a 3.27 xFIP.

There isn't too much danger of Eflin being blown up tonight against the Chicago White Sox . The White Sox have by far the MLB's lowest wRC+ against righties (65). The next-worst team is the Miami Marlins with a 78 wRC+.

The Tampa Bay Rays are -240 favorites tonight, so Eflin should be able to pick up the win.

Nathan Eovaldi, Texas Rangers ($8,800)

It seems like Nathan Eovaldi ($8,800) has been in the league forever, and he's still getting the job done.

Eovaldi has always been able to get a lot of ground balls because of the movement on his hard fastball. He has a career 46.6% ground-ball rate, and it's right around there at 46.2% this season. His strikeout rate is just 23.0%, but his 15.1% swinging-strike rate points to him being able to get even more Ks this season.

The Texas Rangers play the Cincinnati Reds at home tonight. The Reds have struck out 28.1% of the time against righties and have just a 86 wRC+ in the split.

If you're looking for a bit of savings while not sacrificing too much upside, Eovaldi makes a lot of sense.

Value of the Day

Jose Butto, New York Mets ($8,000)

It's been quite the start to the season for Jose Butto ($8,000). There weren't a ton of expectations for him heading into the year, but he looks like a pitcher the New York Mets can be excited about.

Butto's first two starts of the season were lights out as he allowed only one earned run over 12 innings and struck out 15. Overall this season, he has a 31.8% strikeout rate. He isn't giving up a ton of dangerous contact, either, surrendering just one barrel in 34 batted balls.

He'll face the St. Louis Cardinals tonight at home as a favorite. The Cardinals are a bang-average team against righties this season, with a 100 wRC+.

If Butto can pitch like he did in his first two outings, he'll have a great chance to deliever as a value play.

Quick Mound Visits

Zac Gallen ($11,000) has a very high salary, but he gets a matchup against the Seattle Mariners that could be good for him. Seattle strikes out the most in the league against RHP at a 29.6% clip. Gallen is currently striking out 28.1% of batters, the best rate he's had since 2020.

Chris Sale ($9,800) may be on the path to a comeback, but tonight he'll face a Cleveland Guardians lineup that has mashed lefties this season.

Bailey Ober ($8,500) has been really good since his disastrous start to open his season. The matchup against the Los Angeles Angels is a good one as they have struck out 25.6% of the time against righties this season.

On the other side of that game, Patrick Sandoval ($7,200) may be the lowest-salaried viable option tonight. Sandoval has an ugly 6.75 ERA, but his xFIP is down at 4.23. He should be in for better days. He also has a respectable 23.3% strikeout rate.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.