FanDuel MLB DFS Pitching Primer for Monday 4/15/24

Nicholas Vazquez
Nicholas Vazquez@nickvaz
FanDuel MLB DFS Pitching Primer for Monday 4/15/24

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 of the Heap

Tyler Glasnow, Los Angeles Dodgers ($11,000)

Tyler Glasnow ($11,000) has to be mentioned every time he pitches for the foreseeable future. He's been very good since joining the Los Angeles Dodgers and was electric in his last start.

Prior to his last outing, Glasnow had two starts with 40 FanDuel points, but there was maybe a little concern that he wasn't striking out as many hitters as normal. That all changed in his last start as he struck out 14 over seven innings and didn't allow a run.

His strikeout numbers are now what we would expect from him, as his K rate is 32.3% and his swinging-strike rate is 15.3%. Pair that with a 3.01 SIERA, and we have an elite pitcher.

Tonight, Glasnow will face the Washington Nationals. Washington has been a better hitting team against righties than we expected, but this isn't a matchup we should fear. They don't have any top-notch lefties, and they had just a 92 wRC+ against righties last season.

The Nats have the lowest implied team total on tonight's slate (3.03). That, combined with Glasnow's slate-leading projection of 37.6 points, makes him the top option tonight.

Seth Lugo, Kansas City Royals ($9,600)

The Kansas City Royals are off to a surprising 10-6 start after losing 106 games last season. Most of the focus has been on their offense, but some of their pitchers deserve props, as well.

The pitcher we'll talk about here is Seth Lugo ($9,600). He has a quality start in all three of his outings this season and is really limiting dangerous contact with a 52.5% ground-ball rate and a 36.3% hard-hit rate.

We would like to see more strikeouts from Lugo. Currently, his strikeout rate is just 11.8%. That should normalize to something closer to the 23.2% mark we saw last season.

A main reason to target today Lugo is the matchup. He'll take on the lowly Chicago White Sox, who have the third-lowest wRC+ against righties as well as the lowest ISO.

Lugo is a fairly safe option today if you can't get all the way up to Glasnow.

Next Men Up

Frankie Montas, Cincinnati Reds ($9,000)

Frankie Montas ($9,000) has been fairly effective in his first few outings with the Cincinnati Reds. He has won two of his three games and has allowed just four earned runs in 16.2 innings pitched.

He's done well to limit hard contact. He's allowed a barrel rate of just 3.9%. He needs his strikeout rate to improve, and he has the perfect match up to do that tonight.

Montas will be on the road against the Seattle Mariners. Seattle has struggled mightily against righties so far this season. They have the highest strikeout rate (31.5%) and the lowest wRC+ (69) in the split.

Getting the park shift from Great American Ball Park to the pitcher-friendly T-Mobile Park in Seattle, Montas should be a safe option with upside if the Mariners continue to struggle.

Joe Musgrove, San Diego Padres ($8,300)

Joe Musgrove ($8,300) hasn't gotten off to the best start this season, but there are reasons to believe he will bounce back.

Musgrove's ERA is an ugly 6.87, but his FIP is 4.78 and his xFIP is down at 4.80. His sky-high .418 BABIP should regress, and that would help lower his ERA.

What we should really focus on for the positives is Musgrove's strikeout upside. He's gotten swings and misses on 13.6% of pitches so far this season. That should boost his 19.8% strikeout rate toward the 24% range that we saw him at in over the last two seasons.

He doesn't get the easiest lineup tonight in the Milwaukee Brewers, but they could be missing a big hitter. It appears that Christian Yelich will not be playing, and he has been their best hitter so far this season.

I like Musgrove to bounce back for the rest of the season, and he might fly under the radar tonight considering how things have gone for him so far in 2024.

Value of the Day

Ross Stripling, Oakland Athletics ($7,100)

It's not fun rostering any Oakland Athletics considering the state of the franchise, but Ross Stripling ($7,100) makes sense tonight.

Stripling has been knocked around a bit to start his career with the A's, but he's definitely been the victim of bad luck. He's allowed a hard-hit rate of just 25.0%, but his BABIP is .424. We know BABIP tends to regress towards .300, and if you aren't allowing a ton of hard contact, a .424 BABIP is a huge outlier.

He's never been an elite strikeout pitcher, but 14 Ks in 18 innings this season is respectable. It's hard to find elite strikeout guys for this salary, so we'll have to live with his 17.7% strikeout rate on the season.

The A's will host the St. Louis Cardinals in what is a better matchup than you might think. St. Louis has not hit righties very well this season, with their 85 wRC+ ranking sixth-worst. They also strike out at an above-average clip against righties.

If you want to fit in some high-salary bats, Stripling isn't a bad dart throw.

Quick Mound Visits

On the other side of that Oakland-St. Louis game, Sonny Gray ($9,700) is enticing. Oakland is a team we will likely target all season long as they have a 26.4% strikeout rate and a 86 wRC+ against righties.

The thing that concerns me about Gray is the pitch count. He didn't have a full spring training and threw only 64 pitches in his first start this season. He might be able to have a good DFS day with around 75 pitches, but it's risky.

George Kirby ($8,600) has had a rough start to the season, but we know his talent level is closer to his xERA (3.67) than his actual ERA (8.16). He faces the Reds at home. The Reds have struck out 27.4% of the time against righties. Cincinnati has power, but that should be mitigated a bit in T-Mobile Park.

Luis Gil ($8,400) has an impressive 36.8% strikeout rate this season. He's also walked 18.4% of batters, which has limited his ability to go deep into games. If he can walk fewer hitters, he should have a high ceiling.

Adrian Houser ($7,000) has just an 8.9% strikeout rate this season but has a higher swinging-strike rate than he did last season when he fanned 20.0% of batters. He's favored at home today versus the San Diego Padres, so he's another value option along with Stripling.

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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.