FanDuel MLB DFS Pitching Primer for Tuesday 4/9/24

Nicholas Vazquez
Nicholas Vazquez@nickvaz
FanDuel MLB DFS Pitching Primer for Tuesday 4/9/24

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 ($10,000)

While we're still waiting for a totally dominant performance from Tyler Glasnow ($10,000), he's still been serviceable for fantasy players.

Glasnow's had back-to-back 40 FanDuel point games in his last two starts, but what's been down for him is the strikeouts. His K rate has been just 22.7% so far this season, and his swinging-strike rate is down 2.8 percentage points from last season.

There isn't much to be concerned about in the long term for Glasnow. His fastball velocity is above where it was last season, so we should see the strikeouts come back, and it could start tonight.

Glasnow and the Los Angeles Dodgers will face the Minnesota Twins tonight. Minnesota's active lineup is off to a rough start to the year against right-handed pitching. They've struck out 27.2% of the time while also having just a 67 wRC+.

Being the highest-projected pitcher according to our projections, I like Glasnow the best if you want a high-salaried option tonight.

Nathan Eovaldi, Texas Rangers ($9,600)

Now a postseason hero with two different teams, Nathan Eovaldi ($9,600) gets a chance to do his thing in the regular season tonight within a good matchup.

Eovaldi has made two starts so far this season and has allowed just two earned runs in 15 innings. He struck out eight batters in his last start and has a 14.1% swinging-strike rate so far this season. He hasn't given up a lot of hard contact to start this season, allowing just a 25.0% hard-hit rate.

The matchup on Tuesday for Eovaldi and the Texas Rangers is pristine. He'll face an Oakland Athletics team that was projected to score the fewest runs this season by FanGraphs. Digging deeper, they have the seventh-highest strikeout rate against righties (26.8%) and the 23rd-best wRC+ (81) so far.

Projected for the third-most points at pitcher today, Eovaldi makes a lot of sense in all contest formats tonight.

Middle of the Rotation

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

There are a plethora of options in this salary range. We'll start with Joe Musgrove ($8,300), who has the highest salary of this group.

Musgrove wasn't off to the best start to the season in his first two games. He allowed nine runs in 8.1 innings. He turned things around last time out with seven strikeouts and just one earned run in six innings.

He was an effective pitcher last season, posting a 3.70 xFIP and a 3.77 SIERA. He benefits from pitching in Petco Park, which had the second-lowest park factor for offense among the 30 MLB stadiums.

Musgrove will take on the Chicago Cubs, who have the fifth-lowest implied team total (3.77 runs) on the slate. I like playing him at this salary, and he may fall between the cracks with a lot of other quality options tonight.

Chris Bassitt, Toronto Blue Jays ($8,000)

Speaking of pitchers who may go overlooked, Chris Bassitt ($8,000) and his rough start to the season may cause him to not be popular at all tonight.

Bassitt has allowed eight earned runs in 9.1 innings in 2024 -- obviously not ideal. He's dealt with a fair bit of bad luck, suffering from a massive .419 BABIP and an xFIP nearly a full point lower than his FIP. His SIERA stands as not terrible (4.71), too.

He's still recorded nine strikeouts in those 9.1 innings despite never being a huge strikeout pitcher in his career. He'll have the matchup to do that tonight.

The Toronto Blue Jays will face the Seattle Mariners at home tonight. Seattle has the highest strikeout rate against righties after fanning 10 times against them yesterday. They also have the third-lowest wRC+ against them at just 72.

I like Bassitt's chances of bouncing back tonight, and like I said, he will probably not be rostered by a ton of fantasy players concerned with his form.

Value of the Day

Carlos Rodon, New York Yankees ($7,700)

Finally, we get to the elephant in the room. Carlos Rodon ($7,700) at this salary and matchup makes him impossible to ignore.

Rodon spent much of 2023 dealing with an injury, which both limited and hampered his performance. In 2022, he was one of the best pitchers in baseball with a 33.4% strikeout rate and a 2.83 SIERA.

His comeback to an elite pitcher isn't fully complete. He has just a 15.6% strikeout rate this season -- although those came in two much tougher matchups than what he'll face today.

The New York Yankees will face the Miami Marlins, who have been the worst team in baseball so far. They are 1-10 and have an abysmal 32 wRC+ against lefties so far this season. Yesterday, fellow lefty Nestor Cortes threw eight shutout innings against them, which likely will lead to Rodon catching some attention in daily fantasy today.

The Marlins have the lowest implied team total on today's slate at just 3.43 runs. Something to keep in mind is that this will likely make Rodon a popular choice today. He's certainly one of the best values available to us today, but there is a case for fading him in tournaments.

That strikeout rate is not what we want from a tournament pitcher. While Miami cannot hit lefties, they have just a 20.6% strikeout rate against them. If he is going to be a popular choice, you may want to steer clear.

I'd still have Rodon as one -- if not my favorite -- option for cash-game formats.

Quick Mound Visits

Zack Wheeler ($10,600) has a high salary but has been lights out to start the season. He's also facing a St. Louis Cardinals team that has struck out 26.9% of the time against righties this year. If he had a lower salary, he'd be a top option. However, that salary will also likely make him appear in fewer lineups than he perhaps should.

Aaron Civale ($9,200) has had back-to-back 43 FanDuel point starts. The salary is somewhat high, but the matchup against the Los Angeles Angels is a pretty good one. They have a below-average 92 wRC+ against righties.

It hasn't exactly been the start to his career that Kyle Harrison ($7,900) had envisioned, but he gets a much easier matchup against the Washington Nationals tonight. Washington's 49 wRC+ is terrible against southpaws so far this season. This will also be Harrison's first home start in the pitcher-friendly Oracle Park.

Reynaldo Lopez ($7,200) was solid in his first start of the season, striking out five batters in six innings and only allowing one earned run. He gets to face a struggling New York Mets offense, and he's the lowest-salaried pitcher I'd consider tonight if you want to load up at Coors Field or elsewhere.

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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.