MLB

FanDuel MLB DFS Pitching Primer for Tuesday 5/14/24

Skyler Carlin
Skyler Carlin@skyler_carlin
FanDuel MLB DFS Pitching Primer for Tuesday 5/14/24

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 Options

Dylan Cease, San Diego Padres ($11,000)

It comes as no surprise that Dylan Cease of the San Diego Padres is the best pitcher to target for Tuesday's main slate. Ahead of a matchup with the strikeout-prone Colorado Rockies, Cease is in the 86th percentile in xERA (2.77) and 93rd percentile in xBA (.186) in his first eight starts for the Padres.

The upside is massive for Cease with the hard-throwing righty in the 95th percentile in whiff rate (34.1%) and 93rd percentile in strikeout rate (32.4%) with eight-plus strikeouts in three of his last four outings. Meanwhile, Colorado's lineup is posting the third-highest strikeout rate (26.7%), fifth-lowest ISO (.129), and third-lowest wRC+ (79) against right-handed pitching.

Cease understandably carries the highest projection on FanDuel Research of 45.2 FanDuel points among expected starting pitchers on Tuesday. With Cease coming off a 67-point performance versus the Chicago Cubs in his last start, the ceiling is certainly high for San Diego's ace entering a clash with Colorado.

Sonny Gray, St. Louis Cardinals ($10,800)

Sonny Gray is coming off his worst start of the 2024 campaign, giving up seven hits and six earned runs to the Milwaukee Brewers on the road. Before his dismal start against the Brewers, Gray had allowed a total of three earned runs while achieving 46-plus FanDuel points in four of his first five starts for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Despite Gray falling flat in his most recent start, the experienced righty is still in the 73rd percentile in whiff rate (29.2%) and 92nd percentile in strikeout rate (31.9%). While the Los Angeles Angels aren't a strikeout-heavy team, they have a much less intimidating lineup with Mike Trout sidelined.

On the season, the Angels are logging the 10th-lowest wOBA (.300) and the seventh-lowest wRC+ (92) versus right-handed pitching. Even though the Cardinals sometimes struggle to give Gray consistent run support, he's in a prime bounce-back spot on Tuesday.

Next Men Up

Chris Sale, Atlanta Braves ($10,400)

The matchup isn't a premium one for Chris Sale on Tuesday, but there is no denying his upside regardless of what team he faces right now. Throughout his first seven starts for the Atlanta Braves, Sale is producing elite metrics across the board.

Besides being in the 84th percentile or better in chase rate (36.8%), whiff rate (31.3%), and strikeout rate (30.6%), Sale is also in the 84th percentile or better in xERA (2.84) and hard-hit rate (29.6%). That being said, the Chicago Cubs don't strike out often versus southpaws, tallying the eighth-lowest strikeout rate (19.8%) in that split.

While the Cubs are also sporting the fifth-best ISO (.178), third-best wOBA (.358), and third-best wRC+ (133) against left-handed pitching, Sale is permitting an impressive 29.9% flyball rate and has allowed one or fewer earned runs in three consecutive appearances. If it weren't for the matchup, Sale would certainly rival Cease as the best pitcher on the main slate.

Ronel Blanco, Houston Astros ($10,000)

The Oakland Athletics have been an ultimate boom-or-bust team this season, notching the ninth-best ISO (.157), 14th-best wOBA (.306), and 11th-best wRC+ (102) versus right-handed pitching while recording the fourth-highest strikeout rate (25.9%) in that split. Even though it's been impressive to watch the Athletics exceed expectations -- at least thus far -- Ronel Blanco of the Houston Astros is fully capable of shutting down Oakland's lineup at home.

Blanco has done a fantastic job limiting hard contact with a 35.4% hard-hit rate and a 5.3% barrel rate in his first seven starts. Since putting up 50 FanDuel points in his season debut, we have yet to see Blanco eclipse 41 FanDuel points.

At the same time, Blanco has registered at least 31 FanDuel points in all seven of his starts, giving him a somewhat high floor on Tuesday. With Blanco being credited with a win in four of his starts -- and a quality start in five of his outings -- he is a viable option against the Athletics.

Value of the Day

Gavin Stone, Los Angeles Dodgers ($7,900)

When looking for a value play at pitcher, we sometimes want to target a pitcher with potential strikeout upside in a formidable matchup. While the matchup is a solid one within the pitcher-friendly confines of Oracle Park, Gavin Stone doesn't possess much upside in the K department ahead of a clash with the San Francisco Giants.

Aside from the Giants being around league-average with the 16th-highest strikeout rate (22.9%) against righties, Stone is in just the 19th percentile in strikeout rate (17.1%). What makes Stone such an intriguing option is the fact San Francisco's lineup is sans Jung Hoo Lee, Jorge Soler, and Michael Conforto while the Los Angeles Dodgers are the third-heaviest favorites (-186) on the slate.

Stone has produced 34-plus FanDuel points in four of his last five starts -- with three wins and four quality starts in that span. For those who want to try to fit in a bevy of high-salary bats, Stone is a viable low-salary option for Tuesday's main slate.

FanDuel Research's Aidan Cotter also seems to be on the same page with Stone, listing the young pitcher for the Dodgers as one of his favorite value plays.

Quick Mound Visits

Logan Gilbert ($10,200) has accrued 44-plus FanDuel points in six of his eight starts. The one concern is the Kansas City Royals boast the second-lowest strikeout rate (18.4%), eighth-best ISO (.157), and 12th-best wOBA (.309) versus right-handed pitching.

Hunter Greene ($9,300) has been much better away from Great American Ball Park this year, posting a 3.24 xFIP and 33.3% strikeout rate on the road, compared to a 4.47 xFIP and 26.2% strikeout rate at home. The Arizona Diamondbacks aren't an overly welcoming matchup, but Greene always possesses slate-breaking upside with his strikeout ability.

Michael Wacha ($7,600) is seemingly a popular value option with the Seattle Mariners owning the highest strikeout rate (29.0%) against right-handed pitchers. On the other hand, Wacha has given up nine hits and four-plus earned runs in two of his last three starts.

Joe Ross ($7,000) is worth mentioning due to the Pittsburgh Pirates struggling as of late and the increased chances of securing a win with Quinn Priester drawing the start on the other side. I'd prefer Stone or Wacha if you have to choose from the sub-$8,000 pitchers, but Ross doesn't need to do much to return value at his $7,000 salary.


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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.