FanDuel MLB DFS Pitching Primer for Tuesday 6/4/24

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 odds come from the MLB odds at FanDuel Sportsbook. Advanced stats come from FanGraphs and Baseball Savant unless noted otherwise. Betting odds as well as our projections -- which are powered by numberFire -- may change after this article is published.

MLB DFS Pitcher Picks

Top of the Heap

Luis Gil, New York Yankees ($11,000)

It's tough to believe that Luis Gil ($11,000) could get a salary this high, but his performance in May has justified it.

Gil went 6-0 with a 0.70 ERA in May. His more advanced numbers don't look quite as good but are still solid. He has a 3.52 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) and a 3.46 expected FIP (xFIP). The metric which makes Gil an elite fantasy pitcher is his 31.7% strikeout rate.

Tonight, Gil will face the Minnesota Twins at home. Minnesota has about an average weighted runs created plus (wRC+) at 101 against right-handed pitching. They have the second-lowest implied team total tonight (3.57 runs), so they aren't projected to be able to hit Gil very well.

Gil has exceeded 50 FanDuel points four times this season -- including in each of his last three starts. I like getting that kind of upside in my tournament lineups.

Shota Imanaga, Chicago Cubs ($10,500)

Shota Imanaga ($10,500) finally got roughed up in his last start, his first real blemish in his major league career. He gets the perfect opportunity to bounce back tonight.

Even after his rough outing last game, Imanaga is still rocking an ERA under 2.00 to go with a 3.31 SIERA and a 3.45 xFIP. His strikeout rate is 25.5%, and his walk rate is a miniscule 4.3%, meaning he has good command of the strike zone.

Imanaga and the Chicago Cubs will play the crosstown Chicago White Sox tonight. The White Sox have the third-lowest wRC+ against left-handed pitching at just 75. They also strike out 24.9% of the time in this split, the fourth-most in baseball.

With this matchup, Imanaga is an excellent option in all formats.

Next Tier

Max Fried, Atlanta Braves ($9,900)

The salary is a bit closer to the top than I normally like to consider for this section, but Max Fried ($9,900) deserves a mention.

Fried has pitched well for the Atlanta Braves this season. He has a 3.45 SIERA and a 3.29 xFIP. He leaves something to be desired in the strikeout department, though, with just a 20.6% K rate.

Where he lacks in strikeouts, he makes up for in not allowing dangerous contact. Opponents are able to barrel the ball only 4.3% of the time against him, and he gets ground balls a lot with a 63% ground-ball rate.

He'll take on the Boston Red Sox, who are one of the best teams a lefty can see. Boston strikes out at a 28.3% rate against southpaws and has just an 85 wRC+ in the split.

It may look like Fried lacks upside given his low strikeout numbers, but he's produced 61 and 52 FanDuel points in his last two starts. He's in play in all formats.

Spencer Arrighetti, Houston Astros ($8,500)

It hasn't been an ideal start for Spencer Arrighetti ($8,500) in his first season in the MLB, but there are some numbers that are encouraging.

Arrighetti's 5.98 ERA looks ugly, but his xFIP is just 3.99. There are a lot of indications that he's been getting unlucky, including his .375 BABIP (the league average is about .290). He's allowing barrels at just a 6.5% rate. What appeals most to me about Arrighetti is his 25.5% strikeout rate and his solid 12.1% swinging-strike rate.

The Houston Astros will face the St. Louis Cardinals tonight. The Cards strike out the fifth-most against righties this season (24.7%), and it should give Arrighetti upside in this game.

I like Arrighetti as a sneaky tournament option, as he will save you quite a bit of salary compared to the elite pitchers on this slate.

Dane Dunning, Texas Rangers ($8,300)

There aren't many appealing value pitchers tonight, so targeting guys in the middle-to-high tier is how I want to build lineups. Dane Dunning ($8,300) comes in right behind Arrighetti in terms of salary and is a good option, as well.

Dunning has been able to get strikeouts this season better than he ever has in his career. His K rate is 27.7%, and his swinging-strike rate is 12.2% -- both career highs. Add that to his xFIP of 3.68, and Dunning is certainly having a good season.

He'll take on the Detroit Tigers tonight at home. Detroit is not a good hitting team against righties. In this split, they have a 23.2% strikeout rate (10th-highest) and just a 97 wRC+ (10th worst).

Dunning is another option in this range who I like, and he may be a bit safer than Arrighetti thanks to his matchup. That makes him more suitable for cash games.

Quick Mound Visits

There are two aces going tonight that are in tough matchups.

Jack Flaherty ($10,600) takes on a Texas Rangers lineup that strikes out only 18.5% of the time against righties. Flaherty has been excellent this season, but I'd rather roster Imanaga for $100 less.

Corbin Burnes ($10,000) has also been great but has really only seen his strikeouts pop in two games this season. His K rate is a good-but-not-spectacular 24.7%. He's unlikely to get many punchouts tonight against the Toronto Blue Jays, who strike out just 19.4% of the time against righties.

If you're really looking for a value option, Patrick Sandoval ($7,400) could make sense. He has been very up and down this season but is coming off a six-inning, seven-strikeout performance. He will take the mound against the San Diego Padres, who have just a 90 wRC+ against lefties.

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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.