FanDuel MLB DFS Pitching Primer for Wednesday 5/29/24

Nicholas Vazquez
Nicholas Vazquez@nickvaz
FanDuel MLB DFS Pitching Primer for Wednesday 5/29/24

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

Shota Imanaga, Chicago Cubs ($11,000)

Unfortunately, Shota Imanaga ($11,000) got rained out in his last start, but Shota mania continues tonight.

Imanaga has been one of the best pitchers in baseball so far this season. He has a 27.8% strikeout rate and just a 4.3% walk rate. His 16.0% swinging-strike rate is the second-highest among pitchers who have pitched 50 innings. With a skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) of 3.01, Imanga is checking a lot of boxes.

Tonight, Imanaga and the Chicago Cubs will face the Milwaukee Brewers. Milwaukee strikes out 24.1% of the time against left-handed pitching. They also have just a 93 weighted runs created plus (wRC+), below the average of 100.

The Brewers have the second-lowest implied team total (3.51 runs) on the slate, so I like Imanaga to be able to shut them down tonight.

Luis Gil, New York Yankees ($10,500)

It's surprising to see Luis Gil ($10,500) at this salary, but it's hard to say he doesn't deserve it.

Gil has been absolutely lights out of late. Over the last five starts, he's thrown 30.2 innings and allowed just two earned runs. He's struck out 35 batters in those games and picked up the win in all five. Gil's K rate on the season is up to a fantastic 31.7%.

The New York Yankees will face the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels have had success against lefties this season, but are worse against righties. Their wRC+ is 99 and they strike out 22.6% of the time,

Gil has a lot of upside -- he's struck out 14 batters in a game this season -- so he's a nice target for tournaments.

Next Tier

Justin Verlander, Houston Astros ($9,300)

It seems like Justin Verlander ($9,300) has gotten his feet under him this season. He may be 41 years old, but he is still a quality MLB pitcher.

Verlander struck out nine batters over six innings in his last start and allowed just one earned run. This was his second 50-point FanDuel outing in his last three attempts. On the season, his numbers aren't too strong -- his SIERA is 4.57 and his strikeout rate is just 21.0% -- but he could improve on those tonight.

The Houston Astros are on the road against the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday. That means a shift to T-Mobile Park, the stadium with the lowest park factor in MLB. The Mariners are also a great matchup for right-handed pitchers, as they strike out at a league-high 28.2% clip.

Verlander comes at a nice discount from the top tier, making him a good option to roster in all contest formats tonight.

Alek Manoah, Toronto Blue Jays, ($9,200)

Last season was a disaster for Alek Manoah ($9,200), but he's seemed to have gotten his game back to a respectable level.

A huge issue for Manoah last season was finding the strike zone. He walked a whopping 14.2% of batters. This season, that number is down to 8.2%, and his strikeout-minus-walk rate is 15.5% instead of the horrendous 4.8% it was in 2023.

There are some numbers in his profile that are concerning, but a 3.87 SIERA says he's at least a reasonable pitcher. That's all it really takes for me to be interested in a pitcher facing this Chicago White Sox team. The Sox have the lowest wRC+ against righties and strike out 23.2% of the time.

Manoah has shown upside this season, with a 52-FanDuel-point start under his belt. If something like that is to repeat, it's likely it will come against a team like the White Sox.

Value of the Day

Spencer Schwellenbach, Atlanta Braves ($7,200)

Using a pitcher in his first MLB start is always a bit risky -- especially if that pitcher has thrown only 13 innings above Single-A ball in his career.

That's the case for Spencer Schwellenbach ($7,200) tonight. He made two starts in Double-A without allowing a run, and he struck out 38.6% of batters. He also had a 54.2% ground-ball rate, and that was also 58.0% in Single-A. Hopefully, that will translate to the majors and limit the number of extra-base hits he allows.

Schwellenbach will make his debut for the Atlanta Braves against the Washington Nationals. Washington is 23rd in wRC+ versus righties (96) and 21st in wOBA (.302).

In tournaments, I definitely don't mind taking a chance on Schwellenbach. He makes it easy to fit in some bats from Coors Field, which we probably want on this slate.

Quick Mound Visits

Seth Lugo($10,000) has been excellent at times this season with two double-digit strikeout games. His K rate is still just 21.5%, however, and if I'm using five figures in salary, I'd like for my pitcher to be favored in the game.

I'd much prefer using Bailey Ober ($8,700) in that game, who is on the favored side. Ober has good numbers across the board with a 26.0% strikeout rate and a 3.58 SIERA. He has multiple 50-point starts on the season, too.

If you're uncomfortable using Schwellenbach in his first-ever start, Logan Allen ($7,900) and Bryse Wilson ($7,500) could give you some nice innings, even if they don't possess a ton of upside.

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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.