FanDuel MLB DFS Pitching Primer for Wednesday 6/5/24

Skyler Carlin
Skyler Carlin@skyler_carlin
FanDuel MLB DFS Pitching Primer for Wednesday 6/5/24

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 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 Options

Dylan Cease, San Diego Padres ($10,300)

It has been far from smooth sailing recently for Dylan Cease, who has given up three-plus earned runs in four consecutive starts for the San Diego Padres. This comes after Cease surrendered two or fewer earned runs in six of his first seven starts in 2024.

Even with his recent performances, Cease is still in the 92nd percentile in whiff rate (33.2%) and 90th percentile in strikeout rate (30.9%) while tying his career-best mark in swinging strike rate (15.0%) through 12 outings.

He's got a pretty nice matchup today versus the Los Angeles Angels. The Halos own the 11th-highest strikeout rate (23.6%) versus right-handed pitching. The Angels are also logging the worst wOBA (.252), worst wRC+ (60), and the fourth-worst ISO (.114) in the last 14 days.

While Cease isn't my favorite pitching option on the main slate, there's reason for optimism for the right-handed ace ahead of a matchup with the Angels.

Logan Gilbert, Seattle Mariners ($10,200)

Logan Gilbert has also experienced some shaky outings on the mound for the Seattle Mariners in recent appearances, but he's my favorite pitcher on the main slate.

After scoring 44-plus FanDuel points in six of his first seven starts this season, Gilbert has failed to crack 40-plus FanDuel points in each of his last four outings.

In Gilbert's defense, the talented right-handed hurler faced the Houston Astros, New York Yankees, and Kansas City Royals for three of the outings in that four-game span. On Wednesday, Gilbert will get a much friendlier matchup as he takes on the Oakland Athletics in a pitcher-friendly park at the Oakland Coliseum.

Aside from Gilbert registering a career-best 12.8% swinging strike rate, the Athletics have the third-highest strikeout rate (26.5%) against right-handed pitchers and the second-highest strikeout rate (26.7%) in the last 30 days.

With George Kirby putting up 42 FanDuel points on Tuesday versus Oakland, I'm expecting a similar -- or better -- output from Gilbert tonight.

Next Tier

Paul Skenes, Pittsburgh Pirates ($9,600)

The matchup isn't ideal for Paul Skenes and the Pittsburgh Pirates -- at least on paper -- ahead of a showdown against the Los Angeles Dodgers. At the same time, it's tough to ignore the upside from the exciting, hard-throwing righty who is in the 85th percentile or better in chase rate (32.5%), whiff rate (33.7%), and strikeout rate (35.7%) through his first four starts in the majors.

What has also been impressive is the fact Skenes is sitting in the 87th percentile in xERA (2.83) and 83rd percentile in xBA (.214) while his fastball is hovering around 100 MPH. Similar to other pitchers who lean on their heat-seeking fastball, Skenes is allowing an average exit velocity of 90.1 MPH and a 39.6% hard-hit rate -- because any contact on his fastball could do damage.

Over the last 30 days, the Dodgers are producing the 13th-lowest wOBA (.305) and are around league average with the 15th-lowest wRC+ (100) in that span. Considering that Los Angeles is capable of having an explosive performance at the plate in any matchup, Skenes should be considered in only tournaments on Wednesday.

Carlos Rodon, New York Yankees ($9,500)

We haven't seen Carlos Rodon consistently perform at an elite level like he once did just a couple of years ago, but he continues to get the job done for the Yankees. Rodon has scored 34-plus FanDuel points in seven of his last nine starts while recording a win and quality start in each of his past five appearances.

When playing at Yankee Stadium this season, Rodon is sporting a 4.27 xFIP and 0.91 WHIP with a 23.0% strikeout rate, compared to a 4.60 xFIP and 1.27 WHIP with a 21.8% strikeout rate in road contests.

Despite the positive results we've seen from Rodon, there are concerning metrics ahead of a bout with the Minnesota Twins. Entering his 13th start of the campaign, Rodon is in the 8th percentile in average exit velocity (91.1 MPH), 23rd percentile in barrel rate (9.4%), and 23rd percentile in hard-hit rate (42.9%) with a concerning 50.8% flyball rate, resulting in him ranking in the 32nd percentile in xERA (4.32).

While Rodon could certainly continue his recent stretch of success, the Twins boast the seventh-highest ISO (.159) and third-highest flyball rate (41.4%) against southpaws. It's a tough matchup for him.

Value of the Day

Joey Estes, Oakland Athletics ($6,800)

I don't believe it's necessary to save salary at pitcher on Wednesday, but Joey Estes stands out as a potential low-salary option if you're looking for one. Aside from his second start of the season (where he permitted eight hits and eight earned runs versus the Astros), Estes has been solid for the Athletics.

In each of his other three starts, Estes has tallied 27-plus FanDuel points with five-plus Ks. Estes is also in the 66th percentile in xERA (3.46) and is logging a formidable 11.8% swinging strike rate ahead of his matchup with the Mariners.

Seattle has been a team we've picked on all year as they are recording the highest strikeout rate (28.2%) versus right-handed pitchers along with the highest strikeout rate (27.1%) and sixth-lowest wOBA (.293) in the last 30 days.

With Gilbert drawing the start for the Mariners, picking up a win will likely be tough for Estes, but he doesn't need to provide much to return value at a $6,800 salary.

Quick Mound Visits

Zach Eflin ($8,700) is expected to make his return from the injured list on Wednesday to face the Miami Marlins. If Eflin wasn't expected to see a limited workload in his first game back -- without any rehab starts -- he'd be a much more enticing option.

Erick Fedde ($8,600) has been a perplexing pitcher to watch this year as he's posting career-best marks in SIERA (3.78), xFIP (3.68), and strikeout rate (22.8%) while averaging 31.5 FanDuel points per game. The Chicago Cubs have struggled at the plate recently, but it's still tough to trust Fedde considering his career numbers.

Jameson Taillon ($8,200) is likely going to be a somewhat popular value option in a matchup with the Chicago White Sox. That being said, he's posted 25 or fewer FanDuel points in four consecutive starts, and he's registering career-worst numbers in strikeout rate (15.4%) and swinging strike rate (7.9%).

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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.