FanDuel Pitching Primer: Tuesday 4/19/22

In daily fantasy baseball, success starts with nailing the starting pitcher spot in your lineup.

When compared to hitters, pitching performance tends to be much more predictable and stable throughout the course of the season. You know what you're getting from a top-level ace when you roster him: probably a dominant effort with only one or two implosions per season. In contrast, even the game's best hitters have days at the plate when they go 0-for-4.

As a result, lineup construction should begin with the starting pitcher. Which pitchers should you consider on today's main slate?

High-Salaried Play

Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers

Vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
FanDuel Salary: $10,800

There are a lot of reasons to be bullish on Corbin Burnes tonight, and it's no surprise that he stands out with the top projection among pitchers, per our algorithm.

The Brewers' ace bounced back very nicely in his second start of the year, whiffing eight batters over seven scoreless innings in garnering a win. For Burnes' career, he's recorded a 33.0% strikeout rate while walking only 7.0% of batters, helping him to a 2.99 SIERA.

All of this makes Burnes a no-brainer pick as the slate's top pitcher. We project him for 42.5 FanDuel points, and while there is one other expensive arm we really like as well (more on him shortly), he's an easy top-flight option.

High-Salaried Play #2

Joe Musgrove, San Diego Padres

Vs. Cincinnati Reds
FanDuel Salary: $11,000

It's very rare to me to see a slate like this on FanDuel where there are two high-salaried options I want you to play. Tonight, the best arms are very close to one another, and Joe Musgrove absolutely deserves a very long look.

First, let's start with the Cincinnati Reds.

I don't think Phil Castellini's absolutely absurd remarks have a damn bit to do with their play on the field, but since that time, the Reds have really struggled to win, and their hitting has been woefully atrocious. They rank last in the league in terms of team wOBA (.250) and are fourth-worst in ISO (.106), and their 27.6% strikeout rate is the second-worst mark.

We need to be attacking this team on the daily.

And it's not like Musgrove is a slouch whatsoever. In two starts this year, dude has been straight ballin' -- a 31.1% strikeout rate, 45.2% ground-ball rate, and nary a walk to start the year.

We project Musgrove for a whopping 36.8 FanDuel points tonight.

Contrarian Play

Carlos Hernandez, Kansas City Royals

Vs. Minnesota Twins
FanDuel Salary: $5,700

Alright, you wanna get nuts? Let's. Get. Nuts.

Carlos Hernandez sports one of the best values on the board today, projected for a 4.05x return thanks to his cheap salary. But how did our algorithm get there?

Let's start with his opponent, the Minnesota Twins. They are whiffing at a pretty egregious clip so far this season (27.5%), and their .287 wOBA and .149 ISO are not exactly anything to write home about, either.

At first blush, the Kansas City Royals right-hander and his numbers are quite perplexing. He recorded a 3.68 ERA over 85 2/3 innings pitched last year, but the lack of swings and misses (20.7% strikeout rate; 10.7% swinging-strike rate) can fool you.

However, a 13.2% swinging-strike rate in his 2022 debut portends better days ahead, and while it's very early, he's throwing the heater 10% less and the slider 10% more.

If you need a cheap dart throw, peep Hernandez.

Matt Kupferle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matt Kupferle also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username MKupferle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.