Diamond Data — 7 Stats to Know for MLB DFS Friday (9/16)


Data in baseball runs deeper and is more comprehensive than any other sport. These are the seven stats I find most relevant to Friday’s MLB DFS slate. 


1. Jonathan Heasley has a 6.28 xFIP

Jonathan Heasley has a 5.51 ERA on the season and allowed seven earned runs to the Tigers in his last start without completing five innings. He’s been better on the road with a 4.54 ERA compared to his 6.43 ERA at home. Still, Heasley is likely the worst pitcher on the entire slate with his 15% K% and 10% BB%. He’s allowed a .269 ISO to left-handed hitters and a .179 ISO to right-handed hitters. Rafael Devers, Alex Verdugo and rookie Triston Casas are priorities for me in Boston stacks as all are left-handed hitters with a good amount of pop. 

2. Michael Lorenzen has a 5.08 xFIP

Michael Lorenzen isn’t quite as bad as Heasley, but he similarly struggles with left-handed hitters. He’s allowed a .207 ISO to left-handed hitters this year compared to a .108 ISO against right-handed hitters. Right-handed hitters like Julio Rodríguez, Mitch Haniger and Eugenio Suárez are all still in play here, but I want to prioritize Carlos Santana and Cal Raleigh in Seattle stacks. Santana is way too cheap at $2,100 on DraftKings and 20 of Raleigh’s 23 home runs have come against right-handed pitching (.278 ISO against right-handed pitching). 

3. Michael Wacha has a 4.54 xFIP

Michael Wacha has consistently outpitched his ERA estimators the entire season, so perhaps take this with a grain of salt. His xFIP is still much higher than his 2.69 ERA. He’s completed at least six innings and posted at least five strikeouts in each of his last four starts. In only one of those starts did he allow more than three earned runs. I still like a Royals stack here. Bobby Witt Jr. and Salvador Perez to start of course and Vinnie Pasquantino and Michael Massey as your value pieces. The Royals aren’t heavy on the strikeouts, and neither is Wacha, as he has a 20% K%, so I believe this matchup favors the offense. 

4. Triston McKenzie has a 28% K% against left-handed hitters

The Twins project to have at least four left-handed hitters in the lineup, which only adds to the strikeout upside Triston McKenzie provides. McKenzie threw seven scoreless innings against Minnesota on the road in his last start. He allowed only six hits and struck out five batters. McKenzie has been even better at home, though, as he has a 2.84 ERA at home. McKenzie is my favorite pitcher to use in tournaments, as he should carry fairly low rostership on this slate. 


5. Blake Snell has a 31% K%

Blake Snell might be in the best spot of any pitcher on this slate. Snell’s strikeouts came back in a big way this year, and now he gets to face the Diamondbacks on the road. The last time he faced Arizona was two starts ago and he completed six innings while allowing just one earned run and striking out 10. McKenzie/Snell is my favorite pitcher pairing on DraftKings. 

6. Jesús Luzardo has a 27% K%

Jesús Luzardo is another big-time strikeout guy. He didn’t make it out of the fourth inning against the Mets in his last start, but the Mets are a very strong offense that makes lots of contact. Two starts ago, he completed seven innings against the Phillies while allowing just two earned runs and striking out nine batters. If I was making two lineups tonight, I would have Luzardo and one of McKenzie or Snell in my second lineup. 

7. Justin Verlander has a 3.98 xFIP 

Justin Verlander is coming off the injured list for this start. He’s the most expensive pitcher on the slate and projects to be the highest rostered. Verlander undeniably has a great matchup with Oakland, but with other pitching options on this slate that I prefer at lower rostership Verlander is likely a fade for me here. 

Previous CFB DFS picks and strategy for the Saturday main slate (9/17) Next 10 Under 10%: The Best Overlooked DFS Plays of Week 2