Written by Corey Fishman - DF Insider on May 15, 2018

Who’s ready for another PlayLine MLB slate?! We’re big fans of how simple it is to build an MLB PlayLine, as you can submit near-average projections in a minute or two that will usually have a shot at winning. That being said, most people will submit average projections, and by doing high-quality research (or using the DFI researchers) you can differentiate yourself from the competition and get an edge. If you’re not on PlayLine yet, you can

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Tonight’s pitching competition simply asks you to project how many strikeouts and outs will be recorded by three of the top pitchers on the slate. Therefore, you only need to consider one scoring system, and it doesn’t actually matter that much if the pitcher has a good matchup for keeping runs off the board.
All that matters is how many strikeouts and total outs he will get. The scoring for this contest is as follows:
200 points if you project exactly how many strikeouts/outs the pitcher will record.
150 if you are within 1.
125 if you are within 2.
100 if you are within 3.
75 if you are within 4.
50 if you are within 5.
25 if you are within 6.
Basically, you lose 25 points for each strikeout/out you are further away. If you are more than 6 away you just get 0, and deservedly so. There is essentially just a 25 point bonus for being spot on, as the logical progression would have been 175, which makes the 200 point bonus worth 25 more than expected. This isn’t a lot, but in a game mode like this where points are hard to rack up a lot of, you need a few of those bonuses to win.
There is one more facet to the scoring, and that is that you get 3 points for every strikeout and out you correctly project. So let’s say Syndergaard gets 9 strikeouts but you projected him for 8. While you’d get the same 150 point bonus as someone who projected him for 10 strikeouts, they would get 3 more points than you because you stopped collecting 3 points per strikeout after number 8. With this in mind, it is better to miss high than low. It may seem like a meaningless amount of points, but if you pick up an extra 3 or 6 points on every pitcher it could mean an extra 25+ points. This could obviously end up being a tiebreaker like it is in the example above, and ultimately the difference in winning or losing your contests.
 
Now let’s dive into today’s slate which includes Noah Syndergaard, Yu Darvish, and Zack Greinke.
Our first pitcher that we will look into is Noah Syndergaard from the New York Mets. Syndergaard receives a matchup with the Toronto Blue Jays and our research suggests Syndergaard should dominate. Looking at advanced statistics, everything is up for Syndergaard this season. He has a terrific K-rate of 28% and his SwStrk% sits a 14.4% which is over a 1% jump from last season. Syndergaard has also done a terrific job of limiting hard contact as he is holding batters to just a 25% hard contact rate. While he has only had one stellar start this season, much of the reason is because his BABIP is inflated. While Syndergaard has a masterful 3.10 SIERA and 25% hard contact, his BABIP sits at .336. In other words, he is getting unlucky as soft balls of the bat have been landing for hits against him. However, we believe today that bad luck turns around. The Blue Jays strikeout at the 7th highest rate in the league against right-handed pitching and they have a poor .227 average against right-handed pitching on the road. With strikeout upside as well as a team that struggles against right-handed pitching, Syndergaard projects to excel tonight. Our research suggests Syndergaard will get 7-9 strikeouts and record 19-22 outs.
Next we will dig into Yu Darvish. It’s no secret that Darvish has struggled mightily this season. In fact, his only two impressive performances came against the Milwaukee Brewers. Darvish has only made it through six innings one time this season and is just returning from the DL. He is also likely to be on a pitch count tonight so we want to be careful not to overproject him. Tonight Darvish will receive a matchup with what may be the hottest team in baseball, the Atlanta Braves. Against right-handed pitchers, the Braves have the fourth highest wRC+, fifth highest wOBA, and second highest batting average. It is also important to note that they strikeout at a miniscule 20% clip which is the sixth lowest in the league. Darvish projects very poorly for us tonight and therefore we believe he records 11-14 outs with 4-5 strikeouts.
The last pitcher on this PlayLine slate is Zack Greinke. Greinke is as interesting as it gets when it comes to pitchers. He has a strikeout rate at around 27% while allowing a massive 42% hard contact. Usually when a pitcher allows such a high hard contact rate, they don’t pitch too long into games. Zack Greinke happens to be the exception here. Greinke has pitched at least six innings in five of his last six starts and he is averaging close to 100 pitches per start. He has also excelled at not allowing many hits as he has allowed five or less hits in this same time period. Greinke will face off with the Milwaukee Brewers in tonight’s matchup. The Brewers strikeout at a 25% clip and rank about middle of the pack in wRC+. With how consistent Greinke has proven to be, we project him to record 17-20 outs and strikeout 6-8 Brewers batters.
To read our write up on tonight’s top salary style DFS pitcher, head to the MLB War Room now! We with you the best of luck in your PlayLine contests and we look forward to providing more content as the season goes on!

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