MLB DFS Picks Thursday 8/4: Spotlight Pitchers & Top Stacks Today

Thursday, Aug. 4, brings split-slate action in the late afternoon, leading into an eight-game featured slate with a 7:05 p.m. ET start time. Let’s get into the top MLB DFS picks today for pitchers and stacks for DraftKings and FanDuel daily fantasy baseball lineups.

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DraftKings & FanDuel MLB DFS Picks Today (8/4)

Main Slate: Phillies vs. RHP Paolo Espino — 5.6 implied runs

While Paolo Espino is not the clear-cut worst pitcher taking the mound on Thursday, there is no questioning that he is in the bottom three. In his last eight starts, he has allowed 11 home runs and struck out only 28 in 36.1 innings. Even more telling is that his 5.20 ERA is easily eclipsed by his 6.34 FIP in this stretch. Espino allows power to hitters from both sides of the plate, and we should not be shy about riding with the Phillies in this matchup.

Kyle Schwarber seems all but assured of hitting a home run today, and while that is a dramatic statement, he does have a .314 ISO in his last 619 opposite-handed matchups and took a pair of Espino offerings out of the park in their eight prior battles. Rhys Hoskins and Nick Castellanos are on the short list with their light-tower power, and catcher J.T. Realmuto looks like one of the prime backstop options on the slate. Former Angels outfielder Brandon Marsh can be used as part of a wraparound stack, and rookie Darick Hall is solid as well for his salary savings on both DraftKings ($3,000) and FanDuel ($2,900).

Late Slate: White Sox at LHP Cole Ragans — 4.6 implied runs

Rookie Cole Ragans will be making his debut in The Show against one of the toughest matchups for left-handed hurlers. Ragans was drafted out of high school in the first round of the 2016 MLB Draft. Two separate elbow injuries requiring Tommy John surgery, as well as the 2020 MiLB season being lost to the pandemic, have curtailed his development.

Considering his winding journey, he has been solid this season in his first Triple-A campaign, logging a 3.32 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 10.0 strikeouts per nine innings across eight outings spanning 43.1 frames. The southpaw has been a fringe prospect for the Rangers the last two seasons, though he is expected to have a chance at the back of the rotation or as a multi-inning reliever. The 24-year-old is fully stretched out, having also made 10 starts at Double-A before being promoted to Triple-A in mid-June.

Chicago has been phenomenal this season, with a 120 wRC+ that ranks sixth overall. Weighted runs created plus is an advanced metric that neutralizes various factors like ballparks to create a league-wide scoring efficiency baseline of 100. This means that the White Sox are creating runs 20% more efficiently than league average against lefties.

The Stokastic Top Stacks Tool is flagging the ChiSox as one of the best options for Thursday’s featured slate. In a rare moment, nearly all of the projected Opening Day starters are healthy at the same time. Over the last season and change, Jose Abreu (.283 ISO), Luis Robert (.286 ISO), Andrew Vaughn (.209 ISO), A.J. Pollock (.237 ISO) and catcher Yasmani Grandal (.208 ISO) all have elite power against lefties. Then there are Tim Anderson (appealing a suspension) and Eloy Jimenez at the top of the order, who also hold the platoon advantage and are exceptional at getting on base and moving runners over. Add in switch-hitting Yoan Moncada in the heart of the order and there are a myriad of ways to stack Chicago tonight.

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Early Slate: Dodgers at RHP Jakob Junis — 4.9 implied runs

The Stokastic Top Batters Tool likes the Dodgers who will be swinging the stick from the left side of the plate in this afternoon matchup against Jakob Junis. It is a fun story to see Junis work his way back to The Show after flaming out with Kansas City. The soon-to-be 30-year-old showed that he had a little left in the tank and was promoted to the big club after three Triple-A starts. After suffering a hamstring injury in mid-June, the veteran missed five weeks and has been working his way back to a full workload.

Back to the Dodgers, opposite-handed hitters have always been trouble for Junis, and in his last 198 such matchups, he has allowed a .200 ISO. Freddie Freeman, of course, is the obvious target, and we can also look to hot-hitting Gavin Lux, who may receive a boost in the batting order. The slumping trio of sluggers, Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger and recently acquired Joey Gallo, all profile well against the pitch mix employed by Junis and are worth a shot in tournaments.

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Primary Target: RHP Justin Verlander at Guardians — 2.8 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $10,400 | FanDuel $11,200

Though this matchup is not a walk in the park, Justin Verlander still grades out as the top point producer among Thursday’s pitching options. The 39-year-old leads the league with his 14-3 record and 1.81 ERA, while his 0.87 WHIP is the second best among all qualified starters. The Guardians have been a top-10 offense all season against right-handed pitching, but even with a career dating all the way back to 2005, Verlander is still among the aces in the league. Keep an eye on the weather in Cleveland; if it looks dicey, then Alek Manoah and Sonny Gray are reasonable alternatives as they square off in Minnesota.

Secondary Target: RHP Noah Syndergaard vs. Nationals — 3.6 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $7,600 | FanDuel $7,700

Though Noah Syndergaard is no longer the flame-throwing fireballer of yore, he does get a soft landing in his return to the National League East. For the remainder of the season, Washington will be filling their lineup with a bunch of has-beens, never-weres or prospects. Get used to seeing them as a team to pick on frequently down the stretch. Do keep in mind that Syndergaard is one of the worst pitchers at holding runners, so expect leadoff man Victor Robles to be running with impunity if he manages to get on base. This bodes well for his steals prop on sportsbooks as a solo wager or part of a same-game parlay. Get a RISK FREE BET up to $1,000 on BetMGM.

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Early Target: RHP Joe Musgrove vs. Rockies — 3.3 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $9,500 | FanDuel $10,800

Last night, it was lefty Blake Snell cruising through the Rockies, and this afternoon we should see similar results from right-hander Joe Musgrove. On the season, the San Diego stalwart ranks 12th with a 2.65 ERA and 8th with a 0.99 WHIP. While his strikeouts have slipped to just below one per inning, he has dramatically cut his home run rate, which is a fair tradeoff. Colorado is a bottom-five team against right-handed pitching, and its struggles on the road are well documented over the last three seasons.

Additional Opportunities

Noah Syndergaard is an interesting option on sportsbooks, with a 4.5 over/under on his strikeout prop. The Stokastic MLB Projections have him for 4.9 strikeouts, giving him a 55% probability of exceeding this target. While this is a low bar and projection, currently the over is at plus money on a couple of sites at +110 and +115 for the over. Though Syndergaard has a substandard 19.1% strikeout rate this season, the Nationals lineup should have Victor Robles, Luke Voit, Nelson Cruz and Josh Palacios, who are all striking out at an above-league-average rate. Syndergaard has five or more strikeouts in five of his last six starts, and he should be able to reach that plateau again tonight if he can close out the fifth inning.

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Other Pitching Options

  1. RHP Brandon Woodruff at Pittsburgh Pirates (Early)
  2. LHP Clayton Kershaw at San Francisco Giants (Afternoon)
  3. LHP Jeffery Springs at Detroit Tigers (Main SP2)
  4. LHP Jose Quintana vs. Chicago Cubs (Evening)
  5. RHP Johnny Cueto at Texas Rangers (Late)

Other Hitting Options

  1. Jared Walsh vs. RHP Paul Blackburn (Afternoon)
  2. David Peralta at RHP Drew Hutchison (Main)
  3. Eddie Rosario at RHP Carlos Carrasco (Main)
  4. Nolan Gorman vs. RHP Mark Leiter Jr. (Evening)
  5. Jonah Heim vs. RHP Johnny Cueto (Late)

Final MLB DFS Thoughts & MLB Weather Notes

Philadelphia is looking at hot and humid weather, with game-time temperatures in the low-90s, 60% humidity and a 10 to 12 mph breeze blowing out to center. Look for hitters in this matchup and consider taking the over on the 9.0 run total.

There is rain in the Midwest again, and tonight it looks like Detroit may see the highest precipitation risk. Cleveland also has potential rain, though most likely this game should be able to play, with at worst a late start. Be sure to keep tabs on the forecast, as the risks will become clearer with better information closer to first pitch.

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Eric MacPherson
Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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