Tuesday baseball is back, and we have 14 games on tap for the main fantasy baseball slate. There are a wide array of pitching options, and there will be some tough decisions to make tonight. That is what I am here to help with!
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1. Dustin May, $7,500, LAD at MIAThe Dodgers made a pitching change this morning, slotting in the rookie May for Clayton Kershaw. This has a tremendous impact on today’s slate, and it bumps May to the top spot in the rankings. The top-10 overall prospect has fared well in his two starts after pitching to a 3.40 ERA with 108 strikeouts in 106.2 minor league innings.
Now he gets the Marlins, a consistent target in this column. And for good reason. Miami has re-claimed the bottom spot in wRC+ against righties, and strike out 25% of the time against them, sixth-most. May has come in heavy with his sinker so far in the majors, throwing it over 50% of the time, and over 60% of the time to righties, of which Miami is expected to have nine. The Marlins are the worst team against sinkers according to FanGraphs’ pitch value, and it isn’t even close.
May is the key to this slate, as he opens up salary for the top tier of pitchers on the slate while still being able to fit quality bats. He is worth rostering in all formats, despite expected high tournament ownership.
2. Domingo German, $10,000, NYY vs. BALThe right-hander has been one of the Yankees most trusted arms in what has been an injury-riddled season overall. He has a 4.05 ERA, and 117 strikeouts in 109 innings. He has allowed more than three earned runs just once in his past seven starts, including two great outings against a rising Boston team.
Baltimore is 25th in wRC+ against righties, and it strikes out 23% of the time. Additionally, German has owned them this year, having already pitched against the birds three times in 2019. He has a 2.50 ERA in those starts, with 16 strikeouts in 18 innings. The Orioles are hitting under .200 against German.
German and the rest of these pitchers do not have the same kind of ceiling as Gerrit Cole, who was taken from us due to a scheduling issue, but could provide enough value to be in a GPP-winning lineup if they let you get up to the higher-priced stacks. There are four teams with run totals over six, including a nice Coors Field matchup. Stacking them with German and May could bear fruit.
3. Matt Boyd, $10,300, DET vs. SEAI was disappointed at the trade deadline to not see Boyd moved to a contender because I believe he is an excellent pitcher. Boyd has a 3.51 xFIP this season, and he is striking out 31.9% of opposing batters. His last outing was a rough one against the Royals, but in the seven starts prior to that, he had struck out 69 batters in 43.1 innings.
One of those starts was against Seattle, whom Boyd also faces today. He gave up just one run over six innings with 10 strikeouts, scoring 28.65 DKFP. The Mariners have been one of the worst hitting teams in baseball since the start of July, ranking 25th in wRC+, and first in strikeout rate at 28.5%. So far in August, they have a pitiful 42 wRC+ and 35.3% strikeout rate.
Boyd has explosive upside in this spot, but he is still a little volatile in terms of runs allowed. I think that if you are shooting for pure upside, particularly in terms of strikeouts, he is the preferred play over German. If you want someone a little safer, German is who I would recommend going with.
4. Jack Flaherty, $9,000, STL at KCFlaherty is in the middle of a fantastic run, and exactly what fantasy gamers envisioned for him entering the season. Over his past six starts, Flaherty has a 0.94 ERA, .192 wOBA against, and 34.3% strikeout rate. We obviously can’t expect that exact level of production to continue, but it has given us a nice look into the ceiling Flaherty has.
The Royals are 23rd in wRC+ against righties and strike out 22% of the time. Flaherty uses his fastball 48.4% of the time, and his slider 27.1%. Kansas City ranks 24th against both pitches according to FanGraphs’ pitch value.
Flaherty’s success hasn’t really been reflected in the price. Sure, he’s not an $8K pitcher anymore, but this still seems low based on recent form. You can make some really nice teams with Flaherty and May that still offer you upside in the SP slots of your roster. This could be a route to go in GPPs.
5. Brendan McKay, $8,100, TB at SDMcKay is another impressive rookie starter, though not quite as good as May. He is the 11th-best prospect according to FanGraphs and has shown outstanding strikeout potential at every level. He has 127 strikeouts this year in 100.1 innings across three levels. The one issue for him so far has been length. McKay has only pitched more than 5.1 innings once, and it was an 81-pitch six-inning outing to open his career. On the bright side, the rookie threw 93 pitches in his last outing, so if he can be efficient, there is some chance he goes deeper.
The Padres are an average offense, but they strike out 24.9% of the time against lefties. McKay has thrown his fastball 58% of the time, and his curveball 27%. San Diego is 19th against fastballs, but 29th against the curve according to FanGraphs’ pitch value. If McKay can get ahead in the count against this team, he should be able to put them away with his breaking ball.
McKay is not at an ideal price point for this slate, given that May has a better range of outcomes at a lower salary, and Flaherty is within $1,000. That said, he is a nice pivot off of either for tournaments. You can even pair him with one of them and really load up the bats.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is amicsta) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.