Friday’s main fantasy baseball slate has 14 games. Mike Trout returned to the Angels’ lineup Thursday after missing three games with a calf injury and is expected to be in the lineup Friday. Matt Chapman (ankle) is expected to return to the Athletics’ lineup Friday. For up-to-the-minute news, analysis and lineups, download the DK Live app. You also can follow DK Live on Twitter at @DKLive.
Here are five different pitchers fantasy owners can consider using Friday on DraftKings:
1. Jacob deGrom, New York Mets at San Francisco Giants ($10,600)
deGrom’s strikeout (31%), walk (5.9%) and swing and miss (14.9%) rates aren’t too far off from his 2018 Cy Young season. The main difference has been a rise in home runs, which at least partially can be attributed to a juiced ball, and more hits allowed on balls in play, something that can be prone to randomness. deGrom is throwing harder than ever, sitting a tick over 97 mph on average on his fastball, a half mph boost from 2018. deGrom’s slider has also seen a boost in effectiveness on the back of increased velocity, generating a career-high in both swing-and-miss rate and chase rate on the slider.
The Giants are surging, which was put them right in the Wild Card mix, but Oracle Park is one of the best pitcher’s parks in the game, and San Francisco’s offense has not fared well there even during its hot streak. On the season, the Giants’ offensive output at Oracle Park is tied for the worst in baseball among home teams by wOBA, and in July, the Giants have posted similarly poor offensive numbers at home, ranking fourth worst by wOBA among home teams. deGrom is in a prime spot for run prevention in one of the best pitching environments in baseball, and his explosive stuff gives him strikeout upside in any given outing.
2. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Miami Marlins ($11,000)
Ryu has been baseball’s best at preventing runs, posting a 1.78 ERA in 2019, and he has a ridiculous 1.86 ERA over his past 33 starts dating back to the start of 2018, spanning 198 IP. While that type of elite sub-2.00 ERA is difficult to sustain long term, his peripheral statistics are also strong, posting a 2.90 FIP over that timeframe, with a 2.84 mark this season — much better than the league average of 4.48. Ryu hardly walks anybody, walking just 2.5% of batters, showcasing elite control. Ryu has been strong at limiting opponent contact quality in front of a strong Dodgers defense, holding batters to an expected wOBA of .266 based on the exit velocities and angles of their batted balls, better than the league average of .322. In addition, Ryu has been excellent at limiting opponent extra-base hits, holding them to an isolated power of .114, better than the league average of .180.
Ryu faces the impotent Marlins at home Friday. Miami ranks as the worst offense in baseball by both wOBA and isolated power and has struck out more often than average. Ryu is in an excellent spot for run prevention and a win backed by an elite Dodgers team against the worst team in baseball.
3. Justin Verlander, Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers ($11,400)
Verlander isn’t striking out quite as many batters as last season, with his strikeout rate falling from an obscene 35% to a still elite but lesser 31.5%, but he is missing more bats than ever on a per-pitch basis. Verlander has generated a swing and a miss on 15.8% of his total pitches, a career-best mark and up from 14.5% last season. Verlander also is enticing batters to chase more pitches out of the zone than ever before, getting batters to chase 38% of pitches located outside of the strike zone, a boost from 34% last season.
This will be the fifth time Verlander has faced the Rangers this season. Texas has struck out in the highest percentage of their plate appearances among all teams and has been a mediocre offense away from hitter-friendly Arlington while striking out in an elevated 28% of its plate appearances away from Arlington, also the highest in baseball. In four previous starts, Verlander has held Rangers batters to a minuscule .549 OPS while striking out 27 of 95 batters faced (28%). Verlander’s elite ability to generate strikeouts combined with the Rangers’ proneness to strike out gives him big strikeout upside.
4. Shane Bieber, Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals ($10,400)
Bieber’s breakout season has been fueled in part by a surge in strikeouts, striking out 32% of batters, fifth best among all qualified starters and a substantial boost from 24% last season. Bieber also has been generating more swings and misses and more chasing outside of the strike zone to fuel the strikeouts. A total of 14.6% of Bieber’s pitches have been swings and misses, a strong mark and a boost from 11.4% last season.
Bieber faces a Royals offense that ranks towards the bottom of baseball by both wOBA and isolated power, creating a soft matchup for run prevention. Bieber also has a substantial edge in the pitching matchup, which could position him well to get the win.
5. David Price, Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles ($9,300)
Price is having his best season in Boston by both FIP (3.00) and ERA (3.16). Price is striking out 28% of batters, a career-best figure, and better than the league average of 22% for starting pitchers. Price is backed by a top-five Boston offense for a matchup against a poor Orioles club that been the third worst offense by wOBA and has struck out more often than average. While John Means ($6,800) taking the hill for Baltimore is not ideal, the Orioles have the worst bullpen in baseball, which could create run support for Price later in the game.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is timfinn521) 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.
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