Tuesday baseball is back, and we have 15 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. Stephen Strasburg, $10,700, WAS vs. COL
Strasburg has been one of the best strikeout pitchers in the game this season, striking out 29% of total batters faced and 151 in less than 130 innings. He allowed no runs in two of his past three starts and has allowed two or less runs 11 times. Strasburg’s 3.16 xFIP is better than his current 3.52 ERA.
The Rockies are a fantastic matchup for right-handed pitching. They rank 28th in wRC+ against righties and strike out 23.5% of the time, good for 10th. However, those numbers include all the matchups faced at Coors Field. If we look at Colorado’s numbers away from home, they are quite startling: 30th in wRC+ with an insane 28.1% strikeout rate. Strasburg has a chance to mow down a ton of batters tonight.
There are a lot of good pitching options at the top of the salary table tonight, but Strasburg to me has the best combination of price, floor and ceiling.
2. Aaron Nola, $10,100, PHI at DET
Nola hasn’t been quite as good as Strasburg this year but still has been plenty effective. He has a 3.77 ERA on the year and has been red-hot of late. In five of his past six starts, Nola has allowed one earned run or less. He has struck out 138 batters in 121 2/3 innings.
On its own, that might not seem like enough to warrant a price over $10K. However, the matchup is one of the best in baseball. The Tigers are last in wRC+ against righties, an impressive feat considering the Marlins have not yet been contracted. They also strike out the most, 26.3% of the time. Nola faced Detroit earlier back at the start of May and pitched well. He gave up just one run over 5 2/3 innings with six strikeouts. Since then, Nola has gotten better, and the Tigers have gotten worse.
Detroit struggles against Nola’s top pitch types as well. The Phillies’ ace has deployed his fastball and curveball more than 30% each and 68% total. The Tigers rank 29th against fastballs and 25th against curveballs, according to Fangraphs’ pitch value.
3. Madison Bumgarner, $9,000, SF vs. CHC
Perhaps the top name on the trade deadline pitching market, Bumgarner has been excellent over the past couple of months. After posting a 4.70 ERA in April, the Giants’ star has allowed more than three earned runs in just two of 15 starts. He has allowed two or less runs nine times and struck out 92 batters over 88 innings.
The Cubs are a pretty average offense against lefties, with a 99 wRC+, but they strike out against them 24.9% of the time, good for eighth in the league. Bumgarner also has the advantage of pitching at home. Oracle Park has the best park factor for runs scored this season, and he will avoid Wrigley Field, which we know can turn pop-ups into home runs sometimes with the wind.
One big edge for Bumgarner is his cutter, which has been his most effective pitch this year. Only Kris Bryant ($4,500) has an ISO over .185 against cutters on the Cubs. If he is sharp with that pitch tonight, this could be a great outing at a bargain price compared to the other studs.
4. Chris Archer, $7,500, PIT vs. STL
Archer has been a personal kryptonite pitcher for me, and it is worth noting he has been terrible so far in 2019 as a real-life pitcher. His ERA sits at 5.36, though it is worth noting his xFIP is 4.66, significantly lower. Archer also still is striking out 26.7% of batters, which has allowed him to maintain some DraftKings usability. He has gone over 20 DKFP six times in 17 starts.
The Cardinals are 22nd in wRC+ and strike out against righties 23% of the time this season. Archer has faced them twice already this year and has allowed three runs over 11 innings with 16 strikeouts. Both outings went for at least 19 DKFP.
Though he is in the twilight of his career, Archer is still a talented pitcher who possesses upside on DraftKings. This price is pretty low given the matchup and matchup history. That said, there aren’t any games on today’s slate with a run total over 10, so it is probably a good night to pay up for pitching in cash games. Limit Archer to tournament play, where he should be a priority target.
5. Chris Sale, $11,000, BOS at TB
Sale finds himself at the tail-end of this list due to his price, but he certainly should not be ignored for tonight’s slate. This has not been a great year for him in terms of production, but the advanced numbers tell us the story of a great pitcher experiencing bad luck. Though his ERA is 4.05, both Sale’s SIERA and xFIP are under 3.00.
He has been victimized by home runs, with a home run allowed on 17.5% of fly-balls this season. Sale’s career average is 11.6%. Most importantly, Sale still is striking out batters at a fantastic rate. His 35.3% strikeout rate trails only Gerrit Cole.
The Rays are 19th in wRC+ against lefties this season but strike out a good bit against them. Their 26.1% rate against left-handed pitching is fifth-highest in baseball. Sale’s top secondary pitch is his slider, which he throws 39% of the time. The Rays are 27th in Fangraphs’ pitch value against sliders.
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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.