Friday’s main fantasy baseball slate has 13 games. Yusei Kikuchi (personal) is listed as Friday’s probable starter for the Mariners as he awaits the birth of his child. On the hitting side, the status of David Peralta (shoulder) and Ryan Braun (knee) are uncertain as they deal with injuries. 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, NYM vs. PHI ($11,300)While he hasn’t been the super ace in 2019 that he was in 2018, but deGrom still owns impressive peripheral statistics. He has struck out 30% of opposing batters, a tick down from 2018’s 32%, and generated a swing and a miss on 14.6% of his total pitches, also only a tick lower than 2018’s 15.1% mark. He has induced batters to chase 37% of his pitches located outside of the strike zone, an excellent rate, helping to contribute to the strikeouts and swings and misses. Additionally, deGrom is also throwing harder than ever, sitting 97 mph with his fastball, about a half mph faster than 2018.
Also, deGrom pitches at home at Citi Field on Friday, which generally plays more pitcher-friendly. He has had more success in home games in his career in part due to Citi Field’s pitcher-friendly play, holding batters to a .250 wOBA with a 2.50 FIP in career games at Citi Field, improvements from a .286 wOBA and 3.17 FIP allowed away from Citi Field. He takes on a Philadelphia offense that has struck out less often than average but has been less productive than average, especially when adjusted for their hitter-friendly home park in Philadelphia. He is in a good spot for run prevention, and his elite stuff gives him strikeout upside against anybody.
2. JUSTIN VERLANDER, HOU VS. LAA ($12,000)Verlander has been elite at preventing baserunners in 2019, posting a WHIP of 0.79, the best among all qualified starting pitchers. Verlander has done this due to an elite 32% strikeout rate combined with a miniscule .178 batting average on balls in play. While that type of BABIP appears highly unsustainable in the long term -—especially given Verlander’s BABIP sat at .272 last season — Verlander has been excellent at limiting opponent contact quality to fuel poor outcomes on batted balls, holding batters to an expected batting average of just .192 based on their batted ball exit velocities and angles. Verlander has also posted the best swing and miss and chase rates of his career in 2019, getting batters to chase 38% of his pitches located outside of the strike zone while generating a swing and a miss on 15.8% of his total pitches, both improvements from 35% and 14.5% in 2018, respectively.
Verlander draws a less-than-ideal matchup against the Angels on Friday. The Angels have struck out in just 17% of their plate appearances, the lowest rate in the league, and have been the sixth-best offense when adjusted for park and league. Despite the matchup, Verlander’s elite skills gives him fantasy upside.
3. ZACK GREINKE, ARI VS. COL ($9,700)Greinke is one of the best control pitchers in baseball, walking just 3.4% of batters, tied for second best among all qualified starting pitchers. Greinke’s strong control helps him pitch deeper into games to accumulate volume, averaging 6.4 IP per start, better than the league average of 5.3 IP per start. Greinke has been about average at striking out batters, striking out just under 23% of batters faced.
Greinke draws a home matchup against the Rockies, who traditionally struggle on the road due to Coors Field’s effect on pitch movement. The Rockies have posted just a .281 wOBA on the road, the worst mark among all road teams, and have struck out in a heavy 28% of their plate appearances on the road, second highest. Greinke facing Colorado away from Coors Field could help him generate some strikeouts and prevent runs.
4. CLAYTON KERSHAW, LAD VS. SD ($10,700)Kershaw is not the generational pitcher he once was due to a significant drop in velocity, but he is still effective with a four-seam fastball that has better rise than average on the back of plus backspin, which he pairs off his curveball and slider. Kershaw’s 3.75 FIP is better than average, and his 3.23 ERA is excellent. Kershaw is backed by a Dodgers’ defense that ranks as the best defense in baseball by Defensive Runs Saved and ranks in the top seven by other advanced defensive metrics, helping him to outperform some of his peripheral statistics in terms of run and baserunner prevention.
Kershaw draws a matchup at home in pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium against the Padres. While the Padres have been a better than average offense against left-handed pitchers this season, they have been strikeout prone, striking out in 26% of their plate appearances, fourth highest, which could help Kershaw’s strikeouts play up on Friday. Kershaw has generated a swing and a miss on 11.6% of his total pitches and induced batters to chase 34% of his pitches located outside of the strike zone, both better than average.
5. EDUARDO RODRIGUEZ, BOS AT DET ($8,700)Rodriguez’s 4.79 ERA is not appealing, but he has been better than average in several key peripheral statistics, including FIP (4.19) and contact quality derived expected wOBA allowed (.307), both better than the league averages of 4.48 and .322, respectively. Rodriguez has struck out 24% of opposing batters while generating a swing and a miss on 11.7% of his total pitches, also both better than average.
Rodriguez gets a park upgrade on the road in Detroit and faces a Tigers team that is an excellent fantasy target due to their strikeouts and unproductivity. Detroit has struck out at the highest rate in baseball while ranking as the second-worst offense by wOBA, with their numbers remaining poor against left-handed pitchers. Rodriguez is in a good spot for run and baserunner prevention and carries decent strikeout upside in the matchup.
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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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