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!
Here are five different pitchers fantasy owners can consider using on DraftKings:
1. Patrick Corbin, $10,300, WAS at CHW
Corbin has struggled recently, allowing nine earned runs over his past two starts, but he overall has had a phenomenal season. His ERA still sits at 3.59, and he is striking out over a batter per inning. Corbin also has allowed a fly-ball rate under 30% since the start of 2018. His strikeout rate over that same timeframe is 30%.
The odds of Corbin bouncing back strong is increased by the quality of the matchup. The White Sox are 20th in wRC+ against lefties and strike out 24.9% of the time. They specifically struggle with power, with just a .118 ISO against left-handed pitching this year.
The White Sox have a right-handed heavy lineup, and Corbin deploys his slider 34% against righties. Only Jose Abreu ($4,200) has a wOBA of .280 or better or an ISO of .140 or better against sliders.
2. Jake Junis, $7,200, KC vs. DET
Junis has not had a great season, but his 5.63 ERA might be the result of some bad luck. His xFIP is over a full run lower at 4.53. He also has experienced some success against Detroit already this year. On April 4, he gave up three runs in six innings, while striking out eight batters.
The reason Junis is able to have success against the Tigers is they are a very beatable matchup. Detroit is 28th in wRC+ against righties and strike out 26.3% of the time, second most in baseball. The Tigers have scored more than three runs just once in their past five games.
There are a few high-end pitchers on this slate worth considering, but Junis is someone who will allow you to play one of those pitchers as well as the high-end bats. On slates without two very clear stud options, I like to recommend targeting an average pitcher in a great matchup. I believe Junis fits that bill and is worth not just playing, but prioritizing on this slate.
3. Trevor Bauer, $9,900, CLE vs. CIN
It has been a rough stretch for Bauer, who has allowed four or more runs in three of his past five starts. Still, he is one of the best pitchers in the game, with a 3.93 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 91 2/3 innings. Even with some struggles, he is not someone you want to overlook on this slate.
The matchup with the Reds is solid as well. They are 26th in wRC+ against righties and strike out 24.5% of the time, eighth most often. The one area of concern here is the Reds still have some power. Their collective .174 ISO against right-handed pitching ranks 17th. There is some potential for Bauer to give up some long balls here.
This is the fourth straight start where Bauer has been priced under $10K, something that would not have even been fathomable when the season started. If he can return to form, this price is an outright steal and something worth taking advantage of. However, I would not blame you for limiting your exposure to Bauer in GPPs given his recent form.
4. Trent Thornton, $7,000, TOR at BAL
Thornton had an impressive May, with a 4.02 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings. He gave up four runs to the Yankees in his first start of June, but they are a top offense, and it is difficult to hold that against him. There is a decent chance Thornton is underpriced here just in terms of true ability.
The Orioles are another good matchup for opposing pitchers. They rank 25th in wRC+ against righties and strike out 22.9% of the time against them. I also have mentioned numerous times this season how much the Orioles struggle against curveballs. Thornton’s curve has been his best pitch this year. He is generating a 42% ground ball rate and 36% whiff rate on it. He throws his curve second-most often to his fastball.
Thornton represents a similar play to Junis, who I prefer. While it is close, the market is expecting the Orioles to perform better than the Tigers tonight. Detroit has a run total of just 4.0, while the Orioles sit at 4.2. This is typically not a major deal-breaker for me either way, but I believe the decision is close enough where this carries some weight. Both totals are trending down, which is the more important factor in favor of both pitchers.
5. James Paxton, $10,100, NYY vs. NYM
Paxton is probably the best pitcher on the slate, but the reason he comes in fifth and not first in my rankings is the uncertainty about how long he will go into the game. The Big Maple threw just 66 pitches in his first start back from the IL and 83 in his second. He has pitched well overall, with a 3.11 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 46 1/3 innings, but there is a good bit of risk in terms of innings expectation.
The Mets have been good against lefties, with a 112 wRC+, but they strike out a ton, 25.8% of the time. Since Paxton is such a strikeout-heavy pitcher, there is a bunch of upside in that department. The value of strikeouts on DraftKings is such that they outweigh the potential for Paxton to give up some runs.
Because of his strikeouts, Paxton is one of the best DraftKings scorers at his position. He has two games of more than 35 DKFP already and scored 21.8 DKFP in just four innings in his first start off the IL. Paxton does not need to be in your cash-game lineups (unless we see a report about him getting a longer leash) but is a GPP-winning play if things break right.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
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.