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!
1. Max Scherzer, $12,400, WAS at MIAIs there anything Mad Max can’t do? Pitching with a broken nose in his last start, Scherzer punched out 10 batters over seven innings, scoring 32.75 DKFP. So far this season he has a 2.62 ERA, and a whopping 146 strikeouts in 106.1 innings. Scherzer has gone over 30 DKFP in three straight starts, striking out 34 batters and walking just three.
He will be in great position to extend that streak in this matchup with the fish. Miami is 29th in wRC+ against right-handed pitching, and strikes out 24.8% of the time, sixth-most frequently. The Marlins are mostly right-handed themselves, with just one expected lefty expected to be in tonight’s lineup. Scherzer has struck out 39% of righties faced this season.
A big part of Scherzer’s dominance against righties is his slider. He throws it 37% of the time against righties, versus 1.07% against left-handed batters. He has generated a 51% whiff rate on that pitch. Every player in the Marlins’ lineup has an ISO of .150 or less against sliders, as well as a whiff rate above 32%.
2. Madison Bumgarner, $8,200, SF vs. COLBumgarner is coming off of his worst start of the season, in which he allowed six earned runs in 3.2 innings against the Dodgers, but all that does is bring down the price for him in this spot against a much weaker opponent. The Rockies are middle of the pack in wRC+ against lefties, but strike out 25.3% of the time against them, seventh-most in baseball. Their numbers are also boosted by playing home games at Coors Field. Their numbers on the road are way worse: dead last in wRC+ with a 27.3% strikeout rate. We should certainly be looking to attack the Rockies anytime they are away from home.
Bumgarner has also had far more success against lefties than righties. He is striking out 9.4% more batters, 129 less points of wOBA, and 81 less points of ISO this year when facing left-handed batters. Colorado is expected to have four left-handed batters in the lineup. Bumgarner has not had the best season overall, but is striking out around a batter per inning and is in one of the most favorable matchups on the board. Especially given Scherzer’s price, we need to save a little on SP2 today. Bumgarner is the best candidate to be that dude.
3. Jack Flaherty, $7,900, STL vs. OAKFlaherty scored 22.75 DKFP in his last start, and his price…went down $800? The matchup is, of course, more challenging than the Marlins, but this is a bit of disrespect towards Flaherty, who has still shown signs of growth even — though he hasn’t had the monster 2019 season some were predicting entering the year. His ERA is 4.24, but Flaherty has an xFIP of 3.92. He has likely gotten a little unlucky, and a few small changes in batted ball results would likely greatly change the perspective people have on him.
The Athletics are a quality offense, and not one we typically target in fantasy matchups. However, there are a couple of factors that still make this an attractive spot for Flaherty. For starters, the Cardinals are at home, which means the A’s will not have the opportunity to use a DH. Flaherty also has extreme lefty/righty splits this year. He is striking out 11% more batters, and allowing .068 less points of wOBA and .080 less points of ISO when facing righties. Oakland is expected to have seven right-handed batters in the lineup tonight.
4. David Price, $8,600, BOS vs. CHWPrice is the third of affordable SP2′s you should be considering on today’s slate to pair with Scherzer. And he has been fantastic this year, with a 3.39 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 66.1 innings. Price has given up more than two earned runs just once in his last six starts.
The White Sox are a right-handed heavy lineup that ranks middle of the pack in terms of wRC+ and strikeout rate against lefties. However, that comes with some positives for Price. He allows more hits and power against righties, but strikes out a lot more batters; he is striking out 28.5% of righties this season. Any extra strikeouts Price can pick up will go a long way towards increased DraftKings scoring.
Price has the least hospitable matchup of the three “value” SPs, and comes at the greatest cost. For these reasons, he is third on the list, but he should not be overlooked as he has performed the best of the trio this season.
5. Gerrit Cole, $11,500, HOU vs. PITCole only finds himself this far down the list because of his high price. While I prefer Scherzer, it is difficult to downplay just how good Cole has been in 2019. His 3.54 ERA is solid, but it is the strikeouts that really set him apart from the field. With 148 strikeouts in less than 100 innings, Cole is threatening to join the 300 strikeout club in 2019. This would be just the fourth such occurrence since 2002.
Scherzer is a better pitcher than Cole, but the primary differentiator for me between them today is the matchup. While Scherzer faces the easily-beatable Marlins, Cole will have to go up against a tricky Pirates team. Not only is Pittsburgh top-15 in wRC+ against righties, they strike out less than 20% of the time against them. Cole is talented enough to still do some damage, but both the median and ceiling outcomes for Cole are lower than Scherzer in this spot. As a result, Cole is more of a cash-game play to pay up for and lock in stability than someone I’d be using as a differentiator in GPPs.
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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.