Friday’s main fantasy baseball slate has 14 games. Both Jose Berrios (finger) and Mike Soroka (forearm) are listed as probable starters and are expected to pitch Friday despite recent ailments. Mike Clevinger (ankle) and John Means (shoulder) are expected to be activated from the injured list to make starts Friday. On the hitting side, Yordan Alvarez (knee) left Thursday’s game and might not be in the starting lineup on Friday for the Astros. Eddie Rosario (ankle) and Yoan Moncada’s (knee) statuses are also uncertain.
Here are five different pitchers fantasy owners can consider using Friday on DraftKings:
1. Jacob deGrom, NYM vs. ATL ($11,200)
Some pitchers have complained about the slickness of the 2019 ball affecting their slider grip, but it hasn’t appeared to bother deGrom. deGrom has had strong feel for his slider lately, and he threw the pitch on a career-high 43% of his total pitches in his most recent start while showcasing lethal effectiveness. Seventeen of deGrom’s 42 sliders thrown were swings and misses, an outrageous 40% rate, way above the league average swing and miss rate of 16% on a slider. In part due to his nasty slider, 23% of deGrom’s total pitches in his latest start were swings and misses, the third best rate in any start of his career and his best of the 2019 season. deGrom’s recent surge in slider effectiveness has pushed his 2019 slider swing-and-miss rate to 19%, the best of his career. His excellent command of the pitch has contributed to getting batters to chase 42% of his sliders that end up located outside of the strike zone, also the best rate of his career.
deGrom takes strong recent feel for his slider into a home matchup against the Braves, who he faced two starts ago. deGrom struck out 10 in the start and narrowly missed a complete-game shutout before running out of gas in the ninth. deGrom’s electric stuff gives him strikeout upside in any given start, even against a Braves team that has struck out less often than average. deGrom’s 31% strikeout rate on the season is tied for eighth best among qualified starters.
2. Jose Berrios, MIN at CWS ($10,800)
Berrios left his most recent start due to a blister on his finger, but it was after 90 pitches and 7 IP, and he is expected to pitch Friday. Assuming he pitches and is not limited, Berrios faces a White Sox team that has been strikeout prone, striking out at the third highest rate this season. Chicago also has had a bottom-third offense on the season by wOBA. While the White Sox haven’t been quite as strikeout prone lately, they still rank as a bottom-third offense over the past 30 days.
While Berrios’ peripheral statistics, including a 3.54 FIP and contact quality derived expected wOBA allowed of .296, aren’t quite as good as his 2.84 ERA, Berrios is supported by a strong Minnesota defense that ranks as one of the best team defenses in the league by several advanced defensive metrics. The Twins’ defense further helps Berrios suppress runs.
3. Mike Clevinger, CLE at BAL ($9,600)
After throwing a full bullpen session during the week, Clevinger is in line to start onFriday after a sprained ankle kept him sidelined for the past 10 days. Clevinger did not pitch well in his first start back from the injured list after a back injury, but his average fastball velocity was his best of any start in his career, which is encouraging for his health. Clevinger sat just under 97 mph with his fastball in the start and is averaging 96 mph in three 2019 starts, a substantial boost from the 94 mph he averaged in 2018. Clevinger has seen a big spike in bat-missing with the newfound velocity, generating a swing and a miss on a heavy 16.5% of his pitches this season while striking out 47% of batters, which is more than double the league average strikeout rate.
If Clevinger is not too limited with his pitch count Friday, he draws a good matchup against a poor Orioles team that has been a bottom-five offensive team and has struck out more often than average. Baltimore is last in the league in run differential by a comfortable margin and has a very poor bullpen backing starter John Means ($6,800). Download the DK Live app for up-to-the-minute news on if Clevinger will have a pitch count.
4. Cole Hamels, CHC at CIN ($9,900)
Hamels is having a strong season by run prevention, posting a 2.92 ERA, and while his peripheral statistics aren’t quite as strong, he still has an impressive 3.55 FIP and has posted better-than-average contact quality metrics. Hamels also is backed by a strong Cubs defense that ranks in the top five by advanced defensive metrics.
Despite a tough park to pitch in at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Hamels faces a Reds offense that has struggled, ranking in bottom third in wOBA both on the season and over the past 30 days.
5. Lance Lynn, TEX at TB ($10,100)
Lynn’s 4.32 ERA is not appealing, but he has several key peripheral statistics that are. Lynn’s 3.06 FIP is excellent on the back of a plus 25% strikeout rate and strong home run prevention. His contact quality derived expected wOBA allowed of .291 based on the exit velocities and angles of opponent’s batted balls is also good, and noticeably better than his actual wOBA allowed of .315. The difference between Lynn’s high ERA and solid peripheral statistics could point towards to some back luck.
Lynn gets a park upgrade in Tropicana Field, one of the better pitcher’s parks in the American League, which represents a big park upgrade over hitter-friendly Arlington, which is one of the toughest parks to pitch in. Lynn faces a Rays offense that has struck out more often than average and ranks as a mediocre offensive team by wOBA, making the matchup decent.
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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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