MLB-Pitcher-Ranks

Friday’s main fantasy baseball slate has 14 games. Dee Gordon left Thursday’s game after being hit by a pitch and the Mariners will not have an update on his condition until sometime before Friday’s game. Khris Davis is hopeful to rejoin the Athletics’ starting lineup after dealing with a lingering hip injury, which he originally suffered on Sunday.

Fantasy owners can receive up-to-the-minute news, analysis and lineups by downloading 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:

Luis Castillo, CIN at SF ($10,600)

Castillo’s changeup has developed into one of the best pitches in baseball. Through 243 changeups thrown by Castillo this year, batters have produced an OPS of just .292 against the pitch with zero extra-base hits. The league’s pitch tracking system shows that Castillo’s changeup is getting more drop in 2019, and he has generated a swing and a miss on roughly 30% of his total changeups thrown, a number double the league average swing and miss rate on a changeup.

Castillo’s changeup development has spiked his strikeout rate from 23% last year to an excellent 30% this year. Batters are making terrible contact quality off Castillo, producing an expected wOBA of just .243, an improvement from a mediocre .320 for Castillo last year and far better than the league average of .321.

Castillo gets a substantial park upgrade in pitcher-friendly Oracle Park on Friday to take on one of the most impotent offenses in baseball. The Giants have the second-worst offense by wOBA and are projected to be the second-lowest run-scoring team for the rest of the season. The park and opponent gives Castillo an excellent matchup for run and baserunner prevention. Castillo struck out nine batters in seven innings in his most recent start against the Giants in a start in Cincinnati.


Justin Verlander, HOU vs. TEX ($11,000)

Verlander’s 2.86 ERA is excellent, although some of his peripheral statistics indicate a drop off from last season despite the strong run prevention. Verlander’s expected wOBA allowed to opposing batters has risen from .241 last year to .299 this year, which is still a better than average number but not quite as elite. The number indicates that batters have been making better contact quality off Verlander through the exit velocities and angles of their batted balls.

Verlander has been home run prone, allowing 1.79 home runs per nine innings, which is higher than average and above his 1.18 mark last year. A juiced ball could be playing a role in that. Verlander’s strikeout rate has fallen from an incredible 35% last season to a still excellent but lower than 30% through eight starts this year. Verlander’s fastball velocity and average four-seam fastball spin rate are also down a tick from 2018, but he remains with strong numbers. The summary: Verlander is still awesome, although he hasn’t been quite as elite in 2019 to this point.

This is the third time Verlander has faced Texas this season, with his most recent game a 30.2 DKFP outing after striking out eight over seven innings and one run ball in hitter-friendly Arlington. The Rangers have struck out more often than average but have a top-six offense on the season, which isn’t just a product of their hitter-friendly home park, as they have been a top five offense by wOBA on the road.


Zack Wheeler, NYM vs. MIA ($9,700)

Wheeler’s 4.64 ERA is worse than average, but his peripheral statistics give hope for better days ahead. Wheeler’s .307 expected wOBA against based on opposing hitter exit velocities and angles is better than the league average of .321, and his 3.11 FIP on the back of a plus 26% strikeout rate and low home run rate is excellent.

After a rocky second start of the year, Wheeler has settled down over his most recent five starts, striking out 28% of batters while walking 7% and generating a swing and a miss on 11.5% of his pitches, all improvements from his season line.

Wheeler draws a very soft matchup on Friday in pitcher-friendly Citi Field against the hapless Marlins, who rank as the league’s worst offense by wOBA and are projected to score the lowest amount of runs for the rest of the season.


Tyler Glasnow, TB vs. NYY ($10,400)

Glasnow has been ridiculously difficult to square up this year, limiting opposing batters to an expected wOBA of just .231 based on the exit velocities and angles of their batted balls while holding them to an isolated power of just .079, both elite numbers.

Glasnow, who always had electric stuff as a Pirates prospect, struggled to harness his control, something that the Rays have fixed. He is walking just 4% of opposing batters, an outstanding number. His 29% strikeout rate is also excellent. His average fastball velocity of 97.5 mph is tied for second best among qualified pitchers with the aforementioned Zack Wheeler, who is also on Friday’s slate.

Glasnow has a matchup against a Yankees offense that has been strong, but the plus side is that it takes place at home in Tropicana Field, the most pitcher-friendly park in the AL East.


Zack Greinke, ARI vs. ATL ($9,800)

Greinke continues to be a good pitcher at age 35 with a 26% strikeout rate, contact quality derived expected wOBA against of .295 and FIP of 3.69, all of which are better than average. Greinke draws a home matchup vs. the Braves, who have a top-10 offense on the season by wOBA but haven’t been as strong vs. right-handed pitching, falling from eighth best vs. LHP to 12th vs. RHP.

Chase Field, which used to be a launching pad, has played more neutral after the Diamondbacks installed a humidor in the park prior to last season, which was designed to reduce batted ball impact and give pitchers a better grip on the ball. Greinke has been excellent in home starts since then, holding batters to a .262 wOBA while limiting extra-base hits with a .134 isolated power.


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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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