MLB Pitcher Rankings: April 6th

This report will concentrate on the available pitchers for the 7pm start times and later on Saturday. There’s nine games on the larger late slate tomorrow and 18 pitchers to rank and discuss. We have a few games that Vegas listed with low run totals, so the starters in some of them were given a little more credit. There is a large gap between the price of the top guys and some of the lesser starters. So far the top priced options have not been the ones that have paid off.

Rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ MLB salaries for that day. The ordering is not based on highest projected fantasy totals, but rather by value of each pitcher.

Cream of the Crop

1. Doug Fister vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($7800) – Fister gets his first start against a Philly team that has a struggling offense. They are hitting below.200 to start the season and only average 2.5 runs per game. Fister was awesome last year posting a career best ERA of 2.32. He’s not a high strikeout guy as he only had 101 in 171 innings last year, but his sinker induces a ton of ground balls. He is a very efficient pitcher who tends to go deep into games, so that is where he brings value for your rosters. He also has a high likelihood of a win at a fair price, so he should be one of the top guys to return value on the day.

2. Julio Teheran vs. New York Mets ($9800) – Teheran threw 6 innings of one run ball with four strikeouts and a hit per inning before giving up three straight hits and leaving the game in the seventh his last time out. He is a -120 favorite in a game with one of the lowest expected totals on the day at only 6.5. The Mets are hitting right above .200 to start the season, so he should be able to limit the hits and pick up a win.

3. Madison Bumgarner vs. San Diego ($10800) – Maddy Bum is the favorite in the game with the lowest expected run total tomorrow. He is in a great pitchers park and had been better on the road last year. San Diego is striking out about 10 times per game so far to start the season and Bum had 247 Ks in 249 innings last year. He has one of the highest projected K numbers tomorrow, one of the lowest expected run totals, and is favored to win. All those things are great for his fantasy score. His price is a tad high though, which is why he is #3 on the list.

4. Clayton Kershaw vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($12300) – The Reigning Cy Young award winner is the biggest favorite on the day at -200, yet I do not think it is an easy match up for him. The Diamondbacks are putting up over 4 runs a game, they have struck out just over 6 times per game, and they have a righty heavy line up they will throw at Kershaw tomorrow which is his weaker split. I expect him to have a good game, but at his price he would need to dominate in order to pay it off.

Middle of the Pack

5. Cole Hamels vs. Washington ($10200) – Hamels gets a really nice match up for his second start. Washington has not been good offensively so far to start the year. They are hitting .180 with only 7 runs scored through the first four games and have 39 strikeouts. Hamels could be in line for an excellent start, but he is not favored to win and his price is a little high. He also goes up against another quality starter in Doug Fister, so he is no slam dunk. Still I think he is going to pitch well and if he gets some run support, he could be the top starter on the day.

6. Aaron Sanchez vs. Baltimore ($5600) – The young Blue Jay prospect has always been a guy the organization was high on. He averaged almost a K per inning last season as a reliever and had an anemic ERA and WHIP. They are transitioning him over to starter this season, which is usually a red flag signaling he will not be pitching deep into this game. Still i think he can do enough at his depressed price to return solid value. The pitcher usually has the advantage the first time he faces a team who has not seen him, so I think he could go six today with a few strikeouts and limit the Orioles to a few runs to give his bats a chance to win this one for him.

7. Ubaldo Jimenez vs. Toronto ($6200) – Jimenez is actually favored over Sanchez in this one, but has a tougher match up, is more expensive, and probably allows more base runners. He should pitch deeper into the game though, which could help save his score here. He averaged close to a K per inning in 2014 and so far the Jays have averaged about a K per inning through the first four games. There’s a lot of things in his favor, but he also has the potential to blow up with his control and long ball problems.

8. James Shields vs. San Fransisco ($9800) – Shields pitches in a great pitchers park and is in a low total game. He is the underdog, but not by much and was solid if unspectacular all last season. I think his price is a little too high to pay for an underdog who only averages roughly 7 strikeouts per inning. There’s not a lot of ways I can see him pay off his salary at that price, but I do think he pitches a pretty solid game.

9. Dillion Gee vs. Atlanta ($6800) – Gee is pretty cheap on the day for someone who goes up against everyone’s pick as the offense that will struggle the most. So far though the Braves have been pretty solid. They are striking out less then 6 times per game and are averaging about 5 runs per contest. Gee is not a high strikeout guy and did give up a few walks/hits last season to go along with an ERA of 4. I think he could have a nice game, but is unlikely to win or strikeout a lot of batters. Despite the cheap price, I just do not see much upside.

10. Jered Weaver vs. Kansas City ($8000) – Weaver gets the defending American League champs at home in this one. He is a -155 favorite in a game with a 7.5 total. He had a WHIP under 1.20 and an ERA of 3.55. He tends to pitch deep into games and averages over 7Ks per 9 innings. He should have a decent game tomorrow with a solid prospect for a win, but his price is too high to see a huge upside.

11. Jason Hammel vs. Colorado ($6100) – He is actually a solid pitcher and would be much higher on the list if he was not pitching in Coors field against the murder’s row that is know as the 2015 Rockies line up. Hammel has a 1.13 WHIP with a 3.47 ERA last year and averaged about 8Ks per 9. The trouble today is that he is an underdog in a game with a total of 10 runs.

Rest of the Field

12. Yovani Gallardo vs. Houston ($7000) – He is a -135 favorite to win the game against a Houston team that averages almost 11 strikeouts per nine innings. He also gives up a decent number of homeruns and plays a power hitting team in a hitter’s park. His price is fair, but he will need to pitch much better than he did last out to have a chance here. He gave up four runs through four innings on 90 pitches in his debut.

13. Vance Worley vs. Milwaukee ($6000) – He was not horrible in limited service time last year in the majors. The Milwaukee line up has struggle to start the year as well, so this is also not the worst spot.  He is the underdog in a high total game (8.5), but I think he is more solid than his counterpart in this one. He had 79 strikeouts in 110 innings with a 2.85 ERA and a WHIP of 1.21. Milwaukee only averages two runs per game and strikes out about 7.5 times as well.

14. Jimmy Nelson vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($6400) – Nelson is a top prospect in the organization, but struggle last year when he came up and those struggles have carried over to this spring. There’s a chance he could blow up tomorrow, but there’s also a chance he could put it all together. He is a RHP against a righty dominate Pirates line up that has struck out an average of 11 times per game through the first three. Nelson was almost a strikeout per inning guy last season so at his low price that could save his score. Of course he also had an ERA that was almost 5, so this could go either way. Worley is the safer bet in this one, but Nelson does have more upside although he is also a tad more expensive.

15. Jeremy Guthrie vs. LA Angels ($6100) – Guthrie is not a high strikeout guy. That hurts his fantasy value. He is +145 dog in this one so he has a very ow probability of a win. His ERA last season was over 4 and his WHIP was 1.30, so he gives up a lot of walks, hits, and runs. He does tend to pitch deeper into games, so he at least has one positive check mark in his corner.

16. Archie Bradley vs. LA Dodgers ($5600) – +180 dog goes opposite Clayton Kershaw. He was a low strikeout per 9 guy in the minors and faces an offense that has been hitting it pretty well, especially near the top of that order. Arizona is not the best hitters park, but it’s not the worst either. A soft tossing right hander that is a big underdog against a decent offense with no K potential is not a good bet for daily fantasy.

17. Roberto Hernandez vs. Texas ($4500) – Underdog in an 8.5 run game against a team that is averaging under 2.5 runs a game and hitting .180. Vegas expects an 8.5 run explosion from these two which goes to show how bad they thing he will be. He is cheap if you disagree, but it will be like playing with fire. Some think he is a good value at that price, but I am not buying it. He should struggle through 5 innings and finish somewhere around 10 points on a good day.

18. Kyle Kendrick vs. Chicago ($4200) – Interesting price off his opening day start, but the Brew crew have struggled since, so I think that game is not as impressive as it looks right now. He is favored today, but is pitching in a park where he has the high probability of giving up a bunch of runs. I don’t buy the validity of that first start as everyone was targeting bats against him. I think he reverts to the gas can we all know and love him as.