MLB Pitcher Rankings: April 18th

We have a split slate with  six games starting at 1PM EST and eight more going off later in the day. This breakdown will concentrate on the late slate of games. Those with start times after 7 PM est.

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

Jake Odorizzi vs. New York Yankees ($7600) – Odorizzi is way too cheap today for a guy who has been very good to start the year. He takes on a Yankees team that is missing one of it’s top bats and playing a lot of guys who do not seem to be of the championship caliber pedigree they have had the last few years. In almost 15 innings of work, he has allowed less than 7 walks/hits and only one run while striking out ten. He should be in line for a win and another low run total at home against an offense that has a .224 batting average and a 25% strike out rate against right-handed pitching so far.

Felix Hernandez vs. Texas Rangers ($11200) – King Felix is a huge favorite at -220 in this one. He threw a gem first out before getting shelled in his second start. He heads back home for this one to take on a team batting only .223 against right handed pitching to start the season. The big bats for Texas like Fielder and Beltre have not started to hit yet, and that order is not very deep for them. There’s a lot of K potential from batters 6-9 and that should help bolster Felix’s score. Despite the high price, I think he is in line for an outsized game. Against a weak hitting team, he is safe for cash and has GPP upside based on talent alone.

Jacob De Grom vs. Miami Marlins ($8400) – He has only given up two runs through his first 13 innings with a 9:2 Strikeout to walk ratio. He faces a Marlins team that was tied as of yesterday for the most strikeouts so far against right-handed pitching. He is a -140favorite and playing at hom in a pitchers park. The total on the game is low at only 7. He should be a high strikeout guy in a low scoring game with a probable win. All those things mixed together give him a great chance of making value on the day.

Middle of the Pack

Zack Greinke vs. Colorado Rockies ($9600) – Greinke is a high strike out guy who gets to pitch at home in his pitcher friendly park. His Teammate Clayton Kershaw fanned 12 Rockies hitters yesterday in 6 innings of work. He is a huge favorite at -190, but this is a potent lineup with solid hitters throughout. Due to the high strikeout numbers, Grienke also tends to throw a lot of pitches and never really makes it deep into games. While I think he pitches solidly tomorrow, I can not recommend him against this offense at his price. He will likely go about 6 innings, so anything less than nine strikeouts or more than 2 runs probably leaves him short of making value.

Chris Heston vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($5400) – Heston is really cheap and has been really good in his first two starts. He is a -140 favorite so the win is expected and he has reached over 3 points per $1000 in his first two starts. The youngster has gone 13 innings with only one earned run allowed, a WHIP of 1.08 and 10 strikeouts. Arizona is not an offense I am overly afraid of, and at his price of only $5400, he is too good to ignore. Even if he did have a bad game, that price is so low he does not need to do much to pay it off.

Yordano Ventura vs. Oakland Athletics ($7800) – Ventura burst into the season last season and had a solid campaign. He is 2-0 to start this year, but really has not pitched great in either game. He is a large favorite tomorrow in the -135 range and has been very solid through his first 11.2 innings with nine strikeouts, an ERA of 2.34, and a whip under 1. He is reasonably priced for this one and should be able to reach value if he can limit his walks and grab a few strikeouts. While not my favorite play on the day for cash games, I can see the upside potential in a GPP. He should get you over 20 DK points tomorrow and if he adds a win it will bring him up to three points per $1000 and make him an elite option.

Dallas Kuechel vs. Los Angeles Angels ($7100) – Kuechel’s drawback is his lack of strikeouts. He is a ground ball pitcher that throws to contact often and relies on his defense. While that is great in real life, it limits his value in fantasy. In order to get huge upside out of him you either need a high strikeout game, which is out of his normal realm or you need him to go the distance and pick up a complete game. While I see neither of those things happening tomorrow I do think he can keep the ball in the park against the Angels. If he can limit the runs scored, he should be able to return nice value even without a win.

Rest of the Field

Colby Lewis vs. Seattle Mariners ($7100) – He actually has not been that bad through his first two starts and gets a Mariners team in safe co that is not really clicking yet. Lewis has pitched 13 innings with a WHIP of only 0.90. He has nine striekouts and an ERA of 3.34. While these are not elite numbers, they also are not horrible. He does get a lefty dominant lineup tomorrow that should give him trouble though and that is why he is on the bottom rung of the list.

Masahiro Tanaka vs. Tampa Bay ($10200) – Based off his first two starts, there is no way I pay anywhere near that asking price for Tanaka. He is averaging over a K per inning, but has not gone past five innings in either start so far. He does not look like his old self and has left too many pitches up in the zone which have been hit hard. I do think he takes another step forward here today, but if he can not get through seven innings of work, there is no way he can pay off the asking price.

Mat Latos vs. New York Mets ($8300) – Latos was shelled in his first outing and labored through his second. He seems to be on a pitch count as he has come no where near 100 pitches in either start. He does have K upside and is pitching in Citi Field which is a great pitchers park. He is an underdog to De Grom and has not looked like the Ace many expected him to be. His price is a tad high and that is why he finds himself on this list.

CJ Wilson vs. Houston Astros ($7200) – The Astros are a high strikeout team which could benefit CJ Wilson who has had trouble finishing hitters recently. He does have the ability to pitch deep into games as he did in his first start, but the price today means he not only needs to pitch deep, but also up his K totals to make value. The Astros have a lot of righty bats that may give him some trouble and that is why he finds himself on the lowest rung here.

Jesse Hahn vs. Kansas City ($5800) – I think he is a sneaky play here for no other reason besides his pedigree and price. While the Royals do not hit home runs often, they do get on base and make life tough on opposing pitchers. Hahn has not been going deep into games, nor striking out batters at the clip he was last year when he burst onto the scene. A patient hitting team like the Royals will force up his pitch count and I would be shocked if he lasted past six. The price is low if you wanted to take a GPP flyer on him, but I’m not optimistic it will not blow up in your face.

Rubby De La Rosa vs. San Fransisco ($6700) – Former Red Sox has some K upside as he struck out five batters in each of his first two starts. He has also given up nine earned through 11 innings, so all those negative numbers will hurt your fantasy score. He does not pitch deep into games, so despite the good pitchers park, I do not expect him to reach value at almost $7000.

Jeff Locke vs. Milwaukee ($5800) – Some might think this is cheap for Locke who is a solid yet unspectacular pitcher. Locke has a low strikeout rate and gets a right-handed dominant lineup to navigate tomorrow. I think there’s a big chance for a blow up from him and will not be one of the people his cheap price lures into a trap. He should not get through six innings and will not have a lot of strikeouts. He basically needs to throw a shutout and get a win in order to reach value in that scenario.

Kyle Lohse vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($6900) – Lohse pitched better in his second turn, but is still no where near worth $6900 on the day. While I do love the fact he does not walk batters, he has given up a ton of hits so far. He has not shown he can pitch deep into the games and his strikeout numbers are erratic at best. I do not see him putting up zero’s all day either, so there’s a limit to his upside score and a lot of potential negatives to drag it down.

Jordan Lyles vs. Dodgers ($5800) – I actually do not hate him as a pitcher tomorrow with his ability to pitch to contact and induce a ton of ground balls. I do however hate his chances for fantasy as I doubt he pitches deep into the game, he has no strikeout ability, and is a huge dog to Greinke in this one as well. His price is cheap, but that is about the only thing he has in his favor. If I do not see him go seven or more and he does not strike anyone out, then he is useless to us all when it comes to Fantasy scores.