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.
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Cream of the Crop
Jason Hammel ($8200) – Truly, tough to go against this matchup with this price tag today. Hammel, at just $8200 is a steal on the day in my opinion. Going up against the Braves, who are 28th in the league against RHP in wOBA at .296 is enticing enough. Then we add on the fact that their ISO against RHP is .105, which is the number WITHOUT Freddie Freeman, so it’s true as could be at the moment. The strikeout factor is a bit tough, which is the only downfall of this start, as they only strike out 17.6% of the time against a RHP. Since the All Star break, the wOBA of the Braves sits at .282, which makes them sound even worse. So if you’re ok with the strikeouts being on the low side for today, you can’t go wrong with this start today. We have way to many factors that point to this being a good one.
Jordan Zimmermann ($8900) – Maybe I like Zimmermann a little more than I should today, but again, it’s hard to hate the price tag. At $8900 today going against the Brewers, we have quite a few factors to like here. The Brewers own a .301 wOBA in the second half of the season, good for 24th in the league. Their power is almost non existant, at .123 during that same time span, good for 28th in the league. Zimmermann has been pitching well lately, with the exception of a tough start in Colorado, which I mean, can you blame the guy for that? He spun 30 points against the Dodgers and 22.6 against Colorado in Washington. With a weak offense like the Brewers, I like my chances today.
Jake Odorizzi ($10,000)- A bit of a weird bunch for the “Cream of the Crop” section here today, eh? Odorizzi gets the Oakland A’s today, who are just down right awful offensively. Against RHP, the A’s rank 22nd in wOBA at .305. Their power sits at 21st at .140 and they still remain a tough team to strike out, ranked 27th with a 17.9 K%. It’s the numbers in the second half that bumps me up on Odorizzi. The A’s own the second to worst wOBA at .284 with a .129 ISO. They’re still tough to strikeout, but at this point, I don’t think it matters as much. Odorizzi has been pitching extremely well lately, owning four quality starts in his last five. If you haven’t been in tune with that, he could be a bit of a sneaky play today. It also doesn’t hurt that is matchup is in Oakland, a magical place for pitchers.
Middle of the Pack
Clayton Kerhsaw ($14800) – Usually when Kershaw is on the mound, he’s an automatic start, if you can afford his price tag of course. He faces the Astros this afternoon in another matchup that’s tough to decide on. Against lefties, the Astros own the 10th best wOBA in the league at .315 with the fourth best ISO at .170. Pretty impressive to say the least. Then, on the other end, they also strike out the 5th most with a 22.9 K%. Way to throw a wrench into things, Houston. So now we have to decide, can Kershaw shut them down and rack up those strike outs? Or will the Astros get to him early? We all know Kershaw has finally straightned his act out and has been pithing like were used to, with the exception of his start against the Pirates earlier this month. With a K/9 of 11.2, the strikeout appeal is certainly very high. The offensive numbers do worry me a bit though. If I’m getting exposure to Kershaw, it will most likely be minimal, as the price tag of $14,800 is quite high and the matchup isn’t a slam dunk. But, it’s also very hard to sit here with a straight face and tell you to fade Clayton Kershaw. It’s just not possible.
Taijuan Walker ($7700) – On the surface, this might sound like a bit of a tough matchup for Walker. In the second half of the season, the White Sox came out of the gate with guns blazing. However, in the past few weeks, they have certainly come back down the earth. Over the past two weeks, the White Sox own a .306 wOBA, good for 22nd in the league. Their power has been almost non existant, with an ISO ranked 28th in the league during that two week time span, at .128. Throw in the added boost that this game is at Safeco Field and suddenly, Walker doesn’t seem like such a bad option. He’s thrown five straight quality starts, which doesn’t always translate to good scoring in fantasy, but he’s pitching well overall. I’ll take my chances in a pitcher friendly ball park for the price of $7700.
Michael Wacha ($11,000) – Wacha is a bit pricey tonight, coming in at $11,000. But I wouldn’t want to put him any lower than he is already, even with a matchup against the Padres. Wacha has pitchced very well lately, scoring at least 21 points in his last three starts against the Reds, Pirates and Giants. My only issue is that the Padres hit RHP fairly well. Since the All Star break, the Padres rank 14th in wOBA at .321 with an ISO of .166, also good for 14th in the league. They’re also a bit tough to strike out, ranked 15th in the league with a 20.8 K%. While these numbers aren’t blowing you away, they aren’t horrible either. With Wacha priced as the second highest pitcher on the night at $11,000, I’m not exactly jumping at the chance to grab him. But, he isn’t a in a bad positon either. I just think my money could be used better else where.
Francisco Liriano ($10300) – Overall, Liriano has great numbers on the season. With a 3.35 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP with a K/9 of 9.7, he sounds like he could be a great play. However, Liriano has been scuffling a bit lately. Over his last three starts, Liriano has scored 0.8, 15.5 and 10.4 points. Not exactly the 19 points he’s averaging a start now is it? What that factored in, along with his $10,300 price tag, and a potentially tough matchup against the Giants, I’m not too high on Lirinao. The Giants own a .311 wOBA against lefties on the season, good for 12th in the majors.
Kevin Gausman ($5100) – Facing the Twins today, Gausman really doesn’t have to do much to return value. Priced at just $5100, that’s pretty damn good going against a team that is so bad offensively. Owning a .300 wOBA in the second half of the season, the Twins aren’t exactly the team that is going to scare you. Surprinsgly enough, Gausman owns a pretty decent 7.8 K/9, which should bode well with the Twins and their 22.5 K%, which is the fifth highest in the league. The more I look into this, the more I think I like this.
Lance McCullers ($7500) – McCullers is interesting today. His last start in the majors was a brutal one, allowing six runs in a 1/3 of an innings against the Rangers. Since then, he was sent downn to the minors, but mostly because the Astros want to save him for the playoffs. Today he gets a start against the Dodgers, who rank 15th in the leage in wOBA since the All Star break. McCullers owns a nice 9.2 K/9 on the season, which could come into play today, since the Dodgers are striking out a good amount, at 21.5%, good for 10th in the league. He’s not pricey today at all, which makes him all the more enticing.
Raisel Iglesias ($7000) – Bit of a tough one here, as Iglesias has been pitching extremely well as of late. He’s coming into today’s start with 12 straight shut out innings and has scored 21.1, 24.5 and 18.8 in his last three starts. Those starts have been against legitimate teams too, the Diamondbacks, Padres and Royals. He just so happens to be facing those Diamonbacks again today. They’ve a good offensive club, so I’m a bit concerned about that, but the strikeout potential is very big here today. With a K/9 of 8.6 for Iglesias, and the Diamondbacks striking out the 6th most since the All Star break with a 22 K%, Iglesias could end up being a sneaky play today.
Aaron Nola ($6500) – Nola has been struggling lately, but any team who is matched up against the Marlins has to at least have some consideration. On the season, Nola owns a 4.41 ERA with a 1.27 WHIP and a K/9 of 7.2 Not great numbers, but I think the Marlins have it worse. The own a league worst .292 wOBA against right handed pitchers, with an overall .300 wOBA in the second half. The “power” is non existant without Stanton, as they own an ISO of .111 in the second half. They’re a tough team to strike out, being the second toughest in the league during that time span, but as I said, the offensive numbers are brutal. At just $6500, Nola might be worth a look today, even if it’s just a quick one.
Matt Garza ($5700) – If I had my way, I’d never see Garza again. I think he’s one of the most overrated pitchers in the game. But, feelings aside, he could have a decent matchup against the Nationals today. The Nationals seem like they forgot how to play baseball after the All Star break. Once a huge favorite to win it all, the Nationals own a .296 wOBA in the second half of the season. The power is extremely low as well, ranked 21st in the league at .145. Let’s not forget about those strikeouts either, as they are second in the league in the second half, with a 23.4 K%. Garza honestly could be ranked higher, but his inability to consistently throw quality starts has him low on my list. If you can get past his flaws, maybe he won’t be too shabby.
R.A. Dickey ($6600) – Another team you just look at and think, “what the hell happened here?” That folks, is the LA Angels. They have completely fallen off the face of the Earth it feels like. Somehow, they own the second to lowest wOBA in the league, with the A’s being the worst. They don’t strike out a lot at least, with a K% of 19.1, but it’s just down right atrocious what they’re producing at the plate. I don’t think I’m scrambling to roster Dickey, as he’s wayyyyyy to inconsistent to trust. If that knuckleball isn’t working on a particular day, forget about it.
Rest of the Field
Cole Hamels ($10,600) – Yikes. Am I being a bit harsh on Hamels? Maybe a tad. But yeah, I don’t like much of anything in this matchup today. The Tigers, are 2nd in the league against left handed pithing, with a .348 wOBA. They’re also 5th in ISO with a .169 rating. They do strike out a decent amount against LHP, with a K% of 22.1, but that would mean Hamels would have to get through this lineup multiple times without giving up much. With these numbers, I just don’t see that happening. Hamels hasn’t seen an easy transition to the American League, owning a 5.23 ERA allowing a .397 wOBA with five home runs in just 20.2 innings…
David Hale ($4300) – Doesn’t almost every pitcher pitching at Coors Field belong in this section? Hale has been an absolute mess this season, and today won’t be much better. He enters his start today with some real ugly splits, allowing a .355 wOBA to RHB and a .400 wOBA to LHB. I mean, what do you have to love here? The fact that he’ll be gone by the 4th inning?
Edinson Volquez ($7300) – Even at $7300, it seems to pricey going against argubly, the best hitting team of the second half of the season, the Boston Red Sox. Owning a .339 wOBA in the second half, the Red Sox look like a team that is vying for a playoff spot, even with it being so far out of reach. Pitching at the hitter friendly Fenway Park, I wouldn’t be taking my chances with Volquez, even with him pitching a good month of August. The Red Sox are just to good right now.
Adam Conley ($4200) – It really says something when a pitcher is going against the Phillies, only going to cost you $4200, and my first reaction is to say “hell no.” Conley has been, that bad. Coming into today’s start, Conley owns a .364 wOBA against righties and a .415 wOBA against lefties. How much more do you need to know? That in itself is enough to keep Conley on the shelf. See you later.
Matt Boyd ($4100) – Boyd: 7.66 ERA. 1.74 WHIP. .379 wOBA vs. RHB. .545 wOBA vs. LHB. Thanks for reading!