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
Lance McCullers ($9300) – I think I flip flopped with putting either McCullers or Stephen Strasburg here. The reason I end up going with McCullers instead of Strasburg is the strikeout potential between the two. Yes, Strasburg overall has the better strikeout potential. However, in terms of matchup for today, McCullers has the better potential. The Twins, since the All-Star break, have the second highest strikeout percentage in the league at 23.6% compared to the Marlins at 17.1%. Get it now? Not only that, but you’ll be saving $700 going with McCullers instead of Strasburg. It’s not a huge amount of money, but you can certainly put it to good use. It also doesn’t hurt that the Twins have one of the lowest wOBA since the All Star break, sitting at an even .300.
Stephen Strasburg ($10000) – Even $10,000 can feel cheap sometimes. Going up against the lowly hitting Marlins today, Strasburg checks in with a nice price tag and a big potential for a high scoring day. The Marlins own one of the worst wOBA in the second half of the season, at .292. The only issue here, is that they don’t strikeout very much. Owning a 17.1 K% in the second half, they rank the second toughest team to strike out other than the Royals. On the flip side, Strasburg has been fantastic since coming back from the disabled list, owning a 1.73 ERA with a 0.65 WHIP and 32 strikeouts in 26 inning. Looks as if the old Strasburg is back.
Jake Arrieta ($12,400)- The ONLY reason he isn’t at the top of this list, is because of his price for today. Otherwise, we don’t have much to hate on this. Arrieta goes up against the Dodgers tonight, looking for his 17th straight quality start. Yes, you read that right, his 17th straight quality start. Arrieta enters tonight with a 2.22 ERA to go with a 0.98 WHIP and a K/9 of 9.2. The Dodgers have been striking out at a decent rate since the All-Star break, checking in with a 21.2% during that time span as well as a .321 wOBA, good for 14th in the league. At this point, Arrieta is basically matchup proof, as it’s evident from his 16 straight quality starts. The tough part is his price point, as it will be difficult to pair him with a quality pitcher on the cheap to balance out your offense. Otherwise, he could easily be the number one pitcher on the day.
Middle of the Pack
Jaime Garcia($11000) – This is another tough one to break down. On one side, we have Garcia, who’s just been fantastic when he’s not injured. He enters tonight with a 1.77 ERA to go with a 0.92 WHIP and a K/9 of 6.5. His splits are also great, with a .223 wOBA against righties and a .266 wOBA against lefties. All great numbers with the exception of the K/9, which could always be higher. The problem is, his matchup with the Giants. Overall in the second half of the season, they own a .318 wOBA, which ranks 16th during that time span, but they’re also tough to strikeout, with a 19.2 K% during that same time span. They’ve also hit lefties well this season, checking in with a .315 wOBA against them, good for 10th in the league. One side has to break today, it’s just a matter of which one it is. I think I’m going to give the nod to Garcia on this one, just because of how good he’s been.
Nathan Eovaldi ($7400) – Who is this Nathan Eovaldi and what have you done with the Eovaldi we’ve come to know? His overall numbers don’t look that impressive, a 4.00 ERA with a 1.42 WHIP and a K/9 of 6.6. It’s what he’s done lately that’s been turning some heads. He owns a 2.93 ERA in the second half of the season with hitters owning an overall wOBA against him sitting at .269. Certainly quite the difference from the first half when it was at .335 and a 4.50 ERA. He gets a nice matchup today against the Braves, who have the second to lowest wOBA in the second half of the season at .288. They’re a tough team to strikeout, checking in with a 19 K%, but Eovaldi isn’t exactly a power pitcher anyways. For $7400, starting Eovaldi could be steal. I can’t believe I just typed that.
Noah Syndergaard($10,600) – Syndergaard has a potential tough matchup today against the Red Sox. They’ve been playing much better as of late, owning the 4th highest wOBA in the second half of the season at .333. They’re also a tough team to strikeout with a K% of 19.6. What that being said, Syndergaard priced at $10,600 might be a bit much for this matchup. He’s been great this season, don’t get me wrong. He enters today with a 3.19 ERA with a 1.14 WHIP and a K/9 of 9.8. He should be able to grab some strikeouts today, I’d think a safe bet might be around six, but I just worry about the offense hitting Syndergaard. Syndergaard has allowed 16 hits in his last three starts and walking six, so the hitters have certainly been getting on base against him. He isn’t the worst start on the night, but it’s certainly risky.
James Shields($8500) – I think I have a soft spot for Shields. I always see myself go toward him and then he usually lets me down when I roster him. Well, maybe today will be different (doubt it.) Shields is priced at a very reasonable $8500, going against a Phillies team that has certainly been hitting well in the second half, owning the 8th best wOBA at .326. On the flip side, they do strike out a lot, 8th most during that time span with 21.5 K%. Matching up with Shields and his 9.6 K/9, Shields could certainly rack up some strikeouts if he can keep his command up. The obvious risk here involves his inability to keep his command up, as he’s walked 60 on the season. Perfect example is his K:BB ratio over this past three games, which comes in at 16:10. If he has one of those types of games, forget about it. But when Shields is on, he’s on baby!
Chris Heston ($7500) – Heston could be a bit higher here. His price point is fantastic, at $7500, he has a fairly decent matchup against the Cardinals and he’s had some extended rest. Believe it or not, Heston is getting called up from Triple-A, in case you missed that he was even sent down. It wasn’t because of his performance, more because the Giants are worried about his innings and needed some room. His last start in the majors was against the Cardinals, where he had a rough go of it. Heston only gave up one run but he walked five in four innings, giving up four hits. If the Cardinals were able to capitalize on these opportunities, it would have been a lot different of a start for Heston. The Cardinals have a low wOBA in the second half at .309, but they’re a patient team, owning the 9th best BB% at 8%. If Heston starts getting wild again, it could be another short start for him.
Charlie Morton ($7200) – Vegas is a fan of this matchup, I don’t know if I’m fully on board with it yet. Yes, the Rockies are struggling offensively, especially in the second half of the season. The Rockies wOBA sits at .320, which is right in the middle of the league at 15th. They’ve been striking out a good amount with a 21.4 K%, which is 10th in the league during that time span. But my feelings are, they’re just too good to be this bad. Morton certainly isn’t a power pitcher and he’s had his fair share of struggles. He’s been great against righties, owning a .274 wOBA against them, but struggles against lefties with a .367 wOBA. This game is away from Coors Field, which is a boost to Morton, but I just can’t see it. Honestly, I very well could be wrong and I’ll happily admit it if I am. I’m just not high on this start.
Jose Quintana ($7800) – Quintana is not a bad pitcher by any stretch, he’s just not going to score a lot of points with you. Averaging 16.1 points per start, he perfectly is priced at $7800 today. You basically get exactly what you pay for with a pitcher priced at this level, a mid teen score with a few strikeouts and that’s about it. Today he faces the Seattle Mariners who unfortunately for Quintana, is one of the best hitting offenses in the second half. They enter today with an overall wOBA of .337. Against lefties however, it’s a bit of a different story for the Mariners, as they own a .308 wOBA against them. The biggest hurdle for Quintana today will be Nelson Cruz, who absolutely crushes left handed pitching. For more information on that, feel free to check my MLB Cheat Sheet for today. This is going to be a potential tough one for Quintana today, but his price point is certainly nice.
Matt Karns ($7700) – Karns has been having a decent season, his problem has been his command lately. He’s walked at least four batters in his past five starts. Not a stat to be proud of by any means. The Royals aren’t the most patient team, as they own a BB% of 6.8, but walking that many batters in your past five starts, any team can quickly become a patient team. Add on the fact that the Royals are a tough team to strikeout, and we don’t really have much here to like with Karns.
Julio Teheran ($8000) – Teheran has been pitching MUCH better in the second half of the season. On the month, he owns a 2.73 ERA. A far cry from where he was in May and June when he had ERA over 5. However, the home run ball has been a killer for him this season. It doesn’t help when you’re facing the Yankees today, who has the 6th highest ISO in the second half of the season at .175. Teheran has now given up 21 home runs on the season and at this point is one of the only blemishes on his resurgence in the second half. He does continue to struggle against lefties, as they own a .376 wOBA against him. He’s not priced very high, but his inability to keep the ball in the park is a big factor for me today. The Yankees are not a team you’re going to sneak pitches by.
Mark Buehrle ($6400) – He’s the Vegas favorite on the day, and far from it for me. Buehrle comes into today with a 3.60 ERA to go with a 1.18 WHIP and a 4.2 K/9. As I mentioned in my Cheat Sheet Buehrle can get you a score in the mid teens and that’s all you should expect. He’s no power pitcher by any means, even against a Tigers offense that’s struggling. He still has to face the trio of Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and JD Martinez. These guys are too talented to be held down for this long. I would only be starting Buehrle if you’re in a tournament and want to be “that guy.”
Rest of the Field
Jesse Chavez ($6500) – Man, what has happened to Chavez. After being solid the first half of the season, Chavez has been extremely inconsistent the rest of the way. Perfect example, he scored 27.6 points against the Dodgers two starts ago and then -1.5 against Seattle his last time out. He faces a good Diamondbacks offense that comes in with a .323 wOBA in the second half. Chavez is certainly cheap enough to be an option today, he’s just been way to inconsistent for my liking. The Diamondbacks are certainly capable of producing some bombs, and fast.
Derek Holland ($6700) –Holland might have been better off taking the rest of the year off instead of coming back. He’s had one decent start against the Mariners, but the rest of the way has been pretty ugly. His splits are atrocious, as he owns a .427 wOBA against righties and a 330 wOBA against lefties. Not exactly numbers that make you feel confident about rostering him today. The Orioles aren’t exactly tearing it up in the second half, owning a .312 during that time, but Holland has basically been throwing batting practice since his return. Nooooooo thanks.
Ervin Santana ($4600) – Santana is crazy cheap today. At $4600, you could fit almost ANYONE on your roster with that. However, if a pitcher is that cheap, they have a damn reason to be and it’s never a good reason. Santana is now “clean” and owns a 6.05 ERA with wOBA splits of .325 and .398. The Astros are in the middle of the league in hitting in the second half, owning a .317 wOBA, which ranks 17th in the league. It’s their power that makes them the biggest threat, with an ISO of .175, good for 7th. Santana has given up 11 home runs on the year, and that’s even with missing over 50 games. Not a good spot, dude.