I’m back with a look at today’s full slate of games, including a double-header in Colorado which is always fun! We essentially have two separate 15-game slates, one that features each Dodgers/Rockies contest.
The probable starters were pulled from DraftKings player pool for tonight’s slate. With Monday’s rain outs affecting multiple teams, be sure to check the probable starters before building your lineups
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. To determine the best values in today’s rankings, I run projections that include opponent’s strength, betting situation, handedness, park factor, projected Game Score, power/finesse pitching tendencies along with ground-ball/fly-ball tendencies. We want to take everything into consideration when making our pitcher choices, because they’re the backbone of the lineup. If you have any last-minute questions, please find me on Twitter, @RyNoonan.
Cream of the Crop
I’m not sure there’s another pitcher who’s made ‘the leap’ this season more than Chris Archer has. He’s solidified himself as a legit ace, but we’re able to roster him today for only $8,900. He’s coming off of a 40.8 point performance his last time out, and he’s $300 cheaper today than he was heading in to that start. He’s 12.6 SwStk% is incredible, and up a full three points over last season. He checks all the boxes today, making him a surefire cash game play tonight.
Noah Syndergaard @ San Diego Padres ($8,100)
Some times we’ll come across a prospect that can deliver on the hype, and the early returns say Noah Syndergaard is one of those guys. We know he looks the part, but he’s pitched great since getting the call up to the bigs. He’s strikeout rate is above league average, while maintaining a below league average walk rate. The Padres were dominated by Jacob deGrom last night, and Syndergaard should keep it rolling for the Mets.
Max Scherzer vs. Toronto Blue Jays ($12,000)
A matchup against the Blue Jays and the availability of two popular options like Archer and Syndergaard should keep Max Scherzer’s ownership levels in check tonight, relatively speaking. His huge strike out potential is hard to ignore regardless of opponent, and while the Blue Jays can hang a crooked number on anyone, the do strike out 20.8% of the time against right-handed pitching. He’s a very tempting GPP play tonight.
Johnny Cueto @ Philadelphia Phillies ($10,400)
We have to trust that the elbow discomfort that Johnny Cueto experienced last week is behind him, otherwise why would the Reds roll him out today? I could see a scenario where the Reds monitor his workload, limiting a bit of his upside in the juicy matchup against the league’s worst offense. I’d temper my expectations but I don’t think you have to avoid him.
Chris Heston vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($5,300)
I like what we’ve seen from the Pirates offense lately, but this isn’t the ’04 Red Sox. Chris Heston has pitched well at home and it’s no secret that AT&T Park suppresses run scoring. Heston doesn’t have huge strike out upside, but he doesn’t need to at $5,300 in order to be a great play.
Middle of the Pack
Lance Lynn vs. Milwaukee Brewers ($8,500)
Lance Lynn has stepped up this season and is the ace one of the best teams in the National League. Yeah, I’m surprised too. He’s K/9 is up to 9.94 (8.0 last season) and he’s maintained his walk rate. He’s been a bit unlucky with batted balls, carrying a BABIP-against that’s about 40 points higher than his career mark. The Brewers are getting healthy, but their 21.9% strikeout rate is exploitable here. My only trepidation is he struggled in his previous meeting against Milwaukee a few weeks back.
Zack Greinke @ Colorado Rockies ($9,900)
No one is debating whether or not Zack Greinke is a good pitcher, but you can’t look at his 90.6% strand rate (74% career mark) and .220 BABIP-against (.303 career) and pretend that sun has not been shining on Zack and his golden locks so far this season. He deserves to be ranked so high because he IS one of the best in the league, but Colorado is a dangerous place to wager that his extreme batted ball luck will continue.
Collin McHugh vs. Baltimore Orioles ($7,800)
Collin McHugh’s strikeout have dried up a bit, but his SwStk rate is in line with last season’s mark, so I expect to see them improve. The Orioles (.318 wOBA) aren’t quite the Astros or Cubs in terms of strike outs, but they’re similar in terms of being able to display elite power and a higher than average K-rate (22.9%).
A.J. Burnett @ San Francisco Giants ($9,200)
There’s no denying it; A.J. Burnett had an awesome May. He’ll take the mound tonight with a 1.81 ERA (2.69 FIP) and he’s walking fewer batters than ever. It’s a positive ball park shift for him here in San Francisco, but the Giants (wOBA .323) are one of the league’s best offense’s against right-handed pitching, and they keep their whiffs to a minimum (just 17.3%). I like Burnett, but you’re paying full pop dog here.
Clay Buchholz vs. Minnesota Twins ($7,200)
We’ve been down this road before. I touted Clay Buchholz against the Twins last week and fared well, but I like him a bit less here today. Not only because the Twins just saw him last week, but this one is in Fenway, a negative park shift when compared to Target Field in Minnesota. The upside is still here though because of Clay’s ability to miss bats this season.
I’m really torn on Carlos Carrasco today. He’s been great of late, striking out at least seven in each of his past four starts. He’s coming off of a 32.4 DraftKings point performance in his last start against Texas, and he’s $1,000 cheaper today than he was in that one. But, the Royals. Who’d ever think we’d say that, even coming off a trip to the World Series. The just put the ball in play so much; they have the lowest strikeout AND walk rate against right-handed pitching. They’re aggressive and that minimizes a bit of Carrasco’s upside.
Shelby Miller @ Arizona Diamondbacks ($8,300)
I’m yet to be on Shelby Miller this season, but at least he’s not priced in the $9,000 territory still. $8,300 is much more appealing, but unfortunately Shelby’s taking the ball in Arizona (.316 wOBA) which is a great hitter’s park. The 3.35 FIP is solid, but you’re paying for his 1.81 ERA.
Kyle Hendricks @ Miami Marlins ($7,100)
Kyle Hendricks has strung together four solid outings, and faces a Marlins club that’s struggling lately. They’re among the league’s worst teams against right-handed pitching, and Hendricks teammate Jason Hammel dominated them last night, striking out 11 in just 6 2/3 innings. Hendricks doesn’t have that type of upside, but he’s still a strong play at this price.
Mike Wright @ Houston Astros ($4,800)
We only have 19 innings of Mike Wright so far this season, and while there’s been quite a bit of batted ball luck, $4,800 seems pretty low. He doesn’t have huge swing-and-miss stuff (5.59 K/9) but the Astros have huge swing-and-miss bats. I’d stay with the names above Wright, but he’s cheaper than he should be (averaging 19 DK points per outing so far).
Ian Kennedy vs. New York Mets ($7,400)
Ian Kennedy: Batting Practice Pitcher. It’s been hard to watch this season if you’re a Padres fan. Obviously a 27.9% HR/FB ratio won’t last, no one is that bad, but it’s difficult to roster Ian Kennedy until he figures it out a bit. His xFIP is 4.06, which isn’t great but it helps you understand how he’s pitched if you regulate his home run rate. Duda dong?
Jeff Samardzija @ Texas Rangers ($8,700)
Here’s another guy that likes to give up the dong. Home runs. He allows…nevermind.
Pitching in Texas is essentially a neutral shift in terms of ball park for Jeff Samardzija, but I can’t pay $8,700 for him until he returns to his ground ball ways. The Rangers (.306 wOBA) are middle of the pack against right-handed pitching, but I like their lefty bats today.
Alfredo Simon vs. Oakland Athletics ($6,100)
‘The Big Fettuccine’ seems to do this every season. He loves April and May, but I can’t get on board, especially in terms of him being an option for DFS. The A’s (wOBA of .323) are a top-5 offense against right-handed pitching, and should only improve now that Ben Zobrist is back in the lineup.
Rest of the Field
Kendall Graveman @ Detroit Tigers ($4,700)
Kendall Graveman could have some useful days down the road, but that road is not open today. The Tigers .325 wOBA against righties is the third best mark in the league, and Graveman is struggling with his command to start the season. You don’t want to extend the inning against Miguel Cabrera and company.
Marco Estrada @ Washington Nationals ($5,800)
Getting away from the Rogers Centre is a good thing for Marco Estrada’s game due to his tendency to give up the long ball, but it’s not enough to put him on my radar today. The walks are a problem at times, and the strikeout upside is no longer here. You know who is here?? Bryce Harper.
C.J. Wilson vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($7,600)
The Rays are sneaky good against lefties (.335 wOBA, 4th best in the league) and their ISO total is even better. It’s a bad mix for C.J. Wilson and the Angels tonight. Perhaps some will be buying after his last outing against the Tigers went well, but I’m on the Rays bats tonight.
Colby Lewis vs. Chicago White Sox ($6,600)
There are too many similarly priced options today for me to consider Colby Lewis as my SP2 tonight. His strikeout totals have been essentially league average this year, and his propensity for fly balls doesn’t play well in Texas as the weather heats up. There are better options today.
C.C. Sabathia @ Seattle Mariners ($8,000)
It’s a nice park factor bump for C.C., but it’s a bad matchup for him. The Mariners .332 wOBA is the sixth best mark in the league, and C.C. has struggled in his last two outings, to the tune of 2.5 DraftKings points. That’s combined.
Josh Collmenter vs. Atlanta Braves ($5,600)
We’ve entered the no upside zone here, and Josh Collmenter (4.58 K/9, 4.60 FIP) will be your captain today. Exits are available and marked on both the left and right wing of the plane, and we highly recommend getting off before this flight takes off.
Mike Pelfry @ Boston Red Sox ($4,200)
I know, the Red Sox offense has been a disappointment, but enough so that you’d give Mike Pelfry a go today? C’mon
Jeremy Guthrie vs. Cleveland Indians ($4,800)
When you’re FIP and ERA are nearly double (DOUBLE) what you’re K/9 is, you’re in trouble. I’m guessing the Indians lefty bats will be popular cash game plays, yeah?
Sean O’Sullivan vs. Cincinnati Reds ($5,000)
Sean O’Sullivan was the name of the guy in the Larry Bird jersey in the House of Pain ‘Jump Around’ video. Ok, that’s not true, but it could be. It’s such a Boston name, I’m waiting for the Red Sox to acquire him any day now (throw him in the deal with Cole Hamels). Oh hey by the way, don’t start Sean O’Sullivan today.
Chris Rusin vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($4,000)
If you’re avoid Clayton Kershaw in Colorado, you aren’t dialing up Chris Rusin that’s for sure. Keep the line moving!
Brad Hand vs. Chicago Cubs ($4,200)
The Cubs mash lefties, including Anthony Rizzo, so fire away.
Tyler Cravy @ St. Louis Cardinals ($4,000)
I don’t need you to dominate in the minors if you’re called up to hold down a spot in the rotation, but I do if I’m going to start you against the Cardinals in your debut.
David Hale vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($4,100)
He’s coming up to start in the double header, and then going right back down, perhaps even mid-start if it goes poorly. Again, the Rockies and Dodgers will be popular cash bats today.