Welcome back to the DraftKings Playbook daily pitcher rankings. It’s another full slate Tuesday, and we have some of the best starters in the game toeing the rubber tonight. If you’re new or if you have any last-minute questions, please find me on Twitter, @RyNoonan.
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.
Cream of the Crop
Chris Sale @ St. Louis Cardinals ($12,800)
If you’re paying up today, go all the way to the top and roll with Chris Sale (3.02 ERA/2.10 FIP). We’ve seen Sale string together seven consecutive games of double-digit K’s, and while the Cardinals have the best record in baseball, they’re extremely susceptible to left-handed pitching (24th in wOBA; 24% K-rate). I’m hoping that casual players will see St. Louis and stay away.
Cole Hamels vs. Milwaukee Brewers ($10,300)
The Brewers have really scuffled against left-handed pitching this season, most of whom are nowhere near the caliber of Cole Hamels (3.28 ERA/3.58 FIP). They’re 28th in the league against left-handed pitching and strike out 21.4% of the time against southpaws, as well.
Sonny Gray vs. Colorado Rockies ($10,700)
What’s not to like about Sonny Gray? He gets the Rockies at home, and while they’re still able to do damage outside of Coors (.340 wOBA/110 wRC+), Gray has been able to neutralize hitters on both sides of the plate. His .251 wOBA against left-handed hitters is one of the league’s best marks for a right-handed starter, and right-handed bats have fared even worse (.228). You’ve got to love the 54.2% ground ball rate, as well.
UPDATE: Sonny Gray has been scratched from tonight’s start. Chris Bassitt will pitch for the Athletics.
Lance Lynn is better than you think. That’s not really in-depth as far as evaluations go, but go ahead, look at his numbers. I’ll wait…
He’ll be even better (2.84 ERA/2.88 FIP) when his sky-high .392 BABIP vs. right-handed hitters stabilizes, and he’ll keep piling up the K’s. The White Sox have been a huge disappointment, and get a large negative park shift here in St. Louis.
Gerrit Cole @ Detroit Tigers ($9,600)
Gerrit Cole takes on the Tigers and their 8th ranked offense against right-handed pitching, making it a difficult matchup for one of the National League’s best starters. He’s had success against left-handed bats this season (.262 wOBA) but the majority of the thunder in Detroit’s lineup is right-handed. I don’t love Cole in cash games today, but he’s always an option in a GPP if you want exposure to him.
Danny Salazar @ Tampa Bay Rays ($9,200)
The huge strikeout upside (30.4% K-rate) always is intriguing with Danny Boy. Salazar gets a little park factor bump here too as the Trop plays well for pitchers. The Rays do swing-and-miss quite often, striking out 21.3 % of the time against right-handed pitchers. Salazar has a 4.06 ERA, but his xFIP is just 2.81, showing you the potential he has if he’s on. GPP for days..
Middle of the Pack
The Braves are just abysmal without Freddie Freeman in the lineup, so any time an above average starter takes the mound against them, he’s worth considering. I present to you, Jordan Zimmermann. The strikeout are not appealing, just 6.16 per 9, but the .114 isolated power from the Braves is one of the lowest marks in the league. Zimmermann is in good shape for a solid outing here.
Dallas Keuchel vs. Kansas City Royals ($9,800)
I’m not a huge fan of targeting pitchers who are facing the Royals, but Dallas Keuchel has been incredible this season. He’s eliminated any platoon splits that plagued him in the past, keeping right-handed hitters at bay (.251 wOBA) while dominating lefties (.167).
Ian Kennedy vs. Seattle Mariners ($8,100)
This is a decent spot for Ian Kennedy today, at home against the free swinging Mariners. He’s had trouble with the long ball this season, and with left-handed hitters (.363 wOBA), but his strikeout and walks are better than league average and the Mariners are a solid boost to any pitcher’s strike out potential.
Shelby Miller vs. Washington Nationals ($7,900)
Shelby Miller has improved on his command, which abandoned him last season, but he’s still pitching a bit over his head thus far (1.94 ERA/3.18 FIP). He has managed to limit the damage that left-handed bats have done against him (.277 wOBA), so when you’re thinking about rostering Bryce Harper tonight, perhaps think about investing elsewhere.
Mike Montgomery @ San Diego Padres ($6,800)
Fresh off of a complete game shutout with 10 punch-outs, Mike Montgomery’s price has jumped up $2,200. The 10 strikeouts were even more impressive when you consider that they came at the expense of the Kansas City Royals, a team known for not striking out. Montgomery takes on the Padres tonight, a team that strikes out about 10% more than the Royals do, and their 24.3% K-rate is one of the highest in the game.
Phil Hughes @ Cincinnati Reds ($7,800)
I’m not a huge fan of fly-ball pitchers in parks that are as homer-friendly as Cincinnati, and you shouldn’t be either. Not to mention that Hughes’ strikeout rate has plummeted this season, down 2.5 K’s per 9 over last season. That’s a huge drop. He’s a no-go for me today.
Marco Estrada vs. Boston Red Sox ($6,300)
Marco Estrada is coming off of a pretty decent outing, you could say. He dominated the Rays in Tampa, and his ability to limit damage by left-handed hitters has a lot to do with his early season success (.277 wOBA). The Red Sox, despite their struggles, have the 9th best wOBA against right-handed pitching, and they have one of the lowest strikeout rates in the league. A better opponent in a tougher place to suppress runs, look elsewhere.
Mat Latos vs. San Francisco Giants ($7,000)
Mat WithOneT Latos has pitched better than his ERA would indicate (3.61 FIP), and he has an above average K-rate and a great home park here tonight. The problem is, the Giants are one of the best teams in the league against right-handed pitching, and by far the best road offense (116 wRC+) this season. If the matchup was better than Latos would have some sneaky GPP appeal, but not for me here against San Francisco.
Rubby de la Rosa vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($7,200)
Rubby de la Rosa is difficult to roster right now due to his extreme splits. He’s outstanding against right-handed bats, his .251 wOBA is one of the best marks in the league. Unfortunately it’s all negated by his inability to handle left-handed bats (.389 wOBA) and the Dodgers have plenty of those in play most nights. Add to it, the park that plays as hitter friendly as any not named Coors Field, and Rubby is a no tonight.
Ryan Vogelsong @ Miami Marlins ($6,100)
The Marlins are ripe for the picking, the only problem is that Ryan Vogelsong is not very good. The Marlins are now a target every night without Giancarlo Stanton, as they had the lowest isolated power in the league against right-handed pitching WITH him in the lineup. Batters on both sides of the plate are tagging Vogelsong right now. Left-handed hitters have a .372 wOBA against him, and his xFIP against right-handed pitching is 4.41.
Ivan Nova @ Los Angeles Angels ($7,300)
We don’t quite know what to make of Ivan Nova, since we’ve seen just 6 2/3 innings from him this season. Based on his past seasons and looking at what Steamer Projections thinks about him moving forward, we’re looking at a 4.24 FIP and a 6.69 K/9. Until I see 40+ innings of something different, I’m buying Steamer’s forecast here.
Rest of the Field
Kyle Hendricks @ New York Mets ($6,500)
The Mets offense is terrible right now, entering play with the 4th lowest wOBA and wRC+ in the league. I’m still not sure there’s enough upside to target Kyle Hendricks tonight on this full slate. He hasn’t seen the 6th inning in any of his past four starts, and there’s not enough strike out upside here to make him work.
Taylor Jungmann @ Philadelphia Phillies ($6,200)
If you’ve been blindly targeting the Phillies lately, your bank roll has probably taken a hit. They’ve had some strong offensive outings of lately but still enter play with the lowest wOBA and wRC+ in the league when facing right-handed pitching. The young Jung has pitched well through his first 23 innings (2.74 ERA/3.18 FIP), but don’t blindly chase the Phils here.
Anthony DeSclafani vs. Minnesota Twins ($6,400)
There have been some flashes of usefulness from Anthony DeSclafani this season. I know, that doesn’t sound like a great endorsement, but it’s not a bad thing. From a DFS perspective, I want to see more strikeout’s (6.19 K/9) for a guy with his stuff, and he needs to figure out left-handed hitters (5.03 xFIP) before we can trust him.
Justin Verlander vs. Pittsburgh ($7,500)
You want a higher priced contrarian play? Knock your socks off. Wei-Yin Chen feels over-priced here against the Indians. Cleveland hits lefties well, entering play with a .318 wOBA and one of the lowest strikeout rates in the league. There are better ways to spend up today.
Colby Lewis @ Baltimore Orioles ($7,100)
Colby Lewis profiles a lot like Phil Hughes tonight, in the sense that he’s a fly-ball pitcher in a homer friendly park. Lewis’ 36% ground ball rate would need be be 56% for me to consider him here, and while the Orioles do strike out often (22.8%) Colby Lewis doesn’t have the skills to exploit it.
Andrew Heaney vs. New York Yankees ($6,900)
Former Marlins prospect Andrew Heaney took his talents to the West Coast, and he and his Angels face off against the Yankees tonight. With what we know of him in the past and coming up through the minors, there’s a little strike out upside to be had here, but not something that I’m chasing against the Yankees (5th in wOBA vs. LHP). Rest of the season projections for Heaney have him at a 3.91 FIP and 7.59 K/9, so he’s one to watch as the season progresses.
Jorge de la Rosa @ Oakland Athletics ($6,800)
It’s a strong park factor bump for Jorge de la Rosa here, as he takes him skills to Oakland to tame the A’s. Oakland is a much better offense against right-handed pitching than they are against lefties, making JDLR a sneaky GPP play tonight. His 5.15 ERA isn’t strong, but a 4.17 FIP is decent, and will play better outside of Coors. Walks can be an issue for him, but if he can command his arsenal tonight, he has some tournament appeal.
Miguel Gonzalez vs. Texas Rangers ($6,700)
It’s difficult to roster a fly-ball pitcher in Baltimore in the summer, especially against a strong slugging team like the Rangers. Gonzalez (3.58 ERA/4.60 FIP) can’t sustain his .248 BABIP-against all season. It may be time to pay the piper.
Jon Niese vs. Chicago Cubs ($6,600)
The Cubs are destroying left-handed pitching (.331 wOBA) and Jon Niese doesn’t have the ability to truly maximize the flaw in the Cubs lineup (strike outs). This is a place to go for hitting, not pitching.
Eduardo Rodriguez @ Toronto Blue Jays ($5,800)
Eduardo Rodriguez gets to take on the league’s best offense against left-handed pitching tonight in one of the best run scoring environments in the game. Not a fun place to be. The Blue Jays 141 wRC+ is legit, and should be left alone.
Danny Duffy @ Houston Astros ($5,700)
Say it with me, kids- only target the Astros with big time strikeout pitchers. Danny Duffy (5.44 ERA) is not that guy.
Erasmo Ramirez vs. Clevland Indians ($5,200)
The Indians are middle of the road against right-handed pitching, but they don’t strike out a ton and Ramirez’s 7.4 K/9 is right around league average. There’s not enough meat on the bone here on a full slate to consider Erasmo tonight.
Carlos Frias @ Arizona Diamondbacks ($4,400)
Carlos Frias will need to figure out how to retire left-handed hitters if he’s going to stick in the Dodgers rotation. His .409 wOBA and 4.91 xFIP against left-handed hitters are among the worst marks in the league. I like the 55% ground ball rate, but it’s not enough to make him an option here.