With a 10 game slate on tap tonight, we have plenty of pitchers to choose from. Which ones are our best options and which are the ones to avoid? I’ll attempt to break that down for you here! As always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
Top 5 Pitchers
#1) Noah Syndergaard, NYM vs. MIA $10,400 – – Syndergaard, in my opinion, is truly one of the most exciting up and coming pitchers in the game. He has a matchup against the Marlins tonight that on paper, shouldn’t give him much trouble (tell that to Steven Matz last night.) Syndergaard has big strikeout potential with an 11.4 K/9 against righties and an 8.3 K/9 against lefties last season. His price tag is a bit high on the night, but overall, I love this matchup for him. With the Marlins not owning a ton of power, with the exception of Stanton, Syndergaard can hopefully avoid what plagued him last season, the home run ball. Syndergaard also was a much better pitcher at home than he was on the road, splitting his wOBA to .239 at home and .323 on the road.
#2) Gio Gonzalez WAS vs. ATL $8,600 – – The value you can grab on Gonazlez tonight is huge. At just $8,600, he feels awfully cheap for his matchup and his potential. What intrigues me about this matchup is that Gonzalez pitches well against left handed batters and this lineup is full of them. Even if the Braves mix it up and use a lot of their reserve players who are right handers, the lineup would be about as unimpressive as it gets. Last season against lefties, Gonzalez owned a .281 wOBA with a K/9 of 6.1. The Braves are a tough team to strikeout, so I’m not expecting a ton here. However, Gonzalez was fantastic against them last season throwing 13 innings allowing two runs on seven hits with 18 strikeouts.
“The big appeal here is his strikeout potential, owning an 11 K/9 last season…”
#3) Jose Fernandez MIA vs. NYM $11,900 – – Talent wise, Fernandez would be at the top of the list, no doubt about it. It’s his salary that kills it for me. Just shy of $12k on the day, Fernandez gets a start on the road in the pitcher friendly Citi Park. Even with Fernandez only pitching in a combined 116.1 innings these last two seasons, he’s done a great job at keeping the ball in the park with eight home runs allowed. The big appeal here is his strikeout potential, owning an 11 K/9 last season.
#4) Hector Santiago LAA vs. OAK $6,900 – – I think Santiago is a sneaky, sneaky play tonight. Buried near the bottom of the list of pitchers tonight at $6,900, he is (hopefully) going to be overlooked. He faces an A’s offense that truly doesn’t give much to be impressed about. They don’t hit for power, which was a HUGE problem for Santiago last season. 29 home runs were given up by Santiago in 2015, but pitching in Oakland could certainly help that tonight. Overall, Santiago posted some decent splits last year owning a .282 wOBA against lefties and .323 against righties. Mix that in with a 8.1 K/9 overall and I think we have some serious value tonight.
#5) Robbie Erlin SD vs. PHI $7,100 – – I’m intrigued by this start for Erlin because of his price and his matchup. The Phillies aren’t a great hitting ball club. They certainly have some talented guys on their team, but overall they don’t have it. We don’t have much to go on for Erlin, as he’s only pitched in 77 innings the past two seasons, but he has excellent control and limits the walks. In 60 innings in 2014, Erlin walked only 15 batters and in 17 innings in 2015 walked only two. He’s not a huge strike out guy in the majors, but has seen it in the minors with his K/9 hovering in the 6-8 range. If you’re taking one of the high priced guys tonight, Erlin could make for an intriguing second starter.
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#6) Corey Kluber CLE vs. TBR $12,200 – – Even pricier than Fernandez, Kluber is another pitcher that talent wise, certainly has the stuff. Price wise, not very attractive. The strikeout potential is a big appeal here, as the Rays ranked ninth in strikeouts last season. That would certainly go well with the 9.9 K/9 Kluber owned in 2015. The issue I have with this start is that Kluber is much more effective against right-handed batters than he is left handed, and this lineup is full of lefties. When comparing his wOBA last season, Kluber owned a .238 wOBA against righties and a .322 wOBA against lefties. Factoring that in with his high price tag and Kluber isn’t the most attractive option on the slate. If he wasn’t so expensive, I’d be on him much more.
#7) Kendall Graveman – OAK vs. LAA – $5,200 – – Graveman is somewhat similar to Santiago. He quietly takes the mound every five days, does his thing and he’s out. At $5,200, he certainly can peak your interest if you’re looking to save some money. However, his strikeout upside is extremely limited. Owning a K/9 of 6.0 last season, the Angels are certainly not the club you’re going to go out and grab 10 strikeouts against all of a sudden. Ranking 25th overall in 2015, Graveman loses the upside he would potentially carry with his salary.
“Honestly, I don’t think I would roster Buchholz under any circumstances tonight”
#8) Clay Buchholz BOS vs. BAL – $8,700 – – Honestly, I don’t think I would roster Buchholz under any circumstances tonight. He has an unfavorable matchup against Orioles tonight in Fenway Park, which may as well be Camden Yards, and he is extremely inconsistent. This Orioles team truly has the potential to have four or five guys with 30+ home runs. Think about that. I’m not going to be paying up for a pitcher who has a much higher wOBA at home than he does on the road these past two seasons. At home: .316, .360. On the road: .263, .307. Did I mention he’s facing the Orioles? Truly, Buchholz could pull out a good start here as he has the talent, but he’s too expensive for me to find out.
#9) Matt Moore TBR vs. CLE $8,400 – -$8,400 feels awful expensive for a player that has looked nothing like his old self since returning from Tommy John surgery. Moore returned last season and pitched 63 innings and boy were they ugly. Moore owned a .335 wOBA against lefties and a .375 wOBA against righties. His K:BB ratio was ugly as well, as that stood at 46:23. Cleveland isn’t the best hitting club around, and they aren’t at Progessive Field, but I can’t pay up for Moore without any consistency spanning over a season.
#10) Wade Miley SEA vs. TEX $8,200 – – Again, I feel as though Miley may just be a tad bit expensive here. Miley doesn’t own a ton of upside, as he owned a 6.8 K/9 in 2015 and faces a club that ranked 19th in strikeouts last season. Miley also doesn’t have very good command, as he owned an ugly 147:64 K:BB ratio. I feel as though we have some good value on the board tonight that going to Miley would be unnecessary. For what it’s worth, Miley was shelled against the Rangers in two starts in 2015. He pitched 11 innings giving up eight runs on 16 hits with a 9:3 K:BB ratio.