Wednesday’s 12-game evening slate offers a ton of viable offensive options which means there’s barely any pitching. We have a few overpriced bigger names at the top and then a smattering of guys that make your face scrunch up as you click on the green + on the lineup page. If you have any questions about the slate find me on Twitter, @RyNoonan. Let’s dig in.
Top 5 Pitchers
#1) Stephen Strasburg – WAS vs. ATL – $11,300 – – The schedule makers have been kind to Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals. This is the second straight start against the Braves for Strasburg, and while he wasn’t particularly sharp in the first start, he still managed 18.1 DraftKings points. That’s a safe floor for him today against a lowly Braves lineup that has barely mustered a .275 wOBA through the start of 2016 and has the lowest implied-run total (3.0) on the slate. I’m staying away in tournaments though because his history against this roster is surprisingly poor, and he’ll be the highest owned pitcher by a wide margin.
#2) Carlos Carrasco – CLE vs. TB – $11,900 – – We’re not getting bargains among the top shelf pitchers tonight. Carlos Carrasco cost us $10,000 during his first start, one in which he struggled against the Red Sox, but that’s had no baring on his price, leaping nearly $2K to $11,900. His 29.4% strikeout rate goes a long way in solidifying Carrasco’s upside, and his huge price tag might drive his ownership down which opens him up as a GPP play.
#3) Drew Smyly – TB vs. CLE – $10,400 – – Drew Smyly’s story is very similar to his previously mentioned opponent, Carlos Carrasco. Smyly is in a more favorable matchup today than he was the first time out against Toronto, but his price has spiked to $10,400 from $8,800. He’s the next safest option for strikeouts though, so he’s still viable tonight in relation to his peers. My main concern with Smyly is his lack of track record working deep into games. Smyly rarely sees the seventh or eighth inning, and that limits his GPP upside.
#4) John Lackey – CHC vs. CIN – $8,300 – – I don’t love John Lackey today, but Lackey and the Cubs are slated as -220 favorites, and that’s hard to ignore. Also working in Lackey’s favor is his new home park, Wrigley Field. It’s still chilly in Chicago, and Wrigley often plays as a pitcher-friendly park every April. Lackey isn’t a big swing-and-miss guy to begin with, and his upside is capped with noted ‘hitter’s ump’ Jeff Kellogg calling balls and strikes today.
*”The Brewers are struggling, striking out over 30 of the time so far this season”*%
#5) Mike Leake – STL vs. MIL – $8,100 – – Mike Leake doesn’t miss enough bats (15% K-rate) to find himself on my radar most nights, but the Brewers are struggling, striking out over 30% of the time so far this season, and have the second-lowest implied-run total of the night at just 3.3 runs. I’d like Mike Leake a lot more if he were still priced at $7,200 like he was last time out, but DraftKings isn’t consulting me when it comes to pricing, so $8,100 it is. His lack of strikeout upside, even with a pitcher-friendly ump behind home plate, makes him a cash game only play.
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#6) Yordano Ventura – KC vs. HOU – $8,500 – – It appears as though the Astros will have a similar team-wide offensive profile as they did in 2015. Explosive and dangerous, but susceptible to big strikeout totals on any given night. Essentially, they’re the offensive version of Yordano Ventura. On any given night Ventura is just as likely to strike out 10 guys as he is to walk five and give up five runs in the first few innings. He’s difficult to trust in cash because of his volatility but his elite swing-and-miss arsenal keeps him in play for tournaments.
#7) Michael Pineda – NYY vs. TOR – $8,900 – – It’s not a huge sample size but Michael Pineda has fared well against this current iteration of the Blue Jays. He’s held them to a .207 average and a .264 wOBA in his career, solid numbers against an elite offense. We’ve seen Pineda look unhittable at times, and with the state of the position today, I think Pineda is worth a long look in tournaments.
#8) Jerad Eickhoff – PHI vs. SD – $7,900 – – I really wish Jerad Eickhoff was about $1,000 cheaper, but he’s still in play at $7,900. He offers decent K/9 potential for his price, and the Padres offense won’t keep him up at night. If he’s able to show the same command that he showed in the opener, I like his chances to work a bit deeper into this game than he did in the opener.
#9) Phil Hughes – MIN vs. CWS – $7,300 – – There tends to be no middle ground for Phil Hughes. His upside is limited but his exceptional command allows him to work deep into games when he’s on because he keeps his pitch count down. When he’s missing his spots though, he’s typically still in and around the zone and he gets pounded, like he did all year last season. He’s viable at home on Wednesday though against a White Sox offense that’s scuffling a bit to start the season.
“He’s so up and down and his command limits the upside quite a bit but hey, K’s are king…”
#10) Carlos Rodon – CWS vs. MIN – $9,500 – – Strikeouts. That’s what Carlos Rodon has to offer right now, and nothing more. He’s so up and down and his command limits the upside quite a bit but hey, K’s are king. He has a devastating slider which gets pounded into the ground when it’s not being swung through, but I can’t advise paying $9,500 for Rodon in anything other than GPP’s.