If you’re a fan of stud pitchers, tonight is certainly the night you want to be playing. Now, it becomes a question of, who do I start? I’ll do my best to weed you though this talented pool of pitchers tonight. As always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
Top 5 Pitchers
#1) Zack Greinke – ARZ vs. SD – $10,000 – Greinke is the top guy for me tonight because of his matchup against the Padres and his potential low ownership. Predicting who people will be on tonight is tough, but I think with two less than stellar performances to start the season, Greinke might be lower than you think. At $10,000 I love his strikeout potential against a Padres team that ranked 6th overall in strikeouts last season. Greinke brings his 8.1 K/9 to the table tonight with what should be his first solid outing of the season.
#2) Chris Sale – CHW vs. TB – $12,200 – Again, we’re chasing strikeouts here, as you should be on almost a nightly basis. The Rays were ninth in strikeouts last season, and Sale is, of course, one of the top pitchers to produce them. Coming out of 2015 with an 11.5 K/9, Sale is averaging a strikeout per inning in his first two starts against the A’s and Indians. Sale had some tough outings against the Rays last year, but still struck out 21 in 12 innings. The only issue here is the high price tag, but that will be hard to avoid in this slate.
“Sale is averaging a strikeout per inning in his first two starts”
#3) Madison Bumgarner – SFG vs. LAD – $11,400 – With the premier pitching matchup of the night, we have Bumgarner taking on Kershaw. They met in their last start with Bumgarner going six innings, allowing one run on six hits, while striking out eight. You get a $2,300 discount going from Kershaw to Bumgarner, but the K’s are also less as he owned a 9.6 K/9 in 2015. Not that we have anything wrong with that. As a matter of fact, the Giants are 29th in strikeouts in 2016. The Dodgers sit at 13th.
#4) Clayton Kershaw – LAD vs. SFG – $13,700 – The salary is so hard to swallow. Even if you paired him with the lowest priced pitcher on the night, Vance Worley, you’re left with $31,400 to fill out eight spots. Gets tricky. Regardless, Kershaw is one of the best, and with being the best comes the high price tag. Owning an 11.6 K/9 in 2015, Kershaw faces the Giants for the second time this season. In his first start, he threw eight innings allowing two runs on four hits and striking out five.
#5) Dallas Keuchel – HOU vs DET – $9,400 – Compared to everyone else prior on this list, Keuchel feels awfully cheap for the reigning Cy Young winner. Keuchel doesn’t have the best matchup tonight against the Tigers, who owned the sixth highest wOBA against lefties last season, but his price makes him worth taking a shot on. Keuchel has gotten off to a bit of a rough start, owning a 13:10 K:BB ratio, which is very unusual for him. The Tigers landed right in the middle of the league in strikeouts last season, ranked 16th overall. Keuchel and his 8.4 K/9 in 2015 are ready to challenge that tonight.
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#6) Carlos Martinez, STL vs. CIN, $9,000 – Quite the slate when Martinez ranks as the sixth best option. Martinez faces a Reds team hasn’t started 2016 very well. With the exception of Jay Bruce and Joey Votto, who both bat left handed, Martinez doesn’t have much to worry about in this lineup. With the majority of them batting right-handed, which Martinez owned a .276 wOBA against last season, he should be a nice pick if you’re looking to go cheaper on pitching.
#7) Jimmy Nelson, MIL vs. PIT, $8,100 – Any other night, Nelson could easily be slotted in the top five. I love this matchup for him, and quite honestly, I’ll have a lot of him tonight. The Pirates are VERY heavy on right-handed batters. With the exception of John Jaso and Gregory Polanco, everyone else in the Pirates lineup bats from the right side. Nelson owned a .255 wOBA against righties last season with a K/9 of 7.4. Taking on the Pirates who ranked 7th in strikeouts last season, what’s not to love?
“Severino could be another sneaky play on the night”
#8) Luis Severino, NYY vs. SEA, $7,900 – Severino was excellent in his first appearance in the majors last season. He owned a .314 wOBA against lefties and .303 wOBA against righties. It doesn’t hurt that his K/9 was at 8.1 either. Against a Seattle team that was fourth overall in strikeouts, Severino could be another sneaky play on the night. My concern here is the home runs, as Severino allowed nine in just 61 IP last season. Seattle has some guys that can park one in an instant.
#9) Jake Odorizzi, TB vs CHW, $8,300 – Odorzzi will most certainly be overlooked tonight with the plethora of starting pitching options we have on board. However, he faces a White Sox team that doesn’t hit for much power, ranking 26th last season and had one of the lowest OBP in the league, ranked 27th at .306. Odorizzi on a normal night would feel like a steal at $8,300 and could very well be that tonight.
#10) Edinson Volquez – KCR vs. OAK – $7,600 – This is about as soft of a 10 ranking I can give a pitcher on a particular night. I don’t hate this matchup for Volquez at all, but once again, the options tonight are huge. Going against the light hitting A’s, who are dead last in OBP in the early going of 2016, Volquez possesses some decent strikeout potential, as long as he doesn’t lose his command. Volquez owned a 3.2 BB/9 last season, which has come down from years prior, but still can rear its ugly head.