Wednesday’s main slate brings us 14 games and one major decision when it comes to selecting starting pitchers for the day: Do we play or fade Jake Arrieta? Let’s tackle that and look at the rest of Wednesday’s pitching options below. Questions about the slate or why I left your favorite sleeper of the day off the list? Find me on Twitter, @RyNoonan.

Top 5 Pitchers

RankPlayerTeamOppSalary
1Jake ArrietaCubsBrewers$13,800
2Gio GonzalezNationalsPhillies$9,600
3Josh TomlinIndiansTwins$8,800
4Matt HarveyMetsReds$10,400
5Sonny GrayA’sTigers$9,800

Analysis

1) Jake Arrieta – Cubs vs. Brewers – $13,800 – Seeing a pitcher listed at $13,800 isn’t completely foreign, but it is rare. Seeing a pitcher jump roughly $3,000 in salary isn’t unheard of either. What is unheard of is the current heater that Jake Arrieta’s on. After his 2015 All-Star Game snub, Arrieta has gone on to roll off 20 starts that have solidified him as one of the game’s very best. On Wednesday’s slate, he’s clearly the top pitcher (-330), and the Brewers 87 wRC+ and 25.7% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching so far in 2016 certainly help Arrieta’s case. If we were to poke holes in his 2016 season after all, it would be his less-than-elite strikeout rate (7.55 K/9).

2) Gio Gonzalez – Nationals vs. Phillies – $9,600 – Trusting Gio Gonzalez is just about the worst thing that you can do in DFS. Ok, perhaps that’s a bit of a stretch, but ‘Gio in cash’ typically makes for a very long night if you’re watching him live. He often finds a way to do himself in with walks and ERA-crushing innings, but he’s looked strong in his first three starts and his 1.80 BB/9 is extremely encouraging. Walk and strikeout rates are one of the first rate stats to stabilize, meaning that we can trust what we’re seeing here if it continues. The other feather in Gio’s cap on Wednesday is his matchup with the league’s worst offense against left-handed pitching, as the Phillies come to town with a hard-to-fathom 38 wRC+.

3) Josh Tomlin – Indians vs. Twins – $8,800 – Josh Tomlin doesn’t present a ton of upside, but he’s a fairly safe, albeit overpriced, option in cash games tonight. The Twins have been swinging and missing quite often to start the season, and their 24.3% strikeout rate helps raise the floor for Tomlin who’s more of a command/pitch-to-contact starter. He’s unlikely to rack up the K’s here, but I do like his chances for a quality start and a 15-20 DKFP night.

“The good news for Harvey is the anemic Reds offense is coming to town . . .”

4) Matt Harvey- Mets vs. Reds – $10,700 – It’s difficult to pay more than $10,000 for a pitcher who has yet to work past six innings or get more than five strikeouts in a game, but here we have Matt Harvey for $10,700. There’s been no official word stating it, but the Mets’ presumptive ace just doesn’t look right. The good news for Harvey is the anemic Reds offense is coming to town and their 65 wRC+ vs. right-handed pitching so far is the second worst mark in the league. His recent performance should keep his ownership levels down, making him tournament viable tonight if all things click in his favor.

5) Sonny Gray – A’s vs. Tigers – $9,800 – 2016 has brought a slight uptick to Sonny Gray’s strikeout rate and that alone will make him an appealing DFS option. Gray’s ability to limit hard-hit contact while piling up ground balls has made him a better pitcher than fantasy asset over the past couple of seasons, so let’s hope the strikeouts continue. He should have a decent strikeout total on Wednesday as the Tigers enter play with the league’s highest strikeout rate against right-handed pitching.


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6-10 Pitchers

RankPlayerTeamOppSalary
6Justin VerlanderTigersA’s$8,600
7Jose BerriosTwinsIndians$6,900
8Matt MooreRaysOrioles$8,300
9Marco EstradaBlue JaysWhite Sox$7,100
10Jose QuintanaWhite SoxBlue Jays$9,000

Analysis

6) Justin Verlander – Tigers vs. A’s – $8,600 – The ‘Is Justin Verlander back?’ question is a bit fruitless at this point. He’s extremely unlikely to return to his elite status from 5 years ago, but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. He’s unable to blow hitters away consistently, so his fly ball tendencies are exploited and end up in the stands more than they used to. However, Oakland enters play with a .140 ISO against right-handed pitching, which isn’t something that we should fear that much. I don’t feel great about him for cash games, but I don’t hate his tournament upside.

7) Jose Berrios – Twins vs. Indians – $6,900 – The one thing that Jose Berrios has working for him that most buzzy prospects don’t when they first arrive in the big leagues is his above average command. Berrios’ minor league profile shows someone that’ll likely work in and around the zone, and that sets up well for him moving forward. I’m not sure how well that sets him up for Wednesday’s start against the Indians, but he’s pretty cheap.

“. . . he still has the elite swing and miss stuff that made him a can’t miss prospect years ago”

8) Matt Moore – Rays vs. Orioles – $8,300 – The one thing about Matt Moore’s underlying stats so far in 2016 is his improved walk rate. He’s always been a high risk DFS play due to him command issues, but a 1.80 BB/9 is solid, and he still has the elite swing and miss stuff that made him a can’t miss prospect years ago.

9) Marco Estrada – Blue Jays vs. White Sox – $7,100 – Marco Estrada is too cheap on Wednesday. He’s shown some decent strikeout upside this season, and he’s pitched better than his ERA would indicate, and his ERA is nice. Estrada doesn’t have a peer on the slate in the price range with similar strikeout upside.

10) Jose Quintana – White Sox vs. Blue Jays – $9,000 – The Blue Jays are off to a slow start against left-handed pitching this season, but I think that’s a small sample thing more than anything. Their 24% strikeout rate is quite interesting though, and Jose Quintana is good enough to give the Blue Jays fits if he’s on. He’s a no-go in cash games, but you can likely have him for >5% in cash games.