With a 10 game slate on tap, we have plenty of pitching options to choose from. In the same sense, we also have some pitchers to completely avoid, as well. Let’s jump right into the information, and as always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @Sbuchanan24.
Top 5 Pitchers
1) Chris Archer – TBR vs. BAL – $10,700 — We love K/9. Ok, well maybe I do, but you should as well. The bread and butter of a how a pitcher grabs the majority of his points comes from the strikeouts. Tonight, Archer faces a team that ranked 9th overall in strikeouts last season, while Archer possessed a 10.7 K/9 in 2015. Also, with the additions of Mark Trumbo and Pedro Alvarez to the Orioles, along with their power, they bring their combined 224 strikeouts from 2015. Think about that.
2) Francisco Liriano – PIT vs. CIN – $10,300 — I swear I’m not just going down the list of pitchers tonight. To be honest, once you get out of this top five, it gets pretty murky. Liriano faces a Reds team that was ranked 18th in strikeouts last season. However, looking at his numbers against the Reds in 2015, you’d think they were much higher. Liriano posted a line of 18 IP with a 22:4 K:BB ratio against them last year. He did give up six runs during that span, but a 11 K/9 against this team is encouraging. If he can stay out of trouble, Liriano should have a solid game.
3) Marcus Stroman – TOR vs. BOS – $9,100 — We keep hearing about the potential breakout of Stroman, and 2016 may just be that year. He looked good against the Rays in his first outing this season, going 8 innings, allowing three runs on six hits, and striking out five. Now that he’s fully healthy, we could see what the kid is made of. I like his spot here (especially going up against Joe Kelly) to grab a W and have a decent outing against the Red Sox at home.
4) Jaime Garcia – STL vs. ATL – $9,400 — We love to take pitchers who go up against the Braves because they’re one of the worst hitting ball clubs in the league. They’re tough to strikeout, but they really don’t threaten you with offense. When Garcia is healthy, he’s a solid pitcher. He owned a 6.7 K/9 last season and held opposing hitters to a .233 and a .268 wOBA in the first and second half of the season respectively. He may not dominate the Braves, but he can certainly rack up some clean innings if everything goes smoothly.
“Walker said during spring training that he ditched his cut fastball in favor of a slider which he hopes will induce more swings and misses..”
5) Taijuan Walker – SEA vs. OAK – $9,300 — I’m on the fence if I like Walker tonight, as I feel his price tag is a bit high. Oakland was a decent hitting ball club last season, but in the same respect, Walker was a decent pitcher, as well. Walker said during spring training that he ditched his cut fastball in favor of a slider which he hopes will induce more swings and misses. Oakland was one of the toughest teams to strikeout last season. They ranked 28th overall. They also were one of the worst teams in terms of power, ranking 20th. This is a similar matchup to Garcia and the Braves, hoping for some clean innings but not a ton of upside here.
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6) Yordano Ventura – KC vs. MIN – $9,200 — The problem I have with Ventura is I don’t know which version is going to show up. After a stellar 2014, Ventura took a big step backwards in ’15. He still pitched pretty well, owning an 8.6 K/9 and holding hitters to a .315 wOBA in the first half and a .301 wOBA in the second. He faces a generally weak Twins offense and one that he should be able to handle, but as I mentioned, I don’t know who I’m getting tonight. At $9,200, that might be a steep price to pay to find out.
7) Jason Hammel – CHC vs. ARZ – $8,000 — Now we’ve entered the spot where I really don’t love any of these guys. Hammel has a fairly tough matchup on tap against the Diamondbacks, as this is a team that possesses power, and Hammel is known to give up a home run or 23. He’s cheap enough that he could make an intriguing GPP play, as his 9.1 K/9 certainly is worthy of his price tag. The Diamondbacks ranked 17th overall in 2015 in terms of strikeouts, so the potential is here. This game is also tappen in as one of the highest scoring games of the night.
8) Robbie Ray – ARZ vs. CHC – $7,600 — I certainly wouldn’t advise you start Ray and Hammel together, as that would most likely end up a disaster. Ray does a much better job at keeping the ball in the park, as he gave up only nine home runs last season. Ray also has a nice K/9 of 8.4. The reason I rank him below Hammel is because I worry more about the Cubs offense than I do the Diamondbacks.
“. . . the sleeper potential is here”
9) Ervin Santana – MIN vs. KC – $7,800 — Santana is going up against the team in 2015 that was the toughest to strike out. Not exactly an ideal situation we have here. Santana owned a 6.8 K/9 on the season last year, which doesn’t exactly give you a vote of confidence that he will do anything magical. However, he could be a decent GPP flier because of the perceived bad matchup with strikeouts. In the first half of last season, Santana did own a 9.7 K/9 before he entered a period with a dead arm. Don’t rely on him tonight, but the sleeper potential is here.
10) Matt Shoemaker – LAA vs. TEX – $6,200 — I’m going to be brutally honest here. Shoemaker is the only name under $7,000 that you could potentially use tonight to save some cash. He won the Spring Training battle against Nick Tropeano for the 5th spot in the Angels’ rotation. He carried a 4.46 ERA in 2015, which was a massive disappointment after his breakout season in 2014. He’ll need to limit the home runs he gives up if he wants to get back to that 2014 form. I don’t like Matt Shoemaker tonight, but, like I said, he’s the only guy under $7,000 I’d even considering targeting.