Baseball is back to kick off the second half of the season. We have some interesting pitching matchups on tap, so I’ll bring you my 10 favorites for this slate. As always, you can find me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
Top 5 Pitchers
#1) Madison Bumgarner – SFG vs SDP – $11,100– First and foremost, I’m instantly gravitating towards Bumgarner because of how his price DROPPED after his 56.1 fantasy point performance against the Diamondbacks. I fully expected his price to skyrocket, but instead it came down $1,900. With this matchup against the Padres on tap, he could be in for another solid start. This will be the third time this season Bumgarner is taking on the Padres, a matchup in which he’s averaged 36 FPPG in the prior two starts. Bumgarner has gone a combined 15.2 innings allowing three runs on 11 hits with a 20:2 K:BB ratio. Bumgarner has been just as good on the road as he’s been at home this season and with Petco Park behind him tonight, he should be one of the most popular options at pitcher tonight.
#2) Stephen Strasburg – WAS vs. PIT – $12,000 – – Strasburg will be facing the Pirates for this first time this season as he enters this game with a 2.62 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP and a K/9 of 11.1. Strasburg has been his “worst” at home this season, but that really isn’t saying much. At Nationals Park, Strasburg owns a 3.08 ERA with a 1.00 WHIP and a .262 wOBA. The Pirates strike out at a decent clip, owning a 20.8 K% against right-handed pitchers this season. The Pirates are certainly no strangers to high strikeouts in a game, as they’ve had at least 10 in a game six times this month. Strasburg has been as good as advertised this season and should be in line for another stellar start tonight.
3) Carlos Carrasco – CLE vs. MIN – $12,300 – – Carrasco is the most expensive pitcher on the slate tonight and he is on the road. His road and home splits have been vastly different, with his road splits being the stronger of the two. Carrasco is averaging 26.6 FPPG in six road starts with a 1.82 ERA, a 0.83 WHIP and a 10.2 K/9. Carrasco will get a Twins team that still continues to dwell near the bottom of the league against right-handed pitching, owning a .312 wOBA, a .317 OBP and a .408 SLG. He should be a solid play tonight against a team that owns only a .320 wOBA at home with just 47 home runs. While he may not have as high of a strikeout potential as Strasburg and Bumgarner, Carrasco has a great chance to put up a big fantasy performance this evening.
#4) Justin Verlander – DET vs. KCR – $9,400 – It’s been really hard to figure out where Verlander is at this season. Verlander is coming off a fairly rough month of June that saw him notch a 4.73 ERA, a .358 wOBA and a .544 SLG. He’s looked better in two starts this month, owning a 2.13 ERA, a.299 wOBA and a .406 SLG. He faces the Royals for the second time this season, and in the first start he allowed four runs on eight hits with a 7:1 K:BB ratio. The Royals have been striking out much more as of late, which makes Verlander an intriguing play tonight. I think Verlander is priced well for this matchup and makes for an intersting SP2 on the night.
#5) Anthony DeSclafani – CIN vs. MIL – $9,600 – – DeSclafani has looked great in six starts this season, owning a 2.23 ERA with a 1.29 WHIP and a K/9 of 7.1. He faces off against the strikeout happy Brewers, who own the highest K% in the league against righties at 26.3%. The Brewers own a .311 wOBA against righties with a .321 OBP and a sad .398 SLG, ranked 25th in the league. With DeSclafani doing a great job of keeping the ball in the park this season, with only three home runs in 36.1 innings, he could be a sneaky play tonight at a friendly price.
#6) Lucas Harrell- ATL vs. COL – $5,900 – – Harrell is cheap enough that taking a shot with him in a big tournament is worth consideration. Harrell has dominated his first two starts in the majors against the Marlins and Cubs, owning a 1.32 ERA with a 0.73 WHIP and 10 strikeouts. It’s no secret that the Rockies are not the same team on the road, as they own a weak .296 wOBA with a .296 OBP and a .392 SLG. Put that together with a 23.7 K%, which is fifth in the league, and Harrell could legitimately be a threat to put up a big score tonight. I like this spot for him a lot and he provides ultimate salary cap flexibility.
#7) Marcus Stroman – TOR vs. OAK – $7,500 – – Stroman entered the All-Star break with back-to-back solid starts against the Indians and Royals. He gets the A’s in Oakland tonight, which gives him a legitimate chance to start the second half of the season on a high note. The A’s remain one of the worst offenses against right-handed pitching this season, owning a .297 wOBA with a .303 OBP and a .385 SLG. They don’t strike out a ton which bring down Stroman’s value some, as their 18.1 K% ranks 27th in the league. Nonetheless, the Oakland Coliseum is certainly a big boost to any pitcher and at just $7,500, Stroman becomes a very nice money saver in a good matchup.
#8) Chris Archer – TBR vs. BAL – $8,500 – – If you’re like me, you’re so sick and tired of taking a chance on Chris Archer. When you think he’s going to perform well, he gets bombed. When you expect nothing, he dominates. On paper, he has a tough matchup against the Orioles tonight, but I love that it’s at Tropicana Field. Archer has been MUCH better at home this season, owning a 2.70 ERA with a 1.18 WHIP and K/9 of 11.5. The Orioles are one of the best offenses in the league against righties, but they still own a 22.4 K%, which ranks 10th in the league. Archer always possesses tremendous upside, but has lacked consistency this season.
#9) Patrick Corbin – ARZ vs. LAD – $4,000 – If this game was taking place at Dodger Stadium, Corbin could honestly be a slam-dunk tonight with his price tag. At just $4,000, he’s a steal no matter how you put it. However this game takes place at Chase Field, which brings down his value tonight, even at the bare minimum price of $4,000. Corbin is only averaging 9.6 FPPG this season to go along with a 4.94 ERA, a 1.48 WHIP and a 6.3 K/9. Nonetheless, the Dodgers have been one of the worst teams against lefties this season, owning a .285 wOBA with a .297 OBP and a .357 SLG. Corbin has faced this team twice already, allowing four runs in 12.1 innings with an 8:4 K:BB ratio. Realistically, can you expect a big score from Corbin? Most likely not, but at $4,000, a score in the mid-teens would certainly return value on his salary.
#10) Steven Wright – BOS vs. NYY – $9,700 – – I most likely have Wright ranked a lot lower than most, however I haven’t liked what I’ve seen from him lately. In two starts this month, Wright owns a 7.36 ERA with a .431 wOBA to opposing hitters and a .574 SLG. He’s allowed 10 runs (nine earned) with 17 hits and two home runs. With this game taking place in the hitter friendly Yankee Stadium, I don’t see a lot to like about this start for him. I included him on this list because he HAS pitched well all season, but I start to wonder if the weather is affecting his grip on the knuckleball. Without that working, Wright really doesn’t have many options to get hitters out.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Steveazors) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.