With Philly and Toronto facing off in the afternoon, you can’t use Stroman in the main slate of contests, but there are plenty of other options. You can choose from a few aces, a bunch of intriguing mid-range options, or a few value plays with potential. So here are the ten I like best according to value at their price, not based strictly on projected fantasy points.
Top 5 Pitchers
1) Madison Bumgarner – SF vs. MIL – $13,800 – From his fourth start of the season – a 2-1 loss to the Diamondbacks – until now, he is on a run of ten straight quality starts, most recently going six innings and allowing just one run to the league-leading offense of the Red Sox. Combine that consistency and a K/9 rate of 10.3 with the matchup with Milwaukee, owners of the second most K’s a a team in the majors, and you have the obvious top fantasy option of the night.
2) Brandon Finnegan – CIN @ ATL – $8,100 – He has recorded a quality start in three out of four, pitching at least into the seventh inning in each of those outings. Last time out he gave up just two earned runs on five hits and one walk against St. Louis, and tonight he gets Atlanta. Coming off two straight games with 15+ DKFP, he will be looking to build on success, and he’s not going to get a better opportunity to go deep in a ballgame and potentially earn his third win of the season.
3) Drew Pomeranz – SD vs. MIA – $10,400 – With a somewhat ridiculous 83 punch-outs in just 70 innings, Pomeranz appears to have somewhat limitless potential over his career. But for this season, right now, he also has only managed to go seven innings three times so far this year (and never more than that) as the team tries to keep his total innings down. Therefore, his fantasy upside does remain somewhat constrained, even as his potential for the Padres seems boundless. But against Miami, there is no reason to think he can’t reach his personal ceiling, which means he has 30+ point upside.
“. . . he has been striking out almost a batter per inning”
4) Jaime Garcia – STL vs. HOU – $7,700 – Garcia’s home-road splits are almost startling: in six road starts, he has a 1.56 WHIP and 4.15 ERA; in six starts at home, those numbers are a 3.64 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. Through it all, though, he has been striking out almost a batter per inning, a good sign now that he is facing off against the Astros, who have struck out more than any other team in the majors, with 40 more K’s than the team with the second-most, Milwaukee. If he continues to limit baserunners like he has at home so far this season, he should be able to go reasonably deep in the game and give himself a shot at a win with a good offense backing him up, while recording enough K’s to give him legitimate upside that could be useful in any kind of tournament.
5) John Lackey – CHC @ WAS – $11,300 – The thing about Lackey is that if he continues to pitch like he has, he is well worth the money. And you might even have the added bonus of much lower ownership percentages than you’ll usually see for a guy on this kind of tear, as everyone is eager to jump off the bandwagon at the right time. So all you have to do is continue to trust the guy with the 2.63 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, and K/9 rate of 9.1 – doesn’t seem too hard (especially in a bigger tourney).
6) Taijuan Walker – SEA @ TB – $8,900 – After two straight starts where he finished up without even a single fantasy point to his name, he went off in his last start for 42.2 DKFP against Cleveland. He was cruising, missing so many bats that he was able to get through eight innings on just 110 pitches – 17 swinging strikes and just three total baserunners will help make that happen every time. Against a TB team that is top-5 in total strikeouts and bottom-8 in runs scored, Walker should have the opportunity to repeat his performance – or close to it anyway – but his inconsistency makes him someone you can almost completely ignore if you’re building a cash game roster.
7) Jacob deGrom – NYM vs. PIT – $10,100 – He has now gone seven straight games without a victory, which is why his over W-L right now is just 3-2. The crazy thing is that five of those performances were quality starts – he failed to earn a win despite going at least seven innings and giving up only one or two runs three separate times over this recent span. However, over his last four (winless) outings, he has had a K/9 rate over 11.0, compared to a rate under 6.0 for his previous seven games. This means that A), he is due for a win and B), his fantasy potential has gone up, even if he can’t each a W.
8) Josh Tomlin – CLE @ KC – $8,400 – The Royals have been struggling on offense this season, down to just 23rd in the league in runs scored, wedged between Oakland and San Diego. They don’t strike out much, but then, Tomlin doesn’t rely much on the K for fantasy value (just 45 in 67.1 innings). He will look to keep the ball on the ground as much as possible and will rely on his control to eliminate walks and keep hitters on edge with first-pitch strikes, which will hopefully be enough to get him into the 7th inning and earn you somewhere in the vicinity of 20 DKFP (at least 19.5 in three of his last five).
“. . . he has been between 10-15 DKFP five times in his last nine starts”
9) Martin Perez – TEX @ OAK – $6,800 – Oakland is one of those teams who don’t score a ton of runs, but also hardly ever strike out, which makes them a mediocre fantasy matchup, rather than the great one you might expect. But Perez doesn’t have huge strikeout potential against any opponent, so a team that will hit the ball on the ground, swing early in the count and let him get in and out of innings is actually the perfect matchup for him. There isn’t a ton of upside here, but he has been between 10-15 DKFP five times in his last nine starts (with two over that mark and two below), so to expect a performance in that range against this offense makes a lot of sense. In other words, he won’t kill your lineups at this price, especially in cash games.
10) Jordan Zimmermann – DET @ CWS – $7,900 – The White Sox are 4-7 so far in June, and slugging just .370 (bottom five in the league) over that stretch. Zimmermanm actually faced them just 11 days ago, and went 5.2 innings, giving up five hits and two runs. So far this season, he has actually also been much more successful on the road, sporting a 3-1 record, a 1.37 ERA and 22 fantasy points per game so far through 26.1 road innings. If he can show that kind of improvement over the outing he had in Chicago less than two weeks ago, he would prove to be a great value at this price. He doesn’t strike out enough batters to have huge upside, but he could be a good addition as a SP2 in a cash game.