Another Wednesday night 8-game slate, but this one is going to be a struggle. We don’t have many truly viable starting pitchers tonight, and the few that are in play are quite pricey. Max Scherzer is in a great spot, but is he worth 27% of your budget? That’s a tough call. If you have any questions about the slate, you can find me on Twitter, @RyNoonan. Let’s dig in.
Top 5 Pitchers
1) Max Scherzer – WSH vs. NYM – $13,500 – The question is what to do with Max in tournaments. I think his upside and the fact that the rest of the options tonight leave a lot to be desired, make him a cash game lock. The Mets have been scuffling a bit of late, and while I won’t be shocked to see a home run or two for New York, they still present double digit K upside for Max.
2) Masahiro Tanaka – NYY vs. TEX – $8,300 – There has to be more to the disappearance of strike outs for Masahiro Tanaka. His 11.2% swinging-strike rate is still above average and one of the best on the slate, but his below league average 6.8 K/9 just isn’t getting it done from a DFS perspective. He seems to be getting ahead in the count, keeping his walks in check and then trying to induce weak ground balls. That’s all well and good, but not for fantasy. I think he’s in play though, but mostly because so few other options are available today.
The Braves are one of the more punchless offenses in the league…
3) Danny Salazar – CLE vs. ATL – $12,200 – Danny Salazar walks a fine line every fifth day. He has elite swing-and-miss stuff and that’s lead to a 10.3 K/9, but he can get himself in trouble quickly with walks, driving up his pitch count and hurting his DFS value at the same time. The Braves are one of the more punchless offenses in the league, but they can take a walk and the don’t strikeout a ton. With the lack of option today I think you have to consider Salazar, but it’s hard to feel safe about him at this price.
4) Carlos Martinez – STL vs. KC – $9,200 – Carlos Martinez has been bad and very fortunate, a dangerous combination and one that’s certainly going to bite him in the rear-end at some point here. His massive ground ball rate is nice, but the low BABIP isn’t sustainable, and his former above average strikeout rate seems to be a thing of the past. Only Jameson Taillon has a lower swinging-strike rate on this slate, so the lack of K’s hurts his floor and ceiling. I expect he’ll be popular, but I’d look elsewhere.
5) Jake Peavy – SF vs. OAK – $6,600 – It’s not often that Jake Peavy makes the cut here, never mind finds himself inside the top five. Today’s a new day. He’s pitched well of late despite being on the wrong side of the batted ball data a lot (high BABIP and low strand rate), and pitching at home gives him a nice boost as well. I don’t think he strikes many guys out here, but I think he’s a decent cash option as your SP2 for just $6,600.
6) Wade Miley – SEA vs. PIT – $5,800 – I can’t recommend Wade Miley and feel good about it, so I won’t. What I will say is that the Pirates offense has been struggling recently, and their 24.4% strikeout rate against left-handed pitching is one of the highest in the league. Miley doesn’t strike a lot of guys out, but he has a decent swinging-strike rate and the Pirates help raise his K floor just a bit.
7) Jameson Taillon – PIT vs. SEA – $7,700 – I have to write about ten guys, so here’s James Taillon. He has more upside than he’s shown, but that’s not uncommon for a rookie making his first few starts. The problem here is that the anticipated strikeout totals are low, and the Mariners have been one of the more consistent offenses this season, entering play with a 112 wRC+ and .335 wOBA against right-handed pitching. It could be a short evening for Taillon.
…It’s worth noting that they’re 25th in the majors with a .304 wOBA against right-handed pitching
8) Junior Guerra – MIL vs. LAD – $7,400 – Junior Guerra has been decent this season, and this matchup is decent as well. Yup. Decent. That’s where we’re at today when it comes to pitching for Wednesday. While it is a positive park shift for the Dodgers, it’s worth noting that they’re 25th in the majors with a .304 wOBA against right-handed pitching.
9) Ricky Nolasco – MIN vs. CWS – $7,100 – Ricky Nolasco has teased us for years, constantly posting strong underlying stats while failing to deliver consistently on the mound. This season is no different. He’s missing an above average number of bats, keeping walks in check, and his BABIP against and strand rate indicate he’s been quite unfortunate. The problem here is the White Sox have the highest implied-team total on the slate.
10) Brock Stewart – LAD vs. MIL – $5,200 – We don’t know a ton about Brock Stewart, but he’s worked his way up from A-Ball to the majors and has struck out 99 batters in 86 innings along the way. The likelihood that he pitches deep into this game are low, but the Brewers huge 24.5% strikeout rate help raise Stewart’s floor tonight.