Pitching has been difficult to nail down this season. Spending up has left many disappointed and some of the chalkiest mid-tier and value plays on a given slate have fallen flat and left many shaking their head. I think it’s important to not overreact and chase unsustainable hot/cold streaks, but never be afraid to re-evaluate what it is that you’re looking at when locking in on your starters for the day. Let’s jump into Wednesday’s options.

Top 5 Pitchers

RankPlayerTeamOppSalary
1Noah SyndergaardMetsDodgers$11,500
2Max ScherzerNationalsTigers$11,300
3Jerad EickhoffPhilliesBraves$8,000
4John LackeyCubsPadres$11,100
5Rick PorcelloRed SoxA's$9,200

Analysis

#1) Noah Syndergaard – Mets vs. Dodgers – $11,500 – The big man is the big name on this slate. The strikeout upside that Syndergaard possesses gives him the highest floor on Wednesday as he leads the league with a 16.5 % swinging-strike rate so far in 2016. After crushing right-handed pitching last season, L.A. is off to a slow start this season with an 82 wRC+ and .296 wOBA against right-handers. He’s pricey, but he’ll likely be a popular choice on Wednesday.

#2) Max Scherzer – Nationals vs. Tigers – $11,300 – This is an excellent spot for Max Scherzer, up against a Tigers squad that’s striking out nearly 25% of the time against right-handed pitching this season. We know that few pitchers have Scherzer’s K upside, and today is no different. Detroit is very right-handed heavy, but since the beginning of 2015 Scherzer has struck out 180 righties in 134 1/3 innings with a .228 wOBA.

#3) Jerad Eickhoff – Phillies vs. Braves – $8,000 – Man, the Braves are bad huh? This selection is equal parts Eickhoff’s improvements and the Braves ineptitute. First, Eickhoff. He’s missing some bats this season, at least an above average amount at 8.4 K’s per nine, and he’s done so while working in the zone and keeping his walks in check. Add to it the Braves struggles/complete lack of power and suddenly it’s a great matchup for the young hurler. Their .073 ISO versus right-handed pitching this season is seriously hard to fathom.

#4) John Lackey – Cubs vs. Padres – $11,100 – I’m not a fan of this huge price tag on John Lackey but he’s a large home favorite against the Padres and we know how terrible they are (71 wRC+). It’s difficult to spend this much on the pitcher with the lowest soft-contact rate on the entire slate, but his floor seems safe in this matchup.

“His ground ball rate is heading up towards 50 percent again, but he’s maintaining the strikeout spike that we saw last season as well”

#5) Rick Porcello – Red Sox vs. A’s – $9,200 – I’m bullish on Rick Porcello moving foward. His ground ball rate is heading up towards 50% again, and he’s maintaining the strikeout spike that we saw last season as well. He’s been on the wrong side of batted ball luck so far this season which makes me think we can expect his numbers to look the same as what we’ve seen from him of late. The A’s don’t strikeout a ton, limiting a bit of Porcello’s upside, but you could do worse on Wednesday.


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PitchersWeatherHot Hitters


#6-#10 Pitchers

RankPlayerTeamOppSalary
6Kenta MaedaDodgersMets$10,000
7Jaime GarciaCardinalsAngels$8,900
8Drew PomeranzPadresCubs$9,400
9Jordan ZimmermannTigersNationals$8,700
10Michael PinedaYankeesRoyals$7,500

Analysis

#6) Kenta Maeda – Dodgers vs. Mets – $10,000 – Early returns on Kenta Maeda have been mostly positive. He’s definitely striking out more Major Leaguers than I expected based on what we saw from him in Japan, and it’s backed up with a 12.5% swinging-strike rate. The 1.66 ERA has a few holes in it though. He’s not going to be able to maintain his current 90% strand rate and .235 BABIP-against, and on Wednesday he’s facing a Mets club with the 2nd highest isolated power (.207) against righties on the entire slate.

#7) Jaime Garcia – Cardinals vs. Angels – $8,900 – We’ve seen a slight spike in strikeouts from Jaime Garcia, something I love seeing in a ground ball pitcher. The problem here is that the Angels have been the best contact team in the league this season, essentially the 2015 Royals without the World Series credentials. Their 11.4% K-rate against southpaws is incredibly low and that’ll cap Garcia’s upside a bit on Wednesday.

“I don’t know about you but I really enjoyed $6,000 Drew Pomeranz. $9,300 though? Not so much.”

#8) Drew Pomeranz – Padres vs. Cubs – $9,300 – I don’t know about you but I really enjoyed $6,000 Drew Pomeranz. $9,300 though? Not so much. Pomeranz is always viable because of his strikeout upside but the Cubs have made great strides in their 2016 approach and have cut way back on whiffs so far this season. I’m sure we’ll see some Pomeranz in tournaments but don’t you dare go there in cash.

#9) Jordan Zimmermann – Tigers vs. Nationals – $8,700 – I’m just not much of a Jordan Zimmermann guy, but if you like narratives then here you go. He’ll return to D.C. where he spent his entire major league career prior to signing with the Tigers this off-season. I’ll be staying away because his lack of strikeout upside and unsustainable balls-in-play data shows that boat-loads of regression are on the way.

#10) Michael Pineda – Yankees vs. Royals – $7,500 – The silver lining here is that Michael Pineda can strike people out. That’s about all I’ve got for you. He’s giving up a ton of hard-hit contact over his past 20 starts and that profiles poorly in Yankee Stadium. Just say no, kids.