Editor’s Note: Cincinnati SP, Jon Moscot has been scratched from his start tonight. John Lamb will start in his place.
With fourteen games on the 7:05 slate on Tuesday, you have plenty of choices at every position, including a couple of the top arms in the game. Here’s a quick look at the ten pitchers I like best based on value at their price, not total projected fantasy points.
Top 5 Pitchers
1) Steven Wright – BOS @ CWS – $7,100 – – At 15-10, the Red Sox have typically been pitching pretty well and also giving their pitchers plenty in the way of run support. That is why it’s surprising to see Wright sitting at 2-2 despite four straight quality starts. He went six innings in each of his losses, giving up only 2 and 1 runs, respectively. The 1.37 ERA is what jumps off the page, the 1.17 WHIP convinces you it might be for real, and the 8.5 K/9 ratio makes you wonder why he is this cheap.
2) Jake Arrieta – CHC @ PIT – $12,100 – – What else can you say? Most pitchers likely feel a little pressure going up against one of the better offenses in the game in Pittsburgh, but there is no doubt that pressure is on the offense in this one. And that, truly, is the #1 thing that a dominant ace does for a baseball team – makes other teams’ hitters doubt themselves. His dominance is backed up by every stat: 5-0, 1.00 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, and a K/9 rate of 8.00. He has at least 21 DKFP in every start, and should get you to that level again – he’s by far the safest pick on the board, and maybe the only guy who would still be considered to have upside, even against an above-average offense.
3) Nick Tropeano – LAA @ Mil – $5,600 – – He has yet to finish six innings in four starts, and yet, he’s been effective. It has been a bit of a strange run for Tropeano, with a ERA of 2.11 and a WHIP of 1.55. He is getting himself out of jams by making hitters miss, as evidenced by his K/9 ratio over 8.5. Against a Milwaukee team that has struck out the fifth most in the majors so far this season, that skill-set could be enough to finally get him over the hump and into the sixth inning – and if he gets a win to go along with that, he could be a steal at this price.
“At 15-11, the Phillies aren’t the worst team in the majors anymore, but they’re still not hitting . . .”
4) Michael Wacha – STL vs. PHI – $9,000 – – At 15-11, the Phillies aren’t the worst team in the majors anymore, but they’re still not hitting. And Wacha, while he’s had an interesting first few weeks to the season, is consistently throwing the ball well. He has thrown at least six innings in each of his four starts, and has never given up more than 3 runs, which tells me that in this matchup, he has a floor as high as just about anyone. He has had a zero strikeout game at San Diego followed by a 9-K performance in Arizona, so against a Philly team that strikes out about once every four at-bats on average, the upside is there as well.
5) Matt Moore – TB vs. LAD – $8,600 – – The lefty is only 1-2 on the year so far, with losses in each of his last two outings. But as much as his opponent, Kazmir, probably wants to pitch well against his old team, he really hasn’t had a good game all season – and Tampa Bay kills lefties. So I like Moore’s chances of grabbing the win a little more than usual and, if that doesn’t work out, he’s been able to put up nice fantasy totals even in games where he didn’t record the W, thanks to his average of slightly more than a K per inning so far through four starts.
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6) Tanner Roark – WAS @ KC – $6,900 – – Roark has thrown exactly seven shutout innings in three of his five starts so far this year, one of which came with 15 K’s, so the upside is not in question. Those three games were against Philly, Minnesota, and Atlanta, so I don’t want to get too excited, since Kansas City is clearly a step up in competition. Or are they? They are currently in the bottom third in runs scored, slugging and taking walks, so they aren’t making pitchers work or hitting for power. You probably won’t see 15 K’s again, but you could definitely see him lasting those seven innings for a solid 20+ DKFP effort. A good cash game consideration for tonight.
7) Matt Harvey – NYM vs. ATL – $10,300 – – If you’re not going to start Harvey coming off his best performance of the year, pitching at home against the second-lowest scoring team in baseball, then when are you going to start him? He didn’t start this year off the way he wanted, opening with three straight losses, and he has yet to throw more than six innings in a game. But his strikeouts have increased every time out, as he has looked stronger every time he’s taken the mound. He just had a 5-inning victory in Atlanta a little less than two weeks ago, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him improve on that performance here.
8) Sonny Gray – OAK vs. SEA – $9,300 – – Coming off by far his worst start of the season, his ownership percentages might be down tonight. He only made it through 2 innings, taking the loss against Detroit last time out, after four quality starts to open the year. Five Seattle hitters have at least 12 at-bats against Gray, and none are hitting better than .250, leading to a team average of only .197 and a slugging % of .286 in 156 total attempts.
9) Collin McHugh – HOU vs. MIN – $8,300 – – With only one actual “good” game so far this year and one passable one, there probably isn’t going to be a lot of love for McHugh from fantasy owners tonight. So far, he only has 17 strikeouts on the year, and with a career K/9 ratio over 7.5, there is a solid chance he turns that trend around at some point. There is no time like tonight, going against a Minnesota team that has struck out more than all but three other teams, and they don’t have the consistent hitters they’d need to run McHugh from the game early.
“He is someone to think about if you are trying to save money on the position in a cash game”
10) Justin Nicolino – Mia vs. Ari – $5,000 – – He didn’t get any favors when he drew the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks for his first two starts of the season, but so far, he’s off to a good start. He gave up only 2 hits and no runs in 7.1 innings against LA last week, and he could earn a spot in the rotation with another good start. He now has pitched just north of 80 innings in the majors, though, with only 25 K’s, so no matter how efficient he is, his ceiling is limited. He is someone to think about if you are trying to save money on the position in a cash game.