Tonight is an interesting slate for pitching. We have a few big names on the board along with some pitchers with interesting salaries. Let’s get you ready for tonight, and as always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
1) Jose Fernandez – MIA vs MIL – $11,300 – – No real surprises here on this slate. The big name pitchers are king tonight with the matchups they have on tap. Fernandez kicks us off because, quite frankly, his K/9 of 12.5 is hard to shy away from when you’re facing the Brewers. This Brewers team owns a K% of 25 against righties which ranks fourth in the league. The issue with Fernandez has been the walks. He owns a 4.2 BB/9 this season, which could become an issue as the Brewers ranks 10th in BB% against righties at 9%. With that aside, the K potential outweighs the control issues and Fernandez has to be a top choice.
2) Stephen Strasburg – WAS vs. DET – $11,600 – – Slightly more expensive than Fernandez, Strasburg comes into tonight with a big K potential matchup as well. The Tigers rank sixth in the league in strikeouts against righties with a 23.9 K%. Strasburg owns a 10 K/9 on the season, which is the reason I have him a spot below Fernandez. But truly, we could flip flop these guys easily as being number one and two on the night. Even though it doesn’t sound like much, a $300 discount doesn’t hurt either. One extra bump that Strasburg gets tonight is that the Tigers will be without either Miguel Cabrera or Victor Martinez, as they’ll be playing in the National League without a DH.
3) Jon Lester – CHC vs. SDP – $11,800 – -Seeing an elite pitcher like Lester going up against the Padres will certainly make your eyes light up with excitement. I mean, who doesn’t like playing against the Padres? However, surprisingly enough, they do hit lefties a lot better than they do righties. On the season, the Padres owns a .311 wOBA with an OPS of .706, both rank right around the league average. Strasburg and Fernandez feel slightly safer than Lester tonight, especially since Lester only has an 8.5 K/9 on the season.
4) Corey Kluber – CLE vs. HOU – $13,400 – – Right off the bat, the price for Kluber is insane. At $13,400, he’s the most expensive pitcher on the slate by $1,600. That alone will get me off of him. However, if you’re willing to pay up for him, you’re getting an Astros team that ranks second in the league in K% against righties at 26.7%. Kluber has seen a slight decline in his strikeouts since 2014, when he ended with a K/9 of 10.2. Last season his K rate dipped slightly to 9.9, and thus far this season it’s at 8.7. With a league average .318 wOBA against righties for the Astros, I don’t HATE this spot for Kluber, but I think your money could be spent wisely elsewhere.
5) Felix Hernandez – SEA vs. TBR – $11,000 – – Just like Fernandez, the issue for Hernandez this season has been the walks. Sporting a 4.4 BB/9 thus far this season, he faces a Rays team that is smack dab in the middle of the league in walks, with a 7.9 BB%. On the flip side, the Rays lead the league in strikeouts against right-handed pitchers, with a 27.2 K%. This season, the strikeouts have been down for Hernandez with a K/9 of 7.1, but this could be the matchup to straighten that out. He’s a high risk, high reward type of pick for tonight, as we have much safer options on the board.
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6) Sonny Gray – OAK vs. BOS – $6,800 – – So I know Gray hasn’t been that good this season, but has he been THAT bad that he gets hit with a $6,800 price tag? I don’t think so. Averaging 14.4 FPPG, Gray faces a Red Sox lineup that has been crushing the ball this season. However, Gray has been too good of a pitcher to be priced this low, so I think Gray makes for a VERY interesting play tonight. This is a price play because pitching at Fenway Park is certainly not a great spot for opposing pitchers.
7) Steven Matz – NYM vs. LAD – $9,300 – – Overall, I love Matz. He is on the brink of becoming an elite pitcher and will be a force in the league for years to come. But when we focus on today, I’m a bit iffy on his start. The Dodgers come into tonight with a .316 wOBA against lefties and a K% of 18.6, which ranks 25th in the league. Matz has been fantastic since he blew up against the Marlins in his first start of the season, allowing only two runs in four starts since then. So far this season, Matz has faced the Indians, the Braves twice and the Giants. Tonight he goes against a much better offense and I’d like to see how he fares in this one before I really buy into him. I don’t hate this spot, but I see other options on this slate as safer selections.
8) Matt Moore – TBR vs. SEA – $7,600 – – The Mariners are just below the league average in almost every offensive category when facing a left handed pitcher. At $7,600, Moore makes for another intriguing option on the cheap side. Moore has looked solid thus far this season, owning a 9.1 K/9 and a 2.4 BB/9. With a Mariners offense that has been very middle of the road playing in their home stadium, I think Moore could be a nice under the radar type of pick today. He certainly can help you save some salary with a lot of expensive options on the board.
9) Mike Fiers – HOU vs. CLE – $7,300 – – Fiers isn’t anything fantastic. Quite frankly, I don’t really love the idea of putting him on my team. But he does face an Indians team that owns a 23.1 K% against right-handed pitchers. While Fiers hasn’t gotten up to the level of his strikeouts of the past two seasons, this is a pitcher that flirted with a K/9 of 9 last season. With a 6.9 K/9 on the season, he certainly is a ways away from reaching that mark. If anything, Fiers would be a contrarian pick for tonight and could be a difference maker IF he can grab some strikeouts. For what it’s worth, the Indians have hit right-handed pitching well this season, owning a .329 wOBA.
10) Clay Buchholz – BOS vs. OAK – $7,100 – – Being a Boston fan, I’ve seen Clay Buchholz’s inconsistencies first-hand. Some days he has ace-caliber stuff, and others, well, let’s just say it’s not up to that level. Tonight against the A’s, however, brings up an interesting spot as at least on paper he should have a solid outing. The A’s own a .295 wOBA against righties with a 19 K%. For $7,100, that should be a fairly tasty matchup. Since Buchholz has been THAT inconsistent it’s hard for me to pull the trigger. He’s coming off of a 24.8 DKFP game, which would be a great return for his $7,100 price tag.