WATCH: MLB IN 90 SECONDS – WADE MILEY
A 14-game slate is on tap tonight, and there are some interesting pitching options up and down the price range. Let’s dig in.
1. Clayton Kershaw – LAD @ SF – $14,300
What else is there to say about Kershaw other than that he is clearly the best pitcher on the planet? He has quite the hefty price tag, and Kershaw needs almost 30 DKFP to pay off his salary, but Kershaw has at least 32 DKFP in three of his four starts this season. The only time that Kershaw didn’t go over the 30 DKFP mark was when pitching in Coors Field. None of the Giants’ hitters that have at least three at-bats against Kershaw have a batting average over .250. Over the last three years, Kershaw is 7-3 with a 1.95 ERA against the Giants. He also has 123 strikeouts in just 106 1/3 innings against San Francisco.
2. Danny Duffy – KC @ CHW – $10,400
The White Sox absolutely lit up a chalky Jason Vargas last night. Duffy is a far superior pitcher to Vargas and should pitch much better against a weak White Sox offense. The White Sox’s offense is ranked 29th in baseball with a .268 .wOBA. They also strike out 24.6 percent of the time, which is the fourth most in baseball. There is a chance people may shy away from the using pitchers against Chicago after getting burned in last night’s outburst, but don’t be afraid to go back to the well tonight.
3. Wade Miley – BAL vs TB – $6,900
Wade Miley has been excellent in his first three starts of 2017. He has a 1.89 ERA and is striking out 11.37 batters per 9 innings. This has added up to an average of 25.72 DKFP per start. The Rays have also struggled in divisional games this year, as they are just 6-9 against the AL East. Miley has benefited from some extra velocity on his fastball this year; it is up an average of 1.5 MPH from last season, which has helped him generate extra strikeouts. Miley only needs 14 DKFP to pay off his low salary. He averaged 15.85 DKFP against the Rays last year and has scored at least 16 DKFP in each of his starts this season.
4. Wei-Yin Chen – MIA vs PHI – $7,600
Chen has never been a great pitcher, but he has been fairly steady for most of his career. With the exception of last season, he has a sub-4.1 ERA in each of his 6 seasons in the MLB. I expect him to bounce back from last year’s poor performance with a good showing this season. One interesting approach he has this year is to mix up his pitch selection. Chen used his fastball 45.7 percent of the time last year, but is using it 56.4 percent of the time this season and has really limited the use of his slider. Instead, Chen has relied on the use of his curveball and changeup as his out pitches. This is probably wise since last year his slider measured as being worth -3 runs against average, which made the slider his worst off-speed pitch. Chen has scored over 20 DKFP in two of his three starts this season.
5. Michael Wacha – STL vs TOR – $6,800
The Blue Jays’ offense is not the terrifying threat that it has been in years past. Jose Bautista is getting older, and he may no longer be a middle of the lineup bat. He is slashing .132/.268/.206 to start the season with just one home run. The Blue Jays have also been unable to fill the void left by Edwin Encarnacion. As a result, Toronto has scored the third-fewest runs in the American League thus far. People may still be looking to avoid the Blue Jays’ offense with the idea that is still the vaunted offense of years passed. Meanwhile, Wacha has been enjoying a good start to the season with a 2.41 ERA. He is striking out 8.2 batters per 9 innings behind a career-best 12.3 percent swing and miss rate. Wacha battled injuries last season and finished with a career-worst 5.09 ERA. He has never had an ERA above 3.38 in any of his other big league seasons, which leads me to believe that last season was an outlier.
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