WATCH: MLB IN 90 SECONDS – J.A. HAPP
Clayton Kershaw returns to the mound on a big Tuesday of MLB baseball on DraftKings. Here are my top pitchers to consider alongside the Dodgers’ ace as you build your fantasy teams.
1. Clayton Kershaw – LAD @ CHW – $14,000
This is Kershaw’s 20th start this season, therefore the 20th time that he has been ranked as the best pitching option for the slate. Sure his price has risen a lot, but does it really matter? Kershaw is averaging 41.75 DKFP over his last three starts and has scored at least 30 DKFP in 11 of his 19 starts. The White Sox have been solid against left-handed pitching this year, but Kershaw should be considered matchup proof at this point. Chicago has also struggled lately with just an 86 wRC+ for the month of July. In their last game against a lefty, they nearly got no hit against a middling pitcher in Kyle Freeland at Coors Field. Matchups don’t come any easier than that and this will be a far tougher test for them. Kershaw has given up two runs or fewer in seven of his last eight starts.
2. Robbie Ray – ARI @ CIN – $11,200
If you are uncomfortable with the price tag on Kershaw, Ray makes for the next best option. Ray doesn’t have the floor that Kershaw has, but he has a comparable ceiling due to his 11.97 strikeouts per nine innings, which ranks second in the National League. Ray is also among the league leaders with an average of 104.8 pitches per start. He has a rubber arm and is often allowed to work deep into games if he is dealing. Ray was left out to pitch the sixth inning of his last start against the Dodgers despite being well above 100 pitches. This enabled him to finish with a season best 13 strikeouts. Ray has always had strikeout prowess, but he is finally succeeding in run prevention as well this year with a career best 2.97 ERA.
3. Brad Peacock – HOU vs SEA – $10,300
Peacock has been a stud since moving into the starting rotation. Despite starting out on a limited pitch count, Peacock has still scored at least 15 DKFP in eight of nine starts. He is a bit more stretched out now and has pitched at least five innings in four consecutive starts, so it will now be easier for him to pick up the win bonus. Overall, he has a 3.18 ERA as a starter and is striking out 12.31 hitters per nine innings. This is the second most strikeouts per nine amongst starters with only Chris Sale holding a better mark. Peacock also gets a big boost from pitching at home. Minute Maid Park ranks as the best pitcher’s park in baseball for the second consecutive season.
4. J.A. Happ – TOR @ BOS – $7,800
Pitching starts to get a bit shaky once we start to look into tonight’s cheaper options to pair with a stud. Happ has been a boom or bust option this year and has been either over 20 DKFP or below 14 DKFP in each of his starts this year. This isn’t ideal for cash games but makes him a great GPP target. Happ has been solid overall with a 3.54 ERA, and he is striking out 8.85 hitters per nine innings. His 9.7% swinging strike rate is the best of his career. He is also walking a career low 2.07 hitters per nine innings, so there is a lot to like about Happ’s strikeout to walk ratio. Boston also has just a 90 wRC+ at Fenway Park this year, which makes their offense the sixth worst when playing home games in 2017.
5. Blake Snell – TB @ OAK – $6,600
I am a believer in the future of Blake Snell. He has slumped a bit in his sophomore season, but he looked sensational at times during his rookie campaign. He went into last year as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, and he still has the upside to turn into a front of the rotation starter. The Rays sent Snell down to the minors to work out some of his flaws and he was dominant. In seven minor league starts, Snell was 5-0 with a 2.66 ERA, and he struck out 12.48 hitters per nine innings. He also benefits from his matchup tonight against Oakland. The A’s have been one of the worst teams in baseball against left-handed pitching with a 77 wRC+. They also strike out at a 26.1% rate against southpaws.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is gehrenberg) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.