It was a rough day yesterday for starting pitchers as two big-name aces went down due to injury. Clayton Kershaw is headed for the DL, and Stephen Strasburg also raised concerns by “not being able to get loose.” Hopefully, tonight’s 24 starting pitchers are able to stay injury-free as they take the mound to get their team’s week off to a good start. Here are my top five options for this Monday night:
1. Zack Greinke – ARI vs. ATL – $11,900
After dropping two of three to the Nationals this weekend, the D-Backs will give the ball to their ace against the visiting Braves. Greinke got knocked around in his last start which came on the road in Cincinnati, but he has won three straight starts at Chase Field before that outing posting over 30 DKFP in each of his previous two wins.
On the season, Greinke is an impressive 11-4 with a 2.97 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. He has 134 strikeouts in 121.1 innings. He has been especially good at home at Chase Field where he is 9-0 in 11 starts with a 2.41 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 71 innings. He has held opponents to a .192 batting average in Arizona. Atlanta’s offense has been better than expected this season, but I still think Greinke is the top play tonight since he’s at home where he has been extremely consistent all season. He’s also in a good head-to-head against R.A. Dickey, so a good start should result in another win for Greinke.
2. Jacob deGrom – NYM @ SD – $13,400
Even though he’s the most expensive option on the board, deGrom is in my second spot today since he has been inconsistent and has hit a few bumps, especially when pitching on the road. In his last start, he picked up the win to improve to 11-3 but he only struck out three batters to finish with 18.2 DKFP. He has produced under 20 DKFP in two of his last three starts despite getting the win in seven straight trips to the mound.
While he is 6-2 with a 2.27 ERA at Citi Field, he has a 4.63 ERA on the road to go with a 5-1 record. His inconsistency on the road makes him a little riskier than Greinke who is at home, but deGrom also has an extremely high ceiling. In five of his last seven starts, he has at least 30 DKFP which would make him worth his $13K salary. Tonight will be his first start against San Diego, but the Padres’ offense has struggled all season scoring the fewest runs in the Majors and only hitting .235 as a team.
3. James Paxton – SEA vs. BOS– $10,500
In his last start, Paxton shut down the Astros winning his fourth straight start and putting together his sixth straight quality start. He only allowed one run in seven innings striking out seven to improve to 9-3 on the year with a 3.05 ERA and 107 strikeouts in 94.1 innings. Paxton doesn’t quite have the dominant history of Greinke and deGrom this season, but he has posted 27+ DKFP in each of his last three starts.
All year, Paxton has been good at home at Safeco Field where he is 5-2 with a 2.67 ERA. He has been lights out this month going 4-0 with a 2.05 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 26.1 innings. Although he’s the cheapest of the pitchers over $10K, he’s one of the safest plays given how spot-on he has been lately especially at home and how badly the Red Sox lineup has been scuffling especially on the road.
4. Brad Peacock – HOU @ PHI – $11,500
Peacock has won each of his last five starts for Houston and improved to 8-1 on the year with a stellar 2.49 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. He has struggled with control at times this season, but he has maintained a high strikeout-rate with 93 strikeouts in his 68.2 innings. He has at least seven strikeouts in five of his last six starts and eight of his last 10 which has resulted in an average of 20.9 FPPG over those 10 starts.
Of the five starters over $10K, Peacock has the best matchup outside of deGrom as the Astros visit Philadelphia to face the Phillies who have scored the second-fewest runs in the Major Leagues this season. Philadelphia is 11th in the league in strikeouts giving Peacock a very high ceiling due to his strikeout rate. Peacock is a little boom-or-bust still, which is why he’s fourth on this list despite his potential.
5. Gerrit Cole – PIT @ SF– $9,900
Pittsburgh dropped two of three this weekend in Colorado and are one game under .500 but only three back in the NL Central. They’ll give the ball to their ace as they start a series in San Francisco. Cole faced the Giants on June 30th and gave up seven runs in only 5.1 innings striking out seven and finishing with just 4.8 DKFP.
Other than that outing, he has been excellent lately and has posted at least 20 DKFP in five of his last seven starts. He struck out a season-high 10 batters against the Brewers last Wednesday and posted 30.2 DKFP. The Giants’ offense has been struggling badly all season, so Cole should be able to avoid a second trainwreck against them. He isn’t quite as much of a sure-thing as the rest of the top five tonight, but Cole has more upside than any of the other pitchers under $10K who come with significant risk.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) 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.