WATCH: PITCHER DUEL – MAX SCHERZER VS. JACOB DEGROM
With 13 games on tonight’s MLB slate, we have some of the top pitchers taking the mound. Let’s get right to my top-5.
1. Max Scherzer – WAS vs ATL – $13,200
Scherzer has been unfathomably good over the last month a half. He has scored over 25.7 DKFP in eight consecutive outings and was over 40 DKFP in four of those starts. Overall, he is averaging 31.1 DKFP, which makes him the highest scoring player in all of DFS baseball. Scherzer was already one of the best pitchers in baseball coming into this year, so it is pretty absurd to see him take a sizable step forward with his game. He is posting a career best ERA, FIP and strikeout rate at 35.6%. This is how great Mad Max is. During his last start, he had seven strikeouts through 2 2/3 innings. I expect more of the same from Max tonight.
2. Jacob deGrom – NYM @ STL – $11,800
If Scherzer is the hottest pitcher in baseball, deGrom is right behind him. Jacob deGrom has scored at least 31 DKFP in four consecutive outings. He was supposed to start Wednesday night but had his start pushed back due to the game being rained out, so he should be extremely well rested for tonight’s game. The Mets may allow him to throw some extra pitches due to him getting extra rest and this being his final start before the All-Star break. Also, deGrom has a positive matchup against the Cardinals, who have been slightly below average with a 97 wRC+ against right-handed pitching.
3. James Paxton – SEA vs OAK – $8,500
Paxton struggled a bit in his return from an elbow injury, but he finally appears to be getting back on track. He has had three solid starts in a row where he has averaged 19.6 DKFP. The most encouraging sign has been that his velocity has been just under 96 mph over his last three starts, which is in line with his pre-injury velocity. He fastball speed a dipped a bit upon first returning and contributed to some his struggles. He likely needed to build some strength back up in his arm after missing about a month of action. His matchup tonight against the Athletics is extremely favorable. Oakland is 28th in baseball with a .287 wOBA against left-handed pitchers with an extremely high 25.7% strikeout rate. Paxton has also dominated at Safeco Field this year with a 2.68 ERA.
4. Drew Pomeranz – BOS @ TB – $8,700
Pomeranz will be happy to be pitching away from Fenway Park tonight. Since coming to the Red Sox, he has struggled to acclimate to the hitter-friendly park. Pomeranz has a 4.28 ERA at home this year, but a 3.07 ERA on the road. He has also been steady lately with at least 16 DKFP in eight of his last nine starts, so he is a great option for cash games as well as tournaments. His career best 9.86 strikeouts per nine innings gives him enough upside to be in a tournament winning lineup. The upside is also increased due to a matchup against the Rays. Overall, Tampa Bay has had a strong offense this year; however, most of their success has come against right-handed pitching. They have just a 91 wRC+ against southpaws and have the league’s second-highest K rate against lefties.
5. Kenta Maeda – LAD vs KC – $7,400
Maeda has been extremely difficult to figure out this year. He has flashed huge upside at times and flamed out in some good spots as well. He profiles more as a GPP play, but his upside should not be ignored. He has gone over 25 DKFP in three starts this year, which would be an excellent result for him since he needs just 14.8 DKFP to meet salary expectations. Paxton and Pomeranz are both likely to be higher owned than Maeda, and they have each gone over 25 DKFP three and four times, respectively. This means that Maeda has upside comparable to those guys, but he also comes with a price discount. The Royals 85 wRC+ is the worst mark for any American League team this year and they will be losing the benefit of having a DH with the move to a National League park tonight.
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.