WATCH: MLB IN 90 SECONDS – SCOTT FELDMAN
With 15 games on tonight’s MLB slate, we very obviously have a ton of pitching options to cycle through. Below I’ll break down my top five. Let’s get to it!
1. Clayton Kershaw – LAD @ CLE – $12,900
This feels a bit like beating a dead horse, but Kershaw is taking his rightful spot as the numero uno pitcher once again. He had his worst outing of the year a couple weeks ago against the Cubs, but he bounced back with an average of 36.05 DKFP in his next two starts. Overall, Kershaw is fourth in baseball with an average of 26.45 DKFP per start. The matchup against the Indians appears to be bad, but they haven’t been good again left-handed pitching this season. They are 19th in baseball with a .302 wOBA against lefties, so this is actually a plus matchup for Kershaw. The only downside is that there are some weather concerns for tonight’s game. Weather.com shows a slight chance of thunderstorms, so be sure the weather is clear before utilizing Kershaw in lineups.
2. David Price – BOS vs PHI – $10,100
If you want to pivot off of Kershaw, or if the weather looks bad for his game, I think David Price makes for the next best option. His last start didn’t go well, but I think anybody who has a bad outing pitching at Yankee Stadium these days should be forgiven. Prior to that game, Price was able to shut down the Orioles by pitching seven strong innings and racking up 29.35 DKFP. In previous years, we have seen Price’s salary sit in the $11,000 range, so we still a get a discount on him with him working himself back into form from an elbow injury. Despite struggling, Price was allowed to throw 107 pitches in his last start, so he has no injury restrictions. Price also gets a boost from a matchup against the Phillies, who have the worst winning percentage in baseball. They are also ranked 17th with a .304 wOBA against left-handed pitching.
3. Gerrit Cole – PIT vs COL – $6,800
Gerrit Cole is going through a really rough stretch of pitching right now. The most DKFP he has had over his last four starts is 3.25, so he definitely doesn’t come into tonight in good form. However, before this abysmal four-game stretch, Cole has gone seven consecutive starts scoring at least 16 DKFP. His velocity is still in check and he is actually averaging a career-best 96 MPH on his fastball. His control has also been fine, and he has not walked more than two batters in a single start all year, so what gives? His issue has been allowing too many long balls. He has a 19.2% HR/FB rate, which is way above his career average of 9.2%. We have enough of a track record on Cole as a top of the line starter that I believe his home run rate should regress. When that happens, he will be back to being a pitcher who can maintain an ERA in the low-to-mid three range. He should also benefit from pitching against the Rockies, who have struggled to hit on the road this year. They have a 93 wRC+ when playing away from Colorado.
4. Joe Ross – WAS vs ATL – $7,200
Joe Ross is coming off of arguably the best outing of his career. He had 12 strikeouts in seven-plus innings while allowing just four men to reach base. He finished with 40.1 DKFP. Ross profiles as a boom-or-bust type of pitcher, so he works better for tournament play than cash games. His game log from his last four starts tells his story. His DKFP from this stretch are 40.1, -.05, -.08 and 29. It is an unbelievable amount of inconsistency. He has had some injury issues this year, which may be contributing to his up and down season. Now that he has a few more starts under his belt, it is possible that he will be able to find more consistency to his game as he was a solid pitcher last season and finished the year with a 3.51 ERA.
5. Buck Farmer – DET vs ARI – $6,900
What has gotten into Buck Farmer lately? He’s gone from a failed prospect, who can’t get anybody out, to an unstoppable machine that surrenders nothing. He has given up a total of zero runs through his first two starts this year. His average of 31.93 DKFP per start is the best mark in baseball. He needs just 13.8 DKFP to pay off his current salary. There isn’t much of a sample size on Farmer being a competent pitcher, but it makes sense to take a flier on him at his current price point with the hopes that his stock continues to rise. It is worth noting that his strikeout rate was also up during his starts in the minors this year as well.
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.