WATCH: MLB IN 90 SECONDS – FRANCISCO LIRIANO
We have 11 games tonight, and there are some intriguing pitching options up and down the salary chart. Let’s get right to my top-5 options.
1. Corey Kluber – CLE vs LAD – $12,500
While the matchup isn’t ideal, Kluber is the most talented pitcher on this slate. He is a true ace and while he may not get to the 25 DKFP he needs to hit value, he does have the highest floor of any pitcher on the slate. He has scored at least 22 DKFP in four of his last five starts. The only outing where he missed that mark was a game in which he got injured and required a trip to the Disabled List. Kluber is a strikeout machine and is working on his fourth consecutive season of whiffing more than a hitter per inning. He also has a career-best 13.9% swing and miss rate. Kluber is walking slightly more hitters this year, but he should see positive regression to his walk rate. Kluber is throwing a career high 47.3% of his pitches in the strike zone, so his walk rate should dip back to normal levels.
2. Michael Pineda – NYY @ LAA – $11,100
Pineda’s price tag has become very expensive, but he does have the most favorable matchup on the slate. The Angels are 26th in baseball with a .301 wOBA against right-handed pitching. They are also missing Mike Trout, so this isn’t even indicative of how bad their offense currently is. Pineda is also coming off one of his best outings of the season. He had 32.15 DKFP in seven shutout innings against the Red Sox. Pineda has finally had success at limiting runs in a Yankee uniform with a 3.39 ERA this season. The key to his success has been lowering his hard contact rating down to 28.6%, which has lowered his BABIP from .339 last year down to .274.
3. Francisco Liriano – TOR vs TB – $5,800
Liriano has been extremely erratic this season. Not only has he struggled with his command, but his DraftKings output has been all over the place. In nine starts he has scored over 25 DKFP twice, and he has also been under -11 DKFP on two occasions. This makes him the ultimate DraftKings tournament play for the price of just $5,800. He has already had games of -11.45 DKFP and 20.45 DKFP against the Rays this season, so while success is far from a guarantee, there is certainly plenty of upside in rostering Liriano. He did require a trip to the DL, which many have hoped helped him out a bit. Since returning, Liriano has 10 strikeouts to just three walks in two starts. He also benefits from a strong matchup against the Rays, who have struggled against left-handed pitching this season. They are ranked 23rd with a .298 wOBA against lefties and strike out at a healthy 26.7% rate.
4. Dylan Bundy – BAL @ CHW – $7,700
Bundy is one of the safer options on tonight’s slate. He is posting a career-best 3.05 ERA and comes at a fairly cheap salary. He has scored at least 12 DKFP in 11 of his 13 starts this season, which could be an acceptable outcome on a slate without many steady pitching choices. He has also given up more than three runs in just one start this year, so he seems to be able to avoid getting shelled. The White Sox are also ranked 27th with a .298 wOBA against right-handed pitchers this year. Their 23.4% strikeout rate against righties is the fifth highest mark in baseball.
5. Jordan Zimmermann – DET vs ARI – $4,200
Zimmermann is a really tough pitcher to roster, but this is such a cheap price tag. He needs just 8.4 DKFP to meet salary expectations, which he has managed to do in six of his last eight starts. He also appears to have made an interesting adjustment over his last couple starts. Zimmermann is decreasing the usage of fastball, which has been his least valuable pitch this season. He is upping the usage of his off-speed pitches and his slider in particular. It is a similar adjustment that Zack Greinke made this season after struggling with decreasing velocity last year, so it is possible that Zimmermann will find success this way as well. While the Diamondbacks appear to be an elite offense, most of their production has come with the assistance of the extreme hitters’ home park they play in. Chase Field is the top park for offense this season. On the road, Arizona has a 70 wRC+ this year, which is dead last in baseball.
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.