Major League Baseball starts June with a limited slate of four games this Thursday night. Half the action features a nice pair of AL East matchups while the other two games both start four-game sets that will run through the weekend. Of the eight starting pitchers scheduled to take the mound tonight, here are the top-five to consider for your fantasy team.
1. Zack Greinke – ARI @ MIA – $12,700
Greinke is by far the best option tonight as he and the D-Backs head to Miami to face the Fish. His last start was a rough one as he returned to Milwaukee and gave up five runs on five hits in 5.1 innings. He took the loss and slid to 6-3 on the season but still has a solid 1.00 WHIP to go with his 3.24 ERA. He was on a string of wins in four straight starts, so I expect him to bounce back just fine at Marlins Park tonight.
In his 72.1 innings this year, Greinke has 84 strikeouts and as at least six strikeouts in all but one of his last 10 starts. This will be his first time facing Miami since the 2015 season when he held them to just one run in 14.1 innings going 1-0 with a 0.61 ERA. He’s expensive, but he’s also the clear No. 1 option if you’re going big on pitching.
2. Eduardo Rodríguez – BOS @ BAL – $8,900
Rodríguez has won each of his last three starts to improve to 4-1 on the year with a 1.12 WHIP and 2.77 ERA. His strikeout rate isn’t quite as high as Greinke’s since he has 59 in his 55.1 innings, and he sometimes struggles to go deep into games since he can be inefficient with his pitch count. However, he has at least 14 DKFP in each of his last seven starts with over 19 in five of those outings.
One of his best starts of the year came the last time he and the Red Sox visiting Baltimore when Rodríguez held the Orioles to just one hit in six innings. He walked five but struck out seven to pick up 27.9 DKFP and the win. Rodríguez was signed by the Orioles before being traded to Boston, and he is 3-3 in eight starts against his former team in his career with a 3.46 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 41.2 innings.
3. Marco Estrada – TOR vs. NYY – $9,600
Estrada is the last in the top tier of pitchers for tonight, and there is quite a drop-off to numbers four and five on the list. I have him behind Rodríguez since he’s facing the Yankees lineup which has been on fire lately, but the two of them are very close as second options behind Greinke.
Estrada is 4-2 with a 3.15 ERA on the season, and one of his wins did come against the Yankees when he held them to just one run on seven hits in seven innings at Yankee Stadium. Estrada began May with that start but then allowed 12 runs over his next three outings. He has righted the ship in his last two starts, though, giving up just two runs in 13.2 innings against the Rangers and Orioles while striking out 20 and walking just two. Estrada is holding opponents to a .198 average at Rodgers Centre, so he makes a very viable starting option tonight if you don’t believe in E-Rod or Greinke.
4. Adalberto Mejía – MIN @ LAA – $6,600
After the top three, the rest of the starting pitching options all come with high-risk factors tonight. My pick from the rest of the bunch is Mejía who gets the start tonight for the Twins as they head to L.A. to face the Angels. Mejía has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his five starts this season. He only lasted 1.2 and 2.2 innings in two of his starts in April, but he has been much better since rejoining the team in May.
In his two starts this month he has a 3.75 ERA and 1.25 WHIP to go with nine strikeouts in 12 innings. He looked good back in Spring Training when he had a 1.88 ERA and 14 strikeouts over 14.1 innings. The potential is definitely there especially against an Angels lineup that doesn’t have Mike Trout and has struggled against southpaws like Mejía this season. He’s not close to the top three options, but he’s the best cheap flier of the remaining options.
5. Jeff Locke – MIA vs. ARI – $4,700
Of the four starters left, the most interesting option is the Marlins’ Jeff Locke who will be making his season debut with Miami after spending his first six years in the Majors with the Pirates. Locke has been sidelined by biceps tendinitis so far this season, but he looked sharp on his rehab putting together a 1.77 ERA in 20 Minor League innings while striking out 22 and walking just two.
When he has been at his best, Locke can be a fantasy asset allowing few hits and walks despite not picking up a ton of strikeouts. If you want to stock up your lineup, you could take a flier on him tonight since he is so affordable and doesn’t have to do much to return a good DKFP/$ on your investment.
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.