WATCH: PITCHING DUEL – SALE VS. SANTANA
With 15-games on tonight’s MLB slate, we have some interesting pitching decisions up and down the salary chart. Let’s get right to my top options.
1. Chris Sale – BOS @ KC – $13,200
On a day without many quality pitching options, the highest DKFP scorer in the American League gets a dream matchup. The Royals are the lowest-scoring team in the American League, and they have struggled against left-handed pitching with an 82 wRC+. Sale also gets a ballpark boost pitching away from the hitter-friendly Fenway Park. Sale is averaging 29.43 DKFP per game and needs just 26.4 DKFP to meet salary expectations which he has done in nine of his 14 starts this year. Sale appeared to get a bit off track with a few non-dominant, but still good outings in a row; however, he bounced back with a dominant 10 strikeout game against the Phillies. It was his ninth double-digit strikeout game of the season, which is the most in baseball.
2. Michael Pineda – NYY vs LAA – $10,600
If you choose to pivot off of Chris Sale, I think Pineda is the next best high priced option. He offers a bit of a salary saving from Sale and could come at lower ownership. Pineda faced this same Angels team in his last outing and he struggled against them, which is likely to drive people off of him. He still has immense upside and went off for 32.15 DKFP a couple starts ago against Boston. He has only had two previous outings this season of single-digit fantasy points, and he bounced back in his next start with an average of 36.1 DKFP in those outings. He should be able to put forth a stronger outing tonight against the Angels who are 25th in baseball with a .303 wOBA against right-handed pitchers.
3. Julio Teheran – ATL vs SF – $7,900
Teheran being third on this list is a good indication of how poor the pitching options are on this slate. Teheran may have a 4.86 ERA for the season, but he has been in better form recently. He has scored at least 13 DKFP in four of his last five outings. He also gets to face a Giants’ offense that was shut down last night by R.A. Dickey, who went into last night’s game with a 5.35 ERA. San Francisco is last in baseball with a .291 wOBA against right-handed pitching. Teheran is also not far removed from being considered one of the better young pitchers in baseball. In a favorable matchup, it’s not out of the question to think he can rediscover his old form.
4. Mike Montgomery – CHC vs SD – $5,500
Montgomery is a super cheap option, and rostering him will allow for the flexibility to fit in some bats from Coors Field, which is always a positive. He is moving from a bullpen role to the starting rotation, which has limited his ability to work deep into games. He pitched four innings in his first start and then five in his second outing. With those two starts under his belt, he should be able to work six-plus innings tonight. He also needs just 11 DKFP to pay off his salary, which he has been able to do despite being limited in his first couple of starts. Overall he has been extremely effective on the season with a 2.56 ERA. The Padres allow the most fantasy points to opposing pitchers of any team in baseball, and they have also been worse against lefties than righties and are last in baseball with a .280 wOBA against left-handed pitching.
5. Francisco Liriano – TOR @ TEX – $6,700
Liriano is always a bit erratic as a starting pitcher, but nobody can deny that he has huge upside. His ceiling was on display in his last outing against a potent Tampa Bay offense. Liriano had nine strikeouts in seven shutout innings on his way to a 25.55 DKFP outing. This matchup is interesting because Liriano has one elite ability and that is his propensity to generate swings and misses. He is always among the league leaders at creating swinging strikes. The Rangers’ biggest weakness has been strikeouts to left-handed pitchers. They are striking out at a 26.2% clip to lefties, which is the third most in baseball. Combining these factors together creates a lot of upside for Liriano.
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