WATCH: PITCHERS TO CONSIDER
On tonight’s 11-game slate, we have very limited top-tier options. I’ll break down my top-5 options below.
1. Jose Berrios – MIN vs CHW – $11,400
Jose Berrios has been one of the most improved pitchers this year. After struggling with control last year, he has halved his walk rate, while also seeing an uptick in strikeouts. Berrios is certainly expensive, but his performance this season justifies the price tag. He needs to score 22.8 DKFP to meet salary expectations and he is averaging 23.3 DKFP per start. He is also pitching at home where he has been spectacular with an average of 25.23 DKFP. Most of the pitchers tonight are in tough spots, but Berrios comes with a fairly safe floor. He has scored at least 16 DKFP in six of his seven starts this year. The White Sox have also struggled against right-handed pitchers this season. They are 26th in baseball with a .302 wOBA against righties with a fairly high strikeout rate of 22.8%.
2. Jeff Samardzija – SF @ ATL – $9,400
While his 4.81 ERA may not bear it out, Samardzija is having one of the best seasons of his career. He has a 3.07 xFIP, so he should be surrendering far fewer runs than what he has allowed. He is striking out a career-best 10.21 hitters per nine innings and walking a career low 1.28 hitters per nine. So, what has gone wrong for him? To start, he has a .333 BABIP, which is way higher than his career average of .296. However, his batted ball profile is nearly identical to his career average, so that number should regress to his career mean. He is also stranding just 64.9% of runners on base, which is an extremely low number. He has never had this issue in the past, so once again I am expecting this to correct itself. Samardzija’s underlying numbers imply that he has been an elite pitcher suffering from an extreme amount of bad luck.
3. James Paxton – SEA vs DET – $7,700
There are a couple things working against James Paxton tonight. First, the matchup is awful. The Tigers have one of the best offenses in baseball and I can’t sell Paxton on being in play due to having a strong matchup. Paxton has also struggled recently and has failed to reach value in three consecutive starts. However, I have decided this to be irrelevant because Paxton has seen a massive price decrease and can be rostered for a much lower price tag than for any other start he has made this year. The decrease in salary makes him very easy to fit into rosters and pay up for bats. He needs 15.4 DKFP to hit value and he has gone for over 32 DKFP in three of his 10 starts. While his recent form and matchup definitely creates some risk, Paxton has a ton of upside at this price.
4. Nick Pivetta – PHI vs STL – $5,800
Did a lightbulb go off for Nick Pivetta during his last outing? After struggling to kickstart his major league career, Pivetta pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Chris Sale in a victory over the Red Sox. He scored a career-high 30.15 DKFP. While there is no track record of Pivetta having great games like that, I am holding out hope that this was his breakout game. He came into this year as a decently thought of pitcher in the Phillies’ farm system. It is possible that he figured it out last game and will continue to improve as the season progresses.
5. Jordan Hoffman – COL vs ARI – $6,600
It is also a scary proposition to roster a pitcher at Coors Field; however, Hoffman is averaging 14.23 DKFP per start in Colorado this year. Overall, he has been extremely solid with a 2.25 ERA and a 2.75 FIP. His FIP is the second lowest amongst all National League starters. Hoffman has been aided by an increase in velocity this year. His 94.8 MPH average fastball is one of the hardest fastballs in the National League. This has helped Hoffman increase his swinging strike rate to 11.3%, which has lead to him striking out 10.13 hitters per nine innings.
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.