While many sports fans will be focused on the crazy happenings at the NBA Draft tonight, Major League Baseball has a solid six-game slate this Thursday. Of the dozen pitchers taking the mound tonight, there are several who make solid picks for your evening roster. Here are my top five.
1. Luis Severino – NYY vs. LAA – $12,300
Severino’s 2.99 ERA is almost a full run better than any other scheduled starter for tonight which is why he’s so much more expensive than the rest of the options. Severino is averaging over 20 FPPG this season and posted over 30 DKFP in each of his last two starts at Yankee Stadium. He has a 3-2 record in his six home starts, but his ERA is 3.32 since he was knocked around by the Astros and Blue Jays in a couple of home starts in May.
In his 81.1 innings this year, Severino has 90 strikeouts and he has at least six strikeouts in each of his last six starts. Tonight, he gets a good matchup against the Angels who still don’t have Mike Trout, and Severino will be backed by the highest-scoring lineup in the majors. He’s a “chalky” pick at number one, but he’s the best available option if you can fit his over $12K salary around the rest of your lineup.
2. Jaime Garcia – ATL vs. SF– $7,500
Until his last start, García was on an incredible roll. He had allowed just six runs in his previous five starts posting a 1.49 ERA and picking up 28 strikeouts in 36.1 innings. One of those starts came against the Giants who he’ll face again tonight. In that May 26th start by the Bay, García held them scoreless for 6.2 innings allowing four hits and two walks while striking out five. García still got strikeouts in his last start which came against the Marlins but he gave up six runs in just 5.2 innings.
He should be in a place to bounce back tonight in a great matchup at home against San Francisco. The Giants’ lineup has struggled all season and specifically has issues against lefties like García. They have the second-lowest team OPS (.666) against lefties which should set García up as a nice value option tonight.
3. Daniel Norris – DET @ SEA – $7,600
Norris has at least 16 DKFP in four of his last five starts and based on current form, I’ll give the Tigers’ southpaw the slight edge over the last two names on this list. He has allowed three runs or fewer in five straight starts even though his ERA for the season is still 4.42 and he has a 1.60 WHIP.
Despite allowing too many baserunners, Norris has an even record at 4-4 based on a solid strikeout rate with 69 Ks in 71.1 innings. Norris does have some favorable splits to consider for tonight as he takes on the Mariners in Seattle. On the road, he is 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA, and he has pitched much better when pitching under the lights when he is 4-3 with a 3.88 ERA. Seattle’s lineup can be good at times, but they are inconsistent and struggled yesterday against Justin Verlander before coming back to pick up the win late. Norris is far from low-risk, but in tonight’s limited field I see him as the third-best option.
4. Jake Arrieta – CHC @ MIA – $8,800
It’s been a rough year for Arrieta although there have still been a few bright spots. He comes into his start in Miami with a winning record at 6-5, but he has an ugly 4.64 ERA and has really struggled on the road where he is 3-5 with a 5.07 ERA.
He did beat the Marlins earlier this year allowing just two runs on two hits in six innings at Wrigley Field, but he’s a hit-or-miss play tonight and seems over-priced. His last two starts haven’t inspired much confidence since he hasn’t been able to get through the fifth inning and he’s allowed seven runs in nine innings since that win against Miami.
5. Andrew Moore – SEA vs. DET – $4,700
If you aren’t inspired by the mid-range picks on the board, one strategy is to take a flier on a ultra-cheap play and use the money saved to beef up your roster elsewhere. If you’re looking for a player who offers some upside but comes with plenty of risk, check out Mariners’ 23-year-old rookie Andrew Moore as he makes his MLB debut.
Coming into the season, Baseball America ranked Moore as the team’s number six prospect, and he has been impressive in both Double-A for the Arkansas Travelers and Triple-A for the Tacoma Rainiers. He compiled a 2.72 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over his 14 games this season at those two levels picking up 77 strikeouts in 82.2 innings while holding opponents to a .216 average. As mentioned, Moore is a risky option since he hasn’t had MLB success yet, but he is an inexpensive play who has as much upside as any of the other pitchers outside the top four on this list.
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.