WATCH: MLB IN 90 SECONDS – MICHAEL FULMER
Tonight brings us a 14-game slate, chock full of premier pitching options. Let’s get right into my top-5.
1. Clayton Kershaw – LAD @ MIL – $13,100
Kershaw has not performed at quite the level we have come to expect from him lately. However, we have such a large sample size of Kershaw being unhittable that I tend to think he will turn back into the sub 2.00 ERA pitcher we expect for the rest of the season. Kershaw has still managed a 2.37 ERA with a 78:10 strikeout to walk ratio, so he is performing as one of the best pitchers in baseball. His last start in Chicago was easily his worst of the season, which is likely to lower his ownership tonight. The Brewers are a decent offense against left-handed pitching, but they are striking out in 25.4% of their plate appearances. They are also without Ryan Braun, who is their best hitter against lefties. This is a good spot for Kershaw to bounce back with a monster performance.
2. Stephen Strasburg – WAS @ OAK – $12,000
If you are uncomfortable with the recent performance of Kershaw, Strasburg makes for a good pivot and comes into tonight’s game in excellent form, coming off of a 47.35 DKFP game. He pitched seven shutout innings against the Padres while striking out 15 batters, giving him a total of 26 strikeouts over his last 14 2/3 innings pitched. Oakland is also striking out at the third highest rate against right-handed pitching, so Strasburg is once again in line for a gaudy strikeout game. Strasburg has also been much more economical this season than he has been in past years as he has worked at least six innings in nine of his 10 starts.
3. Michael Fulmer – DET vs CHW – $8,000
Michael Fulmer is quietly one of the most valuable pitchers in baseball. He currently ranks seventh in the league in Wins Above Replacement at 1.8. One of the keys to his value has been consistency. Each of Fulmer’s 10 starts this year have been quality starts. Fulmer doesn’t generate a ton of strikeouts, but he throws a lot of strikes and limits hard contact. Fuller has a 23.5% hard contact rating, which is the second best rate for a starting pitcher. He also has an elite matchup tonight against the White Sox who have been an interesting offense this season. They have been elite against lefties, but terrible against righties. They are ranked last in the American League with a .293 wOBA against right-handed pitching while striking out at a healthy 23.3% rate. Despite the favorable matchup, this is the cheapest Fulmer has been priced all season.
4. German Marquez – COL @ SD – $7,200
Marquez has made huge leaps as a pitcher this year. Not only does he have a 3.76 ERA and a 3.70 FIP, but he has to make half his starts at Coors Field. He gets a massive park upgrade whenever he gets to pitch outside of Colorado. He needs to score 14.4 DKFP to meet salary expectations, and he has scored over 15 DKFP in four consecutive starts. He has averaged 22.53 DKFP over this stretch. The Padres yield the most fantasy points to pitchers of any team in baseball. The Padres have the second highest strikeout rate against right-handed pitching and are ranked 27th with a .293 wOBA.
5. Gerrit Cole – PIT @ NYM – $7,800
Cole is coming off back-to-back to rough outings after a strong start to the season. Prior to this two-start stretch, Cole had 16 DKFP in seven consecutive starts. He has walked just two hitters in his last couple starts, so the real issue has been batted balls finding holes in the defense. This has caused a steep drop in his price. Cole’s last start came against this same Mets team, and he was priced $2,100 more in the same matchup, which implies value at his current price tag. Cole has a career-best 5.1% walk rate this season.
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.