WATCH: PIVOT PLAY – DANNY SALAZAR
We have a shorter nine-game MLB slate tonight, but there are still a number of great pitching options to choose from. Let’s get right to my top-five arms for tonight’s MLB action.
1. Chris Archer – TB vs KC – $10,800
Archer is back to being the ace that he had been in years past prior to his 2016 campaign. He has been dominant at home, where is averaging 21.94 DKFP per start. Archer also draws the best matchup possible against the Royals, who are the lowest scoring team in baseball. The Royals also are ranked 28th in baseball with a .278 .wOBA against right handed pitchers. Archer is also coming into tonight in good form. He is averaging 23.7 DKFP in his last 2 starts. He has a 3.15 FIP against a 3.57 ERA, which suggests there may be some positive regression coming his way.
2. Danny Salazar – CLE @ TOR – $9.700
With a lot of strong top-tier options going tonight, Salazar arguably has the greatest amount of upside. Salazar is leading the majors with 13.1 strikeouts per nine innings. He has done this by generating whiffs on 16.6% of his pitches. When considering that he is also walking 4.28 hitters per nine innings, there are rarely balls being put in play against Salazar. If he can harness his stuff and keep the ball in the strike zone, he could develop into one of the premier pitchers in baseball. Salazar has also suffered from some bad luck. He has a .385 BABIP despite allowing just a 28% hard contact rating, which is the lowest mark he has had in four years. Salazar also gets to face an extremely battered Toronto lineup, currently missing Donaldson, Tulowitzki and Martin. Morales also left last night’s game with a leg injury and could have to miss tonight’s game. There are not many bats to be fearful of in this version of the Toronto offense.
3. Yu Darvish – TEX vs SD – $10,700
The Padres are another team that seem to be swinging noodles for bats. They have a .299 .wOBA against righties, which is 25th in baseball. They are also striking out at the second highest rate against right-handed pitching by whiffing in 25.7% of their at bats. This should play into the hands of Yu Darvish who could finish the year amongst the MLB strikeout leaders. Darvish has had some struggles throwing first pitch strikes, which has lead to an increase in his walk rate. He is starting out ahead in just 54.4% of the batters he faces – the worst mark of his career. Darvish should be able to bump his K rate to his career norm of 30% if he can get ahead in the count.
4. Stephen Strasburg – WAS vs BAL – $10,400
Strasburg is in a good spot tonight, but in a vacuum I prefer the pitchers I have ranked ahead of Stras. However, I think this is the way most people will be thinking, so Strasburg could be less popular, which would make for a strong GPP play to differentiate lineups. The Orioles offense in not quite as potent this season as it has been the last few years, and they are ranked 16th in .wOBA against right-handed pitching. They are also going to be playing in a National League ballpark, so they will be losing the benefit of having a DH in their lineup.
5. Phil Hughes – MIN @ CHW – $6,000
To be honest, I think tonight sets up favorably to pay up for pitchers. However, I didn’t just want to list all of the highest priced pitchers on the slate. If you do feel inclined to look for a discount pitcher, I believe Hughes is the strongest choice. The White Sox offense is ranked dead last with a .271 .wOBA against right-handed pitching. They are also striking out at the sixth highest rate against righties, which makes the White Sox an extremely favorable target for pitchers. Hughes also managed to put together a decent start against a tough Red Sox offense in his last outing. He surrendered just one run in 6 2/3 innings of work. Hughes needs just 12 DKFP to pay off his salary tonight, which he has done in three of his four road starts this season. In his last outing against the White Sox he put up 18.5 DKFP.
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.