We have a full 15-game slate tonight, and there are plenty of top-tier options to choose from at the pitcher position. Let’s get right into my top-five.
1. Clayton Kershaw – LAD vs STL – $13,400
Here is how good Clayton Kershaw is: Through nine starts, he has a 7-2 record with a 2.15 ERA and people are considering it a “down year” for him. He is priced just $13,400, which is the lowest his price has been for a non-Coors Field start since Opening Day. Kershaw just needs to hit 27 DKFP to pay off his salary, which he has done in all but one start excluding his starts in Colorado. The Cardinals’ offense is ranked 20th in wOBA against lefties while striking out at the 10th-highest rate. Kershaw is the safest option for DKFP in baseball; rumors of his demise are widely overblown.
2. Lance McCullers – HOU vs DET – $10,200
If you do opt to fade Kershaw, I think McCullers is the new best option. McCullers has been dominant this season with a 2.65 ERA and a 3.07 FIP. He has an inflated 19.2% HR/FB ratio, but that should regress to his career average of 11.4%. He has a 26.1% hard contact rating, which is below his career average, so the expectation should be for his HR/FB rate to be under his career average as opposed to the high rate it is currently at. McCullers has been especially unhittable within the confines of Minute Maid Park, where he has a 2.08 ERA in 2017. He has also struck out 35 hitters in just 26 innings at home. Houston has the sixth-most favorable pitcher’s park for run prevention this season, which has helped fuel Lance’s success.
3. Carlos Carrasco – CLE @ CIN – $9,900
The main appeal to Carrasco for me is that he will be pitching in a National League ballpark. Getting to face a pitcher as opposed to a DH is a sizable boost for a starting pitcher. It ups both their strikeout potential, while simultaneously lowering the number of runs we should expect them to surrender. Carrasco has quietly been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball over the past few seasons. Over the past four years, Carrasco has a 3.02 FIP, which is the ninth-best mark over that time frame. However, nobody mentions him as one of the game’s elite pitchers. Carrasco has been at again this season with a 2.60 ERA and a 3.23 FIP. Carrasco has to leave his last start with pectoral tightness but had a quality start in every outing prior to that one. He is a very reliable cash game option.
4. Jordan Montgomery – NYY vs KC – $6,800
If we are going to roster Kershaw tonight, we need to find a cheap pitcher to pair him with, and Montgomery could be the best choice. He did struggle in his last outing against this same Royals team, but he had been fantastic prior to that game. Montgomery started his career with six consecutive starts of at least 14 DKFP. This would be a solid result for his current price point, which requires 13.6 DKFP to meet salary expectations. The Royals offense is 29th in baseball with a .275 wOBA against left-handed pitching.
5. German Marquez – COL @ PHI – $6,600
Marquez is an interesting pitcher to toss into some GPP lineups tonight. He has a 4.34 ERA, but his 3.31 FIP suggests he has suffered from some bad luck. He has the potential for a huge outing, which we saw a couple weeks ago when he had 35.6 DKFP against the Cubs at Coors Field. Not only does Marquez have impressive peripheral stats, but he has faced an extremely difficult schedule. He has made three of his five starts at Coors Field against the Cubs, Nationals and Diamondbacks. A matchup in Philadelphia will easily be the most favorable matchup he has seen this year. Philadelphia is ranked 20th with a .316 wOBA against right-handed pitching.
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.