WATCH: FINDING CONTRARIAN VALUE ON THE HILL
We have an interesting 14-game slate tonight with some decent pitching options. Let’s get right into my top-5.
1. Max Scherzer – WAS vs SD – $12,700
Scherzer draws the best matchup possible for a pitcher. The Padres are ranked 30th in baseball in allowing DKFP to opposing pitchers. They have the 27th ranked .wOBA against right-handed pitchers and strike out 24.4% of the time. Scherzer has been his usual dominating self this season. He is currently striking out 11.46 hitters per 9 innings, which is career best mark for him. He has also improved the amount of hard contact that he allows. Scherzer is allowing hard contact on 27% of balls in play which is his lowest mark in six years. Last season, Scherzer averaged 29.2 DKFP per game in two starts against the Padres.
2. Aaron Nola – PHI vs CIN – $7,700
Aaron Nola is someone I am expecting to breakout this season if he can stay healthy. He has only been able to make four starts this season due to injury, but he was excellent in his last start returning from a back injury. He pitched seven innings against the Pirates and surrendered just one run. He finished with 20.15 DKFP. Nola needs 15.4 DKFP to meet salary expectations, and he has scored at least 17 DKFP in 3 of his four starts. The one start he fell short of that mark was when he had to leave a game early with the back injury. Nola made two starts against the Reds last year and able to dominate them, averaging 29.75 DKFP.
3. Mike Clevinger – CLE vs KC – $8,000
Clevinger has been going back and forth between the big leagues and the minors, but he finally appears to have cemented a role with the Indians. Thus far, Clevinger has a 1.56 ERA and a 2.75 FIP. He is also coming off the best start of his career. He had 33.35 DKFP in seven shutout innings against the Astros. The Astros have the fourth best wOBA against right-handed pitching. Clevinger draws a significantly easier matchup tonight. The Royals are the lowest scoring team in the MLB, averaging a paltry 3.3 runs per game. Clevinger has made one start against Kansas City this year and scored 23.75 DKFP.
4. Masahiro Tanaka – NYY vs OAK – $8,100
Tanaka has been performing at a level significantly worse than what we have come to expect from him since he came over to Major League Baseball. After posting an average ERA of 3.12 in his first three years, Tanaka has a 6.56 ERA through nine starts this year. His biggest issue has been a spike in home runs allowed. However, there is reason to believe that this is a fluke. Tanaka still has a strong ground ball rate at 49.7% and he is giving up a 32.7% hard contact rating, which is the exact same rate as his career average. This leads me to believe that the number of long balls he is giving up should regress. His strikeouts are also down, but his swinging strike rate is above his career average. These are all reasons to believe he should be able to return to his previous level of performance.
5. Junior Guerra – MIL vs ARI – $4,800
Guerra will be making jut his second start of the season tonight. He had to leave his first start early after suffering from a calf strain. Guerra may not be allowed to work deep into the game; however, he does have an extremely discounted price tag and he pitched 11 1/3 innings between his two rehab starts. In a best case scenario, Guerra could available to go six innings. Guerra opened the season priced at $6,400 and last year was priced in the $9,000 range when he was pitching at his best. It is difficult to find a player of his talent at such a cheap price tag. The matchup isn’t ideal, but Guerra will be pitching at home and had a 2.81 ERA in 20 starts last year.
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.