With a number of aces taking the mound tonight, the toughest decision will be who to spend on. Below I break down my top-5 pitchers for tonight’s massive 15-game MLB slate.
1. Chris Sale – BOS vs BAL – $12,500
This price on Sale is absurdly cheap. Sale has been the top scoring player with an average of 33.07 DKFP so far this year. Sale only needs 25 DKFP to pay off his salary, and he has scored at least 27 DKFP in each of his starts this season. He is also averaging 36.17 DKFP over his last 3 outings. Sale also has a plus matchup against the Orioles, who have really struggled against left-handed pitching. They are ranked 19th in .wOBA against lefties and are striking out 26.4 percent of the time, which is the 2nd most in baseball. It is really difficult to find a reason to not lock in Sale at this price point other than his expected ownership. He is my top option on the slate by a pretty wide margin.
2. James Paxton – SEA vs LAA – $9,200
Paxton has burst on the scene this year and become one of the top pitchers in baseball. He is averaging 27.31 DKFP per start, which is the third most amongst any player. He has only allowed an earned run in one of his five starts and has a video game like 1.39 ERA. He also has a 1.17 FIP, which suggests it isn’t luck. He is simply dominating hitters right now. Considering he had a 2.80 FIP last season, Paxton should be in the discussion as one of the best pitchers in the American League and could end up in the AL Cy Young discussion this year. He is second in WAR for pitchers behind only Chris Sale this year.
3. Carlos Martinez – STL vs MIL – $8,900
Martinez really struggled the last time he pitched against the Brewers. He pitched five innings and gave up five runs and posted just 9.85 DKFP. However, there is reason for optimism. He had seven strikeouts in those five innings, but he struggled to keep runners off base. This game will also take place in St. Louis as opposed to Milwaukee, which is one of the premier hitter’s parks in baseball. The Brewers may also be without Ryan Braun, who had to miss last night’s game with a lat injury. Even if Braun plays, it appears he will be at less than full health. Martinez is striking out the second-most hitters per nine innings in the National League, and the Brewers strike out the second most in baseball against right-handed pitchers. This implies upside for Martinez even though his last outing against this team exemplifies that there is a risk in this matchup.
4. Masahiro Tanaka – NYY vs TOR – $9,800
Tanaka is coming off of back to back strong outings. His last outing was particularly impressive when he pitched a complete game shutout in Boston. He finished with 33.45 DKFP in what is probably the most difficult matchup possible in DFS. The Blue Jays have been a weak-hitting offense this year against right-handed pitching with a .278 .wOBA, which is ranked 28th in baseball. Toronto is also expected to be without Donaldson for at least a few more games. Tanaka has pitched well at home this year with a 2.70 ERA and has won both of his starts. Tanaka’s strikeouts are a bit down this year, but he has a 12.3 percent swing and miss rate, which is higher than his career average. This means that his strikeout rate should bounce back to his career norms.
5. Trevor Cahill – SD vs COL – $5,000
Cahill has been an unexpected valuable DFS asset thus far. He tends to garner low ownership despite being priced like a middle of the order hitter for most of the season. He needs just 10 DKFP to meet salary expectations and he has scored at least 12 DKFP in each of his four starts. He is also averaging 18.7 DKFP per start, which would be considered a great outcome for his current price. He is also generating a lot of swings and misses with at least six strikeouts in every start. Considering he struck out 9.05 hitters per nine innings last season, his recent strikeout prowess may not be a total fluke. In Cahill’s only other home start this year he had 27.35 DKFP. This could be the last chance to roster Cahill at such a cheap price tag.
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.