There are a number of decent options at pitcher tonight’s 13-game slate. So, without further adieu, let’s get right to my top-5.
1. Stephen Strasburg – WAS @ PHI – $10,600
Strasburg has been an elite pitcher during his career when healthy. The only thing holding him back from being among the game’s elite pitchers is his inability to stay on the mound. Strasburg has gotten off to a great start this year with a 3.09 ERA (2.62 FIP) through his first five starts. He has also been working really deep into games. He has pitched seven innings in each one of his starts, which is a ton of stability from the pitching spot. He has a very high floor if we can count on him to work late into games. Strasburg has made 19 career starts against the Phillies and has a 2.47 ERA in those outings. He has also already faced the Phillies two times this year and has scored over 20 DKFP in both games. Strasburg’s strikeout numbers are a bit down, but they should bounce back. He has a 10.4 percent swing and miss rate, which should equal more than the 7.97 K/9 that he is currently generating.
2. Chris Archer – TB vs TOR – $9,600
This will be Archer’s third start against the Blue Jays this season. He has gone for over 20 DKFP in both of his starts against them. This shouldn’t come as shock considering the Blue Jays struggle against righties. They are currently ranked 27th in baseball against right-handed pitching with a .286 .wOBA. The Blue Jays are also expected to be without Donaldson until the start of next week, which is a big hit to their offense. Archer also appears to have rebounded from a rough 2016 campaign. His ERA currently sits at 3.43 after posting a 4.02 ERA last year. Archer always benefits from pitching at home. He has a career 3.18 ERA at Tropicana Field vs a 3.84 ERA when pitching on the road.
3. Danny Salazar – CLE @ KC – $10,000
One thing the Royals have not done well this year is score runs. They are last in baseball with 75 runs scored. This is 21 runs less than Oakland has scored as the second lowest scoring team in baseball. It is the same difference between the second and 14th highest scoring teams. As a result, the Royals have won the least amount of games in the majors so far and have an extremely poor 9-18 record. Salazar is a bit inconsistent, but he has a tremendous amount of upside every time he takes the mound. Salazar is striking out 13.03 hitters per nine innings, which is the most in baseball. It is always wise to chase whiffs in GPPs. Salazar has a 3.15 ERA, which suggests he has pitched better than his 4.34 ERA. Only 23.5 percent of the balls in play against him have been labeled as hard hit, which is an elite mark for a starting pitcher.
4. Franciso Liriano – TOR @ TB – $8,200
Liriano is similar to Salazar in that he is very inconsistent, but has lots of upside. He is striking out just under 10 hitters per nine innings and will be facing the Rays, who are striking out at the second highest clip against left-handed pitchers. Liriano already has two games with at least 25 DKFP, which is a great outcome at his current price tag. The erratic nature of his game is on display when looking at his outings against Tampa Bay this year. In two starts he has had games of 20.45 DKFP (good) and -11.45 DKFP (awful). Hopefully tonight the good version of Liriano makes an appearance.
5. Michael Fulmer – DET @ OAK – $8,000
Fulmer has ben fairly steady this year and has posted a quality start in each of his five outings this year. He doesn’t have the strikeout upside of the other guys on this list, but he is a pretty safe play. Fulmer throws a lot of strikes and does a decent job of limiting hard contact. He throws his slider and changeup a combined 40.2 percent of the time, which keeps hitters off balance. He uses his fastball at one of the lowest rates of any starter in baseball. He also has a positive matchup against the A’s. They are 24th in baseball with a .303 .wOBA against right-handed pitchers, while striking out at the fifth highest rate. The game also is being played in Oakland, which was the third most favorable pitcher’s park in baseball 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.