WATCH: MLB IN 90 SECONDS – MATT ANDRIESE
With 14 games on the docket tonight, we have some interesting decisions to make with our starting pitchers. Here are my top-five options for tonight’s slate of games.
1. Max Scherzer – WAS @ BAL – $11,800
Scherzer is the best pitcher going tonight. He has started the year with a 2.66 ERA and a 3.05 FIP, while striking out 11.29 hitters per nine innings. This is basically what we have to come to expect from him at this point in his career. Max is working on his sixth consecutive season with double digit per nine strikeouts. While the matchup in Baltimore isn’t ideal, the Orioles’ offense hasn’t been as prolific as most people would think. They are ranked 16th in wOBA against right-handed pitching, so they are slightly below average. Certainly not good enough to scare me off a pitcher as good as Scherzer, who is pretty close to matchup proof anyway. Scherzer needs 23.6 DKFP to pay off his salary. He has gone over that mark in five of his six starts and is averaging 26.55 DKFP per start.
2. Carlos Carrasco – CLE @ TOR – $10,600
Carrasco has been pretty dominant to start the year with a 2.18 ERA (3.34 FIP). The key to his improvement this season has been cutting down on his walk rate. Carrasco has always been a low walk pitcher, but this year he has cut his walks down to a career best rate of 5.3%. This also allows him to keep his pitch count in check and work deep into games. He is averaging nearly seven innings pitched per start after averaging under six innings per start last season. Toronto’s offense has really struggled without Josh Donaldson, who may still not be available for tonight’s game. Even if he does return, Donaldson figures to be a bit rusty until he gets his timing back.
3. Charlie Morton – HOU vs ATL – $7,600
I feel like I am beating a dead horse by pumping up Morton every time he pitches, but he is vastly improved this season. He has a 3.97 ERA, but his 3.09 FIP indicates that he has been a bit unfortunate. Morton has a .344 BABIP, which should regress to his career average of .313. Morton is striking out a career-best 10.32 hitters per nine innings, which is a result of an increase in velocity. Morton has an average fastball velocity of 95.4 MPH this year and he has topped out at 98.2 MPH. Morton also benefits from pitching within the confines of Minute Maid Park, which is currently ranked as the sixth-most pitcher-friendly park after being ranked the top pitcher’s park in 2016.
4. Matthew Andriese – TB vs KC – $7,900
Ignore the result of last night’s game because the Royals offense is garbage. They are the lowest scoring offense in baseball with a 20+ run gap between them and the second lowest scoring offense, which is Oakland. Andriese is also coming off of a dominant outing where he pitched seven shutout innings with eight strikeouts on his way to 30.95 DKFP. It lowered his ERA down to 3.09 for the year. He has allowed three or fewer runs in five consecutive starts, while the Royals have scored more than runs just two times in their last eight games. I think Andriese is pretty safe pitching option tonight.
5. Zack Wheeler – NYM vs SF – $7,700
The Mets started the year with what appeared to be an abundance of pitching depth, which doesn’t exist for them anymore. Basically everything that could have gone wrong for the Mets this year has happened. Ironically, Wheeler is the one starter to remain healthy for the Mets after not making a start since 2014 due to injuries. Understandably, Wheeler struggled a bit out of the gate, but he has allowed just a total of six runs in his last three starts. He benefits from a plus matchup tonight against the Giants, who are ranked last in the National League in wOBA against right handed pitchers. The Giants have gone 21 consecutive games without scoring more than five runs, so there is some safety in rostering Wheeler.
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