On this solid 15 game slate we have some fantastic pitching options to choose from. Take a look at my top 10 list for tonight, you may see a few surprises on here. As always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
Top 5 Pitchers
#1) Jon Lester – CHC vs CIN – $10,000 – – Coming off being no-hit last night, things won’t get much easier for the Red against Lester. A pitcher who historically has his worst month in April, Lester has gotten off to a fine start in 2016. Lester brings his 8.1 K/9 against a team that is tough to strikeout in the early going, ranked 28th in the league, but over the last seven days they jump up to 19th. Price wise and matchup, Lester feels like the best option on the night. Just watch the weather.
#2) Gio Gonzalez – WAS vs MIN – $9,100 – – For $9,100 tonight, you can get what feels like a steal with Gonzalez. Off to a scorching start this season, Gonzalez owns a 0.69 ERA with a 0.77 WHIP and an 8.3 K/9. The Twins are overall hitting at a decent clip, owning a .737 OPS which is ranked 11th overall. However, their big issue is scoring runs where they plummet all the way down to 25th. Gonzalez isn’t the flashiest name on the slate, but his matchup and recent performance make him one.
#3) Felix Hernandez – SEA vs. LAA – $10,800 – – We have a lot to like with this matchup for Hernandez. First off, he’s facing one of the worst offenses in the league in the Angels. These Angels are so bad, they rank in the bottom five in the league in runs, home runs, OBP, SLG and OPS. So, what’s the issue? Well, for all the faults the Angels have, they are the toughest team in the league to strikeout, and it’s not even close. Ranked 30th, the Angels have struck out 85 times. The Yankees are next with 104. If Hernandez can’t get the K’s and continues to lose command like he has in the early going (13 BB in 18 IP) he might not be able to reach his true potential with his price tag. On paper though, it’s a fantastic matchup.
#4) Sonny Gray – OAK vs. TOR – $9,500 – – I’m trying to decide if this is more of a nod to the Blue Jays slow offense start or the talent in Gray. Maybe a little bit of both? Coming into the season, the Blue Jays were supposed to be THE offensive team to beat. Thus far, they’re anything but that. They currently lead the league in strikeouts with 164, eight more than the Houston Astros. Add that in with their .367 SLG (25th) and .312 OBP (17th) and Gray could be a sneaky play tonight. My only gripe is, well, it’s the Blue Jays. They have to start hitting soon, it’s a matter of when.
#5) Matt Harvey – NYM vs. ATL – $10,300 – – Another instance where on paper, this a cake matchup, but has anything exactly been cake for Harvey thus far? In three starts this season, Harvey has scored a whopping 18.9 DK points. He’s allowed at least three runs in each start and hasn’t seen past the sixth inning. Even more concerning is that his strikeouts are down and walks are up, owning a 9:7 K:BB ratio. He’s facing one of the worst batting lineups in the league, and yet I’m not on board. At $10,300 he’s hard to trust at this point.
#6) Aaron Nola – PHI vs MIL – $8,300 – – After two stellar starts to the season, it all came crashing down for Nola in his last against the Nationals. Lasting five innings, Nola allowed seven runs on seven hits with a 6:3 K:BB ratio. Before that, he owned a sparkling 17:0 K:BB ratio (damnnnnn.) I really don’t have much to hate in this start for Nola, other than I like some other guys more than him tonight. On the flip side, he’s extremely affordable pitching in a pitcher friendly park. His MLB career isn’t even a year old, but last season after giving up 5+ runs (twice) Nola came back and gave up a run or less in his next start.
#7) Adam Wainwright – STL vs. SD – $9,700 – – I’d REALLY like to believe in Wainwright in this spot. Truly, it’s a great one for him. He’s been so bad this season that I think it will scare off a lot of people, especially with that high price tag. I love the potential strikeouts in this one with the Padres ranked third in the league. If we discard the last two seasons for Wainwright, his K/9 has consistently been in the mid to high 8’s. He’s going to be low owned tonight and if he pitches well, you’ll be reaping the benefits. It’s just a LOT of salary to swallow if he doesn’t.
#8) Aaron Sanchez – TOR vs. OAK – $7,200 – – If strikeouts weren’t even a factor in daily fantasy, Sanchez would be in the top five today. He’s been solid throughout his short MLB career, and I have no reason to believe tonight will be any different. Here’s the problem; Sanchez doesn’t strike batters out much, and Oakland doesn’t strike out much either. So unless he’s no hitting these A’s, we don’t have much upside here.
#9) Scott Kazmir – LAD vs. COL – $6,600 – – Damn Steve, you crazy! Putting a starting pitcher at Coors Field.
Well, maybe it’s not that crazy. What if I told you that last season, the Rockies were 25th in wOBA against lefties? What if I told you, the Rockies struck out 22.2% of the time against lefties, which was ranked 7th last season? At $6,600, Kazmir might be the sneakiest of sneak plays tonight. I’d rank him higher if I wasn’t a wimp.
#10) Jeff Samardzija – SFG vs. MIA – $9,300 – – Honestly, I don’t like Samardzija in this matchup at all. Miami is a sneaky good hitting ball club that is a lot more talented than you’d expect. Samardzija is way over priced on a slate with so many good options. #SolidAdviceSteve