After a slate that was chock full of big names this afternoon, we have a nice mix of big upside pitchers balanced against value plays. I break down my top 10 for this 10 game slate tonight. As always, you can find me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
Top 5 Pitchers
1) Marco Estrada – TOR vs PHI – $10,900 – I really like Estrada tonight. Going against one of the worst offenses in the league, Estrada doesn’t get the praise he deserves. Estrada enters tonight with a 2.57 ERA with a 1.00 WHIP along with a K/9 of 7.9. Estrada has pitched better at home than he has on the road this season, but even on the road it hasn’t been anything to worry about. Estrada is allowing a .269 wOBA on the road compared to his .229 at home, so the difference isn’t huge. With the Phillies owning a 22.2 K% with a .286 wOBA against righties, Estrada is and should be one of the top picks at pitcher tonight.
2) Noah Syndergaard – NYM vs. PIT – $11,700 – Syndergaard is fresh off one of his more disappointing starts of the season against this Pirates team. In that start, Thor went six innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits with a 5:2 K:BB ratio. Overall, Syndergaard has been fantastic this season, owning a 2.00 ERA with a 1.00 WHIP and a K/9 of 11.5. This is still a somewhat tough matchup on paper, as the Pirates continue to hit right-handed pitching well, owning a .330 wOBA with a .412 SLG. At the end of the day though, I feel like Syndergaard will have much better results here, as he owns a 1.96 ERA at home in seven starts.
3) Steven Wright – BOS vs. BAL – $11,100 – This game has the highest projected run total of the night at nine, but I really don’t feel like that’s accurate. Steven Wright has been pitching very well, and I can’t help but feel like that will continue tonight. This is the second time Wright takes on the Orioles this season. In that start, Wright went a full nine innings allowing two runs on four hits with a 7:5 K:BB ratio. If Wright can keep those walks under wrap, he has the skill to cruise through another lineup like he’s done all season. The Orioles are a good hitting team, don’t get me wrong, but the consistency we’ve seen from Wright has me feeling good about this start.
*”. . . the Royals are slowly starting to creep up the ranks in K“*%
4) Corey Kluber – CLE vs. KCR – $13,100 – I always hesitate when taking a pitcher against the Royals. The perception of lack of strikeouts is always in my mind. However, that number is not what it used to be and the Royals are slowly starting to creep up the ranks in K%. Granted, it’s still not great, but the once last place team in K% is now 18th in the league at 19.9%. Kluber has looked MUCH better as of late after a rough start to the season, pitching much better on the road than he has at home. Averaging 23.9 FPPG on the road, Kluber looks to improve upon those numbers going against a team that owns only a .311 wOBA against righties this season. If Kluber was priced a bit lower, I’d like him a lot more than I do tonight, it’s just a steep price to pay.
5) Adam Wainwright – STL vs. HOU – $8,300 – Wainwright may finally be starting to figure this pitching thing out again. After a brutal start to the season, Wainwright has thrown three solid starts in a row. In his last three against the Reds, Giants and Nationals, Wainwright is averaging 20.9 fantasy points with a 20:2 K:BB ratio. I can’t say I’m fully on board with him being back on track, but it’s certainly looking good. Going against the Astros tonight, who are struggling to get on base, this is a nice spot for him at a $8,300 price tag. Even more intriguing is that the Astros rank third in the league in K% against righties at 25.1%. Wainwright is still below his career 7.5 K/9 right now at 6.3, but he has shown flashes of his strikeout potential, grabbing nine in his last start against the Reds.
6) Chris Sale – CHW vs. DET – $11,500 – It may seem a bit crazy that I have Sale ranked this low, but I’m finding it harder and harder to trust him as of late. Over his last four starts, Sale has posted fantasy points of 16.3, 3.7, 20.4 and 2.9. The 3.7 fantasy points came against this Tigers team that he faces tonight. In that start, Sale pitched 6.1 allowing four runs on nine hits with a 2:2 K:BB ratio. With the Tigers hitting left-handed pitchers well this season, owning a .325 wOBA with a .419 SLG, I can’t really find a reason to justify paying over $11K for Sale. Sure, he absolutely has the ability to come out tonight and pitch a gem, but I think we have plenty of other cheaper, safer options to gravitate to for tonight. Sale ranks 6th because of his upside, not necessarily because I like this spot for him.
7) Anthony DeSclafani – CIN vs. ATL – $8,100 – Hard to really judge a pitcher that is making only his second start of the season, but when you are facing the Braves, I’m in. DeSclafani is coming off a decent 2015, where he owned a 4.05 ERA with a 1.35 WHIP and a K/9 of 7.3. He faces this bottom of the league offense in the Braves, a team that owns a .281 wOBA against righties with a .333 SLG and an ISO of .098. At just $8,100, he provides fantastic value in this plus matchup for him. With the Braves sending out Bud Norris, I have a funny feeling DeSclafani will be in line for the win in this game.
“. . . the Rays strike out a TON against righties”
8) Nathan Karns – SEA vs. TBR – $8,000 – Karns has essentially split his numbers down the middle when it comes to playing at home or on the road. At home, he’s averaging 15.7 FPPG in six starts. On the road, it’s 15.2 in six starts. So we can’t really say anything one way or the other. His matchup against the Rays is an interesting one, as they own a .314 wOBA against righties, which sits around the league average, but the Rays strike out a TON against righties, owning the second highest K% at 25.2%. Karns has the capability to grab a bunch of strikeouts, as evidenced against the Astros earlier this season with nine. Karns is an interesting play and one worth a long look.
9) Drew Smyly – TBR vs. SEA – $7,700 – On the other side of this game is Drew Smyly. Smyly has been very inconsistent as of late, posting a score of 20.5 against the Blue Jays one night and then nabbing a disastrous -8.8 fantasy points against the Royals two starts later. A couple of things going for Smyly are that he’s been better at home this season, and the Mariners are very average against lefties, owning a .316 wOBA with a 19.9 K%. I don’t think I’ll go crazy with Smyly in this spot, but if you’re looking for a low owned pitcher on the night with some upside, Smyly might be your guy.
10) Kevin Gausman – BAL vs. BOS – $5,900 – I don’t LOVE this spot for Gausman, but I think you’ll be grabbing some value here at just $5,900. You’d think Gausman has been stinking the joint out at this price, but in reality it’s been the opposite. Now, Gausman isn’t a guy that’s going to get you 30 fantasy points on a night, but a mid to high teens score isn’t that bad for the price you’ll be paying. Against this Red Sox team earlier this season, Gausman threw six innings allowing five runs on six hits, but he also was able to strike out eight. Had he kept a couple of runs off the board, we’re talking a score in the 20’s. I’m not saying Gausman is a must by any means, but he certainly is cheap enough to potentially provide some value tonight.