With 10 games on top tonight, we have plenty of pitching options to choose from. Who are my top ten on this slate? Some of these may surprise you. As always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
Top 5 Pitchers
1) Jon Lester – CHC vs. PHI – $11,600 – When it came down to choosing between Lester and Matz, we had one glaring stat that makes a world of difference. With Lester facing the Phillies, he gets a team with a high K% against lefties at 24.1% with a wOBA of .266. Matz gets the Pirates, who also own a high K% against lefties at 23.8%, but their wOBA against lefties checks in a .343. Whew, that’s quite the difference. Even with Lester tagging you for an additional $1,200 over Matz, his matchup against the Phillies is a much safer one than the Pirates. With Lester facing these Phillies for the second time in less than two weeks, scoring 25.5 fantasy points in that game, I have no doubt Lester will come away with another solid game here.
2) Tyler Chatwood – COL vs. LAD – $9,200 – Don’t let his overall numbers fool you, Chatwood on the road has been nothing less than fantastic. Coming into this game against the Dodgers, Chatwood owns a sparkling 0.53 ERA on the road compared to his 5.30 at Coors Field. Chatwood isn’t a big strikeout guy, owning a 6.1 K/9 on the road, but he faces a Dodgers team that is not hitting right-handed pitchers well at all. The Dodgers own a .305 wOBA against righties this season with a .384 SLG and a K% of 20.7%. I think the overall numbers will scare a lot of people off of Chatwood, which is great in my opinion. I’d start Chatwood with confidence today.
“Chatwood on the road has been nothing less than fantastic”
3) Steven Matz – NYM vs. PIT – $10,400 – Matz being at the number three position today is more of a testament to his talent rather than his matchup. On paper, I certainly don’t love this matchup for Matz. The Pirates are one of the top hitting teams against lefties this season, owning a .343 wOBA with a .443 SLG. One of the enticing stats in this matchup is the K% for the Pirates against lefties. At 23.8%, this is one of the top reasons for starting Matz on a night like tonight. Matz has been fantastic at home, owning a 1.32 ERA with a 9.5 K/9. He’s not the safest option, but Matz is certainly an option.
4) Michael Fulmer – DET vs. TOR – $9,900 – Maybe I just haven’t been paying enough attention as to what’s going on with the Tigers, but apparently Fulmer has been pitching extremely well to be $9,900 on this slate tonight. When we look at his numbers, they certainly match up with his price point for tonight. Fulmer hasn’t had much exposure to Comerica Park just yet, with only one of his seven starts coming at home thus far, which makes his numbers all the more impressive. Facing a Blue Jays team that is right around the middle of the league with a .315 wOBA against righties and a 22.9 K%, Fulmer is another interesting option for tonight. I will admit, Fulmer has had a bit of an easy schedule so far, with Tampa, Oakland and the L.A. Angels his last three starts. Nonetheless, I can’t deny that the Blue Jays continue to struggle at the plate.
5) Colby Lewis – TEX vs. HOU – $8,700 – I keep waiting for Colby Lewis to pitch like, well, Colby Lewis, it just hasn’t happened yet. Lewis has been pitching much better on the road than he has at home, but I can’t say the Astros are commanding much respect right now. Facing them at home earlier this season, Lewis pitched seven innings allowing no runs on four hits with a 6:0 K:BB ratio. The move to Globe Life Park tonight is certainly a disadvantage for Lewis, but I like the matchup overall.
6) Masahiro Tanaka – NYY vs. LAA – $8,300 – Tanaka has certainly pitched better than his ranking here tonight indicates; I just am not a huge fan of this matchup. Facing the Angels, who own the lowest K% against righties at 15.7%, it limits the upside that Tanaka has. Now, he most certainly has the potential to stifle the Angels’ bats, as his 1.00 WHIP would indicate, but Tanaka has struggled much more at home than he has on the road. In a hitter friendly park like Yankee Stadium, I can’t say I fully trust Tanaka against an Angels team that is quickly ascending the ranks in team wOBA against righties. Does Tanaka have the potential for a good game? For sure. Can I trust that it will happen? Not at all.
7) Matt Shoemaker – LAA vs. NYY – $7,700 – On the other end of the spectrum; we have Matt Shoemaker who has certainly been pitching MUCH better than his overall numbers will indicate. After a horrific start to the season, Shoemaker is averaging 27.9 FPPG over his last four starts against the Dodgers, Orioles, Astros and Tigers. Shoemaker also hasn’t walked anybody in three straight starts, bringing his K:BB ratio in those four starts to 36:2. My problem here is that three of those fantastic starts came in L.A. Stadium, not on the road. In a hitter friendly park like Yankee Stadium, this is a perfect “trap” situation where people will fall in love with his recent performance and overlook the fact that they came at home, not on the road. At his price, he’s certainly in play here, I’m just a bit worried about how a hitter friendly park will treat him over his home stadium.
“Ray has some sneaky strikeout potential”
8) Robbie Ray – ARZ vs. TAM – $8,200 – This is a REALLY tough start to gauge in my opinion. First lets’s start with what I don’t like. First and foremost, the Rays are one of the top hitting teams against lefties this season. Owning a .345 wOBA with a .471 SLG and a .207 ISO is a fantastic indiction. Next, we have the Chase Field factor. It’s one of the top hitting parks in the league, and Ray has NOT performed well here, owning a .408 wOBA to opposing hitters. Now for the good; Ray has some sneaky strikeout potential, with his 9.9 K/9 at home. The Rays do strikeout a lot against lefties with a 23.7 K%, ranked 8th in the league. It’s just a matter of what will appear tonight, the strikeout potential of Ray or the hitting of the Rays? Decisions, decisions…
9) J.A. Happ – TOR vs. DET – $8,900 – Honestly, Happ doesn’t do much for me. Maybe it’s a personal thing I had against him when he was in the National League, I just can’t really get behind him. Going up against a Tigers team with a .323 wOBA against lefties with a 22 K%, Happ is in a very so-so matchup here. The one advantage I will give him is that he’s pitching much better on the road than he is at home, owning a 2.11 ERA with a 6.3 K/9. Personally, I feel as though the Tigers are a more dangerous team than people give them credit for, and I have a hard time trusting pitchers going against them.
10) Williams Perez – ATL vs. SDP – $5,800 – I kind of like Perez on this slate because of his price tag, and, quite honestly, some decent pitching he’s thrown. The problem is, he doesn’t get you a lot of points. Averaging 10 DKFP per start, Perez faces a suddenly hot hitting Padres team. Don’t get me wrong, they still dwell near the bottom of the league in hitting against righties, but they are certainly on the up and up. Even against a strikeout happy team like the Padres, Perez has quite the limited upside with his 4.2 K/9 on the season. Even in his best start of the season against the Phillies, Perez only managed four strikeouts. It’s a money saver for sure, but not one that will get you a sneaky 25-30 point night.