Top 5 Pitchers
1) Masahiro Tanaka – NYY vs. TBR – $10,400 – I love this spot for Tanaka as his price isn’t too shabby and his matchup is quite a juicy one. Facing a Rays team that is second in the league in K% against righties with a 26.3 K%, Tanaka brings his 7.7 K/9 to this one. He’s been quietly putting together a solid season, continuing to showcase his fantastic command with a 1.8 BB/9 and allowing less than a home run a start. He’s been absolutely dominant at home, holding opposing hitters to a .217 wOBA with a .216 SLG and a .255 OBP. I have no doubt in my mind that the Rays will have trouble with Tanaka in this spot as they have once already this season. In that start, Tanaka went seven innings allowing two runs on five hits with a 7:1 K:BB ratio for 22.2 points.
2) Felix Hernandez – SEA vs. MIN – $11,900 – Hernandez has quite the tasty matchup against the Twins at Safeco. Sporting a 2.21 ERA with a 1.19 WHIP, Hernandez is going to be quite the popular pick tonight, even with his price tag at $11,900. I’m still a bit concerned about the walks that Hernandez is issuing, as he owns a 3.95 BB/9 in nine starts this season. Couple that with his K/9 going down to 7.4 and he hasn’t been as dominant as we’ve seen in the past. Nonetheless, the Twins have been putrid against right-handed pitching, owning a .303 wOBA with a .390 SLG and a .695 OPS. They’ve also been striking out a ton, with a 23.3 K% which ranks 7th in the league. In my opinion, this matchup is as good as it gets for Hernandez, he gets to pitch in cozy Safeco field against a poor hitting team with the potential to rack up some strikeouts.
3) Max Scherzer – WAS vs STL – $13,000 – I’m giving some respect to Scherzer by putting him in this spot. To be quite honest, I can’t decide how I feel about this matchup. The Cardinals are one of the best hitting teams against right-handed pitchers and strike out a little less than I’d ideally like at 19.6%. On the other hand, the Cards will be without Matt Carpenter and potentially Matt Adams, two players that have been hitting the ball well. The game will also be overshadowed by some weather concerns, so I think his ownership could end up being lower than normal, which for a GPP is always a bit enticing. If you can stomach the high price tag, you might get another stellar start similar to what he put up against the Cardinals already, a 35.4 point outing back on May 1st.
4) Jacob deGrom – NYM vs. LAD – $9,900 – I have been one of deGrom’s biggest critics this season, going as far as to tell the world to fade him facing one of the biggest strikeout teams against righties, the Brewers (I nailed that). But now, his price has gone down and I feel more comfortable throwing him into this start against the Dodgers. The Dodgers don’t strike out nearly as much as the Brewers, but they rank 16th in K% against righties at 20.2% and own a .303 wOBA agaisnt righties. deGrom taking a $1,500 salary drop makes a huge difference and makes him an option against this Dodgers team.
5) Robbie Ray – ARI vs. SDP – $8,700 – I think Ray is capable of having a solid game in this spot. That’s not that difficult to say when the guy you’re taking is facing the Padres, but Ray is only averaging 14.2 FPPG and has a WHIP of 1.61. The problem with Ray is his walks. He’s averaging almost five per game this season and he’s constantly getting in his own way. On the other hand, his strikeout potential is huge, he’s averaging just under 10 per game. If he can keep the walks down in this one, he could be a real sneaky play on the night. The Padres are currently third in the league in K% against lefties, with an absurd 26.5%. I’ll certainly take a shot on Ray here.
6) Julio Urias – LAD vs. NYM – $7,600 – The number two ranked pitching prospect in all of baseball finally makes his big league debut. The 19-year old has dominated every single league he’s been in thus far and gets his first crack in pitcher friendly Citi Field. The obvious concerns here are around the face that this is indeed his major league debut, and some question about pitch count. With his price tag checking in at $7,600, I’m willing to take a shot at him with his dominating stuff. So far in Triple-A, Urias owned a 9.6 K/9 in seven starts with a 1.7 BB/9 and a 0.78 WHIP. Remember this kid’s name because he’s going to be a player, I just don’t know what to expect on day one.
7) Chris Archer – TBR vs. NYY – $7,900 – As a Chris Archer fan myself, it pains me to have him ranked so low on this slate. But truly, it’s almost impossible to predict which Chris Archer will show up on a particular night. At times he’s looked fantastic, and at others he has looked like he’s never pitched in the majors before. One upside here is that his strikeouts are still with him (11.1 K/9 through 10 starts). The Yankees aren’t striking out a ton against righties, owning a 18.6 K% but they aren’t exactly hitting much either. This is a tough call as the price is certainly right for him, but is it worth a shot with so many other options on the slate.
8) Jaime Garcia – STL vs. WAS – $7,800 – Garcia has been FANTASTIC this season, owning a 3.59 ERA with a 1.20 WHIP and averaging 17.5 FPPG. The problem with this start is that the Nationals hit left-handed pitchers extremely well. Ranked 5th in the league in wOBA against lefties at .346 with a .466 SLG, Garcia could see a repeat of his first matchup against the Nationals. In that start, Garcia pitched six innings allowing four runs on four hits with a 6:3 K:BB ratio. Still, his price makes him somewhat enticing, as he’s been solid this season- owning a .201 wOBA against lefties and a .278 against righties.
9) Joe Kelly – BOS vs. TOR – $6,400 – Sure it was one good start against the Indians, but Joe Kelly looked fantastic in his first outing back from the DL. In that start, Kelly one hit the Indians through six innings allowing no runs and a 7:3 K:BB ratio. The Blue Jays continue to scuffle at the plate, owning a .311 wOBA against righties with a 23 K%. If Kelly can continue to pitch as well as he did against Cleveland, he could be one of the steals of the night.
10) Adam Conley – MIA vs. ATL – $7,500 – Here is your typical “start a pitcher against the Braves” narrative we’ve all been following all season. While this start certainly favors Conley, I haven’t been too impressed with how he’s been pitching lately. He’s been vastly inconsistent, which is evident by his 13.7 FPPG in nine starts this season. With that being said, the Braves continue to occupy the basement in most offensive categories against lefties AND have been striking out more, owning a 23.5 K%. Conley owns an 8.5 K/9 on the season and could be a very nice play tonight. Personally, I think I like other guys on the slate a bit more, but he is most certainly in play tonight.