After a few days of some really, REALLY weak pitching options to choose from (shoutout to my fellow writers who had to rank 10 pitchers over these past few days) we have a solid core of guys to target tonight. I’ll do my best to rank these guys and steer you in the right direction. As always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
Top 5 Pitchers
1) Noah Syndergaard – NYM vs. SDP – $12,900 – I mean, who doesn’t love grabbing pitchers with big strikeout potential? Hence, why my top five may surprise you a bit. Syndergaard against the Padres. This Padres team ranks second to last in wOBA against righties at .277 and third in K% at 25.7%. That’s a lot to love in a quick sentence. With Syndergaard coming into tonight with an absurd 12.25 K/9, it certainly makes sense why he’s the most expensive pitcher on the slate. Even with the high price tag, I expect him to be vastly popular across tournaments and cash games.
2) Taijuan Walker – SEA vs. HOU – $9,500 – It may surprise a few people that I have Walker ranked so high, but he has a lot going for him in this start against the Astros. First and foremost, the strikeout potential is high in this one. The Astros own a 26.5 K%, which ranks second in the league against right-handed pitching. Walker owns a 8.7 K/9 in five starts this season, which plays nicely into that Astros number. The other enticing part here is that Walker doesn’t allow a lot of home runs. His 0.30 HR/9 so far this season is about as good as it gets, and his career HR/9 sits at 0.99. If he’s able to eliminate the Astros biggest threat, being the home run, Walker could be a nice under owned surprise tonight.
3) Rick Porcello – BOS vs. NYY – $9,100 – Porcello continues to fly under the radar, and I can’t say I blame people. After a disaster 2015 season, Porcello has REALLY turned things around so far this season. Averaging a whopping 25.3 FPPG, Porcello gets his second crack at the Yankees. In his last start, Porcello threw seven innings allowing no runs on five hits with a 6:1 K:BB ratio. The Yankees continue to struggle big time at the plate, owning a .284 wOBA against righties which ranks 28th in the league! Only the Padres and Braves have a lower wOBA. Porcello is another pitcher in a great spot that could go over looked.
4) Vince Velasquez – PHI vs. MIA – $10,200 – Velasquez is in a decent spot here against the Marlins, even though they have some numbers that go against Velasquez. Coming into tonight, Velasquez owns a sparkling 11.2 K/9, which one would think would make him a must start. Unfortunately, the Marlins are a tough team to strike out, owning an 18.5 K% against right-handed pitchers, which ranks 27th in the league. On top of that, they rank 10th in wOBA at .330. So, where’s the appeal? For as well as they can get on base, they have issues getting runs home, ranked 14th in the league. They also have one of the lowest ISO in the league ranked 20th. Velasquez isn’t a slam dunk tonight, but he should be able to handle Marlins.
5) Zack Greinke – ARZ vs. ATL – $10,100 – Can you imagine this being 2015 and I was ranking Greinke as the 5th best pitcher going tonight against the Braves? LOL. Well, it’s not 2015, it’s 2016, and Greinke is struggling. Even going against one of the worst offenses in the league, I can’t say I’m fully trusting Greinke yet. The Braves have the worst wOBA, ISO, OPS, and SLG in the league. But at the same time, Greinke has looked extremely hittable owning a 1.46 WHIP on the season. By no means do I hate this start for Greinke, and I fully expect him to do well. I personally like the other four pitchers much more and wouldn’t want to waste $10,100 on someone who MIGHT show up tonight.
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6) Madison Bumgarner – SFG vs. COL – $10,900 – I might be on the wrong side of this one, but I don’t really like Bumgarner tonight. I have him in the sixth position out of respect of his talent and strikeout ability, but I’m looking at some numbers that are keeping me at bay. His .346 wOBA with four home runs against righties is a bit worrisome. With the likes of Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story and even Ryan Raburn in the lineup tonight, that doesn’t exactly bode well for Bumgarner. Then we have the fact that the Rockies own a .381 wOBA against lefties, that doesn’t make me feel much better either. Bumgarner could be a great GPP play, but I’m thinking this won’t be his best performance.
7) Kenta Maeda – LAD vs. TOR – $9,800 – Maeda has been fantastic in his first go around in the majors. Entering tonight, Maeda owns a 1.41 ERA to go with a 0.94 WHIP and a 28:6 K:BB ratio. He faces off against the Blue Jays tonight, who may finally be heating up. Over the past week, the Jays own a .335 wOBA with a .198 ISO, which ranks 7th in the league. The strikeouts have been down as well, checking in with 19.9 K% over the past week. That is why I’m not sold on Maeda tonight, but, with that being said, he could be a sneaky play here as well.
8) Chris Archer – TBR vs. LAA – $9,400 – Archer has very much been like Greinke this season. He teases us with a fantastic start and then goes back to whatever rut he’s been in. Coming into tonight, Archer owns a 5.01 ERA with a 1.58 WHIP and a 43:15 K:BB ratio. The Angels have not been great against right-handed pitching, owning a .293 wOBA with an ISO of .125. While that sounds great and all, these Angels simply don’t strike out much. They come into tonight with a 15.7 K%, which is the second lowest in the league. Archer may have his strikeouts going so far, but I simply can’t roster him with all the struggles he’s had so far with the potential of a low strikeout game.
9) Jordan Zimmermann – DET vs. TEX – $8,600 – No one can deny how well Zimmermann has pitched this season. The numbers don’t lie here. Zimmermann comes into this start with a dazzling 0.55 ERA with a 1.06 WHIP and a 23:7 K:BB ratio. That folks, is the reason for the low rank. Zimmermann only has a 6.2 K/9 against a Rangers team that doesn’t strike out much to begin with, as they own a 19.1 K%. His performance certainly doesn’t match his salary, which makes him a valuable pick tonight, but I think we have a lot better options on this slate.
10) Wei-Yin Chen – MIA vs. PHI – $9,000 – I actually like Chen a lot here, it’s just the amount of options we have to choose from. Chen takes on a Phillies team that ranks dead last in wOBA against lefties with a .231 wOBA. Also, they own the highest K% against lefties at 29.5%. Chen comes into tonight with a 6.8 K/9, which doesn’t exactly blow anyone away. I think he would be nice under the radar pick tonight and someone I’ll have some exposure to as well. Averaging 15.3 FPPG, I don’t think his ceiling is that high, which has me ranking him lower than he may deserve.