Today’s slate starts early, with Atlanta finishing their series against Arizona at 12:20 pm ET and includes the SEA/MIN game at 3:40 pm ET.
Today’s SPs and 2023 Stats
A quick note on PLV: If you’re curious about its intricacies, check out Nick’s primer. A quick summary: PLV is a quantifier that uses several variables to assess the quality of each individual pitch; the higher the value, the better the pitch. PLA is the ERA equivalent to PLV (the lower, the better).
*Quintana hasn’t pitched this year. These are his stats from 2022.
Spencer Strider leads all qualified pitchers with a 31.4% K-BB% and has the highest floor of any pitcher. But if you don’t feel like spending top dollar, there are some very good options lower down that could pay dividends.
Zac Gallen is tied-12th among qualified SPs with a 21.1% K-BB% but he gets a brutal matchup against Atlanta, the team that leads baseball with a .356 wOBA.
Blake Snell hasn’t allowed an earned run over his last three starts, the only blemish being 10 walks. Consider this: Since June 1st, a span of eight starts, he has a 0.57 ERA and 0.89 WHIP with a 43.1% K rate. However, if you want to play Devil’s Advocate, he also has a 99.5% LOB% during that stretch. You know that won’t last and the walks are a little more than you’d like. I’m always a little leery with things like his current 21-inning scoreless streak because they always seem to end in a gruesome fashion. But putting my irrational fears aside, the $9,000 tag on DraftKings is a pretty decent discount relative to Strider at the top ($12,600). Snell gets a tough test against a righty-heavy Jays lineup that has the fifth-lowest team K rate.
After getting hammered by the Tigers of all teams, George Kirby gets a chance at redemption. I really like him as a buy-low on DraftKings at $8,300. While Kirby isn’t generally someone who racks up a ton of strikeouts, he could get a boost today by facing a Twins team that has the worst K rate in baseball at 26.9%.
Pablo López has a career-high 30.2% K rate and is fifth in PLV among all pitchers, with at least 1,000 pitches thrown. He is at a weird price point on DraftKings at $10,400; I’d guess that you’d see more rosters pay all the way up for Strider or go down to Snell at $9,000, which might leave López relatively overlooked, especially considering that he’s coming off a dud against Oakland. He’s in a bounce-back spot against the Mariners, who have the second-highest team K rate in baseball.
Alex Cobb and Andrew Abbott have ERAs under 3.00, but I want to fade both of them given that it’s the Great American Ball Park, and both teams have an implied total of around five runs. If forced to choose between the two, I’d go with Abbott, as he’ll face a Giants lineup that has the fifth-highest K rate in baseball. This seems like a boom/bust play best suited for tournaments.
Michael Kopech missed about two weeks with shoulder inflammation and then looked rough in his return against Atlanta. Yes, it’s Atlanta and they’ve been basically doing that to everyone, but even so, I think it makes sense to fade Kopech until he shows that he’s in the clear. He’ll face the Mets. They aren’t a great offense but they don’t strike out a whole lot (21.2%, sixth-lowest).
Michael Lorenzen is your matchup du jour against the Royals and their dreadful .292 team wOBA (second-lowest). Given his $5,500 tag on DK and that he’s coming off a great start against Seattle, he should be very popular, which might make him a calculated fade in tournaments.
Corbin Burnes‘ K-BB% has tumbled from 24.1% to 15.9% this season. However, he’s coming off a season-high 13 Ks, so this could be a buy-low opportunity. The Phillies have a lot of power in their lineup and an implied team total of just under five runs, so this isn’t a slam dunk by any means, but my guess is that he ends up being really popular on DK at $8,500.
Taijuan Walker ($7,300) is another matchup play against the Brewers and their .303 team wOBA (fifth-lowest).
The pitching in today’s slate is pretty good, so there aren’t a lot of clear spots to go for bats, especially with Atlanta going against a tough customer in Zac Gallen.
The Great American Ball Park is always a good place to go home run hunting. Alex Cobb’s 2.82 ERA masks the fact that his splitter hasn’t been as good this year; Its PLA has regressed from 2.32 to 3.52. Cobb has struck out just 13.8% of LHB this year, so consider Elly De La Cruz, Jake Fraley, and Joey Votto.
Andrew Abbott will start for the Reds and he’s been terrific with a 2.45 ERA and 27% K rate. While I’m tempted to say there’s regression headed his way considering his fastball’s 4.17 PLA, the Giants don’t really have too many exciting righty bats. Still, it is the Great American Ball Park, so Wilmer Flores or J.D. Davis could be potential darts if you’re multi-entering.
As mentioned, Kopech didn’t look too sharp in his first start off the IL, so the Mets are another lineup to pick from and they also have the highest implied team total of the slate at over five runs. Pete Alonso has been quiet lately, which might make him an overlooked option at first base. Tommy Pham is sporting a .359 wOBA, the highest we’ve seen from him since 2018, and remains affordable on both sites.
On the other side, José Quintana was very good last season but it’s certainly fair to wonder how sharp he might be in his return from a rib injury, so this might be an upside spot for the likes of Luis Robert Jr. and Jake Burger.
The Tigers’ lineup is a decent spot to look for value bats, thanks to their matchup against Zack Greinke’s 1.29 WHIP and 16.4% K rate. Greinke is also returning from a bout with shoulder tendinitis, so he might be rusty. Tigers OF Kerry Carpenter has shown impressive power (65 via PLV) and is cheap on both sites.
If you’re multi-entering in tournaments and looking for a contrarian angle, Burnes should be pretty popular, given that he’s coming off a huge performance. The Phillies, meanwhile, have the power to tilt a slate, so it’s an interesting boom/bust scenario that might really pay off.