The final Thursday before football invades our lives greets us with…three games. Well, hey, at least it doesn’t look like we have to worry about any rain. I think. But double-check just in case.
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).
Yikes, three games. Well, I think we can agree that Spencer Strider is the best pitcher on the slate. The question is he worth it against the Dodgers? I’m kidding. That’s not a question. We click Strider and move on.
Joan Adon and Pedro Avila are the two options at the bottom. In fairness to Adon, he pitched pretty well against the Marlins in his last start but the skills are, uh, not what we’re looking for, to say the least. How does a career 6.41 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, and 19.5% K rate sound? And in case you’re curious, his minor league numbers don’t inspire excitement either: A 4.62 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, and 10.4% K-BB% across 17 with Triple-A Rochester.
The Giants have the fourth-highest team K rate at 25%, so I guess in theory that would work in Avila’s favor. But then there’s the fact that he threw only 78 pitches, and he’s, well, Pedro Avila. Which is to say, I’m not sure if the juice is worth the squeeze. Probably not.
On the other side, the Giants don’t have an official starter listed but it seems like we’re looking at an opener spot with the likes of Ryan Walker followed by potentially Sean Manaea. Manaea in that case might be a little interesting at $5,000 on DraftKings. Hey, I said might. And besides, we don’t really have a lot to look at.
Do we go with Lance Lynn or Braxton Garrett as an SP2? That seems like the question on this slate. In terms of pitch quality metrics, Garrett (5.05 overall PLV) has been slightly better than Lynn (5.00 PLV). Plus, Garrett doesn’t have to deal with the best offense in baseball, so I’d rather go with him despite Lynn’s recent surge with L.A. And I’m also a little spooked by Lynn’s last start against the Red Sox: just seven whiffs on 94 pitches (7.4% SwStr).
Well, it finally happened. It took until the final day of August but we’ve finally reached a slate where the Marlins, yes, the fish, have the top implied score on the board at just under five runs. Josh Bell has been quiet lately but he’s priced to move on both sites ($3,600 DK, $2,800 FD). Jesús Sánchez is a boom/bust option near the bottom of the order. He might be interesting mostly because Adon has allowed a .374 wOBA to LHB in his career. The same goes for Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Luis Arraez at the top of the order.
If you’re not stacking Jake Burger in your lineups, Carter Kieboom is a 3B punt on the other side. He’s not terribly exciting but he was a top prospect once upon a time and he’ll at least have the platoon advantage against Garrett.
Of course, we don’t want to pick on Strider, but, hey, it’s a three-game slate so we have to be a little creative. In that case, if I’m randomly picking one of the cheap Dodger platoon bats, I’d go with Jason Heyward mostly because he’s shown at least average-ish pop with a really low K rate. Plus, there’s also the revenge factor. Sure, it’s going on 100 years ago now but, c’mon you don’t think he remembers? No? Fine.
On the other side, Lance Lynn’s struggles against left-handers in particular are well documented, so Matt Olson seems like a good idea. Speaking of left-handers, I was a little curious to see if Atlanta might keep Michael Harris II second in the order against RHP when Ozzie Albies came back. I got my answer a couple of nights ago: No. A little surprising given Albies’ career splits (145 wRC+ vs. LHP and 96 vs. RHP). Oh well. I still like Harris at the bottom of the order for tournaments at least. As mentioned earlier, Lynn didn’t miss many bats in his latest start or actually in his start against the Brewers either, so him getting shelled by Atlanta wouldn’t be altogether surprising.
Atlanta is a pretty decent road favorite (-136 on FD) so they’ve got the clear edge in implied run total in this game. On the flip side, that should mean that the really expensive Dodger bats like Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts should be pretty low in roster percentage if you just want to take the contrarian angle.
I feel like the Padres might be ignored, relatively speaking, because they’re likely facing an opener/bullpen scenario. That tends to suppress roster percentages a little bit, so there might be a little extra value in going after Juan Soto and/or Fernando Tatis Jr. And, of course, Ha-Seong Kim, who once again looks too cheap on FD.
On the other side of this game, it’s hard to get excited about the Giants lineup even against a guy like Avila since they don’t have much firepower these days. Yes, I know Wilmer Flores has been pretty good lately. If I’m chasing a random home run here it’s Joc Pederson: he’s always crushed righties and his batted ball metrics have been very good this year.