Happy Labor Day! Today’s seven-game slate begins at 2:10 ET with the Royals hosting the White Sox. The Cubs host the Giants at 2:20 ET and the five other games start at 4:05 ET. The weather looks pretty good across the board but as always be sure to double-check before locking.
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).
The D’Backs are the biggest favorite on the slate (-250 on FD) as they take on the Rockies, so Merrill Kelly ($9,300 DK, $10,300 FD) seems like a good SP to start with.
Kelly’s pitch quality metrics don’t jump off the page; his 4.95 PLV is actually a little below average. Still, at this point, I’m leaning toward his overwhelming body of work this season. Plus, a matchup against the Road Rockies is worth going after.
I’m a little surprised to see the Cubs with an implied total of just under five runs. They’ve been a good offense all year ranking 11th in team wOBA but we know Logan Webb is legit with a 3.49 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and a PLV inside the top ten among pitchers with at least 1,500 pitches thrown so their total seems high to me.
I guess that should make Webb somewhat contrarian on this slate especially as a road dog (118 on FD). Either way, Webb seems like a pretty decent option just not one that jumps off the page.
On the other side, you have Justin Steele. He’s been dependable all year and that’s an understatement. Anyways, he’s in a good spot against the Giants who have been a horrific offense against LHP with the fourth-worst team wOBA at .298, even worse than the Tigers.
Well, Cole Ragans starts off the week with a chance to pick apart a dilapidated White Sox lineup. They’re second to last in team wOBA. Things could get even better if Luis Robert Jr. is forced to miss today’s game with a quad injury.
In seven starts since joining the Royals rotation, Ragans has a 27.2% K-BB % with a 5.13 PLV. He looks like the easiest pick on the board as your SP 2 on DraftKings at $7,200.
Bryan Woo ($8,000 on DK and FD) is another tempting target against a Reds offense that’s tied with Oakland for the fifth-lowest team wOBA in August. The only problem with Woo is that it looks like the Mariners still have him under a pretty tight pitch count (69 his last time out) so he’s going to have to be really efficient to pay off.
I suppose we have to give Aaron Civale some credit; he’s got a pristine 2.64 ERA and 1.11 WHIP and he’s taken advantage of three good matchups in a row. Still, I wouldn’t want to buy high on a guy with a low strikeout ceiling against a tough offense like Boston. He seems like an easy fade on both sites.
José Berríos has a chance to rack up a ceiling game against the A’s. He looks especially appealing on DK at $8,800. Pairing him with Ragans seems like a pretty decent way to go and gives you plenty of money for bats.
I feel like we should at least mention Brayan Bello. He’s having a very respectable season but the lack of strikeouts lately paired with some other options around his price point, namely Ragans kind of pushes him down today’s list.
The D’Backs have the highest implied total on the slate in their matchup against shaky right-hander Peter Lambert. Expect to see a lot of lineups with Corbin Carroll and Ketel Marte considering Lambert’s brutal splits against LHB.
On that note, Alek Thomas might be a decent punt. Yes, I know he’s hitting .241 with a .675 OPS but he was a top prospect not too long ago, as in last year.
The Jays should score some runs against Ken Waldichuk and the A’s. The only knock on the Jays is that Oakland Coliseum is not a great place for power and ranks 26th in Statcast’s park fact for dingers.
Alejandro Kirk is a cheap option at catcher. He’s struggled this year but we know he’s a good hitter. He might not be in the lineup against a lefty but keep an eye out for Spencer Horwitz; he’s the absolute minimum on DK and is coming off a big game yesterday.
The Reds haven’t tabbed an official starter yet and it looks light it might be an opener situation. Regardless, the GABP remains the top spot for home runs, so the Mariners are worth circling today.
J-Rod goes without saying if you can squeeze him do it. Dominic Canzone is an interesting option; he’s cheap and showed off some very good pop in the minors with Arizona before he was dealt in the Paul Sewald trade. And of course, Cal Raleigh has the most power upside at catcher.
The Royals have got an implied total of well over five runs and are poised to tee off against a beatable righty in Jesse Scholtens and whoever is lurking in the White Sox’s tattered bullpen.
Of course, this is a great spot for Bobby Witt Jr. but also the rest of the Royals, including Salvador Perez, MJ Melendez, and Michael Massey. It also looks like there might be some wind blowing out in KC so this could turn into a slugfest. And no, that still wouldn’t push me off Ragans. He’s too good!
Edit: I forgot to mention the HOU/TEX game. J.P. France and Andrew Heaney have had their fair share of struggles, so this game has a decent chance of blowing up with good lineups on either side. Heaney can combust from time to time with the best of them so I’d probably side with the Astros. The Rangers’ bullpen has really struggled lately so there’s that too. I feel like this game has a decent chance of being overlooked somewhat making it an interesting game for tournaments.