Oh boy, Thursday Night Football!! Tonight’s six-game baseball slate begins a few minutes earlier at 6:40 ET with the two games in Florida: The Dodgers at the Marlins and the Mariners at the Rays.
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).
Given that Fried is coming off a terrific start against the Dodgers (12 K’s through seven scoreless innings) and that he’s also one of the biggest favorites we’ve seen all year (-310 on FD) it’s hard not to imagine the crowd siding with him.
Plus, Fried is also significantly cheaper on DK. Castillo, though, is an interesting tournament pivot, especially on FD where he’s cheaper than Fried.
As far as the matchup goes, it’s a little interesting. The Cardinals have posted a .331 team wOBA in the second half (11th-best). The Rays, meanwhile, are just one rank behind at .329. The Rays have struck out a bit more at 23.6% as opposed to the Cardinals at 21.2%, so there’s some merit in clicking Castillo in tournaments especially.
Braxton Garrett’s ($8,200 DK, $8,100 FD) 19.7% K-BB% is nothing to sneeze at but there’s probably enough upside worth chasing against the Dodgers. Maybe it works out but I just can’t convince myself that it’s worth the gamble.
I’d much rather go after Carlos Rodón ($7,500 DK, $7,400 FD) as a cheap SP. Yes, his numbers on the year are atrocious but I think it’s more a product of knocking off the rust in what’s been a lost season.
He had an excellent 5.38 PLV in his last start against the Astros, providing us with perhaps a glimmer of hope that he’s poised to end the season on a good note. Plus, a home matchup against the Tigers is hard to ignore.
The Angels haven’t tabbed an official starter as of yet, but it could be Griffin Canning ($8,800 DK, $9,200 FD). If that’s the case, he’s absolutely worth a look given his 26.8% K rate. The Guardians, meanwhile, have managed a .298 team wOBA so far in the second half. That’s tied with the White Sox for the second-worst in baseball.
I don’t think any of the other options stand out all that much. I think Zack Littell might be playable as an SP 2 on DK at $6,200 but the Rays have kept him on a pretty tight leash pitch count wise, so it’s a really thin play even on a six-game slate.
I suppose Cal Quantrill might be a thing at $5,300 on DK given the state of the Angels lineup sans Shohei Ohtani. Still, I think I’d rather go after a cheap Angels bat or two rather than Quantrill given his lack of K upside.
We have to at least mention Javier Assad given his 2.69 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. He’s also racked up 14 K’s over his last two starts. Still, I’m not entirely excited given that his pitch quality metrics aren’t great (4.73 PLV). It could work, sure, but I’m not excited about it against a feisty DBacks team that’s fighting for a playoff spot.
A trip to Atlanta seems cruel at this point for Adam Wainwright who needs two more W’s to get to 200. At the risk of being an unabashed armchair manager, why not push him back one day to Cinci? The Reds have struggled a bit lately. Oh well.
Anyway, you don’t need me to tell you that Atlanta, is once again, the top stack. Just as an aside for Wainwright: the pitch quality metrics on his curveball are actually still very good (5.46 PLV). Hey, maybe Waino can survive this after all! No, no chance.
In all seriousness, I can’t/won’t talk you off anybody in Atlanta’s lineup. They will be incredibly popular, so the caveat is that you’ll have to be a little creative in tournaments.
On the other side of the game, I like Tyler O’Neill as a one-off in tournaments as he could provide some leverage against all the Fried lineups that we’ll likely be seeing tonight. The same could of course be said for Paul Goldschmidt who spoiled Spencer Strider’s start last night.
I suppose Vegas isn’t a huge fan of Ryne Nelson as the Cubs are massive home favorites (-180 on FD) against the D’Backs. That should put us on Cubs bats. Nelson’s 5.47 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, and 15.2% K rate don’t inspire a whole lot of confidence but his pitch quality metrics are respectable (5.18 PLV). So maybe, he’s deserved slightly better results.
Regardless, Cubs bats should be high on the list today. Cody Bellinger is priced sky-high right now and rightfully so; however, there might still be a buying opportunity for his teammate Seiya Suzuki, who is hitting .355 with a 1.116 OPS since the calendar turned to August.
As mentioned, Javier Assad has been remarkably effective and has limited opposing hitters to a .276 wOBA. Still, given his low K rate, I think you can at least consider some DBacks bats here despite them having an implied total of under four runs.
Corbin Carroll is an interesting contrarian pivot in tournaments against the righty Assad who is most likely more pedestrian than his ERA would indicate given his below-average PLV of 4.73. Also, Jordan Lawlar is your fun new prospect promotion of the night. Arizona’s new SS is the absolute minimum on DK and had himself a steamy summer with Triple-A Reno.
The Yankees also have a noteworthy implied total of just under five runs. It’s narrative on my part, but they have played better of late since Jasson Domínguez aka The Martian. Does that actually mean anything? Probably not.
Anyway, they’ll face Eduardo Rodriguez, who has pitched really well overall this season. However, he can get in trouble sometimes with walks and Yankee Stadium can be unforgiving at times. If you’re thinking about rostering Domínguez note that he’s shown noticeably better numbers as a lefty-hitter, so he’ll be at a disadvantage tonight against E-Rod and is probably worth fading in tournaments but I wanted to at least mention him.
What about DJ LeMahieu? I’m not entirely convinced there’s something substantive beyond his recent hot stretch but he’s a little interesting on FD mostly because you can play him at 2B or 3B. Not the case on DK, where he’s only 1B.
I’ll never argue against Aaron Judge who can break a slate on any given night. Strictly speaking, lefty-mashers don’t exist. However, Giancarlo Stanton’s .406 career wOBA against left-handers is a thing.
On the other side, Spencer Torkelson is an interesting tournament one-off if you want to assume that Rodón’s struggles continue.
As mentioned earlier, you have two horrifically unexciting things colliding with one another tonight in Anaheim: An Angels lineup without Shohei Ohtani and Cal Quantrill. I’d side with the Angels bat though, they are at least very cheap and can provide some salary relief.
Logan O’Hoppe is a decent catching option for DK. Keep an eye on Ohtani. It seems like he was very close to returning last night. The Angels have also been very late posting their lineups lately so he might be minimally rostered if he does return.