Thursday brings us a split slate with only three night games so we’ll look at the seven-game afternoon slate. Note that FanDuel has omitted the Diamondbacks/Nationals game beginning at 4:05 EST from their main slate.
Top Tier Pitching
Note: As we go through tonight’s pitching options, you’ll find their line from their previous outing, and in the table above you’ll find their stats from last season.
Kevin Gausman: ($8,900 DK, $9,900 FD): @ NYY (L) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 83 pitches.
Considering his reduced salary, Gausman looks like one of the stronger options of the slate on DraftKings. He’ll face the Red Sox at Fenway, not an ideal spot by any means, but they could potentially be without J.D. Martinez, who left last night’s game with an injury. After a quiet Blue Jay debut against the Rangers, he faced the Yankees in his second start and looked much more like the guy we saw last year with the Giants.
Dylan Cease: ($10,100 DK, $10,300 FD): vs TB (W) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 91 pitches.
One of last year’s biggest breakouts, Cease carries as much strikeout upside as anyone, although he can sometimes get in trouble with walks. The hard-throwing righty is coming off a sharp start against the Rays his last time out and gets the Guardians this afternoon. Just like everyone predicted, the Guardians are actually the best offense in baseball by team wOBA, although I think we can expect that to come down a bit. Cease and the White Sox are the second-largest favorites on the board behind the Yankees.
Carlos Carrasco: ($ 9,800 DK, $ 10,100 FD): vs ARI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 82 pitches.
The Mets have to be pleased with Carrasco’s last outing as he looked more like the guy he was back in his glory days in Cleveland after struggling last season. Still, I’m a bit surprised to see his salary spike so quickly and I don’t think it accounts for his volatility given the rough season he’s coming off of, so I think fading Cookie in favor of Cease and Gausman at their near even salaries makes the most sense. Carrasco faces the Giants, not the toughest lineup by any means but they do have a few hitters that have a long history of hitting RHP well including Joc Pederson, Brandon Crawford, and Brandon Belt.
Joe Ryan: ($9,300 DK, $8,200 FD): @ BOS (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 82 pitches.
The former Rays prospect held the Red Sox down in his last start and faces the Royals, the team that is tied with the Astros for the second-lowest team K rate at 18.4%. He looks like a stronger option on FanDuel where he comes at a more appreciable discount relative to Gausman and Cease.
Tanner Houck: ($7,800 DK, $7,900 FD): vs MIN (W) – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 89 pitches.
Jordan Montgomery: ($6,900 DK, $7,800 FD): @ BAL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 71 pitches.
Paul Blackburn: ($8,600 DK, $7,600 FD): @ TOR (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 73 pitches.
Anthony DeSclafani: ($8,000 DK, $8,700 FD): @ CLE (ND) – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 64 pitches.
Houck gets a tough assignment against the Jays, but potentially working in his favor is that he’ll face a predominantly right-handed lineup and he struck righties out at an impressive 36.5% clip. This feels like a tournament spot; Houck certainly has strikeout ability, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the Jays can ruin any pitcher’s day, just ask Gerrit Cole.
Montgomery hasn’t shown much yet in his first two starts of the season, but he’s affordable and makes sense as an SP 2 on DraftKings. The Yankees are the biggest favorite of the day and the Tigers have thus far the sixth-highest team K rate at 25.6%.
Blackburn has had a couple of decent starts but probably isn’t that good, at least based on what we saw of him last year in nine starts. Still, he’s worth mentioning because the Orioles are thus far baseball’s most strikeout-prone team with a K rate north of 28%.
Bats and Stacks
- CWS (4.4 implied run total) at CLE Zach Plesac (RHP) 11.0 K-BB%, 4.67 ERA, 1.20 WHIP: The White Sox lineup has plenty of power and faces a capable but combustible pitcher making them a team that’s well suited for tournaments.
- NYY (4.9 implied run total) at DET Michael Pineda (RHP) 14.6 K-BB%, 3.62 ERA, 1.23 WHIP: The Yankees face their old friend Pineda, who is actually making his first start of the year so it’s fair to wonder how rusty he might be. This Yankee offense has gotten off to a painfully slow start, however, there is no denying their power potential. Facing a righty who has had his fair share of home run woes in Pineda, this could be a decent time to buy low on Joey Gallo on both sites. Recently catapulted to the leadoff spot after a strong start to the season, Aaron Hicks, has always shown strong OBP skills and is another potential value.
- WSN (4.6 implied run total) vs ARI Zach Davies (RHP) 5.8 K-BB%, 5.78 ERA, 1.60 WHIP: Davies is easily one of the weakest pitchers on the board and struggled last year with the Cubs allowing a .356 wOBA to LHB and a .373 wOBA to RHB. Leadoff man César Hernández is a strong value play on DraftKings at $3,400. Nelson Cruz and Josh Bell are affordable options with power upside for all formats. Juan Soto is, of course, one of the top plays on the board facing a weak RHP.
- MIN (4.3 implied run total) at KC Zack Greinke (RHP) 12.1 K-BB%, 4.16 ERA, 1.17 WHIP: Greinke has just one strikeout through his first two starts. It’s not the most exciting Twins lineup without Byron Buxton but along with the mainstays at the top in Carlos Correa and Jorge Polanco, there are some cheap darts with power including Gio Urshela, Trevor Larnach, Miguel Sanó, and Gary Sánchez.
*Note: All stats referenced are from last season.
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