Happy Saturday! We’ve got a ten-game slate to look at tonight. Note that DraftKings has opted to include the Boston/Toronto game which is the second half of a double-header. I’m going to ignore that game here.
The Top Tier
Brandon Woodruff leads the way with a 30% K rate on the nose. The Giants have been a productive offense this year (.331 team wOBA vs RHP, 5th) but they’ve also struck out at a 25.7% clip in that split, tied with the Rays for third-highest. Woodruff has also thrown over 100 pitches in each of his last four starts.
At a little bit of a discount off of Woodruff, I’m a big fan of Charlie Morton. Especially on FanDuel where he’s priced at just $8,700. He finds himself as a massive home favorite (-250) against a Nationals lineup that was taken apart at the deadline. They could also be without Juan Soto again tonight (knee).
Julio Urías is a massive favorite tonight against the Angels, who could be without Shohei Ohtani in the N.L. park. The only real drawback with Urías is his pitch count as he’s been held to under 90 in three of his last four starts. You know the Dodgers will continue to be cautious with Urías as this is, by far, the most innings he’s ever thrown.
Among starters with a minimum of 70 IP, Shane McClanahan is eighth in SwStr% at 15.8% just behind Corbin Burnes. He’s not going to go too far past 90 pitches, but there’s no denying his ability to miss bats. He’s the biggest road favorite road favorite on the board (-198) and looks like a good value on DraftKings at $8,500.
Yu Darvish is the second-biggest favorite on the board (-287). After a disappointing start against the road Rockies his last time out, he’ll get a chance to bounce back against the Diamondbacks and their .293 team wOBA vs RHP (28th).
The value tier tonight has several options none of which really stand out as they all seem to have some sort of drawback. Austin Gomber has been one of the few bright spots for the Rockies this year. He has shown a pretty decent K rate of 23.9% and gets the Marlins who are dead-last in team wOBA against LHP at .287 while also having the highest team K rate in that split at 27.9%. But Gomber will have to deal with the hazard that is Coors Field and he’s coming off of a rough outing that saw him finish just a single inning, needing 40 pitches to do so.
We’re just three starts into Josiah Gray’s career so there’s not much to look at. Given the lack of any clear option in the value tier, Gray is an interesting gamble based on his prospect status and MiLB track record (35.1% K-BB with Triple-A Oklahoma City, 15.2 IP). Still, it comes with a tight pitch count as he has yet to go over 80, so it’s probably best to take a wait and see approach here especially given that it’s just his second start with a new franchise.
Vladimir Gutierrez is another potential option given that the Reds are strong home favorites (-179). The Pirates aren’t a bad matchup either (.296 team wOBA vs RHP, 27th). But, he comes with a 15.8% K rate and, yeah, that’s not what we’re looking for.
Kwang-hyun Kim seems like a reasonably safe option in this tier. Kim has just an 18.4% K rate so there’s not a ton of upside in that respect, but he’s a strong favorite (-166) and gets the benefit of facing a weak Royals lineup (.310 team wOBA vs LHP, 23rd) without the DH.
Eli Morgan is a very interesting option. Nine strikeouts in his last start against the Jays backed by a 31.5% CSW should definitely draw your attention. Morgan’s calling card is a changeup that has thus far returned a respectable whiff rate just under 30%. He’s done a very good job in limiting free passes too with just a 3.7% BB rate through his first eight starts. However, he’s struggled with loud contact, coughing up a 12.6% barrel rate and .340 xwOBA, so there’s the rub. Given that the Tigers will strikeout (26.3% team K rate vs RHP, fourth highest) and that he’s shown off a strong 22.4% K-BB, Morgan is the option I’m most intrigued by in this tier. Though, make no mistake, the floor is a trap door. But, then again, you can really say that about all the options in this price range.
Bats and Stacks
- TB (5.9) at Spenser Watkins (RHP) 6.4% K-BB, .315 xwOBA, 1.31 WHIP, 4.22 xERA: Watkins is a 28-year-old rookie who hasn’t shown much through five starts, including just a 16.5% K rate. At hitter friendly Camden Yards and installed with an implied total just under six runs, the Rays are a lineup worth targeting in all formats. Although, Brandon Lowe seems overpriced on DraftKings at $6,100 making him more of a tournament target. Take advantage of Nelson Cruz on FanDuel ($3,500).
- CIN (5.9) vs Mitch Keller (RHP) 9.6% K-BB, .369 xwOBA, 1.78 WHIP, 6.05 xERA: You may have missed it, but Mitch Keller made his return this past Monday following his exile to Triple-A Indianapolis back in June. The results were not encouraging as he returned just a 20% CSW across five innings while allowing four earned runs to the Phillies. Keller hasn’t given us much reason to believe in a sudden turnaround from his career 6.34 ERA and 1.70 WHIP (122 IP). This year the Reds have been one of the more productive lineups in baseball with a .330 team wOBA (fourth). And if you like to keep tabs on more recent samples, that number jumps to .387 over the past two weeks, first by a huge margin with the Rockies being 2nd at .347. At home in the launching pad that is GABP, the Reds should be popular across all formats, although probably less so on DraftKings where they will cost you an arm and a leg. Example being Mike Moustakas, who just returned from the IL, being priced at $6,200.
- LAD (5.5) vs Jaime Barria (RHP) 0% K-BB, .364 xwOBA, 1.17 WHIP, 5.86 xERA: Barria has allowed a .350 xwOBA to both RHB and LHB this season along with a K-BB of, yeah, 0%. Yikes. Fire away with any and all Dodgers in all formats. They could also be getting Trea Turner for this game. How the rich get richer.
- COL (5.8) vs Jesús Luzardo (LHP) 13.3% K-BB, .334 xwOBA, 1.60 WHIP, 4.81 xERA: The Rockies get the benefit of Coors Field tonight and are installed as the favorite with an implied team total just under six runs. It’s never this simple, but I do get the feeling that variance has been overly cruel to Luzardo this year with a .386 wOBA allowed against a .334 xwOBA and 6.70 ERA versus a 4.81 xERA. You can, of course, target Rockies, but at the same time Luzardo probably hasn’t been as bad as his surface stats would indicate.
- SD (5.2) vs Taylor Widener (RHP) 12.8% K-BB, .355 xwOBA, 1.46 WHIP, 5.52 xERA: Widener hasn’t given us much reason to avoid targeting bats against him. Manny Machado is a spend-up option for tournaments at 3B. While Trent Grisham has put together a few hits lately and is worth targeting at a depressed price on DraftKings ($3,600).
- CLE (5.4) vs Tyler Alexander (LHP) 12.9% K-BB, .338 xwOBA, 1.37 WHIP, 4.94 xERA: Alexander has allowed a .380 wOBA (.360 xwOBA) to RHB putting Franmil Reyes and José Ramírez on the board for tournaments. Harold Ramírez is a decent put here too.
- HOU (5.3) vs Michael Pineda (RHP) 15.8% K-BB, .324 xwOBA, 1.21 WHIP, 4.49 xERA: Pineda hasn’t been all that bad but given that this has been one of the best lineups in baseball (.336 team wOBA, second) there’s appeal here for stacking in tournaments. Kyle Tucker is too cheap on DraftKings ($3,700).
- STL (4.8) vs Brad Keller (RHP) 8.5% K-BB, .379 xwOBA, 1.68 WHIP, 6.45 xERA: Brad Keller’s numbers on the whole are still an eyesore, but he has righted the ship some recently. Tyler O’Neill is priced really affordably on DraftKings and is always a great GPP target against pitchers with low K rates like Keller.
Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)