Saturday night’s main slate features a surprising amount of potential pitchers to pick from considering it’s only six games. And that could be whittled down to five as the weather in Chicago is looking like a potential problem as the Cubs continue to play host to the visiting Cardinals.
The Top Tier
Freddy Peralta leads the way tonight with a 35.4% K rate on the year. However, it comes with an elevated walk rate of 11.5% so there’s a little added volatility to his profile perhaps more so tonight considering the Reds do have a .326 team wOBA (seventh). Still, he’s a strong option for any format considering his tremendous ability to miss bats.
The biggest favorite on the board by a landslide (-305), Walker Buehler is probably the safest among the top three tonight. He’s been fantastic from a run prevention standpoint this year, however, his strikeout ability has been a little underwhelming relative to his salary. In a vacuum, he’s perhaps a touch overpriced. The context, though, really gives him a boost tonight against a punchless D-Backs lineup that he’s already dominated twice so far this season.
Gerrit Cole is the GPP special here considering he’s coming off of two duds and going against one of the toughest lineups in baseball. Tonight’s Astros/Yankees game has all the narratives doesn’t it? Revenge, two rivals, and a pitcher who I’m sure wants nothing more than to squelch the narrative that his dominance was predicated by sticky stuff.
Two consecutive clunkers have afforded us an opportunity to buy low on Joe Musgrove. He gets the ultimate bounce back opportunity as a strong home favorite against the visiting Rockies whose team wOBA on the road of .258 ranks dead last by a considerable margin, the Pirates being second at .280. There’s simply too much value in his current salary considering his strong underlying skills (31.4% CSW, 23.1% K-BB%) and a matchup with the road Rockies that puts a ceiling type performance firmly in play.
Patrick Sandoval has continued to impress in his extended look as a starter and he leads tonight’s options with a 16.8% SwStr rate. In his previous outing against the Mariners, the Irish Panada tallied ten strikeouts on the back of a 39.6% whiff rate. The Mariners have been an offense we’ve been streaming against all season and given Sandoval’s very real strikeout upside (32% CSW on the year) he makes him a strong play for all formats. I suspect that we may see quite a bit of the Sandoval/Musgrove pairing tonight on DraftKings. For more on Sandoval, be sure to check out Cole Bailey’s Going Deep article from just last week in case you missed it.
Germán Márquez has been on a roll lately and, while he gets a tough matchup against the Padres (.319 team wOBA, 12th) he at the very least doesn’t have to contend with the perpetual agony that is pitching at Coors Field. He’s shown strikeout ability while holding opposing batters to just a .298 xwOBA putting him on the radar for tournaments.
In terms of K-BB%, Zach Davies is the worst among tonight’s probables but it’s difficult to be too terribly excited about the Cardinals offense that’s managed a thoroughly anemic .296 team wOBA (fourth worst). And the weather is looking pretty dreadful in Wrigley Field tonight too with cold temperatures, rain, and the wind blowing in.
The Brewers are just behind the Dodgers tonight with an implied total of just over five runs. Vladimir Gutierrez has had some decent starts, but overall he carries a very shaky 7.7% K-BB% into tonight’s contest, his third against the Brewers. With the low strikeouts comes an elevated .350 xwOBA allowed, so there’s some appeal with the Brewers tonight. Outside of Christian Yelich, Willy Adames has impressed with his play of late following his trade from Tampa Bay. From the leadoff spot, Luis Urías is an exceptional value on FanDuel at $2,600. Rowdy Tellez is someone worth keeping a close eye on moving forward following his trade from Toronto. He’s shown tremendous raw power but it hasn’t translated quite yet this year, sporadic playing time I’m sure hasn’t helped. He’s a potential upside punt play for tournaments. And the same can be said for Keston Hiura, who gains some appeal tonight against an arm like Gutierrez who isn’t a big strikeout guy.
The Dodgers are the other team tonight installed with an implied total above five runs. They’ll face the lefty Caleb Smith, so most eyes will be drawn to the righties in Justin Turner and Will Smith, who are just way too cheap on FanDuel. And, of course, Mookie Betts from the leadoff spot. Smith hasn’t pitched poorly by any means so far as he’s shown a 26.4% K rate to go along with a respectable 4.45 xERA. He can get in trouble with free passes though, and as we know this Dodgers lineup can put up runs in a blink. Smith’s bullpen won’t be doing him much favors either so don’t forget about the lefties here, especially in tournaments.
From a tournament standpoint, the Astros/Yankee game features some bats that could be underrepresented based on their upside. While most lineups won’t want to touch Cole considering his recent performance, Astros bats will probably also be faded by most lineups. So there’s a potential buying scenario here for someone like Yordan Álvarez or Kyle Tucker, who is very affordable on DraftKings. On the other side of this game, Zack Greinke still carries name recognition, however a slide in K rate has made him a little more vulnerable than in years past. Aaron Judge and the Yankees have the power potential to impact tournaments.
Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)