Thursday slates have been pretty small for the most part. But not tonight! We’ve got ten games to look at. Well, nine on FanDuel, where they’ve crossed off the Pirates/Reds doubleheader. Dylan Cease matched up against the lowly Tigers highlights a top tier that also includes Joe Musgrove, Tony Gonsolin, and Gerrit Cole. The key on DraftKings, though, will be figuring out what to do at SP 2; the bargain options are frightening to put it nicely.
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 this season.
Dylan Cease: ($9,800 DK, $10,400 FD): @ SF (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 104 pitches.
Tony Gonsolin: ($9,400 DK, $10,000 FD): vs SD (W) – 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 42% CSW, 92 pitches.
Joe Musgrove: ($9,700 DK, $11,100 FD): @ LAD (L) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 98 pitches.
Gerrit Cole: ($10,200 DK, $10,900 FD): @ CLE (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 107 pitches.
Based on his matchup against the Tigers, who have the second-worst team wOBA in baseball at .279, Dylan Cease looks like the slam dunk option in the top tier. He also owns the second-highest K rate of the slate this year at 34.3%.
Gerrit Cole could be an interesting tournament option; he should not be popular, especially on DK where he’s the most expensive arm on the board. He would get a big boost if Rafael Devers misses the game tonight (hamstring, back).
Joe Musgrove is coming off a fantastic start against the Dodgers and he might not be rostered as much as he deserves to be with most rosters looking to Cease who has posted huge scores in two of his last three outings. The former Pirate will face the Giants who just lost one of their better power hitters in Evan Longoria.
The Dodgers and Tony Gonsolin are the biggest favorites on the board (-275) as they’ll face the Cubs, who have been a surprisingly decent team, offensively at least, with a .319 team wOBA, tied with the Mets for ninth in baseball. However, they could also still be down their best hitter in Willson Contreras. While Gonsolin has almost certainly overachieved, it’s hard to argue with his salary on DraftKings which for some reason dropped $900 after his latest start, where he needed just 92 pitches to cover 23 outs.
Spencer Strider: ($8,500 DK, $ 8,600 FD): @ CIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks – 24 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 93 pitches.
Logan Webb: ($8,900 DK, $ 9,700 FD): vs CWS (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 101 pitches.
Jordan Lyles ($6,900 DK, $9,300 FD): @ MIN (ND) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 100 pitches.
Bryse Wilson ($5,400 DK): vs MIL (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 85 pitches.
The bottom tier is a mess so there’s plenty of merit in taking your favorite pitcher in the top four and plugging in Spencer Strider. He’ll get the Cardinals who have been a decent offense and are tied 11th with the Brewers in team wOBA at .318. The hard-throwing rookie has the highest K rate on the board at 37.3%, although that might be a touch inflated since he spent a portion of the season as a reliever. Regardless, he’s been excellent other than one dud against the Giants and is the second-biggest favorite on the board (-225).
Logan Webb is an interesting pivot in tournaments at just a few hundred dollars more on DK; He’s pitched really well lately and if he can silence Manny Machado‘s bat, he’ll find a Padres lineup that’s not too deep.
Things get really dicey as you go below $8,000 in search of an SP 2 on DraftKings. Marco Gonzales, Josh Winckowski, Dallas Keuchel, and Mark Leiter Jr. are all easy cross-offs. The Mets are strong favorites tonight (-180) against the Marlins, but Trevor Williams isn’t terribly exciting (career 4.41 ERA) and threw just 59 pitches in his last outing. Jordan Lyles is there if you want to gamble on the Angels and their league-worst 26.2% team K rate. Over the past month, they’ve also recorded the second-lowest team wOBA at .282. But that could easily backfire considering Lyles’ 5.19 xERA and .368 xwOBA.
Austin Gomber is another name that might work out. But that’s more of an indictment on the rest of the options; he’s been dreadful and is also facing the D-Backs for the second start in a row which gives me another reason to want to cross him off too. On DraftKings, I’m a little interested in Bryse Wilson against the Reds; it’s scary but if you’re going cheap at SP 2, I’m thinking you might as well go all the way down and hope for the best. It is the second leg of a double header so we could see the Reds rest a starter. But then again, it’s the Great American Ball Park, and he has a 7.49 ERA, so there’s a very real chance for negative points.
Bats and Stacks
- LAD (5.4 implied run total) vs CHC Mark Leiter Jr. (RHP) 4.85 ERA, 1.25 WHIP: The Dodgers were stifled by José Ureña of all pitchers last night so maybe they come in a little lower than they might otherwise against another shaky RHP. Based on his track record, Max Muncy seems too cheap on FD.
- ATL (5.4 implied run total) vs STL Matthew Liberatore (LHP) 5.66 ERA, 1.79 WHIP: The Cardinals’ young southpaw has struggled through his first five starts with an elevated walk rate and an 11.6% barrel rate. That could easily spell trouble against an Atlanta lineup that has banged out the second-most home runs in baseball. Marcell Ozuna, Orlando Arcia, and Adam Duvall will have the platoon advantage and are cheap bats toward the bottom of the order; Ozuna in particular stands out as a potential positive regression candidate (.380 xwOBA). At the top, Ronald Acuña Jr. stands out as one of the best spends on the slate.
- NYY (4.9 implied run total) at BOS Josh Winckowski (RHP) 3.19 ERA, 1.39 WHIP: After banging out 16 runs last night, the Yankees won’t be sneaking up on anyone as they face a young, unproven starter at Fenway Park with a shaky bullpen behind him. Josh Donaldson is a potential punt play at $2,500 on FD.
- COL (5.2 implied run total) at Dallas Keuchel (LHP) 8.27 ERA, 2.11 WHIP: One of the rare times we’ll see the Rockies with an implied total over five runs as they face the ghost of Dallas Keuchel. They could be a potential leverage stack in tournaments.
- TOR (n/a implied run total) at Marco Gonzales (LHP) 3.29 ERA, 1.32 WHIP: Maybe a sneaky spot for the Jays considering its a sleepy spot on the road at Seattle; Gonzales has been the beneficiary of some luck based on his 13.0% K rate and 4.74 xERA. At the very least, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. sticks out at just $4,800 on DraftKings.
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