Happy Cinco de Mayo! We’ve got a small, six-game slate to look at tonight. There are plenty of pitching options across the board starting with Aaron Nola in an NL East showdown with the Mets beginning at 6:45 PM EST.
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 combined stats from the 2021-22 seasons.
Shane McClanahan : ($9,700 DK, $ 10,100 FD): vs MIN (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 90 pitches.
Logan Webb: ($9,400 DK, $ 10,300 FD): vs WSH (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 11 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 95 pitches.
Strikeouts are everything in DFS. So in that case, the choice between Webb and McClanahan looks like a no-contest on paper. We’re still at the point in the season where a couple of strange starts can really skew things, but I don’t think you can simply ignore Webb’s 15.9% K rate thus far. Meanwhile, McClanahan has seemingly done nothing but make guys miss with a sensational 39.3% K rate through his first five starts. But, that will undoubtedly be a popular refrain across the DFS sphere, so in that sense, Webb is your pivot in tournaments.
Aaron Nola: ($8,000 DK, $9,900 FD): @ NYM (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 94 pitches.
Robbie Ray: ($8,800 DK, $8,900 FD):@ MIA (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 87 pitches.
Nola sure looks underpriced on DraftKings, doesn’t he? Six innings, no walks, nine strikeouts in his last start, and yet his price dropped. Sure, it wasn’t a CGSO or anything overly dominant on the surface but a 48% CSW% on his curveball is sublime. Considering the dip in salary and that he was probably already underpriced relative to his talent level, I think we can expect to see plenty of Nola lineups on DK in all formats. If you want to play the roster percentage angle in tournaments, it will, oddly enough, be his third start of the year already against the Mets, the early season juggernauts of the NL who have the fourth lowest K rate in the majors at 19.9%. So maybe that’s a reason to fade him? But then again, he had no problem putting up a representative score against them in his last start.
If you bought into Ray for season-long formats, you’ve been left a little disappointed so far. His K rate is down from 32.1% last year to 20.8% this year. But the lefty gets a plus matchup for strikeouts as the visiting Tampa Rays have struck out at a 24% clip, eleventh most in baseball.
José Urquidy: ($7,800 DK, $6,800 FD): @ TOR (W) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 90 pitches.
Jesús Luzardo: ($8,500 DK, $9,100 FD): vs SEA (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 91 pitches.
Urquidy held his own against the Jays in his last start, perhaps even more so considering his four-seamer returned an impressive 39.5% CSW%. Tonight, he’ll face a much less formidable opponent in the Tigers (.289 team wOBA, 21st in baseball) with the Astros also installed as tonight’s strongest favorites (-175). He should be popular on both sites and looks like an especially strong value on FanDuel.
Luzardo has really leaned into his curveball so far, throwing it at a 44.2% clip compared to 28.6% last year. And it has also, coincidentally, returned an identical whiff rate of 42.4%. He’s also spiked his fastball velocity and now averages 97.3 after sitting 95.9 last year. As we saw in his first start this year against the Angels (12 Ks, 44.7% CSW%) he has the strikeout upside worth taking a chance on.
Tarik Skubal: ($6,500 DK, $9,400 FD): @ MIN (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 85 pitches.
Miles Mikolas: ($8,100 DK, $9,600 FD): vs ARI (L) – 7.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 98 pitches.
Mikolas comes into tonight with a 1.52 ERA and 0.86 WHIP, but if you visit the player pages here, (you should check them out!) you’ll see that his CSW% ranks 125th and his swinging strike rate 148th, so he might be at a sell-high point right now considering that his ability to get swings and misses looks suspect.
Skubal is an interesting mid-tier option, much more so on DraftKings where you can take a chance on him as a cheap SP 2. He’s coming off an ugly start his last time out against the Twins which illustrates his volatility, but we’ve also seen what good Skubal looks like in his two starts prior against the Rockies and Royals. There is certainly upside worth chasing at $6,500 if you’re multi-entering tournaments on DraftKings. He’s also been tough on lefties, limiting them to just a .261 wOBA in his young career. So, in theory, that should help him against the likes of Michael Brantley, Yordan Álvarez, and Kyle Tucker.
Bats and Stacks
- BAL (4.1 implied run total) vs MIN Chris Archer (RHP) 12.1 K-BB%, 3.89 ERA, 1.33 WHIP: Archer might gain some traction since he’s a memorable name going against an Orioles team that has struggled offensively, and most importantly he’s below $6,ooo on DraftKings. But he recorded just a 9.1% CSW % on his slider his last time out, a pitch that has long carried his arsenal. For the Orioles, Trey Mancini, Anthony Santander, Ryan Mountcastle, and Austin Hays are all priced affordably, especially on DraftKings.
- PHI (4.4 implied run total) vs NYM Taijuan Walker (RHP) 13.9% K-BB%, 4.28 ERA, 1.16 WHIP: Walker started off strong but fell off alarmingly in the second half last year (2.66 ERA 1st half/ 7.13 ERA 2nd half). In his latest outing, also against the Phillies, he netted just a single strikeout, so his ability to get swings and misses right now looks suspect putting him at risk as he faces this strong lineup yet again.
- HOU (4.9 implied run total) vs DET Tarik Skubal (LHP) 18.6% K-BB%, 4.18 ERA, 1.25 WHIP: I mentioned Skubal as a potential SP 2 for tournaments on DraftKings, but he’s still an inexperienced pitcher going against a tough Astros lineup on the road, so it’s not hard at all to imagine the possibility of a blow-up. And, well, the Astros do have the highest implied run total on the slate.
- MIN (4.6 implied run total) at BAL Spenser Watkins (RHP) 4.8% K-BB%, 6.72 ERA, 1.59 WHIP: Byron Buxton should be back after resting last night. One glance at Mr. Watkins’ numbers is all you need to start building some Twins stacks. Max Kepler sat out last night with an illness and would also be a strong play facing a righty. Trevor Larnach and Jose Miranda are punt plays that have shown power in the minors.
- MIA (3.5 implied run total) at SD Nick Martinez (RHP) 6.9% K-BB%, 4.12 ERA, 1.68 WHIP: This is more for tournaments given the Marlins’ modest implied total. The book is still out on Martinez in his return to the states. But he has so far allowed a ton of baserunners and his K rate, while improved from back in 2017, is still a ho-hum 20.7%. Jazz Chisholm Jr. is a really intriguing spend for tournaments that should be minimally rostered. Jesús Sánchez and Jorge Soler are affordable on both sites and have the power upside to shake up tournaments.
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