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|Road SP||xFIP||K%||K-BB%||ML||OK%||Home SP||xFIP||K%||K-BB%||ML||OK%|
All pitcher stats seen above are from the 2018-19 MLB seasons combined unless otherwise noted below.
OK% = Opponent team strikeout rate (2019 year to date).
ML = Money Line.
This article was written the night before; some money lines may not yet be available (TBD).
SP: Zack Wheeler, NYM ($9,300) vs. CIN
The most encouraging thing from Zack Wheeler‘s last start? No walks. That’s one of the things that’s held him back both in the past and in the early going this year. His BB% rate this year stands at a rough 11%. Assuming he’s gotten past those control issues, the sky is the limit for Wheeler, whose arsenal is anchored by a fastball that when it’s on is just so darn good, evidenced by 23/69 CSW his last time out. And that was against an excellent Phillies offense. Tonight? The Reds and their to put it nicely not-so-good .284 team wOBA.
SP: Mike Soroka, ATL ($8,600) vs. SD
This is an interesting slate for pitching, with some big names at the top in Patrick Corbin and Justin Verlander. But they get two feisty offenses in the Cardinals and Twins respectively. So let’s instead try and save some salary with a home favorite who gets a little bit of a friendlier matchup in Mike Soroka. The Padres have jumped to the the top in team K rate at 26.7%, tied with the Indians and just ahead of the Blue Jays (26.6%). So far they have also only managed a .293 team wOBA and 81 wRC+ with an ugly .284 OBP. I suspect they won’t be quite this bad as we continue the season, but for the time being this looks to be a pretty decent spot for Soroka. Fernando Tatis Jr. may also be out of the lineup. As of this writing, the talented rookie Soroka is a sizable -150 favorite.
OF: George Springer, HOU ($5,300) at MIN
Once again, the Braves have one of the higher implied team totals of the evening, hovering right around five runs. We’ll figure Ronald Acuna Jr ($4,900) to have a lot of ownership against a suspect arm in Nick Margevicius, and rightfully so — Acuna’s a great play in all formats.
Instead, I’ll highlight the Astros’ matchup against Jake Odorizzi. The Astros currently have an implied total just under five runs, so Vegas is telling us we should certainly have some Astros in our player pool this evening. Odorizzi is your typical fringe pitcher with marginal stuff who struggles with control (9.9% BB% rate 2018-19) in addition to leaning pretty heavily in favor of flyballs. Basically, this is the type of pitcher that an elite lineup like the Astros should have no problem scoring runs off of. Leading off for said lineup, George Springer has great upside tonight and comes at a price where I think most will likely look at slightly cheaper options in Mookie Betts /J.D. Martinez (if healthy) or the aforementioned Acuna.
1B: Daniel Murphy, COL ($4,700) at MIL
Road Rockies aren’t too popular and I think instinctually most people want to be able to roster Daniel Murphy at 2B as opposed to a premier position like 1B. So chances are we may seem some lower ownership than we should here in a great hitter’s park for lefty power and against an easier opponent like Zach Davies. The aforementioned Mr. Davies has been good posting a 1.65 ERA in the early going, but we all know he’s not that good. Most projections have him pegged closer to a 4.50-4.70 ERA. So, he’s someone we should feel perfectly fine in targeting hitters against. Murphy, on the other hand, has quietly strung together a nice four-game hit streak since his return from the IL.
OF: Khris Davis, OAK ($4,300) at BOS
Despite the ugly 5.89 ERA, Eduardo Rodriguez is not someone I really want to pick because the underlying skills are strong (17.8% K-BB% 3.83 SIERA in 2018-19). But this is a really tempting price point for Khris Davis. On the road at Fenway, Mr. .247’s power potential could be amplified even more. With E-Rod it comes down to that changeup: If it’s working he’ll likely put the clamps on the A’s offense; if it’s not? This could get ugly. This is a total boom/bust option that seems perfectly fit for tournaments.
2B: Brandon Lowe, TB ($4,800) at KC
Brandon Lowe has certainly had an impressive rookie showing thus far, but the one factor that remains a concern is the strikeouts. So far his K rate stands at an ugly 33.7% (19.9% swinging K rate). That risk will be mitigated this evening by Brad Keller who just doesn’t strike out too many guys (16.9% K rate in 2018-19). I should also point out that there are certain things that Keller does really well: mainly keeping the ball on the ground and limiting home runs, evidenced by a 1.98 GB/FB rate and a minuscule 6.9% HR/FB rate the past two seasons. Still, I think he’s someone who we can pick on with Lowe, who has nice power upside here leading off on the road.
Tournament Stack: LAD at SF (RHP Jeff Samardzija)
Jeff Samardzija. What do we do with this guy? Well, I’ll say this much: In 27 innings this year, he’s again shown next to no ability to control batted balls, evidenced by a sub-par 0.68 GB/FB rate and a pretty ugly 52.6% Hard Hit rate to a 13.2% Soft. So when the ball gets hit he’s very much at the mercy of the BABIP lords. It was a similar story last year, as his 9.4% barrel rate was among the bottom 6% in all of baseball. Last year, lefties in particular teed off on the Shark for a .384 wOBA. This is a legitimately good matchup for the lefties. And there will be quite a few very talented lefties to pick from here with the Dodgers. I get it — it’s an awful hitter’s park, but that will almost certainly lower the ownership on one of the best offenses in baseball. That and the price on a scorching hot Cody Bellinger is borderline certifiable at $5,700. Let’s not forget a ragged Yankees lineup came in here and scored 24 runs against this Giants pitching staff this past weekend. Why not a fully healthy Dodgers squad?
I’ll also give an honorable mention to the Road Rockies against a very suspect Zach Davies (9.4% K-BB% 4.68 SIERA 2018-19).
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is sammybaugh) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games on which I offer advice. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any nonpublic information.