Pitcher List is proud to partner with DraftKings for the 2019 season. We’ll be featuring our top picks for every daily slate through the season and feature articles dedicated to the GPP.
Today, I’ll be focusing on the 7:05 p.m. DraftKings slate, which includes eight games and features the biggest tournaments of the day.
Top SP: Shane Bieber, CLE ($9,300) vs. TOR
This is a messy slate for starting pitching, with no true ace standing out as the obvious top play. In that case, I’ll lean on Vegas projections, which leads me to Shane Bieber pitching at home. Cleveland finds itself as heavy favorites in the matchup with the lowest run total of the slate, and Toronto is an exploitable offense. After being held to three or fewer runs in four of their seven games against the Orioles and Tigers, the Blue Jays will run into a far superior rotation in Cleveland. Bieber makes his first start of the season after looking excellent in spring training, and his 2018 strikeout rate of 24.3% is one of the better on the slate. There are other pitching options with higher strikeout rates and worse offenses to target, but Bieber has the best combination of the two, which should lead to a safe, above-average outing. It’s worth spending up for the floor that Bieber will provide.
Honorable Mention: Collin McHugh, HOU ($9,500) vs. OAK.
Value SP: Joe Musgrove, PIT ($7,600) vs. CIN
I expect many to flock to Trent Thornton as a value play after looking excellent in his first start and drawing the lackluster Indians offense today. However, I would rather take my chances with the more proven Joe Musgrove against a Reds offense that has struggled mightily in 2019. The Reds came into Thursday night with the third-worst wOBA against right-handed pitching this year, and until they snap out of it, they should be attacked in daily fantasy, especially in a pitcher-friendly park such as Pittsburgh’s. Musgrove got a taste of the Reds back in the opening series while pitching out of the bullpen, retiring all six batters he faced. The Reds have been striking out often and are showing few signs of emerging from their slump. Musgrove is a solid play as a home favorite, and if opposing starter Sonny Gray pitches as poorly as he did in his first start, Musgrove may find himself with a stress-free outing.
Honorable Mention: Trent Thornton, TOR ($6,200) at CLE.
David Peralta ripped right-handed pitchers last year, posting a .398 wOBA and slugging 22 of his 30 home runs against them. 2019 has been no different, with Peralta sporting a .523 wOBA against righties so far. At $4,200, Peralta offers significant savings compared with the elite hitters on the slate, allowing you to build a more balanced lineup. Rick Porcello was battered in his opening start, allowing six hits, four walks, a home run, and nine runs (four earned) across 2.2 innings pitched. Peralta’s 12.6 DraftKings points per game this year ranks seventh on the slate. Playing in the game with the highest projected run total, look for Peralta to continue his success against a very hittable right-hander.
Francisco Cervelli looks like a cheap cash-game option in Friday’s DraftKings slate. With 12 catchers priced ahead of him, Cervelli provides a safe floor with his solid OBP and bats in a premium lineup position. He faces Gray for the second time already in 2019 after Gray melted down in his first start, only lasting 2.2 innings while allowing five hits and four walks. Cervelli is a good option for those wanting to save money at catcher without punting the position completely.
Lineup Stack: Brewers vs. Cubs (LHP Jose Quintana)
With a .369 wOBA against left-handed pitching this year, the Brewers provide a relatively affordable stack in a prime spot for runs. Lorenzo Cain mashes lefties out of the leadoff spot, with a .422 wOBA against them last year and a .632 wOBA in 2019. Christian Yelich is as hot as any hitter in the league and hits lefties as well as anyone despite being a left-handed hitter. The same-handed matchup may even drive his ownership down. After Cain and Yelich, Jesus Aguilar, Ryan Braun, and Yasmani Grandal all provide reasonable chances at home runs from the right side. The cherry on top is Miller Park’s above-average run environment and dome, avoiding the early season cold weather that can sap offensive production. Quintana’s name may scare off some from a stack against him, but he wasn’t the same pitcher last year. I expect more of the same in 2019.
Honorable Mention: Angels vs. Rangers (RHP Lance Lynn).
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is eriks44) 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 non-public information.