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Top Play SP: Max Scherzer, WAS ($11,600) at NYM
Well, what can you say about Max Scherzer? Looking at last year’s numbers he boasts the highest K-BB% on the slate at 28.8%, as well as the highest swinging strike rate (SwStr%) at 16.2%. Yeah, we should just keep this simple and play Scherzer. He’s a modest road favorite (-135 as of this writing) as he’ll match up with Zack Wheeler in what figures to be a great pitcher’s duel. On Opening Day against these same New York Mets he recorded 23 outs, 12 of them being of the K variety. Not too shabby.
Honorable Mention: Mike Clevinger, CLE ($9,900) vs TOR.
Value SP: Sean Newcomb, ATL ($8,700) vs. MIA
Truth be told I wish Sean Newcomb was just a bit cheaper but this is quite simply an opponent-induced play. The Florida Marlins have managed to draw the third fewest walks in the early going. If there is one thing we know about Newcomb it’s that his inefficiency can tend to derail his performances. That risk figures to be mitigated to a degree against a truly awful Marlins offense that seems allergic to drawing walks. He’s also the third biggest favorite (-158) of today’s slate.
Honorable Mention: Zach Eflin, PHI ($8,100) vs MIN
Top Play: OF Michael Brantley, HOU ($4,200) vs. OAK
As of this writing, the Houston Astros have the second highest implied team total at 5.2 runs. He’s not exactly off to a rip-roaring start but this just seems like too cheap of a price for the Astros’ cleanup hitter, Michael Brantley, whose 9.5% K rate last year was good for the top 1% of the league. He’ll get Mike Fiers in this one who was pretty solid in his own right last year but Vegas is not buying it, pegging his adversary, Brad Peacock, as the second biggest favorite of the day. Fiers has actually been a little worse against RHB the past couple seasons but Brantley has just hit righties extraordinarily well throughout his career and combined with his low strikeout rate I think Brantley makes for a very solid play in cash formats.
Top Play: OF Jay Bruce, SEA ($4,100) at CWS
Fresh of a double dinger day courtesy of Lucas Giolito and former New York Yankee farmhand Manny Banuelos, Jay Bruce finds himself in a favorable matchup on the road against Ivan Nova. Going by last year’s numbers, Nova has the third lowest K rate among the starters toeing the rubber today at a paltry 16.7%. That’ll help mitigate the swing-and-miss risk with Bruce.
Value: C Omar Narvaez, SEA ($3,400)
Omar Narvaez got the day off Saturday so he’ll figure to get back in there for today’s matinée. His excellent OBP (.366 last year) will provide some much-needed salary relief at an always tough-to-fill catcher spot. The draw against a very beatable Nova makes Narvaez an even better play.
Top Stack: NYY at BAL (RHP David Hess)
To his credit, David Hess actually had a no-hitter going before getting pulled after six and a third innings. It’s probably best to take that game with a grain of salt given it was against an anemic Toronto Blue Jays offense that’s been held to less than 3 runs per game in the early going. Fortunately for Hess he won’t be getting the New York Yankees at full strength, with Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks still on the shelf. Regardless, Vegas has the Yankees scoring some runs today as their implied total is tops on the slate as of this writing. There’s a sizable opportunity cost in stacking the expensive Yankee bats but they bring appreciable power upside and especially against Hess who, considering last year’s totals, had the lowest K rate and highest SIERA among today’s starters.
Honorable Mention: Astros vs. OAK (Mike Fiers).
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.