Hey all! I’m typing up these thoughts in and around some work obligations, as some of you requested them! I’m honored that you find my ramblings to be useful, but be forewarned that these will be a little shorter than normal as I’m on a time crunch today! Rest-assured, I’ve done quite a bit of research, but it sometimes takes me a while to turn my thoughts into words.
A note before I begin: if you read my notes last night, you’d have had some exposure to the very low-owned Padres-Mariners affair and the wild 26-run goodness! I hope you did and hope that you cashed!
The Good Pitchers
Syndergaard: Really, what is there to say here? The guy is a freaking machine, and Miami doesn’t present much of an opposition. Koehler on the other side is pitching well this year, but he has a low chance of a win. On FD, Thor is about as safe as they get, and he’s in line for a bunch of Ks. Love the play. For those of you looking for reasons to fade, I’ll give you two: (1) he’s the 2nd highest-priced P on the slate, so it’s possible you can find his value somewhere else; (2) he is a noticeably better pitcher at home. It’s a small-ish sample size, and it’s largely based on last year’s numbers, but it’s there. I’d be remiss if I didn’t point that out. I don’t think you should go anywhere else in cash games, but you have room to pivot in GPPs.
Darvish: The sheet loves him, though I will caution that it loves him in large part because of his 36.8% K% in his first game back. He’s an elite P, and he’s worthy of a look today, but two red flags: Seattle is hot right now. They are mashing the ball (14 runs at Petco!!) and aren’t striking out much recently, and they offer only average Ks anyway on the season. Plus, Darvish will be on a pitch count of 85-90. Now, he did great things on just 81 pitches last time, but there’s a concern that his upside is limited a bit. I’d consider him as a GPP-only, and probably just on DK. You should probably spend up for Thor here on FD if you’re feeling spend-y for your SP.
Odorizzi: I like this pick a lot. Twins are without Sano (DL), and aren’t particularly impressive anyway. They strike out a lot, too. Jake O. gives up a bit more hard-hit balls than I like seeing, but his last 14 days have seen a rate far lower than his season rate (29.6% vs. 37.4%). Against a depleted Twins offense, this is good. He’s reasonably-priced. I think he makes for a smart pivot in cash or GPPs, esp. on one-pitcher sites where everyone will flock to Thor. On DK, I expect that his ownership will be significantly higher. People are starting to get really good at DFS, and Odorizzi is a smart play. Still, worth playing him.
Eovaldi: I did not expect to see his name in the top 5, but I understand it. The O’s are dangerous, but they’ve been just a little off recently, making noticeably less contact in the last 2 weeks. They are always good for Ks. Eovaldi gets his Ks and has a great SIERA (3.47). Allows a little more hard contact than I’d like to see, but this is an instance where an above-average P comes up in an above-average matchup. Like two waves crashing together, sometimes the result is a really big wave. If you use him tonight, let’s hope you can get the really big score!
Pomeranz: I also like this play a lot. Pomeranz would be higher on the sheet if it weren’t for the fact that 7 of the last 14 games for COL were played at Coors, where they are obviously better. The Rockies are notably worse on the road, and they go straight to Petco. Ouch! Ignore the 26 runs last night; it’s not like Petco changed. As I said last night, baseball is a weird sport sometimes. Petco still suppresses offense, and I expect it to do so again tonight! One note of caution from a stat that’s not very well-reflected on the sheet: Pomeranz’ BB% is an awful 12.2%. Just one pitcher tonight is worse (more on him in a minute!). It really helps that this is not at Coors, but if Pomeranz is to be undone tonight, it’s the walks that’ll do it. I think you’re ok, but there’s that concern…
Before I move onto the bad pitchers, note how I said nothing about Johnny Cueto. He is the most expensive guy on the board and clocks in really low on the sheet. He’s not a bad pitcher, of course, but this is a less than ideal matchup. There’s no way you should pay more than Thor for him, unless you’re trying to be ultra-contrarian in a GPP. And even there, there’s a fine line between “Contrarian” and “Ill-Advised,” and picking Cueto tonight tiptoes very close to that line.
The Bad Pitchers:
Finnegan: No Ks, lots of hard-hit balls, and gets to face the Nats in GABP. Now, I know that the Nationals have been a bit of a disappointment, but even if they keep up that trend, Finnegan has very little value tonight. He brings up the rear on the chart mostly due to his contact-pitching, so I’m not sure if I’d employ a stack against him, but he’s bottom 5 for good reason!
Dickey: Re-match against the same Red Sox offense which teed off on him last time. The Red Sox will be a chalky stack, but surely you understand why! They are on a season-long tear and don’t strike out much anyway. Dickey has been pretty ineffective as of late. If his knuckleball isn’t on, he’ll be knocked all around Fenway. Because Boston is so chalky, I’m probably going to play the fade there—I mean, Dickey’s knuckler could be superb today as knuckleballs are notoriously fickle—but there’s no reason to think that will be the case.
Price: Wait, what? Here’s a guy with a 3.27 SIERA (really good), a 27.2% K rate (really, really good), and a victim of a .322 BABIP (really “unlucky”). What’s he doing all the way down here? Well, for one, he’s facing the same TOR team that he looked rather unimpressive against—do you know of any reason things will be different? And he’s giving up way, way too many hard-hit balls. Perhaps his BABIP isn’t all bad luck after all. When you consider that TOR is hitting the ball hard again and have brought their Ks down a lot, this looks like a rough matchup. It’s David Price, so he could go 8 or 9 with 7-8 Ks and 0 runs allowed at any time. But things feel a bit different this year. A stack against him would be low-owned, so perhaps you can take advantage.
Liriano: He gets by on his name and prior reputation. But he deserves his spot in the bottom 5 today. His Ks are an unexciting 22.4% (just 16% in the last 2 weeks), and he’s just not missing bats much. Combine that with the worst BB% on the night (13.1%!!!!!!), and an Angels team that does not strike out, and you’ve got yourself a sneaky stack. If you were stacking them, you’d ideally want to see more hard contact from them, but Liriano looks pretty bad right now. Plus, you have the benefit of low ownership on the hitters. I like that play.
Salazar: Holy cow! On many nights, these last 4 pitchers are guys you would want to use, not stack against! On one side, you have Salazar’s elite 29.2% K rate (a more modest 22% in the last 2 weeks), and his very good SIERA of 3.65. You also have a Royals team that’s missing a ton of hitters (yes, Omar Infante bat in the middle of the order yesterday). So what gives? A Hard% of 52.9% over the last two weeks (and a walk rate of 11.3%). And the Royals just seem to be clicking right now, without much explanation. Sort of like the last couple years. I cannot fathom giving up 52.9% hard-hit balls even over a small timeframe. That’s death. Unless he gets Ks tonight—and KC is back to being a tough team to strike out—this could get ugly.
That’s it! Good luck for tonight! I probably won’t be back with my notes until Monday, so I hope you all have a good weekend!
Final analysis: No for cash (that should be obvious), but he’s a very viable GPP play on such a small slate.