June 8, 2016 Main Slate Pitching Thoughts
Lots of top options tonight, and a very sneaky playS for your GPPs
coming off the DRS Cheat Sheet tonight!
Let’s jump right in!
Scherzer: There’s not a ton to be said here. Max is in a zone right now, and the White Sox are really scuffling. On the season, they don’t offer up a huge number of Ks vs righties, but they’ve been rather cold over the last couple weeks, and Scherzer is a buzz-saw. He’s got a good chance to put up a high total, but his high price is tough. You’ve got 4 expensive pitchers all with good or better matchups, so you could likely fade him without much consequence. I think he’s safe, and I think he’s a good play for either format, but you can probably get better value elsewhere. I’d use him in GPPs but probably fade in cash solely for price (but not Price, as you’ll see below!).
Darvish: Should be a very popular play and for good reason. He’s been on fire to start the year, and his pitch count is climbing back up to the point where that’s no longer a red flag. He also gets to face the K-happy Astros. The K upside is absolutely there. A small note of caution: HOU’s Ks have been slightly down lately, and they are hitting the ball reasonably well, even if the results haven’t always been there. I think he’s a great play for cash and GPPs alike, but I do expect ownership to be the highest of the 4 high-priced guys. Of the 4, he’s the cheapest and has the highest upside matchup.
Syndergaard: You’ve got your pick of aces tonight!! Thor almost always goes into a night with the highest potential, though that’s tempered a lot by the fact that the Pirates offer a tough matchup. I expect that of the 4 top-priced guys, he’ll be the 2nd lowest-owned, but I really like his GPP potential. They’ve been striking out a lot lately—more than their season average—and even though they can hit the ball, Thor is still Thor. He clocks in as the 2nd most expensive P on DK, which should make him unpopular. As the Pirates sport a good offense, I think he’s a fade for cash games at his price, but he makes for a very enticing GPP play.
Bumgarner: I’m jumping ahead to #5 on the sheet because I want to save the most interesting play for last. Bumgarner is elite, but so is Boston’s offense. Which one will give? As this is in SF (where Bumgarner is at his best), and SF is a good park for pitching, I’ll give MadBum the edge. The Red Sox, though, are a tough matchup, even for elite guys. He’ll surely be the least-owned of the 4 most-expensive guys, and that’s understandable. You could always use him in a GPP, but this is a spot where the smart play is to avoid—even factoring in low ownership.
Jameson Taillon: First of all, ignore the numbers on the sheet—they are messed up because this is a guy making his debut. Honestly, I’m not 100% sure he’d remain in the top 5, but let’s just roll with it, shall we? Here’s what we know: former #2 pick, top prospect who hit a few injury speed bumps. Would have likely debuted back in 2014 if not for injuries. He’s had TJ surgery. And he’s been amazing this year in AAA. 2.04 ERA, 61.2 IPs with 61 Ks and just 6 BBs. 44 hits. Good for a 0.811 WHIP. Here’s what we also know: the Mets K a ton vs. everyone, including righties, and though they can hit, they also offer up tons and tons of upside. Here’s the last thing we know: he’s somewhat expensive, and he’s facing Thor, so ownership should be low. I like him a lot for GPPs. Frankly, he could legitimately be the highest scorer tonight, but even if not, he could end up being one of the top values. I’m very likely to use him tonight!
The pitching options get kind of gross after the Top 5.
The bottom is a little interesting…
Carrasco: Yikes! Look, he’s not as bad as the sheet makes him out to be tonight. His last start was his first off the DL, and he was pulled after 78 pitches. He gave up a lot of hits, but that’s excusable for the first time off the DL and against KC. He gets the unenviable task of facing a hot SEA team on the road. Our only point of comparison is his April start against them where he pitched respectably. The big problem here is his $10k+ salary. Look, even if he is great tonight—and he might be—he needs to score 25-30 points to be worth it. I think that’s a BIG stretch. I’d fade, but take what the sheet says with a grain of salt.
Price: This is the second start in a row he’s been a bottom 5 guy. It’s really puzzling. His secondary numbers look a whole lot like John Lackey’s, but his ERA is 2 full points higher. He’s simply not this bad, but he comes in with a rough matchup to get right. The Giants are good at home, and they don’t strike out. It’s David Price, so he’s always viable in GPPs, but at $9400, that’s not anywhere I’m going tonight. I’d think that way even if he had been pitching well.
Shields: He’s been very hittable and gets to face a Nationals team that is starting to hit again. They can be a little boom or bust (even from inning to inning!), but Shields just getting pounded right now. He’s cheap at $6k, but that’s a reflection of how bad a spot he’s in tonight and how bad he’s been lately. Could the change of scenery help? Maybe. But this is a guy who couldn’t master Petco, and now he has to face the DH again. This is a really poor spot for him, and he’s earned the bottom 5 designation tonight!
Walker: He’s had a couple rough outings, and the most discouraging trend is his dropping K rate. Without Ks, he’s not very relevant (is any P for DFS purposes?). He’s still not giving up many hard-hit balls, but he has been giving up an inordinate number of HRs, and CLE is hitting well right now (ummm….ignore last night vs Wade Miley…). I like Walker as a pitcher, and his SIERA is still a reasonable 3.94, but after a promising start, he hasn’t shown much. Tonight likely isn’t the night he gets it right, but I have more faith in him—especially at his low price—than I do any of the three pitchers above him.
Tillman: There’s a number of pitchers in this “not-very-good-but-not-very-bad” range, but Tillman’s down here on account of his horrific last two outings. That includes a combined 11.2 IP, 12 hits, 9 runs, 6 HRs, 5 BBs, and just 8 Ks against CLE and NYY. Now he gets the usually tough KC Royals. He could be fine, but I find it more unlikely than not.
What about everyone’s favorite whipping boy, Alfredo Simon? He’s still not good, but he checks in right in the middle of the chart. Does that surprise you? Given his last two outings (11 IP, 6 ERs and a W @MIL and @COL), and the fact that the Cardinals haven’t been lighting the world on fire (despite that late surge yesterday), you can understand it. What this tells me: a Cards stack—the chalky stack for tonight—might not be a great idea in GPPs.
That’s all for tonight! Good luck everyone!!