July 5, 2016 Main Slate Pitching Thoughts
I hope everyone had a great July 4 holiday and took a chance to do whatever it is you do for the 4th! Big slate tonight, and one with a big mix of expensive and cheap pitching options, and guys with great secondary numbers who might not be at the top of the salary heap. The sheet’s SP matchups reflect this reality as there’s no one with a “green” rating. It’s a great night for GPP’s!
So let’s see what we have:
Gio Gonzalez: Should be a very popular option, and I totally get why. First, he’s capable of striking guys out (24%), and MIL strikes out a lot against lefties (~24%). Additionally, MIL hasn’t been hitting very well. Then you have his ridiculous price of $7700 on DK (seriously, wtf?) You’d think, though, that he’d come in higher than 10.6% on the sheet. There are a few warning signs: he gives up hard hits at a rate greater than I like to see (~32%), the Brewers are a rather patient team, and Gio has been rather hittable lately. In the end, he’ll be a very popular play that could net you a very nice score at a stupid low price. Because of his popularity, he makes for a great cash game play. Less so for GPPs. I’ll have a hard time fading his upside at his price, but for GPPs, I think it’s the way to go. But playing Gio is not a bad play at all.
Carlos Carrasco: He’s been on fire lately, and I expect ownership to be small-ish, what with Bumgarner sitting there at virtually the same price against a less scary COL team on the road. The Tigers can hit, of course, and they’ve had a moderate level of success against Carrasco in his career, despite his CGSHO on June 25. I am concerned a bit by his hard-hit percentage, but that’s a rather nitpicky point. Sadly for my Tigers, I think Carrasco is a very strong option tonight for cash or GPPs. His price tag ($11,500) is the only big knock against him, as this slate has some value in it, but he absolutely has 30-point upside tonight, and possibly more.
Taijuan Walker: Here’s another interesting pick. Very talented, plenty of K upside, a solid SIERA with a great batted-ball profile, but also pitching a little banged up against a HOU team that can go HR-crazy. Walker has, in a likely too small sample size, given up 9 HRs against this crop of HOU hitters (to seven different guys, so it’s not like it’s one guy who has dominated him). The sheet likes him a little, but it really doesn’t like how hard HOU has been hitting the ball lately. I think that his price ($8400) is too high for the risk involved, though I also expect ownership to be low enough that if you take him, and he goes off, you’ll be in a select group. I’m going to pass tonight, but give him some thought.
Carlos Rodon: Has virtually the exact same secondary numbers (and salary tonight) as Gio Gonzalez, but he gets the Yankees, who aren’t quite as dangerous as MIL against lefties, but who also don’t strike out as much, either. You can be assured that ownership on Rodon will be far less than Gio, and for that reason alone, I think Rodon makes for a more intriguing option in GPPs. He’s also the slight underdog, which will keep ownership even lower. You might even consider playing him in cash games, if you were deciding between Gio and Rodon. That said, I don’t particularly like the play, as I feel it’ll be tougher for him to reach his upside, especially facing off against Tanaka. I probably won’t play him, but it’s not a stupid play.
David Price: What to do with this guy! I honestly don’t know. He’s David Price, so he still has the ability to strike out double-digits at any time and give you 30+ DK points. The Red Sox are favored by a large margin, as well, and his secondary numbers (K% and SIERA, primarily) still look very good. I’m still concerned by just how many hard hits he’s giving up—and of course his recent performance against this very same TEX team is a red flag—but I can’t get over the fact that there doesn’t appear to be a good reason for just how disastrous he’s been from time to time. At his price ($9500), and with his tough matchup, I expect ownership to be somewhat lower, but it’s still David Price, and enough people will want to be on that train when he comes out and dominates. So, in the end, I’m puzzled as to what you do here. GPP only play, and how good a play it is depends entirely on ownership.
Tommy Milone: Contact-pitcher vs. contact-hitting team = no good. Also, there’s the matter of his whopping 40% hard-hit rate, and a sickening LD rate. This qualifies as a terrible spot to use Tommy Milone, if there ever is a good spot for him.
Wei-Yin Chen: I understand why the sheet has him here. He was awful against Atlanta (!) last time out, and COL (away from Coors) a couple starts before that, and MIN a couple starts before that. He dominated the Cubs and pitched well against SD in between. His K rate is just below-average, and he gives up a ton of hits. All that said, I don’t hate the matchup against the Mets at home. They do K a lot vs. lefties, which should help. However, I look at how hot the Mets have been in the last week, and it seems they may have snapped out of their funk for the time being. There are worse plays than Wei-Yin Chen, but I’m not looking here tonight.
Zack Eflin: You’d think that facing ATL, he’d be a strong play. And I suppose for the absolute minimum salary ($4k), he’s not a bad idea. That said, his strikeout upside is tiny, and ATL doesn’t strike out much as it is. He’ll be facing 4 lefties at the top of the LU tonight, and a switch hitter later on down. Using him could free up some salary, but his upside is something close to 10 points, and with few Ks, his margin for error is already small. Tempting, but you should avoid that temptation.
R.A. Dickey: Same story as always with this guy. If his knuckleball is on, he’s great; if not, he’s very hittable. The matchup against the Royals will keep ownership very low, especially as Kendrys Morales is playing amazingly well right now. If you want to take a bet on his knuckleball, it could pay off handsomely. I think there are better bets to make tonight, but…
A.J. Griffin: The sheet doesn’t like him for obvious reasons: BOS doesn’t K much, and they are very dangerous. I’m intrigued, though. Yes, there’s a ton of risk, but Griffin has been pitching pretty well. I don’t expect his Ks to stay at 24% with his SwStr% under 10%, and he gives up too many hard hits and too many fly balls, but could he conjure up the magic for another night? Given what I expect to be near 0 ownership, it’d be a very sneaky GPP play. Could backfire or pay off handsomely.
Madison Bumgarner? Expensive, and still giving up more hard hits than you’d like to see, but it’s still Bumgarner. He’s heavily favored tonight. Makes for a great cash play, but I’m fading all the way in GPPs. The value he provides will likely be obtainable from any number of pitchers tonight.
Steven Matz? Should be a strong option. The Marlins are underdogs, on the road, and can be had for K’s. Matz has some very favorable numbers all around. I expect ownership to be a little higher, but he still makes for a nice cash play or a solid GPP play with good upside. I like him much more on one-pitcher sites, as few will use him.
Tim Lincecum? Sneaky, sneaky GPP pick. It might be a terrible result, but there’s upside there that most will ignore.
Zach Godley? It’s all about the pitch count here. If he doesn’t have a short leash, and you can get about 90+ pitches out of him, I think he’ll be a very strong, overlooked play. GPP only.
Kenta Maeda? Same story as always facing BAL: K’s are possible; so is getting pummeled. GPP play, and likely one that will have ownership higher than is warranted. But still not bad.
Odorizzi? Pitches well at home, but LAA doesn’t K. Not a fan, but should be ok for cash games at his price.
Who do you stack? Blue Jays will be popular against Young, and with good reason. Ditto the Red Sox against Griffin. As not everyone can be in a stack, I think OAK/MIN will be overlooked despite being good options. STL won’t be owned as high as they should against a guy making his first big league start (though he’s pretty good). CLE (against Sanchez) and NYM (against Chen) won’t get much ownership. Even PHI against Folty is a possibility.
Lots of hitting options tonight, and you can be sure of one thing: some stack will be disappoint and the masses will get dinged! Book that!
Good luck tonight!!