September 2 Main Slate Pitching Thoughts
Happy Labor Day Weekend everyone! I hope you enjoy the unofficial end to summer and that you don’t live in Florida in the midst of all the rain! I took yesterday off as it was just a tiny slate, even for a Thursday.
But I’m back now for the start of the final stretch of the season! Now is the time things get really interesting. Rosters expand, and you’ll have all kinds of random people in the lineup and on the mound. Most of these guys are not worth looking at, but it still provides an interesting dynamic. Generally speaking, the shinier the prospect, the higher their ownership will be, whether or not it’s a positive move. You can take advantage of that.
But onto the slate itself tonight:
Syndergaard ($12,200): There isn’t a single high-priced pitcher worth it tonight. There are a flat ton of people who are cheap tonight, many of whom are great values, and there is no matchup at the top so alluring that any of them interest me. So it goes with Thor. He’s on a hot streak, so there’s that, but that Nats aren’t pushovers. In the end, you’ve got an elite pitcher at the top of his game facing a solid lineup. If this were a small slate, I’d be interested. But for $12,200 on a big slate, no thanks.
Price ($11,900): Same story as Syndergaard. He’s pitching much better over his last 4 starts, but the A’s don’t strike out as much as you’d like to see, and for his lofty price tag, I don’t see anything I like. I do like him for cash games, as I think he’s a pretty good bet to score another 25 points or so, but you can get 2X (or even 3X) value elsewhere on the slate.
Carrasco ($10,700): Gotta love his K stuff recently (last 5 starts: 9, 8, 11, 9, and 8 Ks!), and the Marlins aren’t very good. But again, it’s the same story as Price. He’s got a nice ceiling, and a high floor, but I’m not particularly interested in his price tag tonight. And when I say that I’m not interested in the price tag, it’s not the price alone that gets me. I think his ownership will be high enough that you’re not really going to get a big advantage even if you used him and he pitched well. You’re simply going to take away salary from your batters. He’s a solid play from a numbers perspective, but I’m fading anyway.
DeSclafini ($10,100): Here’s the only expensive guy I’m interested in. “What?! He has the worst matchup of any of these guys!” you might say. Yes, this is true. People will stay away for some very good reasons. First, any of the top 3 are likely to outscore him; second, his price is inflated due to some great recent performances; and third, he faces a STL team that can really hit well (and got some knocks against him a few starts ago). These are all very good reasons to fade (in addition to his high price generally). That said, his peripheral numbers are very strong, and he’s been pitching very nicely, including a great CGSO vs ARI at Chase Field. There’s no question that he’s a huge risk—and with Matt Adams back for STL, that’s even more true—but I like him a lot as a forgotten GPP play with enough upside that you could end up sitting very nicely if you gamble and it pays off. I don’t like the price very much, though.
Stroman ($9,800): On the surface, I like the play. He gets a reasonable number of Ks and faces a TB team that is just striking out left and right these days. Plus, he’s an elite ground ball pitcher. He doesn’t yield a ton of hits, and when he does, they don’t turn into HRs very often. I think he’ll be popular and not a bad cash play. I do caution you, though. The Rays are very good hitters against ground ball pitchers. They don’t K as much against them (just 20% on the year), and they hit them better than most teams do. Given where I expect ownership to be, I am thinking of stacking the Rays tonight.
Urias ($9,600): I like Urias a lot tonight, though again, he’s on the expensive side. He’s a K machine, and though the Padres’ season-long numbers against lefties looks nice, recognize a lot of that was Matt Kemp. With him traded, the best power guys left (Schimpf, Dickerson, Solarte) all do better against righties. You’re probably only getting 6 innings out of him, though, which sours me on it. He’s have to K a lot of guys to score a ton of points. I think he’s a perfectly fine play who will likely exceed 2X value without trouble—and might get up to 3X value—but the limitations in his IP will probably keep me away.
Duffy ($9,100): Here’s your first really interesting decision! Duffy’s a known entity now. Elite swing-and-miss stuff and K rate to match. Low walks. SIERA of 3.50 mostly backs up his 3.01 ERA. The Tigers, on the other hand are Jekyll and Hyde. Against the Royals a week or so ago, they scored just 3 runs in 3 games. Then they go out and pound out a bunch of hits and extra base hits, and score piles of runs thereafter. That’s who they have been for years now. In Duffy’s last outing against DET, Duffy was excellent, going 7.2 and giving up just a solo HR (but with only 5 Ks), but which DET team will you get tonight? I think he’ll be mildly popular, but you want to know what catches my eye? He’s great against lefties (36.7% Ks, only 24.6% hard-hit). But against right-handers: only a 23.8% K rate, a 36.3% hard-hit rate, and a whopping 47.5% fly ball rate. The Tigers have almost all right-handers. He’s a great GPP play, but watch out. There’s plenty of downside there.
Guerra ($9,000): There’s no doubting his upside. He was great in his last outing against the Pirates, and he’s got good strikeout stuff to go along with a very small LD% (just 18.3%). So, guys aren’t really squaring up much. Plus, PIT has been a bit of a mess on and off this year. The trouble is that he’s been on the shelf for a month with arm soreness. Is he better? Maybe! His health and his price tag will keep ownership very low, but that may be a risk you want to avoid tonight.
Rodon ($8,800): He’s not without risk tonight, but I like him a fair amount. The Twins do strike out a ton against lefties, though they did knock him around a month ago in MIN. He’s got the talent to put up a big score at a reasonable price, but I do worry about what right-handers will do against him. The wind sort of blowing in should help. GPP only, but a strong play.
Taillon ($8,400): Has great K upside versus a Brewers team that strikes out a lot. Of course, everyone knows they K a lot*, and this one is in PIT, so that’s better than facing them in MIL. He does yield a bit of hard contact to right-handers, and the Brewers did tee off on him pretty well his last time out, but…his good Ks, his excellent control (3.9% walk rate), and his ground ball tendencies (against a team that doesn’t hit ground ball pitchers well) put him high up on my list. To me, he’s a poor man’s Julio Urias tonight but at a discounted price. GPP play, but a good one.
** I wonder if his ownership will actually be low as a result. Sort of like everyone deciding to leave work early to beat rush hour. If everyone thinks he’ll be highly owned, and decides to fade him as a result, you might be able to step in at some low ownership**
Cole ($7,700): AJ, not Gerritt. Now the DK price is really dropping. Cole’s start will go one of two ways: he’ll have a great outing with a handful of Ks, or he’ll get knocked all around the park (with a handful of Ks). The Mets are kings at disappointing people, but there’s a lot of upside against a pitcher who is giving up nearly 2/3 of hits batted balls as fly balls (yikes!). I think some Mets bats could be good sources of low-owned HRs.
Griffin ($7,300): A.J. #2! Call me crazy, but for his price, I like AJ Griffin tonight. Of course, its Houston, so there’s always blow-up risk, but we know the K potential is there. Additionally, we can see that while Griffin is manageable against Rs (31.9% Hard%), he’s pretty bad against Ls (43.2% Hard%(!!!)). The Astros don’t have many left-handed bats that scare me. Still, guys like Altuve and Correa are always threats to go yard. In the end, it’s a highly speculative GPP play, but it’s one I have a good gut feeling about tonight. Ownership will be negligible.
Cobb ($6,700): He hasn’t pitched in the big leagues in a year after Tommy John surgery. He gets to face the Blue Jays upon his return. Welcome back, kid! I see nothing in his rehab numbers that get me excited in the least about his return.
Reyes ($6,400): He’s had a nice start so far, but I need to see more out of him before I use him against the Reds in CIN. Obviously, the Ks are there, but the walks can sometimes be a problem, and he’s a tad vulnerable to lefties. Guys like Schebler or Barnhart are intriguing tonight. That said, Reyes could be amazing. He has that upside. GPP play and not a bad one. But likely too popular.
Ray ($6,000): Not going to take him in Coors. The strikeouts should be there, but he has a big weakness against right-handers (.335 wOBA, 38% hard-hit). Mix in control problems and Coors, and that doesn’t feel good.
Sanchez ($5,900): Wildly inconsistent recently, but also shut down this same KC team in DET a few starts ago. Then got trounced by MIN and LAA. At this price, you could be looking at a very low-owned pitcher with significant upside, but with the way KC is playing lately, you also might be looking at a stack target. He’s a reverse splits pitcher this year, so attack him from the right side of the plate if you’re so inclined. I want him to do well, but I don’t like the odds. GPP play only.
Fister ($5,800): Not a big fan of Fister tonight. Such a small margin of error with him, given his low Ks, and there’s enough lefties in tonight (including Mazara at the top, who is enticing), that I don’t think I’ll go there tonight.
Green ($5,600): For the big K upside, this is a steal of a price! I am concerned about BAL lefties—Alvarez and Davis, primarily—and though it’s likely he’ll give up a few runs, it’s also likely he’ll pile up the Ks. He does yield a LOT of hard contact, so the blow-up potential is real, but I think his upside makes for an attractive GPP option.
De La Rosa ($5,400): Historically a better pitcher at Coors, and though he’s been a bit of a gas can this year, I’m at least a tiny bit intrigued. Chances are, he’ll get rocked, but… He does have a double-digit SwStr% and is facing a D-Backs team that strikes out a ton. He’s also been serviceable this year at home, especially against right-handers. You wouldn’t be crazy for taking a flyer on him in a GPP, though I wish he were closer to minimum priced. There’s a number of guys around him I like better .
Gibson ($5,000): Boy am I intrigued with Kyle Gibson! His peripheral numbers look good, and he has a nice SwStr% (which rates much better than his actual K%). He can throw out amazing games (30+ points vs BOS, for example), and he gets the light-hitting White Sox at home. Plus, he’s just $5000 tonight. Let me put it this way: I think there’s a greater chance he scores 15 points than Price scores 36. Gibson’s the better value and has sneaky upside. GPP play only, but think about it.
Bundy ($4,700): 10.7 SwStr%, 22% K rate, and $4,700??? I don’t care that the Yankees are hitting a bit better, Bundy has been pitching very nicely. Certainly can outstrip that paltry price. $4,700??
Hellickson ($4,500): Seriously? Again, 11.4 SwStr% (very good), 20.8% K rate (not bad, not great), 27% Hard-hit rate (great), and facing the Braves (very nice!) and just $4,500? I don’t get it. Cash or GPP. See what I mean about not going with the high-priced options?
Richard ($4,400): Another lefty against LAD. This one is pitching well (so far). And costs just $4,400. Sounds good to me!
Cashner ($4,300): I expect great things from CLE hitters tonight, and so does Vegas, making them -300 favorites (!!). I love lefties against him tonight. I do wish the wind weren’t blowing in so hard, though…
Oberholtzer ($4,200): Nope. Too much downside, not enough upside. SEA righties tonight!
Triggs ($4,100): I think I mocked his start a couple starts ago. Maybe even his last start against STL. Needless to say, he made me look foolish. So far, so good, and yeah, I get that it’s the Red Sox tonight, but if you took away the name and the salary, you’d get pretty excited about a 10.4% SwStr rate, a 23.2% K rate, a 27% hard-hit rate, a 5.6% BB rate, and nearly 50% ground balls. And the Red Sox will be on the road in OAK, and they have yielded some unlikely scores to certain pitchers (like Kyle Gibson). I’m just saying…
De La Cruz ($4,000): He’s not a very good pitcher, but PHI isn’t very good, either. I won’t play him, but I also don’t think PHI is a great stack target. Not as much as their ownership will be.
Miranda ($4,000): I’d rather be read my Miranda rights than play Miranda tonight. I’d rather pay $4,000 in real cash to watch Lin Manuel Miranda play Alexander Hamilton than I would pay $4,000 fake dollars to put Ariel Miranda on my roster. He gives up over 40% hard hits, and a fly ball rate of 50% to right handers (omg!). The Angels have caught fire a bit. This is a baaaad spot.
That’s all I’ve got tonight! Good luck to you!
Don’t pay up for pitching tonight.
Too many hitters in good matchups to do that!