Pros: Verlander is one of the best pitchers in baseball. He has a favorable matchup tonight against the Texas Rangers in Houston. He leads the slate with a 35.2 percent strikeout percentage and 30.4 K-BB percentage. His 2.99 SIERA is also the best on the slate. The Rangers’ active roster has struck out 24.2 percent of the time against right-handed pitching this season with an 87 wRC+. There are four left-handed hitters in the top six of the projected lineup. Verlander has struck out 38.0 percent of left-handed hitters this season with a .225 xwOBA and .129 xISO allowed.
Cons: Verlander is the most expensive pitcher on the slate and there are plenty of expensive hitters that we will want to target.
Overall Thoughts: Verlander is clearly the top projected pitcher tonight. It may be difficult to get him into some lineups depending on which offense you are stacking, but there is usually enough value hitting this time of the season that it shouldn’t be too difficult to get exposure to Verlander.
Pros: Darvish has been dominant since fixing his walk issues in mid-June. Since June 10th, Darvish has not had a double-digit walk percentage in a single start and he has struck out 33.4 percent of hitters over 97 innings pitched. He has a 2.97 xFIP and 30.5 K-BB percentage over that time as well. There is a chance that he gets to face a watered-down Cincinnati lineup tonight as Josh VanMeter and Joey Votto are both considered questionable for tonight’s game. Darvish also threw 114 pitches in his most recent start, so it seems that quotes about Joe Maddon wanting to limit his workload for the rest of the season were overblown.
Cons: The only negative for Darvish is that he is expensive and doesn’t project quite as well as Verlander. He is an excellent consolation prize if you can’t quite find the money for Verlander, however. At $48 on Yahoo, Darvish is a top play tonight.
Pros: Gray has struck out 28.8 percent of hitters this season with a 3.98 SIERA. He has the fourth-highest strikeout percentage on this slate and, effectively, it is the third-highest because we expect Blake Snell to be limited. Gray is available for a sizeable discount from Verlander and Darvish on DraftKings.
Cons: Gray has a difficult matchup against the Cubs. Chicago’s active roster ranks 14th in strikeout percentage against right-handed pitching this season with a 105 wRC+. While Gray is much less expensive than Verlander or Darvish on DraftKings, he is still not cheap. On FanDuel and Yahoo, he is available for almost the same salary as Darvish.
Overall Thoughts: As much as I like Gray as a pitcher, he is a secondary option for me tonight. The matchup is difficult and his salary isn’t particularly appealing on any site. $9,900 on DraftKings is expensive for this matchup, but he could find his way into some lineups just because he is much less expensive than Darvish or Verlander. $47 on Yahoo is affordable, but only $1 less than Darvish who I prefer. He is only $300 less than Darvish on FanDuel as well.
Pros: Keller has solid strikeout stuff. He struck out 28.2 percent of hitters at AAA this season and he has struck out 28.2 percent of Major League hitters through his first nine starts. He is facing the Seattle Mariners, who have an active roster with a 25.2 percent strikeout percentage and 94 wRC+. Keller has an 8.29 ERA through his first nine starts, but his 3.55 xFIP suggests that he has pitched much better than that. He is especially appealing on Yahoo and FanDuel where he is $28 and $5,800, respectively.
Cons: Keller isn’t a finished product. He is one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, but he still has command issues and that can lead to home runs.
Overall Thoughts: Keller is a fine option on DraftKings and he is the best value option on FanDuel and Yahoo.
Pros: Perez is facing the Chicago White Sox. Chicago’s active roster has a league-leading 25.6 percent strikeout percentage against left-handed pitching since last season with a 93 wRC+. Perez has done a good job of limiting expected power this season, holding lefties to a .087 xISO and righties to a .139 xISO.
Cons: Perez isn’t a very good pitcher. He has only struck out 18.6 percent of hitters this season and he has a 5.04 SIERA. The White Sox do have power in their lineup, so it isn’t a “safe” spot despite the high strikeout percentage.
Overall Thoughts: Perez stands out as a strong value on DraftKings at $5,900 because Mitch Keller isn’t priced down like he is on FanDuel and Yahoo. On those sites, I prefer Keller.
Pros: Anderson is facing the Kansas City Royals in Oakland. Kansas City has just a 3.7 implied run total. Anderson is only $5,300 on DraftKings where we don’t have a clear great value SP2 option. Anderson’s 54.6 percent groundball percentage is the third-highest on the slate behind Dallas Keuchel and Ross Detwiler.
Cons: Anderson is one of the worst strikeout pitchers in baseball. He has only struck out 12.1 percent of hitters this season. There is always risk in taking pitchers like Anderson because they don’t have the ability to make up for earned runs by piling up strikeouts.
Overall Thoughts: Another DraftKings specific option because the cheap SP2 options are so unappealing. There is merit to rolling the dice on Anderson and hoping he gives us six innings of groundballs being hit at people. I would rather roster Keller on FanDuel and Yahoo.
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