Pros: Buehler is the best pitcher on tonight’s slate by a wide margin. He leads the slate with a 29.5 percent strikeout percentage and his 25.2 percent K-BB percentage is nearly five points higher than the next closest pitcher. He enters tonight’s game with a 3.40 SIERA and his 2.96 pCRA is the sixth best among qualified starters this season. He has a favorable matchup against the Baltimore Orioles, who have a 3.5 implied run total. Baltimore’s active roster has a 24.3 percent strikeout percentage and 85 wRC+ against right-handed pitching since the start of last season.
Cons: The only negative for Buehler is that he is expensive, especially on DraftKings and FanDuel.
Overall Thoughts: Buehler is my highest projected pitcher on the slate, so I am happy to get him in lineups. He may be difficult to get to from a roster construction standpoint, however, because there is a game in Coors Field and a strong mid-range of pitching options tonight.
Pros: Bauer is inexpensive across the industry. He sits at $9,100 on DraftKings, $8,700 on FanDuel and $39 on Yahoo. He has had a rough season by his standards, but he still has a 27.5 percent strikeout percentage and a favorable matchup against the Mariners. Seattle’s active roster has a 22.9 percent strikeout percentage and 94 wRC+ against right-handed pitching since the start of last season.
Cons: As mentioned before, Bauer hasn’t been that good this season. He has a 4.21 SIERA and has walked 9.4 percent of hitters while allowing 1.41 home runs per nine innings. He has been especially bad against left-handed hitters, allowing a .360 wOBA and .242 ISO with a 23.7 percent strikeout percentage. For comparison, he has allowed a .297 wOBA and .164 ISO to righties with a 30.7 percent strikeout percentage. Seattle’s projected lineup has six left-handed hitters.
Overall Thoughts: There are reasons to be concerned about Bauer since we are in September and he still hasn’t turned things around, in addition to a left-handed heavy Seattle lineup. His salary clearly factors in all of the negative things that we could say about him, however, so he remains a strong option tonight.
Pros: Fried is in the midst of an excellent season. He has a 25.1 percent strikeout percentage and ranks second on the slate with a 3.79 SIERA. He has the 12th best pCRA among qualified starters this season at 3.41 and his 3.5 percent barrels per batted ball percentage leads all qualified starters.
In addition, his strikeout numbers are trending up as a result of increased slider usage. According to Fangraphs, Fried threw his slider an average of 11.4 percent of the time in 14 starts from the beginning of the season through June 14th. In 13 starts since then, Fried has averaged 18.7 percent slider usage and he hasn’t thrown it below the 12.2 percent he averaged at the beginning of the season a single time. In his first 14 starts of the season he struck out 21.9 percent of hitters with a 15.9 percent K-BB percentage and 3.66 xFIP. In the 13 starts since he consistently increased his slider usage, he has struck out 29.1 percent of hitters with a 22.2 K-BB percentage and 2.78 xFIP.
Cons: This is a tough strikeout matchup for Fried. Since the start of last season, the Phillies’ projected lineup (excluding the pitcher) has a 19.1 percent strikeout percentage against left-handed pitching.
Overall Thoughts: I really like Fried tonight, despite the difficult strikeout matchup. I think that he is a legitimately good pitcher and that he is better than his salary. My exposure will ultimately depend on how projected ownership shakes out in this price range since there are several comparable options available, but I will be happy with however much Fried I get.
Pros: Keller is another young pitcher with filthy stuff. He has a mid-90s fastball and a good curveball. He struck out 28.2 percent of hitters at AAA this season and has struck out 27.9 percent so far with the Pirates. He gets to face the Giants in the best pitcher’s park in baseball. San Francisco’s active roster has a 23.0 percent strikeout percentage and 88 wRC+ against right-handed pitching since the start of last season.
Cons: This is Keller’s first start since being knocked out of his start against the Marlins after being hit by a batted ball. I don’t expect any issues, but there is some non-zero risk I guess.
Overall Thoughts: Keller fits in with Bauer and Fried as three of my favorite pitching options on the slate. He is especially appealing at $6,100 on FanDuel.
Pros: Hernandez is only $6,400 on DraftKings and $29 on Yahoo. He has a respectable 22.5 percent strikeout percentage this season which gives him a nice ceiling at this price point. Tonight’s game is in Miami, which is a favorable park for pitchers.
Cons: Hernandez has a mediocre matchup against the Brewers. Milwaukee’s active roster has a 24.1 percent strikeout percentage (which is high) but they also have a .183 ISO and 100 wRC+ against right-handed pitching since the start of last season. Most of their dangerous hitters are left-handed and Hernandez has struggled with lefties. He has struck out 18.2 percent of left-handed hitters this season with a .348 xwOBA and .224 xISO allowed compared to a 26.3 percent strikeout percentage, .271 xwOBA and .140 xISO against righties.
Overall Thoughts: This is a dangerous spot for Hernandez, but this is a slate with Coors Field and a lack of cheap pitching options. I don’t have a lot of confidence in Hernandez, but I think he has one of the higher ceilings among the cheap arms.
Pros: Anderson is $6,000 on DraftKings and has an elite matchup against the Miami Marlins. The Marlins’ lineup tonight has an average strikeout percentage of 25.4 percent (excluding Elieser Hernandez and his 45.8 percent strikeout percentage) against right-handed pitching since the start of last season. For reasons unknown, Miami has Lewis Brinson and his 31.5 percent strikeout percentage and 40 wRC+ hitting second so that is a boost for Anderson. Anderson’s biggest weakness is right-handed power and there are a lot of righties in Miami’s lineup. Fortunately for Anderson, the highest ISO in the Miami lineup is Garrett Cooper at .159 and Maimi’s park suppresses power.
Cons: None at his salary on DraftKings and FantasyDraft.
Overall Thoughts: I expect Anderson to be my highest owned SP2.