Advanced Stats - Pitching: Monday, April 16th
Saturday was the first time in my life I’ve ever used the air conditioning and heat both in the same day. On Sunday, six major league games were postponed, which is probably the most I can ever remember in a single day. Neither the Twins nor White Sox have played a game since Thursday. If 44 year-old Bartolo Colon had completed a perfect game against the best offense in baseball on Sunday night, I may have been too busy preparing for the end to write anything today. What the heck could I confidently tell anyone about baseball after something like that anyway? Thankfully, more than half of Monday’s games are either on the west coast or take place in a dome because there are still some weather issues in other spots tonight.
Three weeks into the season, everything below is entirely comprised of 2018 stats where they are supposed to be, unless multi-year stats are being used. The exceptions are DRA, which Baseball Prospectus has not calculated for 2018 yet and Statcast Home/Away xwOBA, which combines last season with this one right now. With all of the weather related activity (or maybe non-activity is a better way to put it), some of our numbers are still a little lighter than I’d hoped today.
As always, don’t forget to check lineups, umpire assignments, line movement, ownership projections and the weather forecast as they are released later in the day, all of which may change the equation and help you decide between two pitchers of otherwise equal value in a pinch. All of these things are available right here on the site.
Starting Pitching Main Chart
| Opp L/R
| Opp L7
|Daniel Mengden||Athletics||0.9||4.47||5.5||38.8%||0.96||5.26||4.08||White Sox||130||112||78|
|Eric Skoglund||Royals||-3.4||5.97||3.0||36.5%||1.04||8.59||6.75||Blue Jays||109||122||98|
|Jaime Garcia||Blue Jays||-12.6||4.19||5.7||55.7%||1.04||3.36||3.50||Royals||39||83||98|
|Reynaldo Lopez||White Sox||-5.2||4.90||5.6||35.4%||0.96||5.73||4.75||Athletics||106||125||130|
Aaron Nola was stretched out over 100 pitches and went eight innings (3 ER – 3 BB – 6K) in his last start, after being held below 90 pitches and six innings in each of his first two. There’s some oddness to his numbers, though it’s nothing to call concern yet. He’s sitting on a double digit walk rate and had just a 4.9 SwStr% in his last start and has a high of 10.3% this year. The quality of contact he’s been generating has been exceptional though (over 50% ground balls, 23.1 IFFB%, 28.1 Z-O Swing%) even if the BABIP will stabilize close to 100 points higher. A .277 xwOBA is quite a bit higher than his actual at this point, but still exceptional. The Braves have been formidable, even if they are not hitting the ball very hard.
Blake Snell turned around his 2017 because he was getting more swings outside of the zone after altering his pitch mix to favor the curveball more with fewer fastballs. This is not exactly an approach that has continued. He’s still throwing a ton of pitchers outside the zone, but he’s dropped his breaking ball usage and increased his fastball usage once again. This has led to a 16.1 BB% so far. However, he is still missing bats and has faced three difficult offenses for a left-handed pitcher (BOS, NYY, CWS). The good news is that he gets to face the Rangers in Tampa Bay. They have just a 20.6 K% vs LHP so far, but I wouldn’t worry about that much. They have an overall team rate of 30.9% over the last week, highest on the board.
Brent Suter is continuing on a path set last season when the soft-tosser was one of the top contact managers in baseball. Strikeouts are down, but he’s had at least an 8.1 SwStr% in each start and struck out 18.8% of batters with the same 9% SwStr% last year. He’s generated just 12 ground balls so far, but six of his 21 fly balls have been popups. His 84 mph aEV and 23.7% 95+ mph EV are both best on the board. The Reds are an average offense in most ways. The concern here is that he’s not completed six innings yet and has been held below 90 pitches in two of his three starts.
Hyun-Jin Ryu walked five in his first start and is one of those two times through the order and out guys. He had just a 2.7 SwStr% and has completed six innings in just nine of 26 starts since the beginning of last year. Of course, one of those instances was his last start, in which he struck out eight of 20 A’s (11.1 SwStr%) with just a single walk and hit each. He still only threw 90 pitches. The Padres would seem a fantastic matchup for him in San Diego. They do have some left-mashers, even with Wil Myers out, which shows in a 125 wRC+ vs LHP, but we’re looking at a pitcher with a reverse split and career wOBA below .300 against RHBs (15.3 K-BB%).
Jacob deGrom has shown a slight decrease in velocity and has complained about an inability to grip pitches in cold weather. That wasn’t a factor in Miami last time out, in which he allowed four runs in six innings. That was a bit of a fluke, as he was dinked and dunked prior to a Justin Bour blast that was the only real definitive damage done. He’s otherwise generating a 17.8 K-BB% and career bests in GB rate (50%) and Hard-Soft (-4.1%). All of this, while he hasn’t even looked that comfortable yet. He faces a difficult Washington offense for the second time this season, this time at home, where he’s been exceptional, not only since last season (31.2 K%), but throughout his career.
Jaime Garcia is a guy…who throws pitches. He gets enough swings and misses sometimes and a lot of ground balls most times, though he really hasn’t done either of those things this year. His surface stats are much better than the underlying numbers (3.14 K/SwStr, 4.56 FIP, .269 BABIP, 91.5 Z-Contact%, .357 xwOBA). What we like is that he will be throwing those pitches against an awful Kansas City offense (22.1 K-BB%, 0.0 HR/FB vs LHP). Sure, it’s a small sample, but there’s no reason to believe they won’t be awful against southpaws this year.
James Paxton has struck out 17 of 46 batters, allowing two runs in each of his last two starts after a rough opening outing to this new campaign. Despite that awful initial start, he still claims the lowest rate of Barrels (2.8%) on the board. The Astros have been swinging and missing a bit more this season, but are still a beast of an offense despite what the old man did to them last night. Although he did not have his normal reverse split last year, that was merely because he improved so much against LHBs. His .273 wOBA against RHBs remained within 10 points of his career rate.
Luis Castillo experienced a drop in velocity in his first start and allowed two HRs to the Nationals. He maintained that velocity in his second start, which was better, without a HR in Pittsburgh. He dropped even further last time out in Philadelphia (two more HRs). One can hope this is all cold weather related and despite the lack of strikeouts so far, he’s exceeded an 11% SwStr in each of his three starts. The Brewers will probably homer tonight, but they too have been less than they were supposed to be. Although that Syndergaard performance yesterday will hurt your numbers in April, they have a team 20.2 K-BB% against RHP that is not the result of just one dominant start.
Reynaldo Lopez has been waiting for his third start since Friday. He went seven innings without an earned run against Detroit last time out despite walking five. He had a 9.5 BB% in 121 AAA innings last season, but previously, no control issues. The interesting thing is not that he’s brought back a curveball he abandoned last year as his strikeouts plummeted, but that he’s added a slider (28.3%) that has helped him generate a 13.1 SwStr% so far. He has some fluky numbers below because it’s been just two starts, but the sliders should play in a favorable park against an offense that should swing and miss more than they have this season.
(In order from least to most offensive)
Tyler Chatwood almost looks a bit like Jake Arrieta if you squint hard enough. No, I don’t mean the beard. He generates some strikeouts and a lot of ground balls when he’s on, but can also walk the park. He did that in his first outing (six), then struck out seven with one walk, but gave up five runs in his second start. The Cardinals aren’t a bad offense and Wrigley can either be friend or foe depending on the winds and now there are already whispered this game may be postponed.
Daniel Mengden has some believers, who think injuries have not allowed us to see the real pitcher with several above average offerings yet. He hasn’t been very good so far and his 38.2% 95+ mph EV is highest on the board with a .328 xwOBA that’s 29 points higher than his actual despite estimators well below his ERA that take no consideration of his 39.7 Hard%. They like his 13.9 K-BB%. However, since it’s been more about not walking anyone than generating strikeouts, even the upside looks less useful for daily fantasy players. The matchup is something I thought I’d like, but the White Sox haven’t started that poorly. They do have a 30 K% over the last week and are now up to 24.1% vs RHP. While I wouldn’t mind a lottery ticket in a DK#2 spot today, it hardly seems necessary on this board.
Robbie Erlin hasn’t started a game yet, but has looked strong in 11.1 relief innings. The .219 BABIP is a fluke as is the .213 xwOBA, while we should probably even expect some drop off from the 20.9 K% moving into the rotation, but maybe not that much because four of his five outings have been multi-inning. Two of them have gone more than three innings, which also makes me think he can throw about 75-80 pitches tonight. He’s in a great park against an offense that has really struggled with LHP so far, but they shouldn’t be bad. I don’t hate his point per dollar potential at such a low cost, but you are probably sacrificing an overall higher point total when it’s unnecessary tonight.
Eric Skoglund had a 16.7 K-BB% in 100 AAA innings last year and is a marginally ranked prospect in a weak Kansas City system. The now 25 year-old has walked just one fewer than he’s struck out in 22.2 major league innings so far and has allowed a lot of hard contact (36 Hard%) in the air (36.5 GB%) with just a 6.4 SwStr%. He’s thrown only 4.2 innings this year, but they were horrible and the Blue Jays have something in the tank against LHP even without Donaldson, though that greatly increases the outlook for most southpaws against them. Whatever they want or need him to be, he’s not there yet. While he is one of the cheapest pitcher on the board and did show that minor league upside, there’s no little to take min-priced lottery tickets tonight.
Steven Brault has improved his minor league strikeout numbers the last two years. His SwStr% this year is a bit fluky with his best number in a three inning relief outing, followed by 5% in his first start and then double digits last time out. He still hasn’t gone more than five innings in an outing yet, but the Rockies have a 30.4 K% vs LHP this year and that’s not entirely a small sample size (257 PAs). This is strange because they have a predominantly right-handed lineup and league average wRC+ against southpaws, due to a 28.9 HR/FB. Pittsburgh suffocates right-handed power. Another lottery ticket players likely don’t need though.
German Marquez did not allow an earned run through five innings in his first start, he walked four and lasted just five innings in Arizona. He then returned home for his last two, in which the Braves made him pay for poor control again (six BBs, seven runs) and then lasted just three innings in his last one despite it being his best 2018 outing, striking out four of 11 batters with just one hit and no walks. He gets a massive park upgrade just because he’s outside Coors, but has just marginal road numbers since last season. Despite the monstrous start, nobody expects the Pirates to keep this up. They might not be that bad though and have refused to strike out (17.1% vs RHP). I know a lot of people like his arm, but he’s walking the park and fooling nobody yet (45.3 Z-O-Swing%, 7.1% Barrels/BBE is worst on the board).
Dallas Keuchel pitched the second half with a foot injury that nobody knew about and came into this season with increased expectations from that performance. It hasn’t happened. He’s walked four in each of his last two starts. While his SwStr rate has been around league average in each of his three starts, he hasn’t hit double digits in any start yet (10.9% last year) and his 59.2 GB% is actually below his career average (60% on the nose). While his 6.3 innings per start over the last two years is tied for higest on the board, he’s thrown a total of nine innings over his last two starts. The only trait he’s held onto is the weak contact skills despite the elevated BABIP. That appears to be a bit of a fluke with a couple of caveats. First, he’s not getting as many swings out of the zone as opposed to in the zone as in the past and the Houston defense has been atrocious. Early season numbers are a bit exaggerated, but they project to be the worst defense in baseball this year. This is not as big an issue for most Houston pitchers with the team emphasizing strikeouts. It’s may be a larger issue for him. The Mariners have reintroduced their right-handed cleanup hitter to a lineup with just an 8.1 K-BB% vs LHP so far.
Julio Teheran has an atrocious .379 xwOBA that’s still 42 points better than his actual wOBA through three starts. He’s walked at least three in each start and has already had a poor one against this Philadelphia offense that have shown a willingness to strike out. If you’re looking for good news, he has had a double digit SwStr% in two of three starts.
Adam Wainwright has a 17.9 HR/FB on the road since last season. His last start was his better or this season’s two despite allowing two HRs at home to the Brewers. He’s continuing to miss few bats after having struck out just seven of 116 batters in the second half last season over a period in which only Alex Wood lost more velocity (2.4 mph) among starters or relievers. If we’re looking for good news, he’s sitting on his 90 mph average from the last few seasons to start this one and the Cubs haven’t been anything special against RHP this year.
Jeremy Hellickson makes his first start for the Nationals and isn’t even available on FanDuel.
Martin Perez has not generated a single swing and miss inside the strike zone and has generated a total of four overall in two starts. He has a .475 xwOBA!! Yeah, he’s faced two divisional opponents who may bludgeon lefties this year, but good lord!
Pitcher and Opponent K% & BB% for titled splits, similar to the Main Chart.
|Aaron Nola||Phillies||L2 Yrs||25.2%||7.2%||12.3%||5.6%||Season||18.3%||11.3%||7.7%||-10.2%||Road||22.0%||8.2%||10.3%||9.2%||L14Days||19.6%||13.7%||16.7%||-9.0%|
|Adam Wainwright||Cardinals||L2 Yrs||18.6%||7.2%||12.8%||11.0%||Season||14.6%||8.3%||22.2%||-5.4%||Road||15.6%||8.0%||17.9%||17.4%||L14Days||14.6%||8.3%||22.2%||-5.4%|
|Blake Snell||Rays||L2 Yrs||23.2%||11.9%||9.1%||11.6%||Season||27.4%||16.1%||11.8%||2.8%||Home||24.5%||9.4%||10.8%||15.2%||L14Days||36.6%||19.5%||25.0%||22.2%|
|Brent Suter||Brewers||L2 Yrs||17.9%||6.4%||9.8%||5.6%||Season||15.7%||7.1%||4.8%||Home||19.8%||7.7%||11.5%||5.7%||L14Days||14.0%||8.0%||-7.9%|
|Caleb Smith||Marlins||L2 Yrs||25.2%||13.6%||14.6%||16.7%||Season||31.2%||16.4%||12.5%||21.8%||Road||21.5%||16.9%||6.3%||-2.5%||L14Days||29.0%||18.4%||12.5%||10.0%|
|Dallas Keuchel||Astros||L2 Yrs||20.7%||7.2%||18.2%||3.7%||Season||18.3%||12.7%||8.3%||-4.1%||Road||21.3%||8.7%||26.7%||1.6%||L14Days||19.6%||17.4%||-13.8%|
|Daniel Mengden||Athletics||L2 Yrs||19.6%||7.7%||10.5%||10.6%||Season||16.7%||2.8%||5.3%||19.0%||Home||13.5%||7.6%||7.9%||14.9%||L14Days||15.6%||2.2%||8.3%||13.5%|
|Eric Skoglund||Royals||L2 Yrs||12.7%||11.9%||8.1%||22.1%||Season||4.0%||8.0%||9.1%||26.3%||Road||10.3%||18.0%||20.0%||28.6%||L14Days||4.0%||8.0%||9.1%||26.3%|
|German Marquez||Rockies||L2 Yrs||20.0%||7.6%||15.1%||16.1%||Season||16.7%||16.7%||8.3%||7.6%||Road||19.5%||8.6%||11.0%||15.8%||L14Days||15.8%||15.8%||11.1%||8.0%|
|Hyun-Jin Ryu||Dodgers||L2 Yrs||21.5%||8.8%||17.3%||18.0%||Season||25.0%||15.0%||8.3%||Road||19.6%||10.1%||14.1%||17.8%||L14Days||25.0%||15.0%||8.3%|
|Jacob deGrom||Mets||L2 Yrs||26.6%||6.8%||14.1%||10.6%||Season||24.7%||6.9%||7.7%||-4.1%||Home||31.2%||8.7%||11.9%||7.2%||L14Days||21.6%||7.8%||12.5%||5.7%|
|Jaime Garcia||Blue Jays||L2 Yrs||19.9%||8.5%||17.8%||12.0%||Season||26.7%||8.9%||18.2%||32.1%||Home||23.8%||6.8%||16.4%||6.5%||L14Days||26.7%||8.9%||18.2%||32.1%|
|James Paxton||Mariners||L2 Yrs||26.0%||5.9%||8.5%||15.4%||Season||30.0%||8.6%||13.0%||9.5%||Home||28.1%||8.7%||11.9%||9.1%||L14Days||37.0%||4.4%||7.7%||3.9%|
|Jeremy Hellickson||Nationals||L2 Yrs||16.8%||6.4%||14.3%||8.7%||Season||Road||14.7%||5.2%||14.0%||13.5%||L14Days|
|Julio Teheran||Braves||L2 Yrs||20.3%||7.3%||12.0%||11.9%||Season||18.5%||15.4%||19.0%||19.0%||Home||17.1%||10.1%||16.9%||11.0%||L14Days||21.4%||16.7%||25.0%||26.9%|
|Luis Castillo||Reds||L2 Yrs||25.9%||8.4%||18.5%||7.9%||Season||18.8%||5.8%||23.5%||9.6%||Road||24.6%||7.9%||13.6%||3.9%||L14Days||14.9%||6.4%||18.2%||5.4%|
|Luis Severino||Yankees||L2 Yrs||27.2%||7.3%||14.2%||8.6%||Season||27.4%||9.6%||6.6%||Home||28.9%||6.4%||19.2%||10.0%||L14Days||25.0%||7.7%||14.3%|
|Martin Perez||Rangers||L2 Yrs||13.1%||8.1%||11.9%||17.7%||Season||6.4%||8.5%||13.3%||46.2%||Road||13.0%||5.5%||10.5%||20.8%||L14Days||6.4%||8.5%||13.3%||46.2%|
|Reynaldo Lopez||White Sox||L2 Yrs||18.2%||9.4%||8.6%||8.9%||Season||22.9%||14.6%||7.1%||6.6%||Road||14.3%||8.2%||8.1%||11.8%||L14Days||22.9%||14.6%||7.1%||6.6%|
|Robbie Erlin||Padres||L2 Yrs||19.1%||4.4%||18.8%||11.5%||Season||20.9%||4.7%||3.1%||Home||14.3%||5.7%||L14Days||32.1%||3.6%||5.6%|
|Steven Brault||Pirates||L2 Yrs||16.1%||9.9%||9.7%||11.4%||Season||17.5%||12.3%||7.1%||20.6%||Home||10.9%||9.1%||5.7%||14.9%||L14Days||15.6%||13.3%||9.1%||12.9%|
|Tyler Chatwood||Cubs||L2 Yrs||18.8%||11.8%||15.8%||8.1%||Season||21.2%||13.5%||9.1%||-2.9%||Home||19.3%||11.3%||27.5%||12.2%||L14Days||21.2%||13.5%||9.1%||-2.9%|
K/SwStr Chart (2017 LG AVG – 20.5 K% – 9.7 SwStr% – 2.1 K/SwStr)
Getting called strikeouts can be a skill, but it’s usually not a sustainable one at a large deviation from the league rate (catcher framing and other factors may make some difference here). K% correlates heavily with SwStr% though. Look for a large difference and you might find a potential adjustment before anyone else.
|Pitcher||Team||K% Season||SwStr% Season||K%/SwStr%||K% L30 Days||SwStr% L30 Days||K%/SwStr%|
|Jaime Garcia||Blue Jays||26.7%||8.5%||3.14||26.7%||8.5%||3.14|
|Reynaldo Lopez||White Sox||22.9%||13.1%||1.75||22.9%||13.1%||1.75|
Brent Suter has his SwStr% right where it was last year (18.8 K%).
Hyun-Jin Ryu has had two vastly different starts.
Jaime Garcia is not a guy that you need to be told won’t strike out a quarter of batters faced, but did have a 12.0 SwStr% in his first start. He probably is what his career numbers suggest barring significant changes in approach.
Luis Castillo has the highest SwStr% on the board. He hasn’t forgotten how to miss bats, his walk rate hasn’t shot up, and he’s still getting lots of misses in the zone. The low K% is a fluke. He should add at least a full touchdown to it.
ERA Estimators Chart (2017 LG AVG – 4.48 ERA – 4.48 SIERA – 4.41 xFIP – 4.50 FIP)
How a pitcher’s ERA matches up against his defense independent estimators.
|Jaime Garcia||Blue Jays||3.18||3.49||0.31||3.18||0.56||4.56||1.38||5.02||1.84||3.18||3.50||0.32||3.74||0.56||4.56||1.38|
|Reynaldo Lopez||White Sox||0.69||4.75||4.06||0.69||3.93||3.99||3.30||7.12||6.43||0.69||4.75||4.06||4.62||3.93||3.99||3.30|
Jaime Garcia has stranded 89.3% of runners through two starts.
James Paxton has a .333 BABIP and 69.2 LOB% because his first start was a mess.
Luis Castillo has a 52 LOB% and 23.5 HR/FB.
BABIP & Statcast Chart (2017 LG AVG – .297 BABIP – 44.3 GB% – 20.5 LD% – 9.4 IFFB% – 86.7 Z-Contact%)
A few years back, both Dan Rosencheck and Steve Staude separately found that high Infield Fly Ball (IFFB) rates and low Zone Contact (Z-Contact) rates correlated well with lower BABIP for pitchers. I won’t pretend to know how much of the variation in BABIP can be explained by these factors, but since they seem to have some effect, here they are. See if you can use it to your advantage.
It’s presented as the difference between team and pitcher BABIP allowed because team defense can explain a lot of the variance from league average on its own. A pitcher with a much lower BABIP than his team allows is a red flag absent further supporting evidence, while a pitcher with a much higher BABIP than his team allows may have something to offer in the future, especially with the right indicators.
|Pitcher||Team||Team BABIP||Pitcher BABIP||Diff||GB%||LD%||IFFB%||Z-contact%||Z-O-Swing%|
|Jaime Garcia||Blue Jays||0.307||0.269||-0.038||40.7%||18.5%||0.0%||91.5%||26.2%|
|Reynaldo Lopez||White Sox||0.295||0.103||-0.192||36.7%||16.7%||14.3%||76.2%||47.6%|
Dallas Keuchel hasn’t been able to generate as many swings at pitches below the knees (Z-O-Swing%). That, along with the elevated walk rate, which go hand in hand, are the largest concerns here as the ground ball rate is still high even if not up to his standards and he’s still missing enough bats. The interesting thing is that he’s greatly improved his Z-Contact% so far.
Hyun-Jin Ryu has a massive Z-Contact% through two starts, but has been best on the board in getting more swings out of the zone in relation to inside it so far.
The Mets have a .265 team BABIP? The defense should be better, but that’s completely unexpected.
James Paxton does not even need to fool batters or get them to chase much with his stuff, as an 80.8 Z-Contact% attests. You’ll see that the three pitchers in this category (bad Z-O-Swing%, great Z-Contact%) are “great stuff” guys.
All stats from BaseballSavant.com.
|Player||Team||xwOBA||wOBA-xwOBA||xwOBA H/A||wOBA-xwOBA H/A||xwOBA L30 Days||wOBA-xwOBA L30 Days||Effective Velocity||Exit Velocity||Barrels BBE||95+ MPH ExV||BBE|
|Jaime Garcia||Blue Jays||0.357||-0.024||0.320||-0.005||0.357||-0.024||-0.7||86.8||5.4||36.3||479|
|Reynaldo Lopez||White Sox||0.382||-0.185||0.324||-0.002||0.382||-0.185||-0.6||87.2||4.9||25.3||162|
Brent Suter has remained a great contact manager.
Dallas Keuchel still owns the second best aEV on the board and that’s really all he’s had going for him this year.
German Marquez looks like his pitchers are coming in 1.6 mph slower than actual. That’s not insignificant.
Jacob deGrom would have the top xwOBA on the board among pitchers who have actually started a game this year.
Luis Castillo has some strange numbers. How the hell do you have a .380 xwOBA with one of the lowest aEVs on the board combined with a 50% ground ball rate and the highest SwStr% on the board? A higher strikeout rate will help, but there’s a lot of weird going on here. He’s allowed four HRs with a 3.5% Barrels/BBE?
Reynaldo Lopez also has fluky number in this and other tables today. Let’s see a third and even fourth start.
Pitcher Notes & Summary
Here we rank pitchers by value tiers with their overall rank in parenthesis next to the name for the top few. These are not hard and rigid rankings. Everything is fluid and can change depending on ever evolving situations throughout the day. This is the more opinionated part. If there are questions, it’ll help show you where my imaginary boundaries are drawn.
I’m going to be very wrong about some of the pitchers I left out today. Some of them are much more talented than they’ve shown through a small sample size this season. The problem is that they’ve given reasons to distrust and few reasons to trust so far. I’d like German Marquez in Pittsburgh and Dallas Keuchel in most spots without any 2018 info. Some of them are going to turn that around, but this is a pretty cheap board so far with a few pitchers that have shown more flashes.
Value Tier One
Reynaldo Lopez (4) is in the top spot almost completely on a whim today. This may be dumb, but it is mine. There’s not enough evidence to push him about the third or fourth tier aside from a high SwStr% in two starts. There are not a lot of strong values today though, and really none who may be hidden. This is a guy who has introduced a new swing and miss pitch this year and has some talent. He could do nothing, but he’s also the most likely to put up 25 DK points (or the FD equivalent) under the radar.
Value Tier Two
James Paxton (2) does not have a favorable matchup no matter what the Astros failed to do against a 44 year-old pitcher last night. He looked exceptional last time and handles RHBs well. I’d like to push him a bit higher at a cost of $8.5K or less, but the matchup and average right around six innings makes me hesitate.
Jacob deGrom (1) is the most expensive pitcher on the board in what’s not a favorable matchup, but in a park where he has excelled. Consider that his numbers look strong this season, but he hasn’t even looked like himself yet.
Luis Castillo (5) is probably not entirely okay and this is not a great park to pitch in, but his underlying numbers scream that his ERA is a fluke. The velocity is beginning to be a bit of a concern, but we’ll see more with controllable weather conditions in Milwaukee tonight. It certainly hasn’t hurt his SwStr% and the Brewers will strike out. His Statcast numbers are so strange that I’m not vaulting him to the top value spot simply because I’m not sure what to make of all this right now.
Value Tier Three
Aaron Nola (3) is the second most expensive pitcher on either site with his cost now exceeding $10K on DraftKings after an eight inning effort. While there’s not enough reason to not expect his strikeout rate to improve, players are going to need that heavier workload if he continues down his current path. The good news is that contact management remains strong. The bad is that the Braves could challenge his peripherals. He’s already faced them, striking out just three.
Jaime Garcia may not even be an average pitcher anymore, but he’s here because the Royals are basically going to be the plug and play against when facing a lefty this year. Cost is reasonable.
Value Tier Four – These guys seem basically in line with their price tag. They are either barely usable and shouldn’t hurt you too much, but might not help you much either or have such a wide range of outcomes that you can’t see much benefit beyond the risk.
Blake Snell has not continued upon a path that led to success last season. He’s back to trying to throw the ball through a brick wall, walking everyone and knocking himself out of games too early. The good news is that he’s still missing a ton of bats and this is going to be his best matchup through four starts. The Rangers do have power though. A few walks in the wrong spots could lead to a few runs.
Brent Suter does not have enormous upside, but is an excellent contact manager at a low cost, who should have the potential for at least a few more strikeouts.
Hyun-Jin Ryu appears to be in a better spot than you’d think against the Padres because he’s a reverse platoon pitcher. Here are the two issues. You can’t pay $9.7K for him on DraftKings because he’s a 90 pitch guy without exceptional talent. You’re weary about paying $7.2K on FanDuel because he’s unlikely to complete the six innings needed for a quality start. He should pitch well enough for the length of time he remains in the game though.
You can find me on twitter @FreelanceBBall for any questions, comments, or insults.