Daily Pitcher Breakdown: Friday, May 19th
Welcome to the Daily Pitcher Breakdown, where we study the blueprints for each day’s matchups and dive into the details of each pitcher’s unique profile. We’ll lay all the cards on the table and let the strength of each hand determine whether we want to commit our chips. For each player, we consider opponents, splits, stuff, mechanics, and recent performance.
There will also be a contingent of the starters that you can ignore each day. They offer no discernible upside so they aren’t worth your time. Because it is baseball and a 162-game season, there are going to be times when guys from the ignore group go off, but we’re dealing with probabilities in the daily game so the goal is to give yourself the best odds for success, not find needle in the proverbial haystack that finally doesn’t poke you.
Stats Shown in Red Are BELOW AVERAGE
Stats Shown in Yellow are AVERAGE
Stats Shown in Green Are ABOVE AVERAGE
Stats Shown in Blue Are ELITE
Daily Pitcher Chart
The aces that are worth pushing all of the chips into the middle of the table.
Chris Sale BOS (at OAK, $13000) – Sale is the frontrunner for 2017 DFS Pitcher of the Year, uncorking a seven-game streak of games with double-digit strikeouts. His worst game of the season came two starts ago, in which he lasted just 6.0 innings (a season-low by a full frame) and gave up a season-high four runs, yet his Ks saved the day as Sale’s DraftKings total was still a strong 24.70 points (also his lowest of the season). He now has 85 strikeouts in 58.2 innings, good for a ridiculous 13.0 K/9 (an eye-popping 38.8 percent). Sale’s worth Kershaw money, perhaps more in today’s matchup, and is currently the major-league leader in strikeouts, WHIP and FIP.
The value plays, next-tier players that can compete with the aces on any given gameday but who probably won’t cost an arm and a glove.
Jacob DeGrom NYM (vs. LAA, $11100) – DeGrom leads the National League with 12.4 K/9, though his K-count of 67 falls 18 Ks short of Sale’s total. The road’s been a bit bumpy lately for deGrom, who has given up three or more earned runs in each of his last five games, though his DFS point total has been spared by double-digit strikeouts in three of those contests. Perhaps more worrisome is the fact that in two of the last five games deGrom has walked five or more batters, and for the season his walk rate has skyrocketed to 3.7 BB/9, following consecutive seasons of 2.2 BB/9 or less. Throw an expensive price tag together with his recent wildness and leaky run prevention, and you get a pitcher whose value (and ranking) is survived by the strikeouts and an opponent that ranks 27th of the 30 teams in baseball with a .376 slugging percentage.
Charlie Morton HOU (vs. CLE, $8700) – Since when does this guy sit in the high 90s with his velocity? With movement? Morton is averaging 97.2 mph on his four-seamer this season (courtesy Brooks Baseball), up exactly two ticks from the 95.2 mph of last season, which he compiled over just 17.1 MLB innings, and the last time he actually had an extended stay was in 2015 when he a relatively modest 92.4 mph on the heat. His propensity for hit batsmen is still intact, though, as his five plunkings are tied (with five others) for the most in baseball, giving him a head-start in winning his third career HBP title. The extra velocity could be behind his spiking strikeout rate, which at 10.7 K/9 is well above anything that he’s posted before, with two games of double-digit strikeouts already on his ledger…
Michael Wacha STL (vs. SF, $7800) – It seems that the Cardinals use the innings count rather than pitch count to determine Wacha’s workload, as the right-hander has gone exactly 6.0 innings deep in five of his six starts this season, taking as few as 83 or as many as 101 pitches to get the job done, with the outlier being a 6.2-inning effort and his missing a six-game string of quality starts due to one extra run in one of his outings. He has been very efficient with his pitch counts overall and has walked two or fewer batters in each start this season. He’s facing a weak San Francisco lineup that has been further depleted by the injury to Hunter Pence, despite carrying a price tag that is easy on the eyes and the wallet.
Taijuan Walker ARI (at SD, $8400) – The Padres have a way of elevating opposing pitchers into Raise status, given the team-wide propensity to strike out (third-most batter Ks in MLB) and their struggles in scoring runs (third-fewest in baseball). His peripheral stats suggest a mark better than his 3.91 ERA, with a 43:15 K:BB in 46.0 frames and just four homers allowed, though his run-prevention attempts have been thwarted by a rate of more than a hit per inning. He has hit the skids a bit in his last few starts, giving up three or more runs in each of his last three turns and walking eight batters in 16.1 innings over that span, and the fact that he has pitched into the seventh inning just once this season acts to limit his overall ceiling. But there is one big-strikeout gem on his 2017 resume, whiffing 11 batters against these Padres at the end of April, and a repeat performance could be in the cards.
Pitcher Advanced Stats and Stats Against
|Pitcher||Team||Opp||wOBA vs L||ERA vs L||wOBA vs R||ERA vs R||AVG||SIERA||BABIP||FIP|
Long-shot plays that could hit it big but carry considerable risk of blow-up.
Gio Gonzalez WAS (at ATL, $8600) – For the most part, Gio has been on a roll this season, with a 2.47 ERA through his first eight starts of the campaign, but the peripheral stats tell a different story. Gonzalez has put together a poor 41:25 K:BB in 51.0 innings this season, with strikeout (7.2 K/9) and walk rates (4.4 BB/9) that would qualify as career-worsts if over a full season, which together with a sudden propensity to cough up gopherballs (1.4 HR/9, double his career average coming into the season) to give him an ugly 5.00 FIP. Sooner or later, the peripherals will likely catch up to his metrics for run prevention, but he gets a stay of execution against a Braves team that just lost Freddie Freeman for the better part of two months, making it that much more important that he pitch around lefty-masher – and the only remaining threat in the Atlanta lineup – Matt Kemp in tonight’s ballgame.
Luis Severino NYY (at TB, $8800) – Starting Severino is a total diceroll. On the one hand, he may come up with a bunch of strikeouts, as he’s notched nine or more Ks in three of his seven starts this season, but on the other hand is the reality that he’s had three starts with four or more runs allowed and has coughed up seven bombs this season in just 42.0 innings of work. He has scored more than 28 points on DraftKings in four of his starts, but the other three have all come under 12 points, including a pair of starts that were less than 3.0 points apiece. The Rays have a high-strikeout offense that could result in an impressive K-count for Severino, as it did in his second start of the season when the right-hander struck out 11 Rays, but the Tampa Bay club has also been scoring plenty of runs this season and could send him down the path of meager points once again.
Jose Quintana CHW (at SEA, $9700) – After a rough start to the season that saw Quintana carry a 6.17 ERA into his final start of April, Quintana appeared to be turning the corner as the calendar flipped, pitching 14.0 frames with one earned run allowed and a 17:4 K:BB over a two-start stretch. Alas, the improvement was temporary, and over his last two turns Quintana has gone back to his run-relenting ways, with seven earned runs allowed over 12.0 innings and a paltry 9:7 K:BB over that stretch. He’s facing a robust Seattle offense tonight, albeit one that is less effective against southpaws and which has lost Robinson Cano and Mitch Haniger to the disabled list, but even with those caveats the $9700 price tag is just too high for his services.
Alex Wood LAD (vs. MIA, $9400)
Chris Tillman BAL (vs. TOR, $8300)
Aaron Sanchez TOR (at BAL, $7600) – Sanchez threw 102 pitches in his first start of the year, allowing one run over 7.0 frames against the Rays, but it’s been all downhill from there. A nagging blister has limited Sanchez to 18.1 innings this season, and the Jays are likely to take it easy with him in his second game back in order to not aggravate the issue. He was held to 78 pitches in his last turn, so that would seem to be the floor, but odds are that Sanchez will be held at 90 pitches or under in tonight’s game. For a guy who doesn’t count strikeouts as one of his main attributes, Sanchez essentially needs to keep the opponents scoreless while he’s on the mound in order to turn a profit, and that is a tough sell against an Orioles club that is loaded with power throughtout the lineup.
Nate Karns KC (at MIN, $8000)
Jeremy Hellickson PHI (at PIT, $7100)
Hector Santiago MIN (vs. KC, $6600)
Matt Moore SF (at STL, $8200)
Ricky Nolasco LAA (at NYM, $7400)
Daniel Norris DET (vs. TEX, $7000)
Tyler Anderson COL (at CIN, $6900)
Erasmo Ramirez TB (vs. NYY, $4300) – The Eraser would be a much more intriguing draw tonight if he was facing a weaker opponent, or if we could be assured that he was going to be given a leash longer than 70-75 pitches, but the middle-man will likely be given a short stretch to make a profit on his bottom-feeding salary. Ramirez has spent the vast majority of the season in the bullpen, as 11 of his 12 appearances have come in relief, and in his one start Erasmo was limited to 66 pitches. The cost is minimal, so rostering the Eraser tonight is all about funneling money into a loaded lineup, even if pairing him with $13k arm Chris Sale.
Trevor Bauer CLE (at HOU, $7500)
Justin Nicolino MIA (at LAD, $4600)
Lisalverto Bonilla CIN (vs. COL, $5100)
Kendall Graveman OAK (vs. BOS, $6200)
Ariel Miranda SEA (vs. CHW, $6700)
Run away. Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200. Consider stacking with opposing lineups.
Trevor Williams PIT (vs. PHI, $5000)
Nick Martinez TEX (at DET, $4800)
Jered Weaver SD (vs. ARI, $5200)
R.A. Dickey ATL (vs. WAS, $5900)