MLB 8/30: Picking Pitchers Using Stats
Let me start by saying this has been a great month for baseball. Very predictable yet unpredictable if you catch my drift. Wade Miley looking like Kershaw in his last two starts. Jacob Degrom pitching like James Shields in April May June and July in his last two starts. Very unpredictable. I think that there are four aces on the slate but because they are the #1 on their team (NYY and TOR) and because of price, they are called aces. I have three mid tier plays that are in a great spot so lets get to it.
Seth Lugo has started two games as a Met. Both starts he did well. In his two starts he has pitched 11.2 IP 8 Ks 4 BBs and a 2.31 ERA. Why is he a great play vs the Marlins, I’ll tell you why. The Marlins Last 7 games they have scored 14 runs (7 in one game) have hit no homeruns and have stolen 1 base. Their offense has no pop and they have the lowest WOBA and WRC+(.278 and 70) the last two weeks. He will be low owned, is favored (NYM -120), but is a great contrarian play in cash and GPPs.
Julio Teheran has been nothing short of awful since joining the rotation 2 starts ago(7.31 ERA in 11IP 1.82 WHIP). But he is a great play because he is facing a Padre team that has led MLB in K % the last two weeks (29% K rate), has the second lowest WOBA behind the Marlins (.284) and the second lowest WRC + (78) the last two weeks. He is favored (ATL -154). He is contrarian and should be looked at if you want to take high priced bats.
Drew Pomeranz is back baby (Chris Jericho voice). After a rough couple of starts with the Red Sox, he has found his grove. He is facing a team that went from being a dominant team to stack vs lefties to a team that absolutely struggles vs Lefties in just one month. In the month of August Left Hand starting pitchers have a 2.25 ERA vs them. Pomeranz’s last start was vs TB where he went 6 IP gave up 2 ERs but struck out 11. He will be overlooked even though he is a huge favorite today (BOS -177). I would play him in cash and in GPPs.
J.A. Happ struggled at home vs Jared Weaver and the Angels smh. After dominating the first 5 innings he imploded in the 6th. The Angels stung hits together and knocked him out real quick. So why is he a favorite for me facing Ubaldo Jimenez and the Orioles. Well lets see, the Orioles are one of the worse offensive teams vs LHP. They rank bottom 5 in WOBA and WRC+ vs LHP (.294 WOBA, 78 WRC+) and their K% rate is 22.1% vs LHP. Happ in his last 7 starts is 5-1 with a 2.72 ERA 43 IP 50Ks and a WHIP of 1.00. Even with his bad 6th vs the Angels he still pitched very well for the majority of the game. He is favored vs Jimenez (TOR -148). Now I’m not saying that he is a must play but he is a sneaky play given the track record of Orioles vs LHP.
Masahiro Tanaka has a great name a great splitter and is the #1 guy on the Yankees. I hate using year round stats to judge hot or cold offenses (altho I have done it with the Orioles but come on they haven’t hit LHP since 2015). He is facing the hottest team in baseball, winners of 16 of the last 19. I know the Royals don’t have “pop” and K more than they did last year, but their offense over the last two weeks has gone from terrible to average. Now it is not the 0-100 real quick change but its annoying for a starting pitcher. Take Pineda yesterday terrible first amazing the rest of the way to an Average performance and thats what the Royals are doing to starting pitchers. Not the 10 run implosions (altho Sunday Night, how you doing). Tanaka is a terrific road pitcher 6-3 2.09 ERA 66 Ks and 14 BBs in 86 innings and in his last 7 games he is 4-2 with a 3.00 ERA in 45 IP 42 Ks 5 BBs and a WHIP of 1.02. Even though he is favored in Vegas in a game where the Run Total is the second lowest on the board. I see an average performance like 6 IP 3 ER 6ks and that isn’t winning GPPs, just ESPN analysts in love with the Quality Start (which should be Pineda’s nickname, how you doing). GPP play
I love it when Hamels and Mad Max are on the same slate. It makes me think about playing value bats across the board and pray that they get points.
Mad Max Scherzer. What can I say. I will not include his Last 7 starts because it includes Coors which would inflate his ERA in his last 7 starts. Let’s look at the bad, his last two roads starts vs COL and ATL were dreadful. He is a better pitcher at home (2.33 ERA 0.80 WHIP) compared to on the road (3.35 ERA, 1.02 WHIP) and he has given up 18 home runs in 16 starts on the road. Ok done playing devil’s advocate, this is why you play Scherzer. Not because the Phillies on the year have the second worse offense, no no no, that is too easy, how about second lowest BB % in the last 2 weeks (5.7% BB rate), third highest K % rate (25% K rate), tied with the Padres for the second lowest WRC+ (78), fourth lowest WOBA (.293), and Ryan Howard. That is an extra 3 strikeouts right there. He is the largest favorite today (WSH -210) and is a must in Cash and GPPs.
Cole Hamels has been arguable the best pitcher in baseball after the ASB. In August he is 2-2 with a 2.04 ERA 35.1 IP 35 Ks 10 BBs and a 1.10 WHIP. Since the ASB even better 5-2 in 8 starts 1.59 ERA in 56.2 IP 58 Ks 14 BBs and a WHIP of 1.02. He is in playoff mode early. Facing a team that got shut down vs Chris Sale and Jose Quintana and safe to say Cole Hamels is on that level of lefty goodness with those two. He is favored (TEX -165), he has been on a tear and facing a guy in his second start after coming off of the DL. Do me a favor and Play This Man.
Johnny Cueto 1-2 with a 3.53 ERA in 43.1 IP 39 Ks 7 BBs and 1.25 WHIP. Pretty mediocre for a guy who started the All Star Game. Why is he a play vs another ace. Simple he is facing an average offense team in the last two weeks in almost every offense category except for home runs where they are below average going into a park known for suppressing homeruns. Are they the fastest team in baseball yes, they have speed, but are you taking the Dbacks vs Posey as catcher because you think they can get 4-6 steals off of Cueto and Posey. Cueto is 6-2 with a 2.63 ERA a home with a 1.04 WHIP. The Giants are 19-8 in his starts and he is favored (SF -160). He will not be as popular as Hamels and Scherzer but he is cheaper. Low owned GPP and cash play.
Yesterday I went with the usual Jose Fernandez who shut out the Mets in 6 IP and Porcello who likes to throw 7 IPs and give up 3 ERs to the Rays.
Good luck – Paul