Pitcher Perfect 04/13/2018
As my DFS career has progressed, my pitching analysis has grown as I begin to dive deeper into statistics. First it was Vegas odds, then woba and K%. Finally, I have arrived at the next step: Pitch type data and that is the focus of Pitcher Perfect.
Friday’s slate is a big one. 13 games are perfect for GPPs. With many pitching options taking the mound, picking the right two (one on Fanduel) is key to taking down one of these big prizes. We all know hitting is the key to winning it all, but a negative in the pitcher spot will drop the anchor on those chances. So, the focus for Friday’s slate is upside on the mound at affordable prices.
Woke up this morning and saw the weather for the Minnesota game. I’m no weather man, but playing a pitcher there tonight does not seem optimal. The mid tier option is being switched to Eduardo Rodriguez. The Orioles strike out 25.4% of the time against lefties and the pitch data is in Rodriguez’s favor. Rodriguez predominantly throws a fastballl and a changeup. If he can keep the Orioles off balance, the K upside is huge. Double digit whiff rates everywhere for these guys:
Caution, when the Orioles get going against a lefty, they can absolutely crush it. This makes Rodriguez a boom or bust play. I will definitely have both sides in this matchup.
While Gerrit Cole is always an option against a Texas team that strikes out at a high clip, he’s too expensive for my taste. My focus in this tier will be on Mike Clevinger. Clevinger is off to a solid start this year, giving up only 1 run in his first two starts. While his strikeout numbers weren’t too impressive, he gets a pass since the Royals and Angels are both in the bottom 5 when it comes to striking out versus right handed pitchers ( both around only 16%). The matchup Friday couldn’t be much better. Clevinger gets the Toronto Blue Jays who are striking out 26.4% of the time versus righties. Digging in, I saw one stat and I was convinced Clevinger would be one of my higher owned pitchers tomorrow:
Clevinger is throwing his slider 32.23% of the time against right handed batters with a swinging strike rate of 15.38%. With Kendrys Morales out of the Blue Jay lineup, we should see 5-6 righties. The breaking ball has been the kryptonite of this offense for quite some time now; just look at the whiff rates from this year:
Every batter outside of Justin Smoak has a double digit swinging strike rate against the right-handed slider. Dylan Bundy and his slider (thrown 36% of the time this year had 10 strikeouts against this team 3 days ago; Kevin Gausman had 7 (24% sliders this year); Mike Clevinger is next in line to feast on this Blue Jay lineup.
This section is not for the faint of heart. At first, I was going to focus on Eduardo Rodriguez since he is in an extreme boom or bust matchup against the Orioles. However, I decided to pivot to someone I believe will be lower owned and has just as much upside at a cheaper price (on DK): Reynaldo Lopez. Lopez is another pitcher off to a great start, going at least 6 innings and striking out at least 5 batters in his first two starts. In his pitching arsenal, Lopez has a 95 MPH Fastball he throws 60% of the time, a slider he throws 21% of the time, a changeup and curveball. Anyone throwing with that kind of heat and slinging a mean breaking ball can sneak past any bat in the league. While the Twins are no slouches when it comes to hitting right handed pitching, they strike out with the best of them (26.3% of the time), leading to the ultimate boom or bust. Looking back at last year’s pitch type data, the Twins confirm that ability to strike out:
Even the lefties in the lineup whiff at a high rate when it comes to right handed sliders. Everyone except Joe Mauer has a double digit swinging strike rate. Proceed with caution, but if Lopez can get ahead in the count, he can finish this lineup off with that viscous slider.
On to my favorite play of the slate: Jake Faria. I am expecting Faria to be low owned after he got shelled last time out. He had to face the Red Sox in back to back starts so of course he had a little trouble; Gave up runs and the K upside was nonexistent. This rough start will hopefully keep his ownership low because this is a great bounce back spot. Faria sported a 24 % K rate last year so he can clearly rack them up in the right situations. Friday night is the right situation. Faria’s price tag is way too cheap on both Fanduel and Draftkings. Pairing him up with Clevinger opens up plenty of stack options on this slate. Faria’s arsenal consists of a 92 MPH Fastball (54%), a slider thrown 23.5% and a changeup thrown 18%. He gets a juicy matchup against the Phillies, who were almost no hit by Homer Bailey, in Tampa Bay. For the sake of a larger sample size let’s look at the 2017 pitch type data for the Phillies:
Clearly, the slider is the pitch of the day today. Look at those swinging strike rates. Everyone has a double digit swinging strike rate against both the slider and the changeup. This is a Phillies team that strikes out 27.6% of the time against right handed pitching. With the huge K upside, a premier pitcher’s park, and the cheap price tag, I will have a ton of exposure to Jake Faria.
That wraps up Pitcher Perfect for today. Let me know if you have any feedback on the article and let’s take down a GPP.