MLB Grind Down: Friday, August 23rd - CIN @ PIT

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh – 7:05 PM ET

DeSclafani has made 24 starts this season, posting a 4.37 SIERA with a strikeout rate of 24% and a walk rate of 7%. We can talk about numbers all we want, but when it comes to DeSclafani, the most important factor is the opponent’s lineup. He’s been tremendous against righties (.275 xwOBA with a 27% k-rate) and awful against lefties this season. The Pirates have the ability to roll out a left-handed heavy lineup, so I doubt I’ll get to DeSclafani in a slate this size.

Quick Breakdown: Unless the Pirates decide to roll out a bunch of righties tonight, DeSclafani can be avoided in all formats.

Keller is a talented prospect that has yet to find his footing at the major league level. He’s been unlucky thus far, as his ERA is four runs higher than his SIERA. We know he has good strikeout stuff and that he’s a fly-ball pitcher that benefits from playing in Pittsburgh. He posted a 28% strikeout rate at the Triple-A level, so he offers plenty of upside for a pitcher at his price point. He draws an exploitable matchup against the Reds, whose projected lineup has an average xwOBA of .279 with an average k-rate of 26% against right-handed pitching.

Quick Breakdown: Keller is one of my favorite SP2 options for tournaments tonight, especially if he’s going to be low owned.

Batter Grind Down

The Reds have a lot working against them tonight. While they are facing a rookie pitcher, they are playing on the road in a bad ballpark. Their offense has struggled against right-handed pitching and they are still without Joey Votto, which adds a high strikeout bat to their lineup. Mitch Keller has allowed a .340+ xwOBA to batters from both sides of the plate, but I expect those numbers to improve as he gets more starts under his belt. The one and only play on my radar here is Josh VanMeter, who owns a .352 xwOBA against right-handed pitching this season.

Elite PlaysJosh VanMeter (FD)

Secondary PlaysJosh VanMeter (DK)


As alluded to above, it’s an easy decision when Anthony DeSclafani is on the mound. He has held right-handed hitters to a .275 xwOBA with a 46% ground ball rate this season, while allowing a .343 xwOBA, a .267 ISO, and a 2.48 HR/9 to batters from the left side of the plate. Adam Frazier (.330 xwOBA), Bryan Reynolds (.371 xwOBA), Josh Bell (.392 xwOBA), and Colin Moran (.322 xwOBA) all bat from the right side, they are all in the top half of the Pirates’ lineup, and they should all be low owned across the industry.

Elite PlaysJosh Bell (GPP), Colin Moran (GPP)

Secondary PlaysJosh Bell (Cash), Colin Moran (Cash), Adam Frazier, Bryan Reynolds (GPP)


About the Author

  • Derek Farnsworth (Notorious)

  • Derek Farnsworth, aka Notorious, is one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of DFS, thanks in large part to the great advice he gives on a daily basis in’s Grind Down for NBA and MLB as well as the First Look column that gives a preview of the day’s games from a DFS perspective. Before joining the RotoGrinders team, Derek received a Masters Degree from the University of Utah. When he’s not busy providing content, he’s dominating the industry as evidenced by his consistent top rankings in multiple sports. Farnsworth provides expert analysis for RotoGrinders Premium members on a daily basis during the NBA season and has also been nominated for five different Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association (FSWA) awards.

    Interview after $100,000 Win


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