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DFS Pitching Picks for 5/11: Philling In with Eflin

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My philosophies on picking pitchers are fairly simple. I look for a few things: Is he pitching in a good or bad park for hitters? How about the opposing team, do they strike out a bunch? Are his opponents and/or himself running hot or cold? How about lefty/righty splits? Home/road splits?

Top Tier Arms:

Gerritt Cole, Rangers at Astros ($11,000 FD, $10, 700 DK): His last two starts have been simply fantastic. Combining a road start in Minnesota and a home start against the Indians gives us: 14 innings, four hits allowed, two earned runs, six walks and 21 strikeouts. In both starts he surpassed 100 pitches thrown. That is the guy the Astros were counting on to give them arguably the best 1-2 punch in the game. This pick is likely GPP only, as the Rangers have pop in their bats, they rank near the top in ISO (.210) and wOBA (.349) vs righties. They do strike out against righties though, in a middle of the pack 23.4% of their ABS. Minute Maid Park will likely see its roof closed and it is a park where hitters thrive, ranking as the ninth best to HR in so far in 2019 and 10th best for runs.

Blake Snell, Yankees at Rays ($9,900 FD, $ 9,700 DK): Another GPP only pick here, Snell is coming off a simply phenomenal start at home vs. the Diamondbacks: six innings of one-hit ball with no walks and nine strikeouts. It should be noted that this was the Diamondbacks first game after a weekend series in Coors. There is ta philosophy out there that it takes a team at least a game or two to adjust after leaving Coors and their bats often look longingly to the next time to return to Coors. If we look at Arizona in those first two games in Tampa, they struggled to the tune of nine hits in 63 ABs, only two doubles, no home runs, 21 strikeouts and only four runs scored. So is Snell back to his Cy Young days of 2018? Or was it a case of Arizona no being able to hit even if a Little Leaguer was throwing? I think it is the latter, and the Yankees struggles against lefties (22nd ranked ISO of .136 and 20th ranked wOBA of .303) back my thinking up.

Middle Tier Options

Martin Perez, Tigers at Twins ($7,500 FD, $6,600 DK): Averaging nearly 95 mph on his four-seam fastball, Perez is one of several veteran pitchers than are enjoying 2019 so far (Mike Minor is another name that comes to mind). The Tigers are not a good baseball team and their bats lack pop and they strike out a lot against lefties: a .159 ISO and sixth higher K rate of 27.6% are how they fare against southpaws. A cool night with temperatures in the 50s means the ball will not carry well, further helping Perez’s chance of a good game. On the road, the Tigers have both the 23rd ranked .139 ISO and wOBA at .291 on the road. (Note: this is the second game of a scheduled doubleheader, pay attention to which game is on what slate and what game Perez pitches). We are getting to the point where Perez is a cash option.

Zach Eflin, Phillies at Royals ($8,800 FD, $8,500 DK): One of the best pitchers in all of baseball over his last two starts at home against the Marlins and Nationals: 16 innings pitched, 11 hits allowed, two walks, two earned runs and eight strikeouts. This was in a terrific park for hitters, Citizens Bank, which is the seventh easiest park to hit a hom erun in so far in 2019 and is historically in the Top Five year after year. He gets to go to Busch Stadium, which ranks as the 23rd best park for home runs. So we have a major park upgrade. So how are the Cardinals against righties? Their ISO and wOBA are middle of the pack at .175 and .335 respectively. Probably more of a GPP option in my mind.

Bargain Basement:

Zach Davies, Brewers at Cubs ($6,700 FD, $7,900 DK): Simply put, he is one of the best pitchers in all of MLB so far this season (40.1 innings pitched, 36 hits allowed, only seven earned runs and a 1.56 ERA). He is simply fantastic at home but this game is at Wrigley and so far in 2019 he has not been bad on the road with only five earned runs allowed in 16.2 innings. His K:BB ratio on the road is 16 to 5. When the weather warms up at Wrigley, it can become a nightmare for pitchers. Luckily for Davies, Chicago’s cool spring continues with a temperature only in the 50s and a wind blowing in from right field expected. GPP only option for me based on the Cubs loaded lineup.

Monkey Knife Fight Pick: The Astros bats are on fire. Even though we do not know who the Rangers starter is going to be, we can assume they are not very good. Their bullpen very well could be even worse. Take Alex Bregman over 1.5 hits plus walks.

DFS meteorologist concentrating on MLB and the NFL, I graduated from UMass-Lowell with a degree in meteorology in 1996. I worked at AccuWeather as a meteorologist for almost a decade. I combined my two loves, weather and sports, and like to think I help 1000s of DFS'ers out each day. Huge Boston sports fan, lover of nature and animals and a proud father of 4 boys (2 biological).

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