MLB DFS: DraftKings and FanDuel Pitching 8/15
Monday comes around with 10 games tonight, and we have some strong options up top. Everyone’s favorite pitcher is on the mound and no, I’m not talking about Shohei Ohtani even though he’s an elite option. The real question is if there are any viable cheap options so let’s get into the MLB DFS: DraftKings and FanDuel Pitching 8/15!
Give me all the Cole tonight as he hits the Bronx fresh off a redemption tour last time on the mound with seven innings, four hits, and eight strikeouts for 29.4 DK points. Tonight, he sees the Tampa offense that is fifth in K rate against righties at 24.5% and ranks 27th when they see a fastball and 19th when they see a slider. Those two pitches make up almost 73% of what Cole throws this season and they both have a whiff rate over 30.5%, a wOBA under .280, and they’ve totaled 147 of his 178 strikeouts. If that wasn’t enough, he’s raised his game in front of the home fans (two starts ago duly noted) and has a 35.2% K rate, a 0.87 WHIP, a 2.21 xFIP, and a 2.69 FIP. If that wasn’t enough, lefties have a 39.4% K rate and a .210 wOBA n that split and the Rays should play at least five. The stats and metrics paint too good of a picture here to not be on board.
I might prefer Cole but it’s absolutely possible that Ohtani outscores him, even though Seattle has a better offense overall than the Rays do. They strike out at a 22.4% rate and are in the top 12 in wRC+ (they are more toward the middle of the pack for our categories, in fairness). Ohtani is rocking an xFIP of just 2.38, an ERA of 2.68, a K rate of 35.2%, and his swinging-strike rate is 15.9%. That tends to happen when three of your main offerings have a whiff rate well over 30% and two of them cross 40%. Ohtani also continues to evolve which is always fantastic to see as the slider has taken over for his main pitch, and the all-around results are some of the best he’s put forth. Both sides of the plate are under a .300 wOBA, both sides whiff at least 33.3% of the time, and both have an xFIP under 2.45. If there’s a way to punt a couple of hitters and play both pitchers, I would be interested in that route for sure.
It feels like it’s gone totally under the radar, but this guy has been a rock all season long and that’s included his first couple of starts with the Mariners. Across 99.2 innings, he has a 2.71 ERA with a 3.17 FIP and an xFIP of 3.37, which isn’t a deal-breaker at $9,200. You’re willing to take that risk a little more when a pitcher sports a 26.1% K rate, a 1.04 WHIP, and a 45.1% ground ball rate. He mixes his pitches well with the four-seam and changeup being the man two with 73 strikeouts. Everything looks strong for him even before factoring in the matchup with the Angels, who are bottom-five against the fastball this season. Los Angeles has curbed their K rate a bit over the past 30 days and brought it down to 24.5% but that’s still something to attack and both sides of the plate are under .285 for the wOBA and both strike out at least 23.2% of the time. He could be a very worthwhile pivot and save about $1,000 from the upper two options tonight.
I may have avoided him most of the season but even I cannot deny the spot Urias is in tonight. His profile is a little less appealing than you would think compared to his streak of averaging 22.9 DK points over the past 10 starts. The xFIP is 3.68, the K rate is 24.2%, and the fly-ball rate is 44.3%. However, he does balance that out a bit by allowing a 27.4% hard-hit rate and he is still generating an 11.6% swinging-strike rate. Only his changeup has a whiff rate over 30% but every pitch has a wOBA under .295. Even the right side of the plate has only produced a .272 wOBA and a 1.05 WHIP. The Brewers have really struggled when they see lefty pitching as well since they are 25th in wRC+, wOBA, and OPS while also ranking 22nd in ISO and OBP. If that wasn’t enough, the K rate is sky-high at 25% and the only knock is his pitch count has not topped 99 all season. Still, that hasn’t mattered much when he’s been on the mound.
Note – It looks like Spencer Strider is finally going to start and while his metrics are the same as they were three days ago, the matchup has decidedly switched. The Mets are much tougher to face and they have the second-lowest K rate of any team in baseball when they face a righty. To make matters worse, this will be the third time in six starts Strider has seen the Mets and that includes his last start where he had to throw 79 pitches through 2.2 innings. I’m going to be very light on Strider tonight as the risk outweighs the reward in my eyes.
At this price, I feel compelled to take a stab at Gray since he has a K rate of 26.3% and may only see three lefties. Of course, I don’t love the fact that he’s going to see the Cubs for the second straight time but there is still an upside to get after here. He should see only three lefties (hopefully) and they smash him with a .388 wOBA, a 3.04 HR/9, and a 5.20 xFIP. The right side is much better for him with a 3.60 xFIP and the K rate is over 27% while the Cubbies have the ninth-highest K rate when facing a righty. If he can figure out his four-seam, he’s going to be a very good pitcher since his slider and curve have a whiff rate over 35% and a wOBA under .280. The four-seam is getting destroyed for a .457 wOBA so there is not one once of safety, but he’s cheap for the strikeout ability.
Generally, Jose Urquidy is not someone we look at but he throws the ball with his right hand and he faces the White Sox. In 2022, that’s enough to make the list for consideration even if there isn’t a lot of faith in Urquidy himself. His K rate is just 18.9% and the xFIP is 4.42, so that isn’t super ideal, nor is his 4.87 xFIP, 14.1% K rate, and 1.66 HR/9 on the road. However, the White Sox are 20th or lower in wOBA, wRC+, ISO, and OPS when they see a righty so it’s a very average pitcher (at best) against a cupcake matchup.
I could be proven wrong but I really think Cobb could post a big score here. For one, his xFIP and FIP combo continue to be below 2.95 which flies in the face of the 4.15 ERA. His HR/9 is only 0.68 and the K rate is 25.3%, a huge number at this salary. Cobb’s strand rate is 10% lower than his career mark and the BABIP is roughly 30 points higher, which has proven to be a poor combo for him. When Cobb doesn’t get the strikeout, his ground ball rate is crazy high at 61.1% and even with the bad luck, Cobb has been far better in San Francisco. In that split, he has a 3.00 ERA and the K rate is 27.7% to go with a 1.16 WHP and a 2.54 FIP. Even more exciting is the fact he’s holding lefties to a 2.04 FIP and a .257 wOBA and the Arizona lineup is going to be strongly lefty-heavy. They are also leaving Denver so the advantages lie with Cobb tonight and I could see him being the best point per dollar option of the slate.
Kris Bubic is someone I’ll struggle with because it’s difficult for me to not just play Cobb for $300 more but Bubic should be largely ignored. He’s been on a nice streak here, scoring at least 15.9 DK points in each of his last five starts and they have been tough matchups. He gets another one with the Twins but since July, Bubic has pitched 47.1 innings with an ERA under 3.15, a wOBA around .300, and a K rate over 20%. In MME formats, that’s going to be worth taking shots at.
Missed The Cut
Carlos Carrasco – You can give him a try to attack the weakness of the Braves lineup, which is the K rate of 25.4% on the season. There is a possibility that Ronald Acuna will remain out and that would change the dynamic, although Carrasco has produced worse on the road. It’s interesting though because the xFIP is at 3.39 on the road and 3.44 at home. Carrasco could jump up into play depending on the lineup he’s facing, as Atlanta is fairly beat up compared to what the lineup was thought to be at the start of the season.
Joe Ryan – I can honestly say I have no idea which version of him will show up every fifth day. The bottom line is he does have a 4.53 xFIP and a 56% fly-ball rate, both of which are very worrisome. If he gets enough righties, I may take a stab because the K rate is over 30% against that side of the plate and he could face up to six. Like Carrasco, he’s a fade on Sunday night but that is subject to change. The salary is pretty appealing if things break his way.
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