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MLB DFS: Starting Rotation 9.1

MLB DFS: Starting Rotation 9.1

Yesterday was mostly solid once again as the two main pitchers in Shane Bieber and Tyler Glasnow both were right around 60 DK points combined. We might not have four pitchers that can combine for that score tonight. Yesterday the options were fairly pricey, but at least they were trustworthy. Those style of options are in relatively short supply tonight. That doesn’t mean we don’t have some really fun options so let’s get to work on MLB DFS: Starting Rotation 9.1!

Cash Options

Aaron Nola

Pitch Data – FB – 17th CH – 4th CB -12th

I’ll admit, I’m not exactly the biggest fan of Nola over $10,000 but I would guess he carries pretty heavy ownership in cash settings, especially on DK. He did just score 27.6 last game against this same team, but the Nationals are not typically a team I attack. They have the third-lowest K rate to RHP and a top 12 mark in wOBA.

The flip side is Nola is a very talented pitcher. His K rate has spiked to 34.8%, which is a little over 8% his career mark. Nola is generating a healthy 12.7% swinging strike rate. He has never allowed a fly ball rate over 32.4% his entire career, and that’s in line this season as well. One aspect that’s worth noting as well – he has a 2.05 ERA at home through 26.1 IP this season with just a .196 wOBA. I’m likely to spend down in GPP tonight, but cash games I’m looking to ride with the ownership I expect.

Framber Valdez

Pitch Data – FB – 26th CB – 17th CH – 19th

I wanted to pitch Valdez on Sunday, but that was not to be. Instead, we’ll turn to him tonight in what shapes up to be an excellent spot for him. The pitch data is a check mark in his favor since the Rangers are bottom half vs all three pitches. Valdez has really been a big part of the Astros rotation this year, and they needed it. He’s compiled a 2.35 ERA with a FIP and xFIP both under 2.85 to back that up. The K rate has jumped to a career-high 26% while the walks have gone to a career-low 5.8%. When he’s not whiffing hitters, the fly ball rate is just 17.6%.

From the Texas standpoint, they strike out the seventh-most times against LHP and rank second in ground ball rate. That really plays directly into what Valdez has been doing well this year and the price doesn’t reflect his outcome tonight. He’s taken out the Angels twice, A’s and at Coors Field. Valdez is a really nice fit in all formats tonight.

GPP Options

Ian Anderson

Pitch Data – FB – 11th CH – 10th CB – 8th

Anderson really can’t be a cash option against the Red Sox, but I am quite interested. Anytime we get a prospect in the top 50 in all of baseball under $7,000, I’m interested. When he’s coming off a debut that he flirted with a no-hitter for awhile, all the better. Anderson generated a respectable 11.1% swinging strike rate in that first start. It does have to be said that his 2019 AAA numbers were atrocious in 24.2 IP, but it’s not uncommon to see improvements at the major league level.

If playing Anderson, you’re hoping that he can exploit the 24.6% K rate the Red Sox have shown to RHP so far this year. Despite the big names they boast, Boston is just about average to slightly below in every major offensive category we value. Surely they can spring up and hit any pitcher any given night, but this is a spot worth a gamble at Anderson’s salary.

Zach Plesac

Pitch Data – FB – 13th SL – 16th CH – 24th CB – 22nd

Plesac is returning from his “banishment” from the Indians roster and is walking into a pretty solid spot. He’s only started three games this season but tallied a 1.29 ERA with a 2.37 FIP to match. The K rate was an excellent 31.2% while the walk rate was only 2.6%. His swinging strike rate also took a significant leap from 9.5% in 2019 to 13.5% this season.

The Royals are a top 12 K rate team at 24.4% so far this year and there’s nothing in the pitch data that should be all that scary. The Royals also rank 24th and 26th in OPS and wOBA, so this should be a fine night to use Plesac. My only hesitation in cash would be he’s had an extended break, and that could have negative effects. I’d prefer Valdez in cash but wouldn’t fight if you went Plesac.

Josh Lindblom

Pitch Data – No pitch is used over 33%

This is perhaps the riskiest play of MLB DFS: Starting Rotation 9.1. Lindblom is really all over the board on pitch usage with a fastball, slider, cutter, curve, change and split-finger. He’s under $7,000 and you’re playing him hoping he can strike out enough hitters to make it worth it, because he’s going to give up runs. You could argue he’s due for some positive regression. The ERA is an awful 6.31 but the FIP is 4.50 and the xFIP is 3.88. With a BABIP of .356 and a HR/9 of 1.75, it’s easy to see why the results and metrics haven’t matched up yet.

The K rate of 31.6% is what interests me here. Detroit still leads the league in K rate at 28.6% so this is the perfect spot for Lindblom in the K metrics. The Tigers have been better offensively lately, grinding their way to an average ranking the past two weeks. This spot is certainly not risk-free, but the K upside makes it worth a shot.

Monkey Knife Fight Picks

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Matt Harvey is on the mound tonight and since he’s not remotely in play for us, I’m looking to the Indians tonight. Harvey has given up a wOBA of at least .403 to each side of the plate in his 5.2 IP so far and he’s not a major league pitcher at this juncture. Go Indians!

Let’s get it tonight my friends!

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