It was quite the day in the Starting Rotation on Thursday! We helped a member with a takedown and really nailed the majority of the picks. Even though Kevin Gausman wasn’t anything special, he still scored 18 DK. The only pitcher that scored under 16 was Brandon Woodruff and we’ll take that every night. Tonight is a good deal trickier but we do have a ton of options to pick from for MLB DFS: Starting Rotation 8.21.
He was covered in Picks and Pivots today, so you can read up on him right here.
Pitch Data – FB – 9th SL – 13th CB – 10th
This would not normally be a cash pick but the options are fairly limited tonight. Fried draws a tough matchup for a lefty pitcher against the Phillies but he has come through against them once already for 23.7 DK points. He’s upped the swinging strike rate to 12.9% and the overall K rate is at 25.4%. Hitters simply have not gotten the ball in the air or hit it hard at 21.1% and 32.4%, respectively.
Philly should throw out seven RHH against Fried but that actually might help the K upside just a bit. He only whiffs LHH at a 9.1% rate compared to 29.5% to the right side. Fried is one of the better young pitchers in the league and I’ll ride with the talent tonight.
*Note* Bryce Harper is not in the lineup tonight, which certainly doesn’t hurt Fried at all.
Pitch Data – FB – 8th SL – 15th CH – 30th
This is another one that I might not normally love for cash, but it’s always a slate by slate kind of deal. The A’s absolutely have some power vs LHP and that’s a concern. They also lead the league in K rate to LHP at 29.1%. In the first start of the season, Heaney racked up 19.3 DK vs these A’s on just 64 pitches. His last start he threw 101 against the Dodgers, a much better offense.
If Heaney uses that changeup a little more often, it could really give the A’s fits. The swinging strike rate is more than respectable at 12.4%, as is the 24.5% K rate overall. We don’t love an 8.8% walk rate but with Oakland leading the league in strikeouts to LHP, the good should more than outweigh the bad in this spot.
Just like Nola, he’s been covered today. I think on DK, he’s very close to a cash option at his price especially with the options behind Nola not the prototypical picks.
Pitch Data – FB – 5th SL – 5th CT – 17th CB – 27th
Buehler is likely the most talented pitcher on the slate overall but there’s no way getting around it – he’s bee awful this year. In four starts, he’s yet to cross 18 DK points and the 5.43 xFIP supports the 5.21 ERA. The K rate is down to 21.3% and the walk rate has skyrocketed to 11.3%. Also, the HR/9 is a massive 2.37 right now and that’s not like Buehler at all.
Eventually, he’s going to snap out of this funk and we want to be on the first big game. His price hasn’t come down at all so it’s not like he’s easy to play. Perhaps the Rockies on the road can bring that first massive game. They rank 20th or worse in average, OBP, slugging, OPS, ISO, wOBA and wRC+ on the road to RHP. Additionally, the 25.5% K rate should favor Buehler. It’s a matter of time before he turns things around.
Pitch Data – FB – 29th SL – 12th CH – 23rd
Houser is a touch overpriced on DK but we can’t deny the spot for him. The pitch count doesn’t appear to be a concern with 87, 77 and 86 in the past three and he’s scored 14.9 DK against these Pirates once already on 68 pitches. Pittsburgh is approaching 26% in K rate and are bottom five across the board in everything we look at. There’s not much else to write about past the Pirates being the second-worst team to the fastball and Houser uses that pitch 65% of the time.
Pitch Data – FB – 11th CB – 17th CH – 9th
I always have a soft spot for McCullers and the pitch data is a little bit better than I thought it might be. The change is the pitch he uses the least, so that helps. We may not love the 45.3% hard hit rate but the 18.9% fly ball rate is beyond excellent. That ranks third among starters to this point.
McCullers doesn’t have an impressive ERA at 5.47 but the 3.95 xFIP suggests that positive regression is on the way. San Diego absolutely has a good offense and doesn’t strike out that much at 21%. The BABIP to RHH is pretty high at .323 so it should be expected to come down as we go. While this isn’t the greatest spot McCullers will ever get, he should be low-owned and he has the ability to shut down any team in the majors on any given night.
Let’s get it tonight my friends!
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