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MLB DFS: Starting Rotation 9.9

MLB DFS: Starting Rotation 9.9

Last night was a little rough since Walker Buehler was roundly awful and didn’t make it through three innings. Andrew Heaney really struggled but was so high-owned on DK cash he didn’t kill you. On the plus side, Lance Lynn and Sixto Sanchez both exceeded 20 DK even though Lynn hit three batters on the way to achieving it. This slate has some more varied options on paper and there are some heavy hitters on the high end of the salary range so let’s get to MLB DFS: Starting Rotation 9.9!

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Cash Options

Yu Darvish

Pitch Data – CT – 20th FB – 19th SL – 29th CB – 28th

Darvish is the highest priced pitcher on the slate and it’s hard to argue. He’s been excellent and is in the discussion for a loaded NL Cy Young award. The ERA of 1.44 is matched by a tiny 2.01 FIP and 2.60 xFIP. The HR/9 is 0.54, the K rate is 33%, the swinging strike rate is 15.5%…Darvish has it all working this year.

Yesterday we saw the wind blow in at Wrigley and if Darvish gets that tonight, he’s even more appealing. Cincy is 11th in K rate, 19th in wOBA and OPS and 28th in average. They are sixth in ISO so there’s power in the lineup, but it may not matter if they can’t make contact.

Clayton Kershaw

Pitch Data – FB – 30th SL – 9th CB – 14th

Maybe comeback isn’t the right word, but it’s awfully close to describing this season for Kershaw. His K rate is the highest since 2016 and his walk rate is sill just 4.5%. The WHIP is back to 2016 levels and his fly ball rate is under 25%. Even the swinging strike rate is the best it’s been since 2017.

He just destroyed this Arizona lineup the last time out to the tune of six IP with eight strikeouts. The pitch count was at 99 so we should feel safe from that angle. Arizona is only at a 21.3% K rate but the lineup is weakened against LHP with Starling Marte in Miami. If you think both he and Darvish sit between 28-32 DK points, there’s not a lot of reason to not save the $1,000 and pitch Kershaw.

Dane Dunning

Pitch Data – FB – 29th SL – 20th

Dunning also throws a curve and a change, but has leaned on the fastball/slider combo about 88% of the time so far. Through his first 14 IP in the majors, Dunning has displayed K upside with a 30.5% rate. He also has a 2.79 FIP and 3.12 xFIP which are both lower than his 3.86 ERA. The swinging strike rate has been excellent at 17.5%, which makes me think that even with some regression the strikeout stuff is real.

Enter the matchup, which the Pirates are a soft one. They’re striking out over 25% of the time still. Additionally, they are dead last in OBP, OPS, ISO and wOBA. I think the best way to approach pitching on DK is picking one of Darvish or Kershaw (leaning the second) and pair him with Dunning to spend on bats.

GPP Options

Trevor Bauer

Pitch Data – FB – 25th CT – 1st SL – 22nd CB – 11th

I probably couldn’t mount a huge argument if you wanted to use Bauer for cash games, but I do feel Kershaw and Darvish are both safer. Bauer can get bit by the long ball on occasion and the Cubs do have the fourth-highest ISO to RHP and the sixth-highest OPS. What they have that makes this an appealing GPP spot for Bauer is the third-highest K rate at 25.9%.

Bauers’s walks are at a career-low 7.6% which is good because the Cubs are over 10% as a team. The fly ball rate of 46.2% could be an issue in Wrigley pending the weather. What it will come down to is how many LHH is in this lineup. The Cubs could put 5-6 in there and that’s where Bauer has struggled with the long ball at a 2.38 HR/9. We’ll see how the lineup and weather breaks, but a 30+ DK point game isn’t out of reach.

Zach Davies

Pitch Data – CH – 28th FB – 9th CT – 14th

I keep approaching Davies with caution, but he keeps right on producing. He’s gained 5.4% on the K rate this year to bring it up to 22.6% and the swinging strike rate is up, but still under 10%. He hasn’t picked up velocity and is still sitting under 90 MPH on his fastball and cutter. However, he does have about a 10 MPH difference in the changeup and that creates deception. That pitch is the best changeup vis FanGraphs rating in baseball. It’s a bit tough to explain the one reason why he’s been this good this year.

Having said that, he draws the Colorado on the road flowchart matchup and is under $9,000. They’re over the 27% threshold in K rate on the road, so they should help Davies’ average K rate. Davies has been remarkably consistent with seven of eight starts scoring at least 18 DK. People are likely to blow right by him for the big names in the upper tier, leaving Davies in what should be a great GPP spot.

Pablo Sanchez

Pitch Data – FB – 1st CH – 26th

Last but not least in MLB DFS: Starting Rotation 9.9, we turn to Pablo Sanchez. Sanchez throws a cutter and a curve but he lives on the fastball/changeup duo. He’s starting to show some of the strikeout ability at 23.6% and has done a great job keeping the ball in the yard with just a 0.47 HR/9. That can be explained by the 20.2% fly ball rate, which is fifth-best among starting pitchers this year.

Atlanta isn’t exactly the best matchup for that metric at the sixth-fewest ground balls but they are also a top 12 team in K rate. The other fear is the splits to LHH. Sanchez does have some issue to LHH, with a .327 wOBA and just a 16.6% K rate. I’d like to see what the lineup looks like tonight. Last night there was only two lefties in the lineup. If they roll out seven RHH again, I want in on Sanchez’s 33% K rate to that side of the plate.

Monkey Knife Fight

Typically we have been talking offenses in this space, but I love one of the pitching plays on this slate. It’s quite expensive to play Darvish and Bauer together, so why not target them on MKF instead? I like both pitchers to go over their strikeout totals in this spot.

Let’s get after it tonight my friends! 

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