For the first time since Opening Day, we have some decent options on this slate. Last night’s main slate featured a slobber-knocker of a pitcher’s duel between Corbin Burnes and Jose Berrios. I’m not sure we get to that level again but we have plenty of options nonetheless. It’s also kind of nice to not have to deal with Coors Field chalk for the first time all season so let’s toe the rubber for the Starting Rotation 4.4 to find the green screens!
Ian Anderson ($9,800 DK/$9,000 FD)
FB – 48.7% (7th) CH – 30.5% (4th) CB – 20.8% (8th)
I believe Anderson winds up chalky, but if I’m wrong we could bump him into the GPP section. This spot isn’t the absolute best for him but I still do like it. We only have a very small sample of Anderson in the majors, a total of 32.1 innings. The K rate is excellent at 29.7% but the walk rate is high at 10.1%. That could bite him as the Phillies were top 10 in walk rate last year against RHP. Anderson was excellent as well when it came to fly balls with just a 27.5% rate and a 25.9% hard contact rate to boot.
There is some regression coming due to his 3.45 xFIP compared to the 1.95 ERA. Perhaps my largest fear is the pitch data which does not look kindly to Anderson. Philly was top 10 against all three of his main offerings and that could be a problem. His main two pitches were the four-seam and the change as he threw them over 700 times last year. They both had an ISO of .060 or under and the change only got hit for a .071 average. Jean Segura and Didi Gregorius were the only Philly hitters that really hit the changeup well last year so I’m fine using Anderson in cash if he’s projected as popular. I also don’t want to take under 40 IP in the majors as “this is what Anderson will always be”.
Brady Singer ($8,700 DK/$7,500 FD)
FB – 57.9% (23rd) SL – 37.4% (30th) CH was used under 5%
The field may well turn to Aaron Civale in Detroit and I’m not exactly going to argue that. What I will argue is that I actually prefer Singer. What we have in Singer is the 18th overall pick in the 2018 draft and made his debut last year with 64.1 innings pitched. The results were fairly strong as a rookie, with a 4.06 ERA and a 4.05 xFIP. The K rate was over 23% and the walk rate was a touch high at 8.7%. So why do we like him here? There are a couple of factors that have me interested.
First, the pitch data really favors Singer since Texas was in the bottom 10 last season against both pitches. There’s also the matter of his ground ball rate being 53.1% and the hard-hit rate being 24.9%. His fastball is a sinker so that’s always going to generate a high clip of grounders. Singer also really started to figure some things out towards the end of the year in 2020. He racked up a 3-1 record with a 1.50 ERA, a .114 batting average against, 25 strikeouts, nine hits, and eight walks in his last four starts (24 innings). I’m not always a fan of a two-pitch pitcher without overwhelming stuff but we have more good news.
Singer has worked on his changeup and changed his grip on it, as reported in kansascity.com. That is a huge piece of Singer’s development so opposing teams can’t sit on the sinker. He only threw it 50 times last season but it sported a .083 ISO. If he can use it with any regularity, this could turn into a major weapon. Lastly, we can add in the Rangers lineup getting considerably worse from 2020 where they had a 25.3% K rate to RHP. If Singer isn’t popular enough in cash, I’m very in for GPP.
Honorable Mention – Civale, Zach Davies is dependent on the Wrigley wind and Pirates lineup since Ke’Bryan Hayes could sit with a wrist injury
Michael Pineda ($9,200 DK/$7,300 FD)
FB – 50.1% (24th) SL – 38.5% (18th) CH – 11.4% (24th)
Pineda is a cagey veteran who is capable of pretty strong fantasy outings but is also capable of ruining your lineup. When talking about him, it’s best to combine his last two seasons since it spans just over 170 innings. The K rate is between 22.5% and 23.3% with an HR/9 just under 1.40. Pineda really limited hard contact in his minimal action last year with a 23.1% rate and the .321 BABIP against seems abnormally high. Throughout his career, Pineda has been even as far as splits go so I don’t think there’s a strong platoon advantage for the Brewers lineup.
It’s important to keep in mind that the Brew Crew was only 1% from leading the majors in K rate to RHP last season. I’m not sure there’s much reason to think the lineup got significantly better either. His slider was has been his main strikeout pitch and only Christian Yelich and Keston Hiura rate well against that pitch. If he can survive those hitters, Pineda could throw up a big fantasy number.
Tarik Skubal ($7,300 DK/$6,000 FD)
FB – 60.1% (27th) CH – 16.4% (15th) SL – 15.7% (23rd)
We’re talking about another 2020 rookie as Skubal broke camp in the Tigers rotation. The lefty doesn’t exactly have a lot on the surface the would make you want to play him today. His ERA over 32 innings was 5.63 and the 5.75 FIP would back that up. He displayed a terrifying fly ball rate of 54.2% which helps explain his 2.53 HR/9. Righties did all of the damage with eight bombs and a 24.3% HR/FB rate. An encouraging sign with the homers is it was never an issue through the minors. Not much that I’ve described sounds fun until you realize Skubal had a K rate of 27.6%.
Skubal lived and died by the four-seam last year as his secondary pitches just didn’t work for him. It’s not that surprising to see a rookie struggle with his secondary pitches. His four-seam sits in the high 90’s and can be a serious weapon but there has to be something else going with it, otherwise, MLB hitters will catch up to any cheddar being thrown. Skubal worked on a split-change during the spring and whiffed 18 hitters over 17 innings of work. Granted it’s just the spring but he only allowed three runs as well. Cleveland didn’t whiff a ton against LHP last year at just 20.5% but their lineup has looked putrid so far. I always am willing to take shots with young pitchers with some gas and Skubal checks that box for me.
Honorable Mention – Not a ton today. I wish I could say Mitch Keller but even I’m not too excited about that.
Gas Can To Target – In the past three years, Jeff Hoffman has pitched about 100 innings and his ERA has not below 6.56 and the HR/9 has hovered between 2.70 and 1.27. He’s given up hard contact over 40% of the time the past two seasons while mostly relying on a fastball and changeup. Both sides of the plate got him last year but in his career, RHH have a .411 wOBA, .313 average, and a 2.31 HR/9. I’m looking right through the heart of the Cards lineup here. Nolan Arenado and Tyler O’Neil both had ISO’s over .200 against righties last year while Paul Goldschmidt was over .375 in wOBA along with being their best fastball hitter (17th overall in MLB last season). Dylan Carlson, Paul DeJong, and Tommy Edman are all secondary options in the stack as well.
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Bruce Zimmerman O 3.5 K’s -107
Record – 1-2
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