Prime Pitchers – 6/1/17

June is already here and the baseball season is flying by. I’ve been meaning to crank out articles lately but since starting a full-time job, my opportunities have been few and far between. With that being said, I’m going to continue to do what I can to get out content for you guys and piggyback off of Cody, who’s been KILLING it with WNBA, so hopefully my MLB articles can follow suit.

We’ve got a small 4-game MLB slate on tap tonight and it’s full of gas cans. Since that’s the case, there’s only two pitchers that I have my eyes on and I refuse to budge off of those two because of how dangerous the rest of the field is.

Below are my top pitching options for tonight’s 4-game slate.

Top Option

Zack Greinke ($10,400) @ MIA

While Zack Greinke does not often find himself atop the pitching field, the small size of the slate combined with the disappointing depth of the pitching field tonight default him as the number one option on tonight’s slate. 2017 has been a bit of a rebound after a disappointing 2016 as Greinke has posted some impressive numbers compared to last season, listed below:

  • 29.6% K-rate (up 9.5% from last season)
  • 2.98 SIERA (1.13 lower than last season)
  • 4.9% BB-rate (1.3% lower than last season)
  • 14.3% SwStr% (career high)

As you can see, the improvements are impressive. While that is the case, there is still a little concern as he’s surrendered a 41% fly-ball rate, a 37.1% hard-contact rate and a 1.37 HR/9 ratio.

These numbers may scare some away from Greinke, but the Marlins’ performance against right-handed pitching this season solidifies him as my top option. On the season, Miami has posted a rather average K-rate (20.2%), but ranks 21st in team wOBA against righties (0.311), 25th in team ISO (0.148) and holds the 4th lowest walk rate in the league at 6.9%.

With no perfect cash-game play on the slate tonight, Zack Greinke brings enough to the table in a favorable matchup to serve as an interim option atop the pitching field.

Pivot Pitcher

Eduardo Rodriguez ($9,000) @ BAL

Even though Greinke is the top cash-game option, that doesn’t mean that there are no viable pivots – my favorite being Eduardo Rodriguez of the Boston Red Sox tonight, who’s been living up to the pre-season hype that surrounded him.

So far this season, he’s posted a 26.6% K-rate (with a 12% SwStr%) and a 3.86 SIERA while doing a phenomenal job of limiting hard contact (27.9% hard% // 0.81 HR/9).

While a game in Camden Yards is not a situation you typically want to target for a pitcher, the mediocrity of the Orioles’ offense this season against left-handed pitching makes this an extremely targetable spot. They hold the 5th highest K-rate (24.5%) and rank in the middle of the pack in team wOBA (15th at 0.316) and team ISO (19th at 0.145). They also struggle with their discipline at the plate, holding the 9th lowest walk rate (9%) which is a good sign for a young pitcher with occasional command issues.

In addition, this will be the second time Rodriguez has faced the Orioles in Camden this season, recording 6 innings of 1-hit ball in their first matchup with 7 strikeouts (but 5 walks). If he can heighten his command this time around, I believe that Rodriguez is in extremely good shape and comes in as an elite GPP play and the top pivot off of Zack Greinke in cash games.

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