Prime Pitchers – 7/15/17

 

Happy Saturday everyone! Hopefully you all survived the insanely high scores in cash games as just about every chalk player hit a home run. Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, Robinson Cano, Freddie Freeman and Buster Posey all hovered at or above 20% ownership and hit home runs last night.

A HUGE congratulations goes out to our staff member and website administrator Nick Olson who took 7th place in his GPP last night thanks to getting Yasiel Puig at #CriminalOwnership (as Johnny would say)!

We’ve got a beautiful Saturday slate with a load of pitching options, 6 that I love actually, so I’m going to shorten the analysis on each of them a bit so I can get through all 6.

Here are my preferred pitching options on tonight’s slate:

Top Tier ($10,000+)

Max Max Scherzer ($12,100)

There isn’t much analysis that you really need to be convinced as to why Mad Max is firmly in play tonight, but as opposed to most other nights – I do not consider him a lock in cash games.

Scherzer has been stellar this season, posting a 35.5% K-rate, a 2.68 SIERA, a 3.07 xFIP and has limited hard contact to a 26.3% rate (likely) en route to a 2017 NL Cy Young award.

He gets a bit of a park downgrade heading to Great American Ballpark and the Reds aren’t necessarily the pushover offense that they have been in years past (7th highest team wOBA and 6th highest team ISO with an average K-rate of 20.8%), but Scherzer is essentially matchup-proof. He’s the top play on the slate, regardless of whether or not the other pitchers have more favorable matchups.

Corey Corey Kluber ($11,500)

Kluber is the main reason why I sad Scherzer is not a cash-game lock tonight. He’s been almost (stress the ALMOST) as effective as Scherzer this season, posting a 33.8% K-rate, a 2.86 SIERA, 2.65 xFIP and has only allowed a 30.6% hard-contact percentage (also only 0.77 HR/9 innings).

I mentioned the Oakland A’s struggles with plate discipline yesterday and it showed. They were able to tag Carlos Carrasco for 4 runs, but he still managed to record 10 punchouts in 6.1 innings of work. They hold a 25.6% K-rate against right-handed pitchers and while they do have some pop, I expect it to be suppressed due to Kluber’s effectiveness against the long-ball this season. Kluber receives a massive park upgrade in the Coliseum and comes in as an elite play in all formats tonight.

Bum Madison Bumgarner ($11,000)

Bumgarner may actually be my favorite option on the board tonight, but a potential pitch count might limit my exposure to him to GPPs only. He’s set to take the mound after a couple months on the DL and he gets the friendliest matchup a pitcher could ask for – the San Diego Padres.

They rank dead last in the league in wOBA (0.276) and 27th in the league in ISO (0.130) against left-handed pitching while also holding the 3rd highest K-rate at 26.2%.

Bumgarner has held the Padres to a 0.204 batting average over the last three seasons and has recorded 86 strikeouts in 73.0 innings of work. While he may still be shaking off a bit of rust tonight, Bumgarner comes in as an elite GPP play and borderline cash play depending on the length of his leash.

Mid Tier ($8,000 – $9,900)

wood Alex Wood ($9,900)

Arguably the most consistent pitcher in the league this season, Alex Wood has topped at least 45 FanDuel points in 7 of his last 9 contests. He boasts a 30.9% K-rate, a ridiculous 0.22 HR/9 ratio, an elite 63.5% ground-ball rate and a masterful 21.5% hard-contact percentage. It’s hard to find fault in any aspect of his game this season and I see no reason why he doesn’t continue his dominance tonight.

The Miami Marlins can be a pesky team against lefties as they strike out less than 20% of the time and rank 12th in team wOBA, but they also only have a 0.146 ISO. With little pop against a pitcher that already dominates hard-contact and has an elevated strikeout rate, there’s a good chance that he’ll suppress this offense with ease tonight.

Jimmy Nelson ($9,100)

One of the most surprising performers of the first half, Jimmy Nelson comes into tonight primed for a huge game against the Phillies.

They tagged Zach Davies for 6 runs last night, but Nelson’s stuff has been far more impressive this season. He’s posted a career bests in K-rate (26.1%), SIERA (3.48) and xFIP (3.30) while allowing less than one home run per 9 innings.

Philadelphia’s struggles have been talked about throughout the season in terms of DFS, as they rank 28th in wOBA (0.301), 29th in ISO (0.144) and hold a 23.9% K-rate against right-handed pitching.

If you’re looking for a bit of savings tonight at the pitching position, Nelson looks like a beautiful way to do that.

Low Tier (Below $8,000)

Mike Foltynewicz ($7,800)

Folty hasn’t been over-the-top impressive this season, but he’s gotten the job done and warrants consideration in GPPs tonight. He’s recorded 45, 55 and 37 in his last three games respectively and has also seen a spike in his strikeout numbers over that span (22 over the last 19 innings). He’s limited hard-contact to a 27.5% rate and comes into tonight in a favorable spot against the Diamondbacks, who struggle away from Chase Field.

Away from home against right-handed pitchers, the D-Backs rank in the middle of the pack in wOBA (13th), but have rank 24th in ISO (0.158) and also have the 13th highest K-rate at 22.6%.

I’m not recommending throwing Foltynewicz in your cash game lineups tonight, but he’s in a good spot for GPPs and should be in line for the win with the Diamondbacks throwing gas-can lefty Patrick Corbin on the mound.

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