Written by: Coleman Bahr – Staff Writing Intern (@ColemanBahr)
The foundation of a good lineup starts with your pitchers, so in this article I am going to preview the top cash, and tournament pitchers, along with a few pitchers I am going to be targeting hitters against. With that being said, let’s get to it!
| Pitchers to Target in Cash Games
Max Scherzer – DraftKings: $13,600, FanDuel: $11,600 – Washington Nationals
It is hard not to like Max Scherzer every time he takes the hill, regardless of his matchup. He has an insanely high strikeout rate of 32.7% this season, and he has posted double digit strikeouts in eight of his starts this season. Tonight he gets a tough matchup against the San Francisco Giants who will throw out around seven lefties tonight, but Scherzer is still my top guy tonight for cash games. Even though Scherzer is a righty, he still strikes out 28.3% of the lefties he faces. While the Giants have the second lowest strikeout rate against righties, I can still roll with Scherzer based off of two factors. The first is the Giants have not been seeing the ball well lately with a 20.1% strikeout rate in the past 14 days. The second thing is the Giants do not hit Scherzer’s pitches very well. His main strikeout pitch is his fast ball and slider, and the only player who has shown success against both of those pitches this season is Brandon Belt. I love the floor and upside of Scherzer tonight, and he is my top cash game pitcher on this slate.
Kenta Maeda – DraftKings: $10,200, FanDuel: $9,000 – Los Angeles Dodgers
Kenta Maeda is probably the guy I am going with over on FanDuel tonight based on the soft matchup, and he is also $1,600 cheaper than Scherzer, so I can load up on some bats too. Maeda takes the bump against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and they have struggled to hit righties all season long. They have the fifth highest strikeout rate, supplemented by the second lowest walk rate, and the sixth lowest weighted runs created plus (wRC+) when facing righties. Maeda has also had success himself when facing righties with a 28.6% strikeout rate, .213 weighted on base average, and a hard contact rate of 24.5%. I do not expect the Diamondbacks to throw out any more than two lefties, and that should help Maeda put up a shutdown performance tonight.
| Pitchers to Target in Tournaments
Jake Odorizzi – DraftKings: $8,200, FanDuel: $8,100 – Tampa Bay Rays
Jake Odorizzi has some sneaky upside tonight against the New York Yankees at home. Usually when a righty faces the Yankees it spells trouble as they have predominantly left-handed hitters due to that little league fence at Yankee Stadium. However, Odorizzi has some severe reverse splits, and he has been much more dominant at home this year. Against lefties Odorizzi has a strikeout rate of 28.3%, while holding them to a .199 batting average, and a .361 slugging percentage. The Yankees do not have many great right-handed hitters on their roster, and finding runs should be a struggle for them tonight. Odorizzi relies heavily on his two seam, and four seam fastball, and the Yankees do not profile well against those pitches. The only two batters that I foresee Odorizzi struggling with is Carlos Beltran, and Brian McCann, but if he can get through them with minimal damage, he is primed for an elite performance tonight.
Steven Matz – DraftKings: $8,500, FanDuel: $9,700 – New York Mets
Steven Matz finally returned to from last start against the Miami Marlins, picking up the win with six innings, and six strikeouts. Tonight he faces the Colorado Rockies, not in Coors thankfully, and the Rockies have been in a bit of a slump recently so I am going to take full advantage before they get hot. Over the past 14 days, the Rockies have a 22.5% strikeout rate, while only hitting .237, and slugging .378. While Matz is a lefty, he strikes out significantly more righties than lefties, which works out well as the Rockies will probably throw out all righties besides for Carlos Gonzalez, and Charlie Blackmon. I am all in on Matz especially on DraftKings at $8,500, and he is a great way to go contrarian as many people will flock to Max Scherzer, and Kenta Maeda tonight.
| Pitchers to Target Hitters Against
Brandon Finnegan – Cincinnati Reds
Brandon Finnegan has a fairly tough matchup tonight against the San Diego Padres who have crushed lefties this season. The Padres have the highest wRC+, and the third highest slugging percentage against lefties, and Finnegan is mediocre at best. Also, Finnegan has really struggled with right-handed bats, and I expect around six or seven righties to crack the Padres lineup tonight. This stack does come with risk as the ballpark is not favorable, and the Padres strike out 24.1% of the time against lefties. However, if the Padres come through I expect the production to come right from the top of the order with Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, and Yangervis Solarte, who all have a wOBA above .400 against southpaws this season.
Tim Lincecum – Los Angeles Angels
Last night I suggested stacking against the Angels’ Jered Weaver, and that failed miserably as they only scored one run on a sac fly despite putting up eight hits. However, we have another terrible Angels pitcher taking the mound tonight, so I am all in on the Red Sox yet again. Tonight the Red Sox get Tim Lincecum who has been pitiful this season, but especially to righties which surprises me. Against righties he has a walk rate of 16.9%, a wOBA of .584, and a batting average allowed of .452. His batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is ridiculously high so that will regress over time, but it may not regress as much as expected with a hard contact rate of 39.6% to righties, and 39.7% to lefties. The Red Sox are projected to be the highest scoring offense for a reason, and they should have no problem knocking around Lincecum tonight.
That’s all I have for today, thanks for reading! If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @ColemanBahr, good luck tonight!