Written by: Coleman Bahr – Staff Writer (@ColemanBahr)
We have a full slate of baseball on tap, and as usual, it will be a fun one. In this article I am going to preview the top cash, and tournament pitchers, along with a few hitters I will be targeting hitters against. With that being said, let’s get to it!
| Pitchers to Target in Cash Games
Madison Bumgarner – DraftKings: $13,100, FanDuel: $11,000 – San Francisco Giants
The top option on tonight’s slate is none other than Madison Bumgarner. Coming to today’s game with a slate low 2.25 earned run average, and a strikeout rate of 27.7%. It is hard to beat numbers like that, especially when they are backed by the lowest walk and hits per innings pitched (WHIP) on the slate at 1.02. His matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers offers a simple task as they rank 27 th in weighted runs created plus (wRC+) against lefties. They also have the lowest batting average on balls in play (BABIP) against southpaws, which will add some problems for them as Bumgarner has only allowed a contact rate of 75.4%. With a shortage of aces on a full slate of baseball, Bumgarner is an easy cash game lock, and he is a viable play in all formats as his matchup is not only safe, but he has upside too.
Jake Arrieta – DraftKings: $12,500, FanDuel: $11,000 – Chicago Cubs
Jake Arrieta is an ace without a doubt, but he has seemed to lose control of his pitches lately. Just in his last start he walked seven and only struck out three against the Milwaukee Brewers. On the bright side, it was expected for him to walk a few more hitters than usual as the Brewers rank third in walk percentage against right-handed pitching. However, on the not-so- bright side of things, Arrieta only fanned three hitters in that matchup, and the Brewers rank first in strikeout percentage against righties. However, he has a favorable matchup against the San Diego Padres. While the Padres have been a target when a righty takes the mound, it has not been that way lately as they have had a huge turnover since the trade deadline, and their lineup features an equal number of lefties and righties now. Despite that, Arrieta makes for a fine cash game play, not only do the Padres rank 20th this season in walks (not lefty or righty specific), they also rank second in strikeout rate at 24.6%.
| Pitchers to Target in Tournaments
Carlos Rodon – DraftKings: $8,600, FanDuel: $8,100 – Chicago White Sox
You have to admire Carlos Rodon’s brilliance against left-handed bats. Against lefties he has a strikeout rate of 29.6%, a walk rate of only 4.1%, and a meager isolated power of just .069. His matchup against the Philadelphia Phillies offers a smattering of lefties for Rodon to shut down, none of which are anywhere close to elite by the way. However, Rodon has struggled with righties, but the only bat I am concerned with is Maikel Franco who has smashed the ball recently, and he has positive splits against southpaws. Outside of Franco, the Phillies are a very underwhelming offensive squad, especially against lefties as they rank 29th in wOBA, and wRC+, along with a strikeout rate of 22.8%. Rodon has been very consistent recently, allowing two runs or less in his last three starts, and he will look to build on that momentum tonight.
Jon Gray – DraftKings: $7,400, FanDuel: $8,300 – Colorado Rockies
Jon Gray has been torn to shreds lately. In his past three starts he has allowed 19 runs over just 12 innings of work. So you may be asking why I would use him tonight.? Despite all of his struggles, he still has an elite strikeout rate of 24.8%. Also, he faces the strikeout heavy Milwaukee Brewers, away from Coors Field. The Brewers also are not anything special when facing righties with a wRC+ of 86, and a weighted on base average (wOBA) of .310. This pick certainly carries risk as Gray has labored through his last three starts, but the upside is undeniable so I will have exposure to him in tournaments tonight.
| Pitchers to Target Hitters Against
Jake Thompson – Philadelphia Phillies
Jake Thompson has had a rough start to his major league campaign, allowing at least three runs in all three starts, while failing to make it longer than five innings. The worst part about this start for Thompson is that he has had some good luck. Thompson has been drilled, evident by a hard contact rate of 40.4%, however his BABIP is sitting at .250, much below the league average. His BABIP will begin to regress to the mean, which is bad news for him, but the hitters are looking to feast on this matchup. He faces the Chicago White Sox who possess some potent right-handed bats, and Thompson has struggled with righties, sporting a .292 ISO, and a .500 slugging percentage in his first three starts.
Christian Friedrich – San Diego Padres
On paper, Christian Friedrich is mediocre at best. His ERA sits at 4.69, while his ERA estimators indicate that he is due for negative regression, he only boasts a strikeout rated of 16.9%, and his WHIP is at 1.46. All of that mixed in with the tough task of the Chicago Cubs makes Friedrich an easy stacking option tonight. The Cubs own the highest wRC+ against lefties, and it is most likely due to a vicious combination of a league high walk rate, and wOBA, and the third highest ISO. If you are looking for a way to stack up the Cubbies tonight, my answer would be as simple as this: anyway you want to. If you are looking for the stack with the most opportunity go for the top of the lineup, but that will be chalky. If you are looking for a way to differentiate, a bottom of the lineup stack with David Ross, Javier Baez, Addison Russell, and maybe even Jason Heyward could be the way to go.
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!