MLB DFS Lost in the Shuffle: Pitchers for the Nigg…Parsimonious, April 23
Welcome to MLB DFS Lost in the Shuffle: Pitchers for the Nigg…Parsimonious, April 23. Anyone interested about the full premise of this series can see this. The brief rundown is that this series was created to find x<=$3500 batters and/or <=$8000 pitchers who have a combination of productive splits advantages, productive spots in the lineup, advantageous weather and park factors, and other factors that aren’t accounted for in salaries.
Weather has played a significant role during MLB’s first month. There have been 26 postponements with eight days remaining. Even domed teams aren’t safe from cancellations. April 16 featured large icicles falling from the CN Tower that took out the Rogers Centre roof in Toronto. Can’t make this stuff up. Shout out to Mother Nature for making my humor quota for me.
Before we begin: check out FanGraphs to familiarize yourself with sabermetric terminology used below. Stats from same source. For quick reference, these were the 2017 MLB averages for the following statistics: 97 wRC+, .321 wOBA, .171ISO. Most pitchers hover around a .290 to .310 BABIP. Outliers are future candidates for statistical corrections.
Weather forecasts as of 700AM CT. Weather updates are available at RotoGrinders. Air Density Index (ADI) at DailyBaseballData. This only evaluates the primetime slate. I’m not a BvP enthusiast due to limited samples, although I’ll mention it if it meets the Central Limit Theorem of x>30 at-bats. Prices via DraftKings.
Below is today’s MLB DFS projected game and pitchers slate.
MLB DFS Games Slate, April 23
Indians at Orioles
Twins at Yankees
Athletics at Rangers
Mariners at White Sox
Angels at Astros
Padres at Rockies
Nationals at Giants
MLB DFS Pitchers Slate, April 23
Gerrit Cole (vs Angels, $12600)
Carlos Carrasco (at Orioles, $11700)
Gio Gonzalez (at Giants, $10800)
Masahiro Tanaka (vs Twins, $8800)
Chad Bettis (vs Padres, $7500)
Trevor Cahill (at Rangers, $7000)
Chris Stratton (vs Nationals, $6800)
Tyler Skaggs (at Astros, $6700)
Matt Moore (vs Athletics, $6500)
Mike Leake (at White Sox, $6300)
Walker Buehler (vs Marlins, $6200)
Jake Odorizzi (at Yankees, $6100)
Jarlin Garcia (at Dodgers, $6000)
Kevin Gausman (vs Indians, $5800)
Miguel Gonzalez (vs Mariners, $5100)
Bryan Mitchell (at Rockies, $4600)
A few high priced pitchers whom will entertain the masses. Gerrit Cole has a difficult home matchup against a Los Angeles Angels offense that strikes out in fewer than 18 percent of its at-bats vs RHP. Carlos Carrasco faces a Baltimore Orioles offense that has the third highest strikeout percentage (26.3%) vs RHP. Gio Gonzalez appears ready for a BABIP correction as he faces a San Francisco Giants offense that has the sixth lowest team wRC+ (80) against LHP.
Let’s look at a few of the cheaper options. Which pitchers are worth taking a risk on? Who has the best strikeout potential? Are any of them due for a positive or negative BABIP correction? Who has the best matchups?
Miguel Gonzalez (White Sox, vs Mariners, $5100)
Not for the risk-averse. Miguel Gonzalez entered the season as the steady veteran presence for a rebuilding starting rotation. Three games into the season? Gonzalez has a 12.41 ERA with a 2.43WHIP and a measly five strikeouts in 12.1IP. His DraftKings scoring average: -4.8/gm. The only steady part about him is that he has been nowhere near a quality start.
Some of that start appears like bad luck: his .392 BABIP is about .90 points higher than league average. Typically, Gonzalez posts around the upper 2s. You’d normally see Gonzalez as a $6500-to-$7500 option against a middling offense such as Seattle. Gonzalez should have enough motivation as another poor outing could jeopardize his spot in the starting rotation.
If you play multiple teams or want to load up on big bats, then Gonzalez is worth a couple GPP dart throws. It goes without saying that he’s not worth the risk in a cash game.
Walker Buehler (Dodgers, vs Marlins, $6200)
Nashvillians will know this former Vanderbilt Commodore. The 23-year-old pitcher will make his first career start when he takes the mound against Miami. Buehler is considered an elite pitching prospect. An overcrowded starting rotation has given the franchise an opportunity to develop him at Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Buehler has the strikeout potential that DFS gamers crave. He’s shown a double-digit K/9 mark at nearly every minor league stop. His first MLB experience came during eight relief appearances in 2017. That 9.1-inning sample size featured 12 strikeouts with a 7.71 ERA. His three Triple-A starts this season have showcased him with 16 strikeouts in 13 innings.
The $6200 appears enticing when one considers that his debut comes at a pitcher’s park against a lackluster Miami offense which has the second worst team wOBA vs RHP (.267) and strikes out in 25 percent of their at-bats. Take note that none of the aforementioned three Triple-A starts have exceeded five innings. A similar approach would limit his ceiling, although five innings is decent if he averages at least a strikeout-per-inning on that salary.
Matt Moore (Rangers, vs Athletics, $6500)
April 17 was a blast to the past when Matt Moore pitched what seemed like his first good MLB start since he pitched for the Rays. How ironic that those seven scoreless innings came against his former team. Anyone courageous enough to play him was rewarded with 27 DraftKings points on a $5200 salary. That’s nearly 5.2x. Fantastic value from a pitcher.
Can he repeat that performance at $6500? The Athletics are a more formidable foe. Their 110 team wRC+ vs LHP puts them ninth, albeit limited sample size. Moore’s .359 BABIP suggests that he’s due for a positive correction, although his previous two seasons (.320, .332) are worse than the .300 league average that most pitchers hover around. Winds are expected to blow out approximately 9mph at Globe Life Park, a hitter’s haven.
Don’t expect a repeat performance. Maybe ~3x at best. Worth a GPP dart throw if you submit multiple teams. Just don’t sell your soul to him. Definitely don’t play him in cash.
Possible BABIP Correction Candidates
Chris Stratton (.231 BABIP)
Chad Bettis (.215 BABIP)
Jarlin Garcia (.096 BABIP)
MLB DFS Final Notes
Cash game players should spend up on pitching. No need to take any risks outside the top four (or really even top three) when they’re playing 50-50s or multipliers on this slate. Mike Leake is about as close to a cash game pitcher as there is in the x<=$8000 range. Not exactly enticing when one considers he’s pitching on the road and has a .260 BABIP correction awaiting him at some point. Low reward, medium risk type of deal.
Joshua Huffman was born and collegiately edumacated in Middle Tennessee. That said, Huffman spent 13-plus years with the type of Northern Wisconsinites and Yoopers who turn Nashville bars into alcohol wastelands whenever NFC North teams travel to play the Tennessee Titans. This makes him the NoBro of SoBros. He has published content for Yahoo! Sports (via Contributor Network) and Titan Sized, among other venues. At SoBros, he’ll provide Daily Fantasy Sports suggestions and broad sports coverage. Check out more of his musings at his blog, Millennial on Maple Street.