In the last 12 hours I had 2 flights cancelled, so today’s breakdown won’t be auditory, it’s going to have to be the written word. Let’s dive in to the pitchers on tonight’s slate.
Locked, Stalk, Chalk: Jacob Degrom v San Diego, $11,000
Despite some recent flash, San Diego remains one MLB’s best teams to attack with high quality pitchers. Especially right handers. Degrom Enters Petco with a 28% k rate, and 3.2 XFIP and 3.3 SIERA. On top of that he owns he slate’s highest SwStr rate at 13.6%. While it may be tempting to go to other second tier studs in this spot, remember San Diego owns the leagues highest K rate to RHP in 2017 at 25.9% and still is only making 27% hard contact. Degrom’s 2017 “Home Run Bug” may continue to plague him, but he is undoubtedly the best option on the board tonight for pitching.
Pivot Pitcher: Brad Peacock v Philadelphia, $8,900
Let’s start with the negative before we drool over Peacock’s 2017 campaign. He will be playing in one of the worst ballparks for the high priced pitching options, and he’s not getting the same respect from Vegas as other stud pitchers on the slate. The Phils have been hitting well, especially at home, and are currently implied for 4.1 runs— an IRT higher than the opponents of Degrom, Greinke and Paxton. That said, Peacock will pitch against a Phils team that is striking out at 23% rate, and he owns a 32% k rate with only 27% hard contact allowed. Those two measurables are the best on the slate for starting pitchers. What’s most appealing about Peacock, is his price. At $8,900, you are taking a steep discount for a pitcher who finished as the second highest scorer on this slate last week.
The Great Debate: High Upside Pitchers with Question Marks
James Paxton v Boston, $9,900
Zack Greinke v Atlanta, $9,200
You may have thought that I forgot Greinke and Paxton. I haven’t but I’m putting them in the same bucket because they have so much in common here. See below, nearly identical in SIERA, XFIP, K rate and SW Str Rate. (Image: RotoGrinders “First Look” Credit: Derek Farnsworth)
The opponents are almost identical as well. The Boston Red Sox have a 26% HC rate in the last 30 days against LHP, while the Braves own a 29% against RH. Both opponents, however, are low strike out teams which immediately reduce the starters upside.
The tie-breaker here has to be the ballpark- James Paxton has an intense advantage there. SafeCo field is a much better pitching environment than the desert. That much is clear via Vegas’ implied totals. Add to that Atlanta’s recent productive series against the Dodgers in which they showed an ability to get under elite pitching, you have to prefer James Paxton against the Red Sox, a team that can’t buy a home run with regularity.
Dart Throw: High risk, High Reward Option
Kevin Gausman v TBR, $7,400
If I knew when Kevin Gausman was going to live up to his pedigree from start to start, I would be a wealthy man. But we’ve seen Gausman at his best in a few of his last 5 starts. The Tampa Bay Rays, were a threat to destroy right-handers earlier in the year, but they have slumped recently, owning a 28% HC rate against RHP in the last 30 days, the same mark as the Texas Rangers Gausman’s most recent opponent. The team is still capable of racking up strikeouts. Gausman’s batted ball profile could come back to bite him, but it’s certainly an inviting opportunity.