As usual, there are 15 games scheduled in the MLB this Tuesday evening. Unlike most Tuesday nights, we have a very sloppy slate. With 30 starting pitchers set to take the mound, it is hard to feel confident about any of them. DraftKings has set their prices extremely sharp, making this night even more interesting. The bats are definitely where we want to spend up, but avoiding bad chalk will also be important.
A quick pitcher breakdown; Jon Gray will be bad chalk. The industry continues to tout this guy as he continues to fail. I understand he has good stuff and big game upside, but he is far too volatile to roster with high-ownership attached to him. Don’t fall into the trap.
The top tier is pretty straightforward. There are pitchers who are simply priced too high. On any other slate with actual aces, we would see these guys much cheaper. Credit to DraftKings for this. The mid-tier is kind of gross, but there are viable starters based on matchups.
The hitting stacks are interesting tonight. We have our usual suspects at the top with the Yankees and Red Sox, once again in great spots. However, with so many poor starting pitchers throwing tonight, plenty of value will pop up on low owned teams, closer to lineup lock.
Let’s take a look at some GPP options to look at on this crazy slate.
Aaron Nola (PHI): $12,000 vs. COL
The Phillies ace has had a very good season with a lot of fantastic starts under his belt. He will likely garner the highest ownership, just because he is the most talented pitcher throwing tonight. What intrigues me most about Nola is how good he has been at home. When pitching at Citizens Bank Park, Nola has a 9.72 K/9 versus a 7.38 on the road. His walk rate and home run rate are both drastically lower and his xFIP is exactly 1.10 points lower. The Rockies are not as good on the road as at home, owning the fifth worst wRC+ and 11th highest strikeout rate. Nola is the best pitcher on the board tonight and is worth paying up for.
Miles Mikolas (STL): $10,900 vs. SD
The cash-game and season-long fantasy darling of the season will face the awful San Diego Padres. Although the strikeouts are limited, he has a very high ceiling due to his efficiency and complete-game shutout upside. What gives me pause is the fact that Mikolas is now priced over $10K. He has had just one pitching performance over 27 DraftKings points and usually hovers around the 20-23 mark. He is certainly safe to get that as a floor but needs to pitch a gem to win a GPP at this price. The matchup can’t get much better which puts him on the radar. The Padres are ranked dead last in K% to right-handed pitchers while also owning the third lowest wOBA and second lowest ISO. With the lack of other good pitching options, Mikolas comes in as one of the more intriguing options by default.
Caleb Ferguson (LAD): $6,100 vs. TEX
I wrote up the Dodgers prospect for his last start and it failed miserably. However, I am going back and rostering this kid again. The difference is the matchup. Yes, the Rangers have a ton of power and can take him deep. They do have a lot of lefties though, which will provide plenty of strikeouts. Texas is striking out at a 24.3% clip to lefties while hitting just a .243 average. There is a ton of risk rostering Ferguson, with the command and the limited pitch count. On a slate with inflated price tags and terrible pitchers, Ferguson has GPP winning upside with his strikeout stuff.
James Sheilds has been a pitcher looked to pick on for most of his career. His HR/9 is down quite a bit, this season, from his career average to just 1.09 which is concerning when looking at a stack. However, his BABIP is shockingly low at just .257 which foreshadows regression to batted balls. The Indians are one of the more dangerous lineups in the MLB with plenty of platoon advantage hitters with a switch-hitting ability for the bullpen. They will come in at higher ownership, but with 14 other teams to look at, ownership shouldn’t be too concerning this evening.
With the continued attention to the Red Sox and Yankees, this Brewers vs. Cubs games has sneaky shootout potential in a great game stack. Tyler Chatwood will take the mound for the Cubs, who is having a rough start to 2018. Owning an absurd 8.64 BB/9, he is the perfect pitcher to stack against. Ideally, we want players on base all game and have the big power hitters drive them in. With speed mixed in this lineup, stolen bases are always in the conversation with the Brewers. In addition, Miller Park is one of the best hitter ballparks in the MLB, specifically to lefties.
The sneaky stack of the night is the Phillies. With ownership landing on Jon Gray, the Phillies are a great leverage play. I know, Gray has gotten “unlucky” with his xFIP, SIERA, etc., and he could turn things around as the season progresses. That being said, Gray will pitch to a team running out five lefties (who are hitting him with a .358 wOBA) in a hitters park. Not quite Coors Field, but still great for both righties and lefties. Coming off five bad outings in a row, Gray has been poor both at home and on the road. I am taking a stand on the Phillies side of this matchup tonight.