Welcome everyone to Ben’s Pitching Preview! This season I will be getting back to my roots and focusing on my top SP options for each slate. After all, a SP breakdown was my first ever regular article on this site when I started providing content many years ago.
Our Core Plays have been great to start the season! You can pick up a package here.
Let’s get into it!
The Three Aces
We have three exceptional pitchers at the top tonight in Shane Bieber, Gerrit Cole and Yu Darvish. Let’s take a peek at their numbers since the start of 2020:
Bieber- 2.54 SIERA, 40.5% strikeouts, 17% swinging strikes
Cole- 2.76 SIERA, 35% strikeouts, 15% swinging strikes
Darvish- 3.17 SIERA, 31% strikeouts, 13% swinging strikes
Three elite pitchers, and they are clearly in that order for me in terms of real-life pitching ability. Since they all big-time K upside, it comes down to match-ups on Friday night. While they all have good matchups in my opinion, Darvish vs the Giants is third on the list again for me. Cole draws the Tigers, and Bieber is up against the White Sox, These are two teams that they should have success against. There is extreme wind blowing out in the Bronx tonight, but the Tigers need to make contact to hit the ball out of the yard. Since the start of last season, the Tigers strike out more than a quarter of the time vs righties. We have a 70 PA sample size of Cole vs this lineup, resulting in 35% K’s.
People will see the White Sox and be scared to roster Bieber, which is exactly what we want. He might be the second-best pitcher in baseball right now, and I would consider him in any matchup. Despite being thought of as a powerful offense, the White Sox own a combined ISO of below .170 since the start of 2020 vs right-handed pitching. They also have just one hitter over a .310 wOBA vs sliders, which is one of Bieber’s best pitches. He has faced them once this season, and threw a CGSO with 11 punch outs.
Heaney is currently projected for around 40% ownership tonight, the highest mark on the slate. I know that he is way too cheap at only $6,800 on DK…but, think about this for a second. We have a massive 14 game slate, and the guy everyone is relying on at the SP position is Andrew Heaney? If he was against pretty much any other team, he would be much lower-owned. Now, his numbers in the small-sample size of this season look elite. 36% strikeouts with a sub-3.00 xFIP and over 14% swinging strikes? That’s fantastic. He is viable in all formats, but is a tough sell for me just because of the ownership.
As always with my writing, I am not telling you who to play. I’m simply presenting my view of the slate, and how I intend to play it. I never force anyone to agree with me, and I’ve certainly been wrong before and I will be in the future. That being said, Heaney at 40%+ owned is just not where I want to go on this slate. I think most people will play him in cash games, so he will likely be over 60% in those formats. There are a ton of value options today, and I will be looking to spend up for two pitchers on my main team. If you are looking for a GPP pivot off Heaney, my money is on Nathan Eovaldi against the Texas Rangers.
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)