Noah Syndergaard (-164)/Walker Buehler (-160): I’m grouping these two together because I truly believe they are neck-and-neck and I have no firm stance on which one I would choose in cash games at this time. They are both priced a tad over $10,000 on DraftKings and they both have promising matchups against the Giants and Cardinals respectively.
Syndergaard has been his typical self this season posting a 3.34 SIERA, 49.5% ground ball rate and allowing just 21% hard-hits. His strikeout rate sits at *just* 24.5% despite 14.4% swinging-strikes, he has been victimized by .343 BABIP and it seems like he has that one unlucky inning each start. I’m going to assume that his strikeouts will eventually go back up, but he is so good at generating soft contact it doesn’t even really matter against this terrible Giants offense. Over the last 30 days, the Giants rank second worst in the MLB in wRC+ (70), last in ISO (.103) and those numbers are equally as bad against right-handed pitching…oh, and they just lost Buster Posey for the season.
Buehler has been as advertised in his first extended run in the big leagues owning a 3.34 SIERA, 26.5% strikeout rate and 49.1% ground ball rate. I often write about picking on the Cardinals with right-handed pitching and even with the return of Matt Adams they are going to have two solid left-handed bats, and not much else. If we get 6+ righties in the lineup tonight Buehler is going to remain a top option, his strikeout rate and ground ball rate both rise even higher against RHH. There is always a workload concern with a Dodgers pitcher, though Buehler has been regularly going 90-100 pitches. Syndergaard threw over 110 pitches in his last start, so they at least seem confident in letting him pitch as well. It’s been a while since I had two pitchers ranked this closesly together and ultimately we may need to wait until the live show for me to come to a final decision for cash games.
UPDATE: Despite being hurt, Buster Posey is IN the Giants lineup, doesn’t change my thoughts on Thor, though.
Jon Gray (-240): What a weird slate, two guys near even at the top and an extremely cash playable option that’s pitching in Coors Field. Despite being wrongfully demoted by the #sharp people in Colorado, Jon Gray has been pretty much the best pitcher on this slate this season with a 3.32 SIERA, 27.4% strikeout rate and 13.6% SwStr%.As you can see, he’s a massive favorite and matches up with the Padres and their league-leading 25.8% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching. Gray was the victim of BABIP misfortune for the majority of the season, and since he came back up from the minors his BABIP sits at .215 compared to .330 prior to his demotion. The Padres could certainly end up getting to him in this hitting environment, but he is going to be popular and is simply too cheap for his ability whether or not he’s in Coors Field.
Yonny Chirinos (-196): Chirinos is expected to relieve tonight’s “opener” Ryne Stanek, given that we never truly know what the Rays will do that takes him out of the cash game range for me, but makes him a fantastic GPP play. The Royals have been so bad as of late, that even a pitcher with average strikeout ability such as Chirinos can have success against them. The value would be in his price, you don’t need strikeouts simply for him to meet value while you jam in higher priced bats, and nobody will play him since he won’t be announced starting.
Top Tier: David Peralta- Our old pal Odrisamer Despaigne is making another start for the Angels, meaning we are going to be looking at the Diamondbacks offense tonight. Despaigne has nearly as many walks as strikeouts against left-handed batters this season and Peralta has been absolutely locked in with 64.5% hard-hits and 41.9% fly-balls over the last two weeks. We will be looking at the rest of this order as well, but if just choosing one I’m focusing on Peralta who homered last night.
Mid Tier: Nick Castellanos- Jon Lester has been pitching over his head for the entire season, running as pure as can be and what do you know, another quality matchup for him to skate by with in the Detroit Tigers. There is one bat that I’m afraid of in this Tigers order and that’s Casty and his 188 wRC+ and .224 ISO against southpaws. This is my favorite mid tier play today and he could go under-owned with it being a Coors Field slate.
Low Tier: Amed Rosario- Rosario’s numbers won’t jump off the page, but his spot in the order combined with his price certainly will. It’s not a high-upside play, but leading off for the Mets against Casey Kelly is tolerable in cash games on a Coors slate. Kelly has seemingly no strikeout ability meaning Rosario should be able to put the ball in play a few times tonight.
Tournament Stack of the Day
Atlanta Braves- While it may appear that Trevor Williams has been good, I can assure you he is not. He doesn’t strike guys out, he doesn’t generate ground balls and while his run prevention has been good you can’t convince he it’s going to remain that way when he has no ability to miss bats or get easy ground outs. Balls are going to be in play, and that could be the recipe for disaster against this contact-heavy Braves lineup. Ronald Acuna, Freddie Freeman, Nick Markakis and Ozzie Albies would be my four targets and you can filter in who has the more favorable lineup spot between Ender Inciarte and Johan Camargo.
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)