Top Tier: Corey Kluber (-215)– This is an absolutely loaded 15 game slate with a ton of pitching options in each tier. I have narrowed it down to my three favorite overall options, one at each price tier, and these will be the three I give the longest look for cash games tonight. Luis Severino, Zack Greinke and Zack Wheeler (yes, that Zack Wheeler) are priced above Kluber on DraftKings despite his positive matchup with the Tampa Bay Rays at home in Progressive Field. Much has been made of Kluber’s “down” 2018, but if you look at the advanced numbers there are not any different than his career averages if you exclude his dominant 2017 season. Sure, his strikeout rate is “only” 24.6%, but that’s still above-average and that number actually jumps to over 27.0% in his home park. This is still one of the top overall arms in the AL who is doing everything he has always done, except now we aren’t being asked to pay for elite production. The other top options have higher upside, making them better plays in GPPs, but I will simply take the savings and lock in Kluber for my personal cash game team on Friday night.
Mid Tier: Anibal Sanchez (-129)- I’ve written up some real gems this week, CC Sabathia and Jose Bautista to name a few. As weird as it sounds, Sanchez is having a great season for the Braves boasting a 3.90 SIERA and 23.8% strikeouts. The Pirates strike out just 19.8% of the time against right-handed pitchers, but they also rank 20th in wRC+ (95) and 23rd in ISO (.152). They aren’t an imposing offense, and Sanchez has a great matchup from a run prevention standpoint. He’s not too aggressively priced at $8,000 on DraftKings, but I do wonder how high the upside is in this particular matchup. Sanchez makes the case for the safest cash game SP2, but that’s not really my brand…is it?
Low Tier: Nick Pivetta (-115)– I typically like to find the cheapest possible option for my SP2 on huge slates like this, but I’m finding a hard time avoiding one of my favorite pitchers, Nick Pivetta, as my SP2 despite a tough matchup with the Chicago Cubs. Pivetta is having a breakout season for the Phillies posting a 3.33 SIERA with 28.2% strikeouts and 11.7% swinging-strikes despite pitching to a .337 BABIP. He’s been even better at home, where his xFIP drops from 3.28 to 2.97 and his strikeout rate jumps up to 31.1%. His achilles heel has been allowing hard-contact, which could be what’s keeping his BABIP where it is, but he’s godd enough overall that I have confident in him in any matchup. The hard-hits make this quite the risky matchup with the Cubs, not something I typically would feel good about in cash games, but his price is what keeps drawing me in. He’s just $7,900 on DraftKings, which to me is a bit too cheap for someone with his ability especially in the strikeouts department. I’m hoping the industry stays cool on him leading up to lock so that we can get him at as low-owned as possible.
NOTE: At $5,600 on DraftKings, I fully expect Antonio Senzatela to the the chalk in cash games. I do not believe this is good chalk, and I will be avoiding it despite a strong matchup with the San Diego Padres. Senzatela owns just a 16.8% strikeout rate this season with under 7.0% swinging-strikes. Even though the Padres strike out a lot, I’m not sure if Senzatela is good enough to have a good game here and I don’t see the upside at his price, it’s not like he is minimum priced.
Top Tier: Matt Carpenter- Carp, the original son of this article, returns home to his throne in the top tier in a smash spot against Homer Bailey. I don’t think I need to go into a ton of detail here, Matt Carpenter is an MVP candidate who gets the luxury of facing an absolute trash can on the mound…oh, and then the Reds bullpen! Yipee! The number one overall spend up on this slate is Mr. Carpenter, and his ownership will reflect that.
Mid Tier: Rhys Hoskins- I wrote up Hoskins once this week already and I’m completely comfortable going back to the well tonight against the left-handed Jose Quintana. Quintana has not been good for the Cubs this year, and he has pitched to a 4.82 xFIP with just 19.4% strikeouts to right-handed batters. I dissected that Hoskins’ numbers aren’t great against lefties this season, but he has been extremely unlucky and the the advanced metrics have him right where he has last year. I’m going to keep chasing him until the big game against a lefty comes, and it definitely could be tonight.
Low Tier: Elvis Andrus- Andrus is going to be a cheap plug and play for a lot of people tonight priced under $4,000 on DraftKings. It’s pretty much the best hitting environment on the slate again in Texas tonight, and that’s evidenced by the huge 11 run O/U. Andrus doesn’t have a ton of pop, but he is too cheap not to be in play against the underwhelming Stephen Gonsalves.
Stack of the Day
1. Cardinals (cash)
2. Minnesota/Texas (cash)
3. Indians (favorite tournament stack)
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)