MLB Pitching Prognostication 9/13/16
We have a full 15 game slate tonight that features many types of matchups when it comes to pitching. There are several top of the line arms that are in less than ideal matchups, some mid-tier guys in good matchups, and more than a couple potential gas cans. I think it is a great slate for GPPs because the tough matchups for the top arms allow you to get creative and take some risks at pitcher that will let you load up on hitters. The approach I’m deploying is to avoid the most expensive pitchers and target ones that are a little bit cheaper and in better matchups.
Pitchers to Target
Marcus Stroman- TOR vs TBR
Stroman is my favorite pitcher on this slate. He has been very impressive recently, with a swinging strike rate over 11 percent in five of his last six games. When a pitcher who isn’t known for getting strikeouts starts to get a lot of swings and misses, it is important to figure out why it is happening so that you can decide if you expect it to continue. In those six games, Stroman has decreased his fastball usage and increased the percentage of the time that he throws his cutter. The timing of the change in usage coincides with his uptick in strikeout numbers, so it is definitely reasonable to think they are related. Stroman gets to face a Tampa Bay lineup that strikes out a ton; their projected lineup has an average strikeout rate of more than 25 percent. Stroman will probably be a popular option, but on a 15 game slate with some big name pitchers, I doubt that he will be high enough owned that I want to fade him. I think the better approach is to make sure that you are overweight on him compared to the rest of the field.
Dan Straily- CIN vs MIL
Milwaukee is similar to Tampa Bay in that they strike out constantly. They are more talented than the Tampa hitters, but there is still plenty of upside whenever you roster a pitcher against them. I like to target pitchers who throw strikes and get ahead in the count; the Brewers are not a very aggressive team and their hitters are good enough that I’d like to avoid hitters who will end up in fastball counts. Dan Straily generally does a pretty good job getting ahead in the count, as he has thrown a first pitch strike 60.40 percent of the time this season. He has also seen an uptick in swinging strikes since the all-star break as he has posted a swinging strike percentage above his season average in seven of his 11 starts. I don’t expect Milwaukee to stop that trend. Although the ballpark and some of the hitters in the Milwaukee lineup do scare me, I think this is a nice spot for Straily as he generally goes overlooked-I’ll be taking a chance on him in some GPPs.
Robbie Ray- ARZ vs COL
Ray really scares me in this matchup, and there is definitely a chance I have some Rockies stacks today. That being said, he is priced down on most sites because of the ballpark so he offers a ton of upside if he is on his game (and a decent floor because even if he does give up some runs he should still be able to rack up strikeouts). The projected lineup for the Rockies strikes out about 21 percent of the time and Ray has the second highest strikeout percentage on the slate at 28.40 percent. His strikeout rate has taken a hit at home this season (dropping to about 25 percent), but at the reduced price there is still plenty of upside. I probably won’t have a ton of exposure to him on one pitcher sites because I like Stroman so much, but on two pitcher sites he gives you a ton of upside while also allowing you to roster strong hitters.
Alex Meyer- LAA vs SEA
Meyer is my favorite punt pitcher today. He is a former first-round draft pick and has posted pretty strong strikeout numbers throughout his minor league career. The matchup with the Mariners is not ideal, but at close to the minimum on most sites he doesn’t need to be perfect to help your team- especially because I don’t think the expensive pitchers are going to score a ton of raw points. The projected Mariners lineup has a slightly below league average strikeout rate, but the game is being played in a pitcher-friendly ballpark, so it’s worth consideration. Meyer is not someone that I am necessarily excited to roster, but if I find that I have a lineup I love where I need a cheap pitcher he will be my choice.
Pitchers to Target with Hitters
Brad Peacock- HOU vs TEX
Peacock is a pitcher that I love to pick on whenever he’s in the major leagues, and this is not a good spot for him against Texas. He has been plagued by control issues throughout his career and if the Rangers lineup is full of power hitters who will make him pay if he makes mistakes in the zone. I like to full stack against pitchers that struggle with their command because the added base runners increase the positive correlation among hitters. The Rangers are also a good team to stack because there is usually some upside at the bottom of the order with Mazara and Profar, so you can get creative and differentiate without taking bad hitters.
Jorge De La Rosa- COL vs ARZ
I usually don’t like to stack against De La Rosa because I think he is a better pitcher than people give him credit for, but I really like the Diamondbacks in this spot. They are a team full of guys that mash left-handed pitching, and the game is in the second best place to hit in baseball. He doesn’t strike out many righties (16.80 percent strikeout percentage) and he has been home run prone against them this season, allowing 1.43 home runs per nine innings. There is a very good chance the Diamondbacks are the highest scoring team on the slate today and I want to have a lot of exposure to them.