MLB Pitching Prognostication- 9/3/16
The pitching on this slate is really interesting; there are some high upside arms but not really a lot of pitchers that I feel comfortable with. I plan to skip cash games tonight and just fire up some GPP lineups to take advantage of the volatility at pitcher. With a game in Coors Field it is always fun when you can differentiate at pitcher so that is how I will approach this slate.
Pitchers to Target
Ivan Nova- PIT vs MIL
I love Ivan Nova tonight, which feels like it is starting to be a recurring theme for me. He gets to face a right-handed heavy lineup at home in a pitcher’s park, and that right-handed heavy lineup also happens to strike out a ton. Against righties this season, Nova has allowed a .323 wOBA, 22.90 percent soft contact and 2.20 times as many groundballs as flyballs while pitching to a 3.42 xFIP and striking out 21.8 percent of hitters. Factor in that no matter who is in the Brewers lineup the average strikeout rate will be about 25 to 26 percent, and Nova is my favorite option on this slate. If I do play cash games tonight he will most likely be my play- but that feels gross just to type. Either way, Nova is an elite GPP option that will hopefully go somewhat overlooked because people hate to roster him.
Kevin Gausman- BAL vs NYY
The Yankees have been using a less strikeout happy lineup lately, but I still like this spot for Gausman. Nobody in the projected lineup, outside of Gary Sanchez, has much power at this stage in their career and there are six lefties in the lineup which is great for Gausman. Gausman has held lefties to a .285 wOBA against him this season while striking out 25.2 percent and pitching to an xFIP of 3.72. There is a legitimate reason for his reverse splits- his elite splitter/change up that he throws more often to lefties- so I look to roster him against lefty heavy lineups whenever I can. Add in that most of the lefties in this lineup are washed up veterans and I really like the spot for Gausman.
Yordano Ventura- KC vs DET
There is always risk when you roster Ventura but I think that he provides a ton of upside tonight as well. The Tigers will strike out against righties and, outside of his last two starts against teams who don’t swing and miss very often, Ventura has quietly been posting very good swinging strike numbers. In his last start against Detroit, he racked up 14.6 percent swinging strikes and he has similar upside tonight. He should be basically unowned in GPPs so I think that the risk is worth the reward. Note: If Salvador Perez is not catching I like him a little bit less because his strikeout numbers drop when Butera is catching, but Butera did catch him in the last start against Detroit when he did well so I will still have some exposure.
John Gant- ATL at PHI
John Gant is making the start for Atlanta tonight against the Phillies. The Phillies are a team that has more power than most people give them credit for, but they are very strikeout prone. Gant has struck out 23.3 percent of hitters he has faced at AAA this season, and has carried that over to the majors where he has struck out 22.90 percent of hitters with a 9.70 percent swinging strike rate. Since Gant is relatively unknown I don’t expect him to garner as much attention as pitchers usually do against the Phillies, so I think this is a great spot to take advantage and take a chance on him in GPPs.
Pitchers to Use Hitters Against
Braden Shipley- ARZ at COL
It feels like a cop out to recommend stacking against a pitcher in Coors Field, but Braden Shipley is so bad that I needed to remind everyone to do it. Ownership in Coors this season has been lower than it should be on most days, so my plan is to just go all in against Shipley and take advantage of everyone else trying to fade the best spot. Shipley has allowed a little over 42 percent hard contact overall this season while inducing only 8.80 percent soft contact. Combine that with a 13 percent strikeout rate and there should be a lot of hard hit balls flying all over Coors Field. Once Shipley is knocked out, the Rockies will get to face a very very bad Arizona bullpen and continue to pile on runs.
Luis Perdomo- SDP at LAD
Perdomo is a pitcher that I like to roster when he is facing right-handed heavy lineups, but that is far from the case today. The Dodgers are loaded with elite left-handed bats and Perdomo really struggles with lefties. He has a 4.84 xFIP against them this season while only striking out 12.4 percent and allowing 1.62 home runs per 9 innings and 38.4 percent hard contact. This is a really bad matchup for Perdomo and I want to make sure I have a lot of exposure to the Dodgers lefties- especially because they will get to face a weak Padres bullpen once Perdomo is gone.