Jacob deGrom (NYM)
deGrom has been incredible to start the year for the Mets in all areas on the mound. Jake has an 11.25 K/9 and 31.5 percent K rate with a minuscule 6.3 percent walk rate. When allowing contact, deGrom is inducing a 48.7 percent ground ball rate while allowing hard contact just 23 percent of the time. With an opponent's batting average of just .212 and a BAPIP of .303, believe it or not, there is room for improvement here with deGrom. I mean with these types of numbers it's hard to believe that he has dealt with some misfortune, but the facts are the facts. Much of his success is derived from his ability to get hitters to chase and get swings and misses. deGrom's 0-swing rate is 32.9 percent and his swinging strike rate is 14.5 percent, which is seventh-best amongst starting pitchers. The Padres present a favorable matchup for deGrom in a multitude of areas. First off, the park is favorable to him and outside of one miserable start in PETCO two years ago, he's been virtually unhittable in San Diego. The Padres sport the highest team strikeout rate against right-handed pitching at a 28.4 percent clip. Some of their regulars that go down by way of the K often include Jose Pirela (24.7 percent), Freddy Galvis (25.8), Hunter Renfroe (29), Franchy Cordero (34.5), Austin Hedges (34), Christian Villanueva (28.9), and Eric Hosmer, who should be back tonight (28.8). They have the sixth-lowest team ISO at .129 and the seventh-worst wOBA at .295 against righties. All signs point to a dominating performance from Jake tonight and he's at the top of the food chain for me on the mound.
Corey Kluber (CLE)
When I wrote about Kluber last week I mentioned that on most days he's the top pitcher on the board to roster. Not so much today with deGrom in a great spot, but Kluber is still Kluber and able to throw out a great start against anyone, even a dangerous offensive team like the Mariners who have been hitting the ball well as a team over the last week. The Mariners do, however, have some guys in their lineup that strikeout a bit including Mike Zunino at 31 percent, Mitch Haniger at 24 percent and Dee Gordon at 22.9 percent. Kluber will be looking to bounce back after an uncharacteristic struggle against the Orioles, a team that has been mowed down by righties all season. We haven't seen the dominant Kluber that we're used to seeing consistently this year as he's sporting a 9.08 K/9 and 27.4 K rate, numbers that, for him, are lower than expected. What's working in his favor, though is his 4.4 percent walk rate, so he's not allowing baserunners for free. His O-swing rate is a solid 31 percent while his swinging strike rate has room for improvement at 10.8 percent compared to his 15.6 percent rate last season and his career mark of 12.6 percent. Kluber is an acceptable pivot off of deGrom as he provides a solid floor going deep into most of his starts pitching into at least the seventh inning in all five of his outings this season.
Mid Tier and Value Options
Zack Godley (ARI)
Godley continues to be underpriced while posting some great metrics as a guy that you want to roster in DFS. With a 9.26 K/9 and 25.3 K percentage, a 28.2 percent O-swing rate, and a 12.3 swinging strike rate. Godley does allow 31.7 percent hard-contact which is minimized due to his tremendous 58.1 percent ground ball rate. Although the Nats beat the hell out of Jeff Samardzija and the Giants pitching staff on Wednesday, which wasn't a surprise, they are missing some key bats including Adam Eaton and Anthony Rendon at the top of their lineup. With just one poor start, which came against the Dodgers in a game in which he essentially walked everyone, Godley has been rock solid otherwise and fairly priced on FD at $9,100 and DK at $8,600.
Marcus Stroman (TOR)
It has been a miserable start to the season for Stroman, a guy that focuses his whole game on getting ground balls and limiting hard contact. While he's getting ground balls at a 69.4 percent clip, he's giving up a ton of hard contact, something that will come back down to earth. Stroman is striking out batters at a career-high level with 9.45 K's/9 and a 21.7 percent K rate. Walks are killing him though as he's giving up the free pass 14.4 percent of the time - a number that is up from 7.4 percent, 6.3 percent, and 5.8 percent over the last three season, so this number is bound to come down and will against the Rangers who walk just 8.8 percent of the time against righties while striking out 24.4 percent of the time. Facing a lineup without Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus should bode well for Stroman who's dealing with a ton of bad luck thus far surrendering an astronomical .350 BABIP. The bottom line is that Stroman is due for some positive regression here and is a considerable value or SP2 play.
Miles Mikolas (STL)
Mikolas is a value play to consider as well as an SP2 option on DraftKings. He faces a Pirates team that, although they don't strike out much against righties, they do lack a bit in the power department with just a team ISO of .147. Mikolas has a K rate of just 19 percent but has induced ground balls at a 49.4 percent clip while pitching into the seventh inning in three of his four starts allowing a total of just two earned runs over his last 14 innings. Like I said, SP2 is where I would probably draw the line here if you're looking to get deGrom of Kluber in at SP1.
Also Consider: Danny Duffy (KC), Drew Pomeranz (BOS)
Pitcher To Fade
Blake Snell (TB)
I'm a big Snell guy and he's been tremendous in his last three starts going 19.1 innings with 25 strikeouts, 11 hits against and just three earned runs allowed. The most promising part of Snell of late is that he hasn't walked a batter in his last two starts, which is remarkable for a guy that walked everyone last season. With all of that being said, I couldn't hate this matchup more for him against the Red Sox and their potent offense. With guys that hit lefties well and the victory in serious doubt playing in Boston, this is not a day to roster Snell.
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