DraftKings has a few different slates today: An early, five-game slate beginning at 2:05 ET with TEX vs. DET, a three-game afternoon slate starting at 3:37 ET with OAK vs. NYY, and a five-game slate starting at 7:07 ET with TOR vs. SF.
FanDuel’s early, three-game slate begins at 12:35 ET with PIT vs. SD.
For today’s article, we’ll focus on the five-game slate starting at 7:07 ET.
Weather: There could be some rain in St. Louis and Wrigley Field, so be sure to double-check closer to game time. It doesn’t look like the wind will be much of a factor at Wrigley Field.
Today’s SPs and 2023 Stats
A quick note on PLV: If you’re curious about its intricacies, check out Nick’s primer. A quick summary: PLV is a quantifier that uses several variables to assess the quality of each individual pitch; the higher the value, the better the pitch. PLA is the ERA equivalent to PLV (the lower, the better).
Max Scherzer’s slider recorded a 2.38 PLA (very good!) in his latest start against the Phillies. One start earlier against the Astros, Scherzer’s slider returned a chase rate of 55%, which is what we like to see. He’ll face the Brewers, a decent matchup given they’re 25th in team wOBA. But really, who else are we going to play?
The other option near the top is Chris Bassitt. However, his latest start against the A’s doesn’t inspire much confidence — four earned runs on five hits over five innings. He’s earned a 4.87 PLV on the year, down from 5.03 last year. At least one part of the problem seems to be his curveball, considering its PLA has risen from 2.63 to 4.99. But what might work in his favor tonight is that he’ll face a Giants team with a K rate of 24.9%, the fourth-highest in baseball, and they might also be down one of their better left-handed hitters in Michael Conforto (hamstring).
Taijuan Walker has put together a string of four good starts in a row. But two of them came against the Tigers and the A’s, so we probably should take it with a grain of salt. Overall, Walker doesn’t seem terribly exciting, with a K rate just under the league average. His walks are also up a little bit relative to last year. He’s kind of just there today because of the lack of better options on the slate. On FanDuel, where he is only $200 less than Scherzer, he doesn’t make a whole lot of sense; He’s more or less just an SP 2 on DraftKings. The Cubs have been just about league average, ranking 15th in wOBA. But they strike out a bit at 24.1% (eighth-highest).
J.P. France ($8,000 DK) has a below-average K rate of 18.8%. But like Walker, he’s there as a potential SP 2 and could do just enough, given the lack of options. Same with Kyle Hendricks, who is even cheaper at $7,100 on DK. I don’t think either matchup against the Cardinals (France) or Phillies (Hendricks) gets you excited; it’s basically trying to find whatever works while squeezing in another bat from Coors Field.
The Dodgers continue their trip at Coors Field, so they’ll headline the slate again. Tonight’s starter for the Rockies, Chase Anderson, probably doesn’t need much of a scouting report given his 5.79 ERA and 1.45 WHIP, but he has shown significant reverse splits for his career: A .303 wOBA allowed vs. LHB and a .353 wOBA vs. RHB. James Outman and Jason Heyward have shown some power and are ways to get cheaper exposure to the Dodgers lineup.
The Dodgers should rightfully get most of the attention; however, the Rockies could do some damage too. They’ll face the rookie Emmet Sheehan. He had an eye-opening 41.7% K rate in Double-A but hasn’t missed many bats so far. Still, we’re only two starts in, so that could certainly change. Either way, Ryan McMahon is always an interesting power option at 3B (and 2B on FD) when he’s at home. Nolan Jones has also shown good power (65 via PLV) and will have the platoon advantage against the righty Sheehan.
The Giants have yet to announce a starter (Maybe Ross Stripling?) for tonight’s game in Toronto, which puts the Blue Jays on the board as a potential to consider.
Adrian Houser returns to the starting rotation for the Brewers today out of necessity. I’m not sure how long he’ll go, but his 1.54 WHIP and 14% K rate stand out. Pete Alonso goes without saying but don’t forget about Tommy Pham, who has been hitting well lately and is still pretty cheap on both sites.
Kyle Hendricks has pitched well; give him credit. But we know he doesn’t have much margin for error, especially now with a career-low 12.9% K rate. Last year, he struggled badly against lefties. So far this year, he’s held lefties to a .205 wOBA. Of course, that doesn’t take Bryce Harper or Kyle Schwarber out of the picture but that’s just to say that Hendricks’ changeup has looked good.
Looking at PLV, his changeup has been a little less effective against same-handed hitters this year, so if you’re mixing and matching, consider the righty bats like Trea Turner, J.T. Realmuto, and Nick Castellanos. And if you’re a fan of BvP, Josh Harrison has some good numbers against Hendricks: .423 in 26 at-bats, with three dingers.
Father Time has not been too kind to Adam Wainwright thus far. I don’t usually look at home/road splits much, but Wainwright’s are interesting given the length of his career: A 2.93 ERA at home vs. 4.03 on the road. Given that and the weakened state of the Astros’ lineup sans Yordan Alvarez, Wainwright might survive. Still, Kyle Tucker is worth highlighting, as he’ll have the platoon advantage.
I’m interested in the Cardinals side of this game, given that J.P. France has allowed eight home runs and a .351 wOBA to RHB. However, his PLV numbers are fairly decent, so that might just be a blip. Either way, Willson Contreras might be a decent buy-low; The results haven’t been there yet but his PLV grades aren’t far off relative to last year. Lars Nootbaar recently returned from the IL and is still cheap on FD at $2,800.