Today’s six-game slate begins at 7:05 PM ET and doesn’t include TOR at CWS, which is the second half of a doubleheader.
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).
In his previous start, Kutter Crawford needed only 74 pitches to get through five and two-thirds innings against the Jays. The righty’s four-seamer has earned a terrific 5.52 PLV / 2.06 PLA, lending some credence to his success. However, he’s got a difficult test on tap against a Rangers team that has the second-best wOBA in baseball, so he’s best left as a tournament dart if you’re throwing together a bunch of different lineups.
Julio Urías and the Dodgers are massive favorites tonight against the Pirates. However, Urías only threw 66 pitches in his first start back from a hamstring injury, so it might be best to take a wait-and-see approach especially given how conservative the Dodgers usually are with their pitchers.
I wish I had a stronger take on Ryne Nelson; He’s struck out 18 over his last three starts, but I’m not seeing something that makes me really want to jump on board. He has an impressive cutter (2.22 PLA) but otherwise, his repertoire seems nondescript. The Mets, meanwhile, have been about the middle of the road with a .316 team wOBA (17th), and they haven’t been a great matchup for strikeouts with the fourth-lowest team K rate.
Nathan Eovaldi assuaged concerns over his velocity after averaging just over 96.1 mph with his fastball in his latest start against the Astros. He’s been brilliant all year, but the most impressive thing, for me at least, is that he’s third in baseball with 112.1 IP. His overall 5.11 PLV and 18.4% K-BB% are good but not great, so this is probably a high watermark. Then again, that might not be saying much since no one is expecting him to hold a 2.64 ERA / 0.99 WHIP. Anyway, the Red Sox aren’t a matchup that is terribly exciting, given their team K rate of 21.5% (eighth-lowest), so Eovaldi doesn’t really stand out as a must-roster, especially as the most expensive arm on the slate ($10,000 DK). The Red Sox also have a pretty decent implied total of just under five runs.
Injuries aside, it feels a little like Luis Severino hit rock bottom in his latest start against the Cardinals: seven earned runs on nine hits through four innings. He’s only made eight starts, so I suppose you could look at this as a buy-low opportunity on a pitcher with a career 3.56 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. But he really hasn’t given us any reason to believe a turnaround is imminent. His 18.0% K rate is easily a career-low and might stay that way, barring a miraculous return from his slider. So far, it’s returned just a 9.1% SwStr% and 31.5% Chase rate. That’s not what we want. Severino’s salary is tempting and there is certainly profit potential; He’s hit 20 DK points twice but rostering him feels very much like a total leap of faith at the moment.
The man who doesn’t walk anyone, AKA George Kirby, will face the Astros at Minute Maid Park. Skills-wise, I think it’s hard to argue against Kirby as the top arm of the slate; the only knock against him is that strikeouts aren’t really his game. Still, he’s remarkably efficient and this Astros lineup is vulnerable without Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez.
Unlike Severino, the one thing that Kyle Bradish has going for him is a terrific slider; It’s 1.11 PLA leads all pitchers with at least 1,000 pitches thrown. The problem is that the rest of Bradish’s arsenal isn’t great. However, he’ll face a Yankee offense that has been dreadful for a while. In June, their .283 team wOBA was just two points ahead of the Royals, who were dead last in baseball.
Tanner Bibee has a lot of ups and downs, which is a recurring theme for most rookie pitchers. Still, he’s demonstrated the sort of K upside worth targeting and he’ll face a Royals lineup that is ahead of only Oakland in team wOBA.
Carlos Carrasco’s K rate has plummeted to 16.3%, the lowest it’s been since his very early career in Cleveland. So far this year, RHBs have had a field day against Carrasco, hitting .299 with a .410 wOBA. His changeup has helped keep LHBs in check somewhat with a tamer .237 BA and .326 wOBA. Still, that’s no reason to avoid this year’s NL RoY.
The Orioles are an interesting team to consider in tournaments, given Severino’s struggles this season. Adley Rutschman is the best overall hitter here, and given his salary as a catcher ($5,300 DK), he shouldn’t be too popular in tournaments. One of their top prospects, Colton Cowser, was called up and is the minimum on DK and FD; He had a .440 wOBA/153 wRC+ in 56 games with Triple-A Norfolk.
If you’re fading Bradish, Josh Donaldson and Jake Bauers have shown a lot of power (75 via PLV) and are cheap darts for tournaments. Anthony Volpe has come alive lately and is cheap on DK and FD. Last night, Volpe homered off Yennier Cano, who had not allowed one all year.
As mentioned earlier, Nelson has pitched pretty well lately. But he’s also walked LHBs at 11.6%, which makes Brandon Nimmo a good bet to get on base. Then, of course, Pete Alonso could always break the slate and has a decent shot at being rostered at a lower percentage than he maybe should, given Nelson’s recent success.
Crawford has good PLV grades, but this Rangers offense has been formidable all year. They also have one of the highest implied totals of the night at five and a half runs. At the very least, Corey Seager is a top spend against an unproven RHP.
Jordan Lyles has allowed a .360 wOBA to LHBs, so José Ramírez is a great spend at 3B. The rest of the lineup, though, leaves a lot to be desired, especially if Josh Naylor is still out (wrist). Josh Bell and Andrés Giménez are potential value plays, given the matchup against Lyles.
The Dodgers should be a very popular target against RHP Johan Oviedo and his career 4.45 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. If you’re looking to spend on bats, the top of the Dodger lineup is a good place to start. James Outman is a boom/bust option for tournaments. And don’t forget about Jason Heyward, who is having a sneaky-good season with a .837 OPS.