Rain may ultimately impact five of the 12 games today and heavy winds are expected in several more. Don’t be surprised if the Diamondbacks-Nationals 1:05pm ET game gets postponed. The forecast projects steady precipitation until Friday afternoon, and they barely squeezed in five innings last night. Per early reports, the Indians-Tigers game may face a similar fate due to persistent rain projected over the next 24 hours.
Alex Reyes (9.6) and Danny Duffy (9.3) lead all pitchers in K Prediction. Duffy costs $3,100 more on DraftKings and $3,500 more on FanDuel, and in his last seven starts he’s supplied a -5.62 Plus/Minus on DraftKings and a -5.41 Plus/Minus on FanDuel. Conversely, the Cardinals possess the better Vegas moneyline (-189 versus the Royals’ -168), and Reyes’ negative differentials are nearly inverted from Duffy’s positive differentials over the past 15 days. In fact, Duffy’s 48 percent hard-hit rate in his last two starts leads all probable starters today.
In Duffy’s previous start against the Twins earlier this month, he notched 10 strikeouts. However, three weeks earlier, he could secure only four strikeouts in an additional two-thirds of an inning. The Twins’ recent offensive stagnation and top-five strikeout rate against left-handed pitchers present the case to not completely fade Duffy. On the other hand, Reyes threw a career-high 115 pitches in his last start, and he faces a projected lineup with a .299 wOBA and .298 SO/AB over the past year. Pairing them on DraftKings allows you to spend more than $4,000 per hitter, and after Duffy’s recent negative 2.35-point DraftKings performance, recency bias may deflate his ownership.
Johnny Cueto is the most expensive pitcher on DraftKings ($11,200) and FanDuel ($9,900). He was skipped in the rotation because of a groin strain in his last start, which adds some risk should an aggravation occur. In three starts against the Rockies this season on DraftKings, Cueto has exceeded salary-based expectation each time. He’s recorded a +6.65 Plus/Minus on DraftKings and a +9.96 Plus/Minus on FanDuel in those starts, and the Rockies are currently implied to score a slate-low 2.9 runs. Cueto benefits from pitcher-friendly umpire Ron Kulpa, a 100 Park Factor, and the Giants’ slate-best -193 Vegas moneyline.
Julio Urias claims the third-highest K Prediction (8.9) and Park Factor (90) on the slate. My sole concern stems from an internal organizational innings limit this year. At 119 innings on the season, Urias has exceeded his previous high of 87.2. Additionally, it appears Urias could start Game 4 of the NLDS, which lessens his utility in Game 159 of the regular season. Assuming a pitch count or innings limit doesn’t surface, Urias offers plenty of Upside in tournaments facing a team currently implied to score 3.5 runs with a slate-worst 0.325 SO/AB rate.
The battle in Chicago between Chris Archer and Jose Quintana comes with a 54 percent chance of precipitation and winds projected to blow 16 miles per hour towards right field. Quintana represents the safer option — relatively, of course, given the forecast — with a 76.9 percent Consistency at U.S. Cellular Field this season. Archer has produced a 37.5 percent Consistency on the road on FanDuel, a number that improves slightly to 43.8 percent on DraftKings. The Rays have struggled against left-handed pitchers this season, as shown by a 13-strikeout game against Eduardo Rodriguez four days ago. Southpaws have met salary-based expectations 64.3 percent of the time on DraftKings and 66.7 percent on FanDuel against the Rays this season. Archer’s SO/9 is similar in home and road starts, but he’s surrendered 19 of his 29 home runs on the road. Keep tabs on the forecast, because neither may pitch enough innings to justify the roster spot.
If you want to fade the chalk and Vegas, embracing Ubaldo Jimenez against the Blue Jays — currently implied to score a slate-best 5.2 runs — may not seem unreasonable. He’s exceeded salary-based expectations in seven straight starts on DraftKings, and he’s posted consecutive eight-strikeout performances. Jimenez reworked his mechanics during a bullpen stint in August, and he’s been able to pitch into the sixth inning consistently since rejoining the rotation. His salary has jumped nearly $4,000 over the past month on DraftKings, but he’s still cheap compared to the rest of the pitchers on the slate.
Marcus Stroman provides the best recent advanced stats on the slate, augmented by a one-hit performance in seven innings against the Yankees his last time out. Mark Trumbo and J.J. Hardy are the only hitters in the Orioles’ projected lineup to improve their hard-hit rate over the past 15 days, and Hardy is the only hitter with a Consistency greater than 40 percent over the past month. Subsisting on a 60 percent ground-ball rate doesn’t offer much upside in Hardy’s case and it accentuates Stroman’s 57 percent ground-ball rate and slate-best 174-foot average batted-ball distance allowed in his last two starts. Stroman is cheaper on FanDuel at $7,700, where the Orioles’ -169 Vegas moneyline takes precedence over his 5.3 K Prediction.
C.C. Sabathia may enter the discussion when the Red Sox’ lineup is official. Like the Cubs, Nationals, Rangers, Indians, and Dodgers before them, resting everyday players feels inevitable for manager John Farrell after they clinched the AL East Division last night. Although, the Red Sox are 1.5 games behind the Rangers for home-field advantage in the AL Playoffs, which may halt rest until that is officially decided.
It is my pleasure to inform you that the Dodgers will face a left-handed pitcher. Christian Friedrich may not be an intimidating pitcher, nor was he able to meet salary-based expectations against the Dodgers earlier this month, but left-handed pitchers have registered a +2.20 Plus/Minus on 64 percent Consistency on FanDuel and a +3.32 Plus/Minus on 63.4 percent Consistency on DraftKings against the Dodgers this season. At $5,700 on FanDuel, a few tournament shares should suffice given his 6.7 K Prediction.
Joe Ross will make his third start since missing extended time with a shoulder injury. He didn’t toss more than 63 pitches in his previous two outings, but the limitation is expected to jump to 80 to 90 pitches. This could all be moot, however, if the rain cuts short his outing or doesn’t allow him to pitch at all.
Rob Zastryzny is expected to spearhead a ‘bullpen game’ for the Cubs in his first career start, but it’s unclear how many innings he will go, especially with rain in the forecast tonight.
With an implied run total of 5.2, the Blue Jays offer the highest-rated stacks in the CSURAM88 Model.
Devon Travis may not suit up for the third straight game due to a left shoulder injury. In the event he does, the 1-2-3-4 projected Blue Jays stack offers a higher rating. The highest-rated stack without him still rates well above a stack from any other team.
The top non-Blue Jays stack on DraftKings belongs to the Mariners. However, Seth Smith is questionable with a foot injury. Similarly-rated and $2,900 cheaper than the Mariners’ stack, the 1-2-5-6-7 Cardinals stack includes Brandon Moss, who’s 6-for-88 in his last 26 games. The rest of the hitters haven’t provided Consistency better than 39 percent over the past month. Keep an eye out for news on Travis and Smith in the meantime.
Mallex Smith is expected to start at every outfield position during the three-game series against the Phillies. With Matt Kemp and Nick Markakis resting in the first two games, expect Ender Inciarte to get the day off today. The last time Inciarte missed a game, Dansby Swanson led off. Smith is currently projected to bat leadoff, but I’d take the field. Adonis Garcia leads all third basemen with 57 percent Consistency on FanDuel, and Tyler Flowers boasts the same distinction among catchers. With clear skies in Atlanta and Freddie Freeman riding a 30-game hitting streak and 46-game on-base streak, stacking the Braves core may offer significant savings on FanDuel, where the top-three hitters have a Bargain Rating of at least 86 percent.
When Adam Rosales starts, which typically occurs against left-handed pitchers, he’s produced a 51.9 percent Consistency rating and a +2.45 Plus/Minus on FanDuel and a +2.30 Plus/Minus on DraftKings. He’s hit the ball an average of 287 feet in his last seven starts. Hunter Renfroe has hit four home runs in his last three starts, and Yangervis Solarte has recorded a hit in 13 straight games. They face left-handed pitcher Julio Urias, and Wil Myers is the only member of the projected lineup with a positive ISO differential against left-handed pitchers.
If you’re fading Danny Duffy, you can take advantage of any of the top-five hitters in the Twins lineup, as they all provide an ISO of at least .24o. In 11 games against left-handed pitchers, Kenny Vargas has supplied a +4.11 Plus/Minus on DraftKings and a +5.79 Plus/Minus on FanDuel this season. His .523 wOBA against left-handed pitchers over the past year leads all hitters projected to start. Miguel Sano chimes in with a $2,900 salary on FanDuel and a .247 ISO against left-handed pitchers.
The Royals were eliminated from postseason contention last night, and it’s unclear if that will translate into mass resting for the regulars. If it’s business as usual, Jarrod Dyson becomes a cash-game option. He’s already stolen a base off right-handed pitcher Kyle Gibson this season, and he leads the Royals with 61 percent Consistency on DraftKings and 66 percent Consistency on FanDuel over the past month.