We’re back with Part 2 of the countdown where I’ll finish breaking down the top five Draftkings pitchers from the last calendar year. If you haven’t already checked it out, here is the link to Part 1 where I began an unbiased look at the best pitchers in daily fantasy baseball.
Without further ado…
5. Jake Arrieta – 22.00 avg pts (8th), 5.44 +/- (6th), 65% consistency (12th), 23% upside (1st)
Why He’s Here: 23% Upside
Breakdown: Arrieta rarely gets recognized among the top starters in baseball – he isn’t even the most publicized pitcher on the Cubs (Jon Lester). Names and press removed, Arrieta stands out even among this group of elite peers, ranking in the top 10 in three out of four categories. With an average DraftKings cost below $9,000, the Cubs’ righty offers great value which he does very well to exploit (5.44 +/- and 23% upside). Arrieta has crossed the 30-point threshold in 11 starts, compared to just four duds (half of his expected points).
At His Best: Balanced results and performs noticeably well under extreme conditions at Wrigley (+6.20 in six home starts with 10+ MPH winds).
4. Max Scherzer – 25.18 avg pts (3rd), 4.08 +/- (10th), 66% consistency (t-9th), 10% upside (9th)
Why He’s Here: 25.18 Average Points
Breakdown: Scherzer has distanced himself as the early favorite for NL Cy Young thanks to his overall dominant performance. He’s recently seen his cost elevate into the $14,000 range, which is rare territory. Scherzer’s 10.21 K/BB is built for DraftKings success and is easily the best in baseball. With an average of 30.92 PPG against NL opponents, it’s clear that Max made the right move to sign with Washington.
At His Best: Any time he takes the mound
3. Chris Sale – 26.45 avg pts (2nd), 5.65 +/- (4th), 66% consistency (t-9th), 16% upside (6th)
Why He’s Here: 26.45 Average Points
Breakdown: First time I’ll incorporate subjectivity into this column – for me, Chris Sale has the most dominant stuff in baseball. I’ve been saying this for quite some time and have been justified by Sale’s strikeout totals over his last 11 starts (6, 12, 10, 14, 12, 14, 13, 12, 10, 7, 11). He’s another pitcher who’s built for DraftKings thanks to his league leading K/9 ratio.
At His Best: Balanced but needs to be a favorite (18.91 ppg as a dog/27.47 ppg as a favorite)
2. Corey Kluber – 25.17 avg pts (4th), 6.84 +/- (1st), 68% consistency (t-4th), 18% upside (5th)
Why He’s Here: 6.84 Plus-Minus
Breakdown: Kluber ranks among the top five in all four categories. Judging by his 4-9 record, many think that Kluber has gotten off to a rocky start in 2015. That’s not the case, as the reigning AL Cy Young has individual performance stats (K, BB, HR) that rank among the best in baseball. All factors have led to the best ERA-FIP among pitchers on this list. Kluber has averaged 29.65 ppg over his last three starts, so keep an eye out for a big second half.
At His Best: Kluber averages 23+ points in all situations listed below, but thrives as an underdog.
1. Clayton Kershaw – 28.94 avg pts (1st), 6.18 +/- (2nd), 81% consistency (1st), 2% upside (t-17th)
Why He’s Here: 28.94 Average Points and 6.18 Plus-Minus
Breakdown: Kershaw is regarded as the best pitcher in baseball, but Fantasy Labs stats really put him in a league of his own. To rank as the best and most consistent pitcher is a great achievement, but to average the second-best +/- with an average salary of over $12,000 is truly something special. Over the past calendar year, Kershaw has never been an underdog and has just three duds in 44 starts.
At His Best: All scenarios, but especially at home
For those of you that played along at home, here are the top 20 names revealed: