Good Afternoon. Welcome to the my writeup here at Fantasy Assembly. The pitchers of focus in this article are shown with their FanDuel pricing. Today we have a 9 game slate with some random arms and a few aces. I’m going to touch on 7 guys to try and narrow down the choices so we can focus on where to go for bats. No Coors on tonight’s slate but I expect a ton of offense. Here’s my thoughts on the pitching side of things.
Clayton Kershaw ($11,000) @ OAK
The A’s are fighting and clawing their way to a playoff spot. Over the past 30 days they are 1st in wRC and wRAA, as well as 3rd in wRC+ vs LHP. They are also only striking out 21.6% of the time with a 12.5% walk rate vs lefties (2nd in baseball). For this reason, I faded Rich Hill yesterday and as much as it hurts, I’m going to do the same with Kershaw at this price today. Kershaw is not in 2014 form but he is looking more like the ace we know. He’s gone at least 6 innings in each of his last 6 starts, earning the quality start in each and winning 4 of 6.
Since July began, Kershaw has a 35/7 K/BB ratio in 38 ⅓ IP. The K’s aren’t were we’d like them to be yet, as he owns a 22.9% K rate since July began. Kershaw’s K rate was at 29.8% a year ago and 31.6% in 2016. He sits at 25.4% on the season. His hard contact% is well above his career rate (25.5%) as he currently sits at 33.6% on the season. Kershaw’s swinging strike rate is at 11.5% on the season, he’s averaged 14.8% from 2014-2017. Batters are making contact more off Kershaw than any other season besides his rookie year. His fastball velocity is down 2.3 mph from last season as he’s now averaging 90.8 mph with his four-seamer. He’s relying heavily on his slider and less on his fastball and with his velocity still down, it’s not an ideal strategy vs a team like OAK. He’s still really good, but I think tonight is a night to load up on high-priced bats and that’ll be hard to do if you use Mr. Kershaw. I’m fading.. but if you don’t trust the rest of the field then by all means, use him. On a full slate of games I would use him, but if his ownership is >20% it should be a good fade given the price.
Mike Clevinger ($9,600) vs MIN
Unless I’m missing something, anyone who is going to pay this price for a pitcher tonight will most likely save $200 and go down to Severino. I was originally going to make Clevinger a fade but with Severino’s price that may be hard to do. He’s giving up over a hit per inning while also striking out guys at a 29.6% clip (11.4 K/9) since the start of July. He’s struggled with the long ball, giving up 6 over his last 5 outings. He only had allowed 7 in his first 17 starts of the season. This isn’t as juicy a matchup as it may seem. The Twins are hitting Righties well enough to be a top 10 offense vs them since the start of July. They strikeout a bit more than average but have also been walking a ton. I’m torn on this decision. Clevinger will have way low ownership compared to people paying up for Kershaw or down to Severino. I feel as though this is just too high a price for him today. I’m going to pass. It’s not a terrible play if you’re feeling him today. He should go deep enough to get the W.
Luis Severino ($9,400) @ CWS
Severino has been one of the worst pitchers in baseball over his past 5 starts. His velocity hasn’t changed, it just seems he’s throwing more hittable pitches. Over his last 5 starts, Severino has given up 8 HR after giving up only 6 through his first 18 starts. In the 18 starts prior to this 5 game stretch, Severino had never allowed 80% contact. He’s allowed over 80% contact in 3 of his last 5, two of which he allowed over 90%. Those two outliers came on the road against Cleveland and Boston, so we’ll cut him some slack. Today he gets the lowly White Sox who strike out 27.4% of the time vs RHP over the last month. His opponent, Lucas Giolito, is a gas can. This should be the game where both Severino and the Yankees offense gets back on track. Hopefully the terrible run Severino is on will keep the box score watchers off of him and keep his ownership at a reasonable number. Hopefully it’s not 30%. He’s by far the best option today.
Mike Foltynewicz ($8,800) @ WAS
This is a riskier play as the Nationals have seen him four times this season. Though one of the matchups resulted in Folty’s career best 9 inning, 11 K shutout. Since that outing however, Foltynewicz has only managed to go 6 innings in 3 of 9 starts. Opposite of Kershaw, on a full slate I wouldn’t suggest this play, but there’s not much to choose from today and he has the ability to go 6 innings with 6-8 Ks. Again, this is risky, but ownership should be low. The Nationals are 2nd best in both K% (18.1%) and BB% (10.5%) vs RHP since the start of July. Personally, I’m going to stay away from Folty today.
Jose Quintana ($8,200) @ KAN
Quintana has been a roller coaster ride all season. This is a matchup play. The Royals are a bottom 4 run producing offense vs LHP since the start of July. They do not take walks (6.9% vs LHP in 2018), and since July began they are striking out 28.1% of the time. That’s abismal. Quintana has had to rely heavily on his four-seam due to the fact that he’s pitching into hitter’s counts. The Royals are the ideal team for Quintana to have a solid start. They don’t walk (that’s been his Achilles heel), they strike out a ton, they hit the ball on the ground, and make a ton of weak contact. If he can steer clear of Sal Perez, who’s gotten to him in the past, he should be a good salary saver on a night with few options.
Tommy Milone ($7,500) vs ATL
I can’t believe I’m writing this but Tommy Milone has looked pretty sharp his first two outing with the Nats. He’s relying heavily on his fastball and has added a slider that he’s throwing 14% of the time. He’s not going to blow guys away but we’ve seen crafty lefties have a resurgence in the past. I’m not saying Milone is the next Rich Hill, but he could see a nice little run for a team that’s fighting for a playoff spot. Atlanta is a bottom third offense vs LHP since the start of July while striking out 23.2% of the time (8th highest mark in baseball). When facing LHP since July began, the Braves are putting the ball on the ground more than 50% of the time with only 31% hard contact. They also only have 2 long balls vs lefties in that time away from Sun Trust Park. As someone who wants to see the Braves go on a run I hope Freeman goes nuts tonight and Albies breaks back out. However, I think this will either be a Braves whooping or an unexpected pitching duel. I’m going to take a shot on Milone as a cheap, low owned flyer. I will be watching the game with my hands over my eyes.
Brian Johnson ($6,500) @ TOR
I’m throwing him in here because I feel as though people will want to pay down hoping to get his recent production. Johnson has had a nice little run as of late. The issue here is the Blue Jays are crushing lefties as they have 16 HR vs LHP since the start of July, and 11 since the all-star break, both numbers are best in baseball. Johnson owns a 80.7% contact rate while giving up 40% fly balls. That’s a dangerous combo vs an all-or-nothing team like Toronto in their home park. His price is enticing but the Blue Jays seem to be playing a clubhouse-wide home run derby, and they’re all winning. I like a low owned Blue Jays stack more than Brian Johnson.
Good luck tonight! Hit me up on twitter @RyanStar25 with any questions. Thanks to Jim Finch and the guys at Fantasy Assembly for welcoming me to the team. Since this is my first writeup everything should go as planned… Right?
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