July 19, 2012 -
Major League Baseball must want us all to ditch work today, because the slate of games is almost entirely composed of afternoon matchups. Only three games start after 7:00 Philly time. So if you want action on FanDuel today, the best course may be to jump on some early action.
I am going to make two pitching suggestions for today’s games, and may return with a more in depth look for tonight, possibly in a separate post.
There are 6 pitchers this afternoon going for $8900 or more at FanDuel. That is a big hit against the cap. This includes some pitchers facing one another, like Gio Gonzalez and R.A. Dickey in DC.
When is that is the case I like to try to find some value. I have two candidates for today: Mike Leake of the Reds, and Cole De Vries of the Twins.
Mike Leake has awful numbers against Arizona. But he’s a young pitcher who has faced the team twice. The poor numbers are all based on one game, from last April. And the guys who did most of the damage: Kelly Johnson, Chris Young, Stephen Drew, and Ryan Roberts. Johnson is now with the Jays. Young and Drew are barely hitting .200 this year. Roberts worries me some as he went 2 for 6 over two separate seasons both for extra bases. Roberts is available for $2900 at 3B, however. So if that is a concern an easy hedge is to pick him up and play him at third.
Otherwise Leake is solid. He averages just over 6K/9IP, and the Diamondbacks strike out at a K rate of over 21%. Not bad for $7000.
The other absolute dark horse pitcher I like is Cole De Vries of Minnesota. He does not have much starting experience, and it’s a 50/50 set. He was great in Texas, poor in his last game against the A’s. He has been striking out over 6 per 9 innings pitched. And the Orioles strike out a lot. I took Liriano last night and sure enough he fanned 10. De Vries is clearly not Liriano, though. His problem is that he is not getting ground balls (only 32%), and the ones up are leaving the yard at an unacceptable 18.8% homerun to flyball ratio. But he will only count for $4100 in cap space.
By the way, De Vries is getting hit much better by righties than lefties, despite pitching right handed. It’s a small sample size, but if you do go with O’s sluggers today, you may want to stay on that side of the plate.
Lastly, a word of caution. Like Mike Leake, Ubaldo Jimenez may look attractive because he strikes out a good number of guys, is playing a team that strikes out with K rate over 21%, and is only $7200. I don’t buy it today. Jimenez has an impressive 6.81K/9IP, but he also walks batters at an obscene 5.35BB/9IP. And while te Rays whiff often, they also perversely have the highest walk rate in the majors of 9.8%. They swing freely but they have a good sense to lay off stuff.
Last time they played he struck out 8 and walked only 1. That was just 11 days ago. I think the Rays will be more wary and make him stay in the zone today.