Friday night in Major League Baseball means that we have a huge slate with a lot of potential options. The Cubs and the Mets play Friday afternoon, but every other team will be on the night slate, so you should be able to find many great pitching spots, both chalky and contrarian on tonight’s slate.
The top tier of pitching only has two players that I am interested in. Chris Sale and Trevor Bauer are the highest priced options on most sites, and I think that is accurate pricing.
On some sites, DraftKings specifically, we see a few significant misprices. Those misprices may lead me to avoid the top guys altogether. If I do spend up here, it will be with one of these two pitchers.
Chris Sale is more expensive, but he is also the best pitcher on the slate. Sale has an elite slider, something that the Blue Jays struggle with. The strikeout rate is undeniable, and I do think that Sale is easily the highest projected pitcher on the slate. The Blue Jays do have good power, but I expect Sale to win the battle more often than not.
Bauer has elite stuff, but he has struggled with command of his pitches recently. The good news for Bauer is that the Tigers’ offense lacks true power and elite plate discipline. Those are the two things that hurt Bauer the most, making him a great option tonight.
I will not pound the table to talk you off of the other top tier options, but I will simply suggest that you move down the board. Walker Buehler and Stephen Strasburg are great pitchers, but are they way better than Aaron Nola and James Paxton? I don’t think so.
James Paxton is probably my favorite mid-tier pitcher on the slate due to his lower ownership and elite upside. The Astros have a great lineup, but Paxton has elite, ace-level stuff. I think that Paxton has the stuff and upside to compete with Bauer and Sale for best raw points play on the slate if he is on.
Aaron Nola will likely be the mega-chalk on this slate on DraftKings due to the price and matchup with the Marlins. I think Nola is a great play on the surface. However, he has struggled a bit this season, and I think that there are pivots with very similar result curves tonight.
I am fine with playing Nola WITH one of the other pivots around him because it will help with roster differentiation. The issue is that Nola’s matchup is making him 4-10 times more owned than similar pitchers, which is just too much.
Sonny Gray is being disrespected when it comes to his overall perception as a pitcher. Gray has elite K-stuff and has proven that again this season, striking out almost 33% of left-handed hitters.
The issue with Gray is his matchup with Milwaukee. However, the Brewers do have a few players that I expect in the lineup due to the platoon advantage against Gray. Normally, this is a bad thing, but Gray’s success vs. left-handed bats makes him intriguing today.
I prefer to stay in the mid-range tonight at pitcher, but there are a few fliers that I want to key in on.
Trent Thornton: Much better vs. right-handed bats. Boston is scary, but they are also very right-handed. Thornton is a risky, upside play.
Reynaldo Lopez: Another young pitcher with good stuff and major blowup potential. This isn’t a core play, but he could flash legitimate upside in any matchup.
Joe Musgrove: Probably the best play in the low-tier. Musgrove has legit stuff and is getting a mediocre Padres lineup in a great pitchers park. Musgrove should avoid getting killed while also having real upside.
The Seattle Mariners are likely to see a bullpen game from the Baltimore Orioles. Need I say more? There is monster upside if they can get to the underbelly of the Baltimore pen.
The Rangers against Reynaldo Lopez provide boom-or-bust potential, which is nice on a huge slate. When Lopez is bad, he is usually REALLY bad. I like loading up on Rangers power.
The Yankees lineup is expected to get Aaron Judge back tonight. Peacock is a solid pitcher and even viable on the slate, but when the Yankees score, it is usually from the long ball. The Yankees lineup is built for DFS stack upside, which is why they are almost always a great option.