Another Tuesday night 15-game slate is on the horizon and we have a ton of options tonight. This is one of the most loaded pitching slates in recent memory when you look at the depth of pitching on this slate. I think this provides us with a lot of game theory options that I want to address.
When you have a lot of elite pitching options on the slate, you want to probably make a decision one of two ways. The first choice is to load up on these arms because if there are 10 great arms with elite upside, it’s pretty likely that 2 of these arms will have elite games that vault you to the top of the leaderboards. The other option is attempt to find a cheap option or two that can match a solid outing from a better pitcher and load up on bats that no one else can afford the easiest way to make this choice is to try and see how different pitchers allow you to fill up your lineup and what can change based a pitcher downgrade or two. Also, do you love the most expensive stack on the slate? With a bunch of expensive pitchers, there will be much less ownership on expensive stacks than normal, so you can get an elite stack at 6% instead of 12%, which is a major difference.
The top tier is loaded and I want to address a few pitchers in different categories.
Elite pitcher and spot: Strasburg, Snell, and Ryu are all elite pitchers in good to great spots. If I has to choose one just based on projection, I like the upside that the Tigers provide to Snell without a ton of power upside. I would much prefer the lowest owned of these three if I came up that high.
Great pitcher, bad matchup: I want nothing to do with Castillo, Paddack, and Bieber today because they are just not in as good of spots. The Cardinals, Phillies, and Twins are not particularly high-upside spots like the first tier gets today.
The boring options: Now, these guys aren’t really boring, but they aren’t these new stars like most of the guys mentioned above. Syndergaard gets one of the best matchups in baseball, but he has really struggled recently. Kyle Hendricks isn’t the pitcher he once was but he has the complete game, shutout in him still. My favorite of the bunch is Masahiro Tanaka, who has elite pitcher upside against a Blue Jays lineup that has some built-in Ks. Madison Bumgarner is a fine option, but I’m unsure how much I will get to.
I like Griffin Canning where he is cheap. Canning is an elite prospect that probably has been rushed to the majors a bit. He does have the arm to match the studs on a given slate.
Max Fried is my favorite mid-tier option against the Pirates in a massive park upgrade away from SunTrust Park. The Pirates lack K’s in their lineup, but it’s not a threatening spot to a young talented pitcher like Fried,
If you want to throw darts down the board to get expensive bats. Jeff Hoffman is a former top prospect that has finally pitched well this season. He gets a bad spot against the Cubs, but it’s much more friendly than Coors Field. Genesis Cabrera is not a great prospect, but he does have a really good fastball. Maybe one really good pitch and two below average ones can garner Cabrera some relative upside to the options around him. Reynaldo Lopez is the best really cheap option because he has talent. No one else has talent down that low and there is always a random 8K game from Lopez when you least expect it, but I don’t WANT to go there.
The Red Sox and the Yankees are my favorite offenses on the slate if I can spend up. They both face pitchers that are not completely stretched out. Both have struggled to limit baserunners in small samples and they are both just elite offenses.
The Braves lineup gets a below-average pitcher and they are relatively cheap on most sites if you don’t spend up to the tippy-top at pitcher, I really like the Braves even in the park downgrade.
If I had to stack against a top option, I would try to stack Houston against Frankie Montas. This is the third time that Houston has seen Montas this season and I think that Montas has been pitching a bit over his head. Houston is banged up, but they still have solid hitters throughout their lineup.