The first full slate of games of the MLB season! You are going to have your choice of aces from basically every team in the league. Instead of building a narrative around which pitcher is best with no game action in the last six months, let’s let the numbers do the talking.
Let’s look at strikeout percentages. They are one of the biggest predictors of fantasy points that we have on a daily basis. The Rangers Ace, Yu Darvish, leads the way in terms of K/9 and is priced at a reasonable $9,000 on DraftKings. He would make for a more appealing option if he didn’t have to battle the Indians, but I will still have some exposure to Darvish.
Clayton Kershaw is the obvious cream of the crop in both his own and opponent K rates. He’s the premier pitcher, but you won’t get him cheap on either site.
Jon Gray looks like he might be the first pricing inefficiency of the season. A big time arm that netted nearly 10 K/9 last season will get a Brewers offense that struggles to put the ball in play. That might be an understatement as no team struck out more often than the Brewers last season. Milwaukee did shed Chris Carter who was one of the biggest strikeout threats in the league last year. However, he’s been replaced with Travis Shaw (25% K Rate). Also, Eric Thames is expected to see a ton of ABs this season and he’s another 25% strikeout guy in his Minor League career. The other benefit to rostering Gray today is the fact that this game is NOT in Colorado.
For the team stacks, let’s add wOBA to that chart and take another look:
Oh man, Gerrit Cole looks like he’s in big trouble. A guy who doesn’t strikeout a lot of batters, has a 4+ xFIP (against National League teams) and now has to open the season on the road against the formidable Red Sox.
It’s always interesting to invest in the Rockies away from Coors Field. When they are in Colorado, everyone in the world rosters them at inflated prices. However, people tend to forget they exist when they play as the road team. Miller Park is a pro-hitter ballpark and Junior Guerra posted a 4.29 xFIP this season, with one of the lowest K rates on the slate.
As much as I love Felix Hernandez, he is coming off the worst season of his life. Career-worsts in ERA, K/9 and HR/9. He will battle the Astros who I believe upgraded their offense in a nice “DFS way”. What I mean by that is they added some bats who will probably be fairly inexpensive on a daily basis with so significant upside. The Astros added Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Josh Reddick. I suspect those three, and the Astros as a whole, will be very volatile this season but this looks like a nice spot against Felix.