FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Friday 4/23/21
Following some smaller slates, we get a hefty 14-game monster on Friday. There's no shortage of ace pitching this time around, and there are plenty of tantalizing stacking spots, including the always inviting Coors Field.
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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Jacob deGrom ($12,500): Given his stellar start to 2021, Jacob deGrom has seen an appropriate bump in salary, but he's still worth finding room for as the night's top hurler. Through three starts, deGrom has recorded a 1.39 SIERA, 48.6% strikeout rate, and 4.2% walk rate. I'd say that's pretty good! Meanwhile, the Washington Nationals have a comically low 2.68 implied total, and they simply aren't as scary with Juan Soto out of the lineup. Even on a Coors Field night, deGrom should be a priority.
Tyler Glasnow ($11,200): As you might expect on a slate of this size, deGrom isn't the only elite arm we can look to. Tyler Glasnow carries a high salary, too, but we're still getting a substantial $1,300 gap between the two, adding to Glasnow's appeal. The 27-year-old is rocking a 2.37 SIERA, 40.0% strikeout rate, and 7.8% walk rate through four starts, and best of all, the Tampa Bay Rays are no longer limiting his pitch count, as he's exceeded 100 in back-to-back outings. The Toronto Blue Jays are by no means an easy matchup, but I'm not sure that matters when Glasnow is dealing like this, and that's reflected in Toronto's middling implied total (3.22).
Sonny Gray ($8,100): Sonny Gray mostly looked the part in his 2021 debut, which included a solid six punchouts over 4.1 innings. He only got up to 71 pitches, but he ought to have more leeway after getting that first outing under his belt. In total, this is a guy who has produced a 29.4% strikeout rate and 10.0% walk rate going back to 2019, so if he can avoid too many free passes, he has a chance to keep us within striking distance of deGrom and Glasnow. This isn't a bad spot against the St. Louis Cardinals, who own an 88 wRC+ and 24.0% strikeout rate versus righties dating back to last season.
Colorado Rockies: Of the two Coors teams, the Rockies carry the more tantalizing matchup against Vince Velasquez. The Phillies' right-hander gets his share of strikeouts, but a lack of control and home run issues have always held him back, as evidenced by a 9.4% walk rate and 1.41 home runs allowed per 9 innings over his career.
Velasquez has only thrown four innings in relief this season, and sure enough, he's accumulated nine strikeouts, but it's come at the cost of eight walks and an ugly 7.07 SIERA. He went 63 pitches in his last appearance, too, so he should have close to a true starter's workload, potentially giving the Rockies plenty of opportunities to get their hacks in against him.
Ryan McMahon ($4,000), Trevor Story ($4,100), Charlie Blackmon ($3,900), and C.J. Cron ($3,800) are the top choices, although it will cost you an arm and a leg to roster all four. Cron finally hit his first home run this week, which is hopefully a sign of things to come from a guy who has always possessed a plus barrel rate.
Oakland Athletics: Jorge Lopez has surprisingly piled up a good chunk of strikeouts thus far, but the end result has still been the same, as he's already given up five dingers in 13.2 innings. Most of his punchouts came against a whiff-happy Rangers team in his last start, too, making it easier to assume his high strikeout rate is just small-sample noise.
With that in mind, we're looking at a pitcher who has mediocre-to-poor career numbers in just about any category, and his career ERA sits at a woeful 6.17. Yikes. He also owns a below-average career strikeout rate (18.9%) and has consistently failed to keep the ball in the park (1.67 home runs per 9 innings).
The righty especially struggles against left-handed batters, with a 4.91 xFIP in the split dating back to 2019. That should motivate us to roster Matt Olson ($3,700) in particular, while Jed Lowrie ($3,400) and Mitch Moreland ($2,300) also get a boost.
Lopez does get his share of grounders versus righties (52.8% ground-ball rate from 2019 onward), but that shouldn't be enough to deter us from rostering the A's usual righty sticks.
New York Yankees: Between their recent struggles and a good-but-not-great 4.60 implied total, the Yankees might not get the level of attention they should against Logan Allen. The Cleveland lefty has a modest 19.2% strikeout rate and 9.6% walk rate over three starts, and those are actually improvements over his career marks. He also holds a poor 5.31 SIERA since debuting in 2019.
Almost everyone in tonight's projected lineup bats right-handed, and Allen has a 14.8% career strikeout rate and 12.5% walk rate in the split. A low-strikeout pitcher might be exactly what the Bronx Bombers need to get rolling, and they showed signs of life in a comeback win on Thursday.