DAILY MATCHUPS: Strasburg the clear favorite on Monday

As a way to preview the day's games, the 2019 Daily Matchups column will provide a list of all SP scheduled to start that day. The Daily Matchups column works hand-in-hand with the HQ Pitcher Matchup tool (also available as an 8-day scan). It will group the day's SP into strong starts, judgment calls, or weak starts and will provide an analysis of the most noteworthy SP along the way. Tips on how to best use these SP tools can be found in this 2019 GM's OFFICE column.

For additional DFS coverage collected in one place, see our Daily Dashboard page. Also reference our three-year ballpark factorsteam indicator pages, and SP Buyers Guide columns to help you optimize your SP utilization.

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Today's schedule overview: There are eight games on the docket for today's slate, including three in the AL and five in the NL. The first contest begins at 4:10 pm EST, with the remaining seven games having a start time of 7:40 pm EST or later. The slate features four starters in the Strong Start tier, with 10 RHP and six southpaws. Current weather forecasts call for mostly clear skies today. Be sure to check the latest forecast prior to setting your lineup(s).

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Strong Starts (top tier starts rated >1.0; starts in 0.50-0.99 range also favorable)

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Stephen Strasburg (R) WAS @STL 1.96 2.72 1.83 1.82 1.45 5 3 5 2 3
  Garrett Richards (R) SD @MIL 1.16 -0.62 1.44 2.45 1.37 0
  John Means (L) BAL @DET 0.96 1.04 0.55 1.68 0.56 2 4 3 3 4
  Jose Berrios (R) MIN vCHW 0.83 1.36 0.46 0.82 0.68 1 1 3 1 4
  Cole Hamels (L) CHC vCIN 0.82 1.32 0.86 0.79 0.29 2 1 3 0 2
  Steven Matz (L) NYM @COL 0.71 0.92 0.37 0.68 0.88 4 3 2 1 3

John Means (LHP, BAL) boasts a solid rating today based on his opponent (DET) and a glowing WHIP score (1.6 Ctl, 68% FpK in 2H). Since back-to-back outings against the Yankees, Means has been highly productive (2.53 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 8.3 Cmd, 40/0% DOM/DIS, 5 GS). The DET offense totes one of the worst rankings at home against LHP, and in Means's lone start against them on May 29, he registered a PQS-4.  

Steven Matz (LHP, NYM) faces a tough task as he heads to Coors Field to take on the Rockies. The COL offense is naturally tops in the MLB in RPG at home (6.1), but they’ve had trouble producing against LHP (88 wRC+, 25th). Matz has been much more effective at home (1.94 ERA) versus on the road (6.08 ERA), but he’s been able to string together four-straight PQS-DEC or better away from home. His best score comes in the K category; the Rockies have the third worst K% against LHP (25%), and Matz owns a 10% SwK with an 8.4 Dom in the 2H. Current Rockies hitters have a 1.144 oOPS against Matz over 72 AB, and when you factor in his 2.3 hr/9 on the road, there’s an avenue to this being an unhappy ending.

 

Judgment Calls (Overall ratings from -0.50 to 0.50)

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Tanner Roark (R) OAK vKC 0.42 0.40 -0.13 0.52 0.89 1 3 2 5 1
  Kevin Gausman (R) CIN @CHC 0.36 TBD 0.19 1.18 0.08 1 1 5 2 1
  Robbie Ray (L) ARI vMIA 0.32 1.91 0.19 -0.43 -0.39 2 3 1 3 0
  Pablo Lopez (R) MIA @ARI 0.12 -0.18 0.37 0.78 -0.51 3 1 0 4 0
  Reynaldo Lopez (R) CHW @MIN -0.24 0.72 -0.83 0.35 -1.18 1 4 1 5 2

Tanner Roark (RHP, OAK) has a 3.40 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 4.0 Cmd over 7 GS since joining the Athletics (28/28% DOM/DIS). He faces off against the Royals today, a team he logged a PQS-2 against on August 28. His Wins score is naturally heightened due to the opponent, and the Royals offense is one of the league's worst on the road. Roark has had an issue with home runs in the 2H (2.0 hr/9), but in his 4 GS at Oakland Coliseum, he’s allowed two in 24 IP. His .867 oOPS to LHB is also helped by the Coliseum’s -16% HR to LHB over the last three years. His 3.2 Cmd in the 2H is quite mediocre—as well as his 7% SwK and 54% FpK—so his upside isn’t significant; however, based on the opponent and the venue, we should expect a positive result.

Robbie Ray (LHP, ARI) receives only his second home start in his last six appearances as he takes on a Marlins team that he tallied a PQS-2 against on July 28. The MIA offense has been a bottom-tier unit recently, and rank 27th against LHP for the season. Ray suffered the shortest outing of his career in his last start (PQS-0) due to a blister issue, and there’s no guarantee we won’t see any problems occur with that again. We can depend on his strikeouts (13% SwK, 12.2 Dom in 2H), but his 1.8 hr/9 at home will continue to be a factor from start-to-start. Ray posted a PQS-DEC or better in 10 of 11 GS prior to his latest start, and his 133 BPV in the 2H demonstrates that his skills remain intact when healthy.

Cole Hamels (LHP, CHC) has been much better at home (2.66 ERA) compared to on the road (5.40 ERA) this season. Today he receives a home start against a CIN offense that he logged a PQS-0 against on August 8. The Reds are among the league's worst in RPG on the road (4.5), and are equally stagnant against LHP (88 wRC+). Outside of a negative Win rating (only one win since June 18, 11 GS), Hamels has solid grades in each category. His Dom upside isn’t too extreme despite an 8.8 Dom and 11% SwK; the Reds make strong contact against LHP. There are some troubling signs with his Ctl recently; he’s posted a 4.2 Ctl and 50% FpK over his last 8 GS. He’s a risky option, but his home trends help brighten the outlook.

Pablo Lopez (RHP, MIA) has posted three PQS-DIS in 4 GS since returning from the injured list. He’s compiled sizable home/road splits this season (3.22 ERA at home, 7.71 ERA on the road), which could be significant due to the Diamondbacks above-average production at home. He’s logged a 2.3 Ctl since returning despite a 57% FpK. The ARI offense is below average in BB% against RHP (9%), but they do a great job of making contact (21%), helping lend to a mediocre K grade for Lopez. When you pair his results on the road with his recent string of starts, it’s best to proceed with caution.

Tyler Alexander (LHP, DET) has allowed 2 ER over 7 IP against formidable offenses (OAK/NYY) this month. He’s compiled a 5.40 ERA (4.46 xERA), 1.36 WHIP, and 136 BPV in the 2H, but gets a Judgment Call designation due to his matchup against the Orioles. The BAL offense has struggled over the last week, and remain one of the worst units on the road against LHP. Alexander’s 9% SwK has led to an 8.5 Dom, but his 63% FpK and 1.2 Ctl is more impressive. If he can log more than 4 IP, he could prove valuable.

Reynaldo Lopez (RHP, CHW) looks to improve against a Twins team that he’s struggled against over 2 GS this season (10.24 ERA, 5.58 xERA, 1.55 WHIP, 3.0 Cmd, 58 BPV, two PQS-DIS). He’s been able to generate value in the 2H with a strong Dom (8.8, 13% SwK), uptick in velocity (96.4 mph), and a 96 BPV. Both of his PQS-DIS against the Twins came on the road, and Lopez has been rather boom or bust recently (40/40% DOM/DIS). The MIN offense is a Top 7 unit against RHP as well as at home. The best mark for Lopez comes in the K category, but his 6 K in 9.2 IP against the Twins this year, paired with their ability to make contact against RHP (Top 6), puts a damper on his best possible contribution.

Zachary Davies (RHP, MIL) has logged a PQS-DIS or worse in each of his last 4 GS at home (4.71 ERA on the year), and his hr/9 at Miller Park (1.8) is significantly worse than on the road (0.7 hr/9). His scores are negative in every category with the exception of Win rating. The SD offense has trended down recently, and they’ve had struggles against RHP. Davies 7% SwK and 5.8 Dom in the 2H leaves a lot to be desired, but the Padres own the second worst ct% against RHP (74%), which could provide a slight boost in that category.

 

Weak Starts (Overall ratings -0.51 and below)

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Tyler Alexander (L) DET vBAL -0.61 -1.87 -0.54 1.03 -1.06 1 3 3 1 2
  Dakota Hudson (R) STL vWAS -0.85 -0.20 -0.24 -0.99 -1.95 4 2 4 2 2
  Zachary Davies (R) MIL vSD -0.97 -0.72 -0.65 -0.63 -1.87 2 1 2 2 2
  Glenn Sparkman (R) KC @OAK -1.24 -1.03 -1.89 -0.65 -1.39 1 0 0 0 2
  Antonio Senzatela (R) COL vNYM -1.40 -1.41 -1.43 -1.28 -1.48 1 1 0 0 3

Dakota Hudson (RHP, STL) brings a 3.36 ERA (4.54 xERA), 1.29 WHIP, 51% GB, 1.6 Cmd, and 41 BPV in the 2H into a home start against a Nationals offense that’s been Top 10 over the last week, as well as on the road (5.2 RPG). His rating is unusually lower due to the worst Win score on the slate. His upside is minimal; the Nationals boast one of the best ct% against RHP (88%), and Hudson has posted 3 K or fewer in three of his last four GS. In addition, his 4.6 Ctl and 53% FpK leaves a lot to be desired; and his rating in that category shows it. Overall this is a very risky spot for Hudson, but he’s logged two PQS-DOM outings in his last 4 GS at home, and he has a tendency to be rather unpredictable.

 

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There are roughly 150 starting pitchers in MLB rotations at any given time. For different league sizes, we can estimate the number of SP in the useable pool, and then determine the overall ratings that correspond to worst, 25th percentile, median, and 75th percentile SP.

                               Overall SP Rating

                   SP       by SP league percentile

League size       Pool*     .00    .25    .50    .75|
==============    =====    ====   ====   ====   =====
12-team “only”     120     -.73   -.22   +.22    +.74
10-team “only”     110     -.54   -.11   +.30    +.79
20-team mixed      110     -.54   -.11   +.30    +.79
15-team mixed      105     -.46   -.05   +.34    +.82
12-team mixed       80     -.07   +.22   +.55    +.97
10-team mixed       60     +.22   +.46   +.74   +1.12

So, if you’re in a 12-team “only” league, the median start should have a rating of about 0.2. The 120th start is around -0.7. In a shallower, 15-team mixed, the median start is 0.34 and a top pitcher +0.82.

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EDITOR'S NOTE ON DEADLINES AND ACCURACY: The writer deadline on these articles is noon before the publish day, with a goal to have the column available for subscribers by 10pm ET that evening. There will be instances when weather, managerial decisions, or other factors will take place after the piece is published that will affect the accuracy of the above information. In those instances, we strive to manually update the article by mid-morning at the latest. However, the HQ Pitcher Matchup Tool page is updated automatically and may have the correct data (scheduled starter, all the same component scores in a sortable chart) sooner than this column. Thanks for your understanding.


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.