DAILY MATCHUPS: Strasburg, Paxton and Fried set for Saturday success

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: The penultimate Saturday of the regular season brings a full slate of games. Warm, breezy weather conditions are forecast across much of the in-play MLB landscape. Look for a potentially big impact by windy conditions at Wrigley Field, where the Cardinals and Cubs are playing. A 17-mph hitter’s wind is in the early forecast for that one. The Phillies are at Cleveland in what marks the only AL-NL crossover play of the weekend. Stephen Strasburg at Miami is the far-and-away top choice on the board. James Paxton vs. Toronto and Max Fried vs. San Francisco are other solid options.

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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 @MIA 3.32 3.32 3.47 3.36 3.11 3 5 2 3 2
  Walker Buehler (R) LA vCOL 2.94 2.72 2.52 3.24 3.27 5 4 2 5 2
  James Paxton (L) NYY vTOR 2.51 3.20 1.85 2.25 2.74 5 1 5 4 2
  Max Fried (L) ATL vSF 2.28 1.86 2.61 2.20 2.46 2 4 5 2 1
  Jose Berrios (R) MIN vKC 1.43 1.78 0.79 1.41 1.74 1 3 1 4 4
  Travis Lakins (R) BOS @TAM 1.23 0.23 1.54 2.99 0.17 3
  Sean Manaea (L) OAK vTEX 0.89 1.13 0.77 0.98 0.68 3 4 4
  Tyler Alexander (L) DET vCHW 0.79 0.17 0.74 1.86 0.38 3 3 1 2 2
  Tyler Glasnow (R) TAM vBOS 0.72 1.39 1.08 1.07 -0.67 4 5 4 2 4
  Zack Wheeler (R) NYM @CIN 0.60 1.69 0.04 0.99 -0.32 0 1 1 4 5

Sean Manaea (LHP, OAK) is facing Texas for a second straight outing, but the Sept. 1 returnee from injury pitched well in that last game and has looked sharp in three starts overall. The Rangers are a struggle-on-the-road squad (.714 OPS; 25th MLB) which is swung around to its lesser platoon splits against southpaws.

Tyler Alexander (LHP, DET) is tabbed for Saturday’s home start against a White Sox club batting .284/.334/.492 (.826) since Sept. 3. Chicago has posted a .784 OPS against left-handers in the second half. Alexander has been terrific, but aided by hit-rate over a start and two long relief appearances this month.

Zack Wheeler (RHP, NYM) will be on the mound in Cincinnati on Saturday. Wheeler is coming off a tremendous home start against the Dodgers and nice back-to-back efforts at home. The Mets right-hander has scuffled somewhat over recent road turns. But he has a long-term history of performing well away from Citi Field and of finishing well in September. The Reds own a .662 OPS, .073 ISO against him and they own a similar OPS over their last 11 games.

 

Judgment Calls (Overall ratings from -0.50 to 0.50)

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Anthony DeSclafani (R) CIN vNYM 0.46 0.80 0.13 1.07 -0.18 2 5 4 1 5
  Jose Quintana (L) CHC vSTL 0.08 -0.31 0.22 0.12 0.27 1 2 1 0 1
  Zach Plesac (R) CLE vPHI 0.08 0.07 -0.61 0.53 0.32 2 3 1 0 4
  Asher Wojciechowski (R) BAL vSEA 0.06 0.26 -0.36 0.60 -0.25 1 1 4 1 1
  Luke Weaver (R) ARI @SD 0.05 -0.93 0.42 0.29 0.42 5 5 1 3 3
  Patrick Sandoval (L) LAA @HOU 0.02 0.53 -0.10 -0.17 -0.18 1 4 2 0 3
  Justus Sheffield (L) SEA @BAL -0.11 0.39 -0.35 -0.58 0.10 1 2 3 1 2
  Ivan Nova (R) CHW @DET -0.25 -1.04 -0.07 0.57 -0.44 0 0 2 2 2
  Dakota Hudson (R) STL @CHC -0.42 TBD -0.49 -1.16 -0.03 2 4 2 2 2
  Wade Miley (L) HOU vLAA -0.42 -0.41 -0.20 -0.73 -0.32 1 3 0 1 1
  Cal Quantrill (R) SD vARI -0.49 -0.20 -0.49 -0.34 -0.92 3 0 1 1 0
  Brock Burke (L) TEX @OAK -0.50 0.13 -0.46 -0.49 -1.18 2 3 1 0 0

Anthony DeSclafani (RHP, CIN) is coming off a fine PQS-5 against Arizona, and that outing came on the back half of a back-to-back against the Diamondbacks. DeSclafani owns a 2.18 RERA/3.57 xERA over his last five starts. He is catching a Mets club which has scored 5.4 RPG over its last 16, but righties do swing NYM around to its lesser platoon splits. Current New York bats own a .600 OPS, .106 ISO against DeSclafani.

Ivan Nova (RHP, CHW) has struggled mightily of late (6.44 ERA/6.04 xERA last 7 GS), and his numbers against the Tigers (.782 OPS allowed) aren’t encouraging.

Jose Quintana (LHP, CHC) has been woeful over his last three starts. He’s logged an 11.02 ERA/6.35 xERA over that stretch which includes 10 innings, a lot of contact and a lot of hard contact. Quintana has a shaky line against the St. Louis Cardinals (.957 OPSA, 1.4 Cmd). The Cardinals own a .776 OPS over their last 15 games.

Justus Sheffield (LHP, SEA) is a solid play, especially for late-week strikeout-hunting, for his Saturday turn at Camden Yards. Over his last five starts, Sheffield has clocked in with a 13% SwK while notching a 3.0 Cmd. The 23-year-old logged five shutout innings in his only other road start (Sept. 2 at CHC).

Asher Wojciechowski (RHP, BAL) should not be on your radar. Even with his foe being a Seattle club owning a .687 OPS since Aug. 25.

Wade Miley (LHP, HOU) is rated under water for his home start against the Angels. Even against plenty of second-division competition, Miley has been rocked of late (9.00 ERA/6.60 xERA last 5 GS).

Patrick Sandoval (LHP, LAA) will be at Houston Saturday. The 22-year-old has been pulled along slowly, but he’s mostly fared well. He has also faced just one club – BOS on Aug. 11 (PQS-0) -- who can do to lefties what the Houston Astros can do. Look elsewhere.

Dakota Hudson (RHP, STL) hasn’t seen much of the Cubs in his two seasons in St. Louis. Just one of his 57 MLB games has come against the Chicago Nationals. Lately, Hudson’s surface numbers have outpaced his underlying skill-set indicators. He owns a 1.89 ERA/4.94 xERA over three September starts. The Cubs have had a good month (.888 OPS), and they are at their best against right-handers (.795).

Zach Plesac (RHP, CLE) makes this start off a nine-day rest interval. He threw a season-high 114 pitches in a Sept. 10 PQS-4 at LAA. In 19 GS this season, Plesac owns a 3.64 ERA/5.01 xERA. He was shaky in the two starts in front of his Sept. 10 turn.

Brock Burke (LHP, TEX) shouldn’t be too much of a consideration against an Oakland lineup that rakes (.815 OPS,78% ct) against southpaws.

Cal Quantrill (RHP, SD) has been beaten up in four consecutive starts since throwing 108 pitches in back-to-back mid-August starts. His hit rates have gone haywire, but the Padres right-hander has also found a lot more contact while walking more batters of late. Arizona got to him for 8 ER three starts back.

 

Weak Starts (Overall ratings -0.51 and below)

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Zachary Davies (R) MIL vPIT -0.61 -1.03 -0.65 -0.77 TBD 1 2 2 2 2
  Elieser Hernandez (R) MIA vWAS -0.71 0.51 -0.39 0.66 -3.61 3 1 0 3 3
  Jason Vargas (L) PHI @CLE -0.99 -0.37 -1.49 -1.05 -1.03 2 1 3 1 2
  Johnny Cueto (R) SF @ATL -1.24 -0.38 -0.73 -0.26 -3.57 3 2
  Glenn Sparkman (R) KC @MIN -1.68 -1.07 -2.23 -1.18 -2.24 0 0 0 2 0
  T.J. Zeuch (R) TOR @NYY -2.19 -1.04 -2.67 -2.04 -3.01 0
  Alex Gonzalez (R) COL @LA -2.82 -1.53 -2.75 -3.24 -3.77 1 0 3 3 1

Jason Vargas (LHP, PHI) has yielded a lot of barreled-up contact of late. He owns a Boeing ERA (7.17) over his last five starts (5.59 xERA over the same stretch). Steer clear of Saturday’s game at Cleveland.

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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.