DAILY MATCHUPS: Trust deGrom, Castillo, Giolito, and Morton

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.


Today's schedule overview: Only four teams are off on Monday, as the slate features 14 games and includes a Marlins-Mets doubleheader in New York. Game 1 in that twin bill is the only afternoon game on the slate. Oakland (@CHC) and Anaheim (@ CIN) lose their DH in interleague matchups, while the Braves add one in Minnesota.


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

  Jacob deGrom (R) NYM vMIA 3.45 4.24 3.18 3.54 2.85 4 2 5 5 5
  Luis Castillo (R) CIN vLAA 1.88 2.77 1.54 1.79 1.41 5 2 2 2 5
  Lucas Giolito (R) CHW @DET 1.78 2.38 0.79 1.18 2.77 2 3 3 2 5
  Charlie Morton (R) TAM vTOR 1.68 2.40 1.33 1.62 1.38 3 3 1 5 1
  Kyle Hendricks (R) CHC vOAK 0.74 1.10 0.52 1.21 0.12 2 2 3 3 4
  Jose Berrios (R) MIN vATL 0.56 1.42 0.08 0.81 -0.08 0 2 2 4 5

Luis Castillo (RHP, CIN) snapped back to form with a PQS-5 outing, and 7 K in 7 IP vs. PIT. The strikeout total was notable because PIT is 28th in the majors in batter strikeouts, and today's opponent, the Angels, are 30th. Castillo has only one start with fewer than 6 K since May.

Lucas Giolito (RHP, CHW) got saddled with a 5.65 ERA in July, but his skills (111 BPV) for the month were mostly in line with those from his May/June breakout. Today's matchup against the Tigers, who were terrible against RHP even before Nick Castellanos was traded, is a particularly appealing spot for Giolito.


Judgment Calls (Overall ratings from -0.50 to 0.50)

  Merrill Kelly (R) ARI vPHI 0.46 0.36 0.56 0.84 0.07 0 1 5 1 0
  Masahiro Tanaka (R) NYY @BAL 0.40 0.42 -0.17 0.60 0.74 3 3 1 0 1
  Jeff Samardzija (R) SF vWAS 0.34 0.53 0.19 0.63 TBD 3 4 2 2 4
  Vincent Velasquez (R) PHI @ARI 0.33 1.50 0.32 0.48 -1.00 2 1 2 4 2
  Rick Porcello (R) BOS vKC 0.20 0.09 -0.15 0.39 0.46 2 0 1 2 2
  Chris Bassitt (R) OAK @CHC 0.18 0.58 0.05 0.69 -0.62 1 4 0 3 4
  Michael Soroka (R) ATL @MIN 0.08 0.64 -0.15 0.24 -0.42 3 5 0 3 2
  Tony Gonsolin (R) LA vSTL 0.01 -0.17 -0.15 0.09 0.28 1
  Jordan Lyles (R) MIL @PIT -0.02 0.03 -0.18 -0.21 0.28 2 0 2 1 2

Merrill Kelly (RHP, ARI) got rocked in July (6.49 ERA) but his skills weren't nearly as bad (4.68 xERA, 104 BPV in July). His undoing--stop me if you've heard this before--was the HR ball. He allowed 5 total HR in his last two starts, and his only PQS-Dom outing of the month was also the only one in which he didn't allow a HR. The good news is that tonight's opposing lineup, the Phillies, have been struggling of late, and have struggled on the road all season.

Masahiro Tanaka (RHP, NYY) allowed 0 HR in his last start, only the 5th time this season he has managed that feat. Of course, that outing was a 4-IP, PQS-1 outing, so let's not actually declare his gopheritis solved just yet. While the Orioles are undeniably bad, they remain more than capable of hitting for power at Camden Yards.

Jeff Samardzija (RHP, SF) was, like his SF teammates, terrific in July (2.09 ERA, 123 BPV in 39 IP). Today's opponents, the Nationals, have also been resurgent of late, but their offense hasn't traveled well this season, and SF is the league's toughest road venue. Samardzija has a good opportunity to stay hot here.

Vince Velasquez (RHP, PHI) returns from his cameo as a Gold Glove-caliber left fielder and resumes his SP role against the Diamondbacks in Arizona tonight. Arizona's offense has been notably weaker both at home and against RHers this season, so Velasquez has those tailwinds behind him tonight.

Rick Porcello (RHP, BOS) has been on an absolutely awful trend line over his last six starts, allowing 36 ER in 34.2 IP over that time. A home date with the Royals and their bottom-third offense is a welcome sight for Porcello, but best to let him stop the bleeding before trusting him again.

Chris Bassitt (RHP, OAK) has had a rollercoaster of a season, as evidenced by his monthly BPV trend: 163-86-28-120, but at least he's on the high side of the rollercoaster entering this start. The Cubs' lineup is potent at home and particularly tough on RHP, so Bassitt will have to be sharp to keep his run of good results going into August.

Mike Soroka (RHP, ATL) hung up an amazing run to start the season, with 7 PQS-Dom outings in 10 starts. Since then, he's had only one more Dom start in his last 9 outings. Facing MLB's best offense today (MIN) in their home park is not a recipe for reversing that split.

Tony Gonsolin (RHP, LA) makes his second start of the season, and second outing of this stint in the majors after a 4-IP relief appearance in Coors Field last week. Tonight's opposing lineup, the Cardinals, have no notable platoon split. While they're a bottom-third offense for the season, they have been resurgent lately, as has Paul Goldschmidt in particular.

Jordan Lyles (RHP, MIL) makes his second start for the Brewers, and faces off against his old team, the Pirates. Lyles had been getting tagged of late before a successful first outing as a Brewer, so this outing may start to offer answers as to whether the Brewers have fixed something with Lyles.


Weak Starts (Overall ratings -0.51 and below)

  Michael Wacha (R) STL @LA -0.61 -0.22 -0.92 -0.51 -0.78 2 1 3 2 0
  Dario Agrazal (R) PIT vMIL -0.75 -1.42 -0.95 0.15 -0.78 1 2 3 1 2
  Aaron Civale (R) CLE vTEX -0.86 -2.24 -1.13 -0.34 0.29 3
  Jacob Waguespack (R) TOR @TAM -0.92 -0.40 -0.82 -0.59 -1.88 0 2 1 1
  Sandy Alcantara (R) MIA @NYM -0.97 0.37 -0.44 -0.47 -3.35 2 2 0 2 1
  David Hess (R) BAL vNYY -1.07 -0.68 -1.68 -0.69 -1.24 2 0 0 1 2
  Michael Montgomery (L) KC @BOS -1.17 -1.41 -1.19 -1.06 -1.03 0 0 2
  Ariel Jurado (R) TEX @CLE -1.27 -0.93 -2.01 -1.36 -0.79 2 1 1 5 0
  Drew VerHagen (R) DET vCHW -3.62 -3.02 -4.70 -3.48 -3.27 0 0

Aaron Civale (RHP, CLE) threw a gem in a spot start for the Indians back in June, and finally gets another shot today. Despite 6 K in that first start, he had only 4 swinging strikes. Today's tilt with the Indians represents a tougher test.

Sandy Alcantara (RHP, MIA) has the only positive strikeout rating in this tier; a function of his recently-elevated strikeout and swinging-strike rates. That's an encouraging trend, but it's undermined by the corresponding control trend: 17 walks in 27 IP in July. That's enough to dampen any optimism.


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.


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.