DAILY MATCHUPS: Urquidy earns spot on Friday strong starts list

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: All 30 teams are in action on Friday, with the Astros traveling to St. Louis for the day's lone interleague matchup, and every game a nighttime start. The weather forecast looks good for all games.

***

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
  Zack Greinke (R) ARI @MIA 2.82 2.49 2.83 3.38 2.58 3 5 5 2 4
  Luis Castillo (R) CIN vCOL 2.08 2.62 2.24 1.98 1.47 1 3 5 2 2
  Jose Urquidy (R) HOU @STL 1.93 1.96 1.95 2.48 1.31 2 1 4
  Lance Lynn (R) TEX @OAK 1.46 2.64 1.00 1.66 0.54 5 3 5 2 3
  Michael Pineda (R) MIN @CHW 1.18 1.93 0.89 1.59 0.30 2 4 3 2 2
  Hyun-Jin Ryu (L) LA @WAS 1.11 0.88 1.40 1.48 0.67 3 1 3 4 4
  Michael Soroka (R) ATL @PHI 1.00 1.24 0.79 1.29 0.68 2 2 3 5 0
  James Paxton (L) NYY @BOS 0.95 1.27 0.68 0.79 1.04 0 0 3 2 1
  Zack Wheeler (R) NYM vPIT 0.93 1.24 0.52 0.68 1.29 0 5 3 5 2
  Ryan Yarbrough (L) TAM @TOR 0.69 0.42 0.69 1.39 0.26 4 2 4 2 4
  Dylan Cease (R) CHW vMIN 0.57 2.12 0.20 0.74 -0.80 2 2 1
  Kyle Hendricks (R) CHC @MIL 0.54 0.77 -0.14 0.72 0.80 0 2 2 2 3
  Jeff Samardzija (R) SF @SD 0.52 1.09 0.14 1.23 -0.38 3 5 3 4 2

Don't let Jose Urquidy's (RHP, HOU) 5.54 ERA and 1.31 WHIP scare you off—he's been hurt by a 40% hit rate and 60% strand rate over his first three starts. His skills have been excellent: 0.7 Ctl, 11.8 Dom, 63% FpK, 14% SwK, 3.13 xERA. Granted, it's still a very small sample (13 IP), but he's taken a big step forward this year prior to his call-up, and is facing a Cardinals lineup that owns a .695 OPS and 76 PX at home.

Since June 1st, Ryan Yarbrough (LHP, TAM) sports a 3.00 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 0.9 Ctl, 7.3 Dom, 65% FpK, and 3.45 xERA over 48 IP. Toronto remains one of the AL's worst offenses, and they've played quite poorly at home, with a .689 OPS and 3.7 runs per game. It appears this will be a normal start for Yarbrough, and not an appearance as an opener or bulk innings guy, though Tampa does sometimes make last-minute changes.

Dylan Cease (RHP, CHW) just makes the strong starts cut-off thanks to the day's 4th-best K rating, but he'll face a hefty challenge against the Twins, who still lead the majors in HR and OPS, own an above-average contact rate (77%), and have been hitting well on the road (.845 OPS, 123 PX, 5.9 runs per game). Cease's 4.80 xERA suggests he's pitched better than his 6.19 ERA, but still makes him a risky pick here.

 

Judgment Calls (Overall ratings from -0.50 to 0.50):

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Joey Lucchesi (L) SD vSF 0.42 0.90 0.32 0.55 -0.11 2 3 3 1 0
  Jakob Junis (R) KC vCLE 0.35 0.80 0.18 0.66 -0.23 1 1 4 4 3
  Daniel Norris (L) DET @SEA 0.34 0.53 0.38 0.48 -0.03 3 1 1 2 2
  Griffin Canning (R) LAA vBAL 0.19 0.98 -0.23 0.09 -0.10 1 3 1 1 4
  Jack Flaherty (R) STL vHOU 0.14 1.67 0.13 0.57 -1.81 2 1 4 4 3
  German Marquez (R) COL @CIN 0.11 1.13 0.29 1.00 -1.97 0 2 2 1 3
  Yusei Kikuchi (L) SEA vDET 0.04 0.53 0.09 0.00 -0.47 1 2 4 1 1
  Asher Wojciechowski (R) BAL @LAA 0.02 0.76 -0.43 0.16 -0.40 3 2 2 5
  Daniel Mengden (R) OAK vTEX 0.00 0.21 0.00 0.83 -1.04 4 2 0 3 0
  Zach Plesac (R) CLE @KC -0.13 -0.18 0.16 -0.23 -0.27 2 0 2 2 3
  Jake Arrieta (R) PHI vATL -0.40 0.33 -0.44 -0.30 -1.18 0 2 2 2 1
  Jacob Waguespack (R) TOR vTAM -0.45 -0.02 -0.53 -0.07 -1.16 0 2

Joey Lucchesi (LHP, SD) is a good option for home starts (2.83 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 0.8 HR/9 over 11 GS), though he's catching the Giants while they are one of the hottest teams in baseball, with an .814 OPS in July. He owns a 5.28 ERA over 3 GS against San Francisco in 2019, but his skills have been very good in those games: 3.5 Ctl, 10.0 Dom, 63% FpK, 15% SwK, 3.87 xERA.

Jakob Junis (RHP, KC) was placed on the paternity list on Wednesday and it's unclear if he will actually make this start. He's been on a bit of a roll lately, with a 3.82 ERA, 2.9 Ctl, 9.1 Dom, and 4.21 xERA over his last 5 GS, which includes three starts against his Friday opponent, Cleveland. The Indians have been a Top 5 offense (.851 OPS) in July.

If there's reason to go with Daniel Norris (LHP, DET) on Friday, it's his opponent, as the Mariners' lineup has been struggling in July, with a bottom-ten .693 OPS. Seattle also hasn't hit as well at home, where they own a .738 OPS and .235 xBA. Norris's skills remain as lackluster as ever, with a 4.62 xERA on the year, and the Tigers have placed him on an innings limit for the remainder of 2019—in his last start, he was pulled after 4 IP and 58 pitches despite having only given up 1 ER.

Control problems have caused Griffin Canning (RHP, LAA) to stumble of late, as he sports a 7.47 ERA, 6.3 Ctl, 1.8 Cmd, 51% FpK, and 5.14 xERA over his last 4 GS. Walks were also an issue in his lone start against Baltimore this year, as he allowed 4 walks and 3 HR over 4.2 IP against them on May 12.

The day's fourth-lowest Win rating has Jack Flaherty (RHP, STL) in the middle of the rankings, but he's been quite successful in home starts in 2019: 3.22 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 1.8 Ctl, and 10.1 Dom over 10 GS. But Houston remains a tough out, and the Astros have the league's best OPS (.873) in July.

Giving up 11 ER over 2.7 IP at home against the Giants on July 15 has German Marquez's (RHP, COL) ERA up to 7.76 over his last 5 GS, and at first glance, his 4.70 xERA and 7.4 Dom during that time looks troubling as well. But his velocity hasn't changed, and his 12% SwK is right in line with his 13% mark for the whole season. An away start (where he has a 3.25 ERA and 0.88 WHIP over 11 GS) could help him get back on track, though the Reds have an .819 OPS in July.

Yusei Kikuchi (LHP, SEA) is really struggling, with a 7.85 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 4.6 Ctl, 5.7 Dom, and 2.7 HR/9 over his last 10 GS, and only one PQS-DOM start during that entire stretch. The Tigers' AL-worst offense might give him a break, but considering that he has a 5.17 xERA on the year, there just isn't a lot of upside here.

Asher Wojciechowski (RHP, BAL) has put up some very intriguing results over his first 23 IP of 2019: a 3.91 ERA, 2.7 Ctl, 12.1 Dom, 17% SwK, and 3.82 xERA. However, his 53% FpK doesn't support his low walk rate, and a 54% fly ball rate puts him at risk for gopher balls. The Angels have hit better at home, with a .793 OPS, 102 PX, .273 xBA, and 5.3 runs per game.

Daniel Mengden (RHP, OAK) owns a 5.74 xERA on the year, and regression seems to be catching up to him lately, as he has a 5.48 ERA over 4 GS in July. The Rangers' offense is going through a rough July (.229 BA, .710 OPS), and they don't hit as well on the road (.242 xBA, 4.4 runs per game), but their lefty and switch-hitter-heavy lineup could take advantage of Mengden's platoon split weakness (.966 OPS, 1.1 Cmd vs. LHB).

Zach Plesac (RHP, CLE) has already faced the Royals twice in July, with mediocre results: a 4.15 ERA, 5.3 Ctl, 7.3 Dom, 4.98 xERA. And for the season, his 4.74 xERA is more than a run higher than his 3.50 ERA, and he hasn't thrown a PQS-DOM since June 7.

Jake Arrieta's (RHP, PHI) output hasn't changed much since the news broke that he has a bone spur in his elbow—4.20 ERA, 4.30 xERA over 3 GS in July—but there are some troubling shifts in his underlying skills, namely a 47% FpK and 5% SwK this month. He has a .920 oOPS and 1.4 Cmd vs. LHB, and Atlanta's roster features seven left-handers and switch-hitters.

Jacob Waguespack (RHP, TOR) is not a big prospect, but his 5.68 ERA hides some impressive early skills: 1.9 Ctl, 9.5 Dom, 61% FpK, 14% SwK, 3.87 xERA. He threw 4 IP of relief against the Rays on May 27, allowing 2 ER over 4 IP on 3 hits and 1 walk while striking out 7.

 

Weak Starts (Overall ratings -0.51 and below):

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Gio Gonzalez (L) MIL vCHC -0.95 -0.41 -1.08 -1.41 -0.89 2 1 2 2 1
  Andrew Cashner (R) BOS vNYY -0.95 -0.25 -1.15 -0.84 -1.55 3 5 4 0 2
  Anibal Sanchez (R) WAS vLA -0.99 0.55 -1.44 -0.76 -2.30 2 2 1 0 0
  Sandy Alcantara (R) MIA vARI -1.13 -0.17 -0.57 -0.71 -3.08 3 0 2 2 0
  Dario Agrazal (R) PIT @NYM -1.52 -1.54 -1.76 -0.98 -1.79 2 1 1 2 3

 

***

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. 


Click here to subscribe

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