DFS Pitching Preview: April 19, 2022

Our pitching in MLB DFS isn’t just a source of fantasy points. The price tags on pitchers make it so they shape they dictate the freedoms and restrictions of building our lineups. Before reading this article, it’s highly suggested that you read my article, “DFS Pitching Primer,” so the concepts discussed here make more sense.

That we’re not selecting the best players. We’re constructing the lineups which carry the most leverage without sacrificing many projected fantasy points.

Speaking of lineups, we’re gonna approach this with Coors Field in mind, considering there’s a terribly high-contact pitcher on the mound for Colorado and an erratic pitcher on the mound for Philadelphia. We have to remember that we can’t play chalk pitching with Coors stacks. When stacking Coors teams, we have to find leverage elsewhere.

THE SP1s: Corbin Brunes, Robbie Ray, and Joe Musgrove

Walker Buehler and Framber Valez are strong pitchers, but both have bad matchups on top of weaker K/9, compared to the three we’ll discuss.

Corbin Burnes is at the top of the list. His SIERA is the only one on the slate under 3.00 with the only K/9 over 12.00 and the only HR/9 under 0.75 since 2021, with elite command. And the Pirates are atrocious. Burnes is probably underpriced on both sites.

Robbie Ray is about adequately priced. He’s shown some command issues thus far this season, but we shouldn’t put too much into a couple of outings. We should believe in the bust out we saw last season, where he dramatically lowered his BB/9 and HR/9, while still carrying a high K/9. He draws an unspectacular Rangers team, whose active roster has a 24.2% strikeout rate against left-handed pitching since 2021.

Joe Musgrove has seen his strikeouts, walks, and power prevention swing in the wrong direction since the late-June enhanced enforcement of banned substances. But his numbers since June 30 are still fine: 9.41 K/9, 2.89 BB/9, 1.16 HR/9 on a 3.94 SIERA. Add that the Reds are a no-hitter waiting to happen and fine is, well, fine.

Musgrove’s dramatically more expensive at FD, but the ownership is dramatically lower there. If we can jam in the Coors bats with his hefty price tag at FD, that’s our move. If Otherwise, he’s not really playable with Coors. Sure, the cheap price tag makes it easier to play him with Coors at DK, but everyone sees that same dynamic. Early ownership projections are showing that everyone is seeing Burnes and Ray as much stronger options than Buehler and Valdez, leading me the conclusion that we play Musgrove, Buehler, or Valdez at FD or Buehler and/or Valdez at DK with Coors.

Where we fade Coors, we should be playing Burnes, Ray, or Musgrove. The second we pull that trigger of not playing Coors is the second where we kinda’ don’t have to give a crap about ownership.

THE CHEAP SP2s: Cole Irvin and Chris Archer

Cole Irvin is projected better than Buehler and Valdez, according to THE BAT. The ballpark in Oakland is sexy for run prevention. It’s bad for strikeouts, but Irvin is so cheap that the strikeouts are cherries, not the sundae. Not to mention, the Orioles’ active roster has a 24.9% strikeout rate against left-handers since 2020.

Irvin’s 2.04 BB/9 displays great command and his 1.28 HR/9 is good enough power prevention facing an average bunch of hitters who strike out a ton.

With the field looking for paths toward jamming in two of Burnes, Ray, and Musgrove, Irvin is projecting to gather almost no ownership. But the day is early. He’s projecting so well in terms of performance that the ownership should follow. But, hey, there’s nothing sexy about playing Cole Irvin.

On one hand, there’s nothing on the Fangraphs page of Chris Archer that tells us to play him. But he is free and projected by THE BAT to throw in the 80-pitch range, along with the terrible Royals as his opponent. His 95-96-mph fastball now sits in the 93-94 range and he did go four innings without walking anyone in his first start. The Royals don’t strike out much, on one hand; but they could also be quick outs that get Archer in the direction of six innings. Not putting six innings on the table here; just saying that we could get into the fifth against a high-contact bunch.

Historically, Archer was a fireballer until he got hurt and, then, he got ever more hurt even worse. We don’t really know what he is. But we’re presuming he isn’t and and that’s enough for this price tag against this opponent.

On a personal note: recent months have been overwhelmingly trying for my family and I want to express my deepest gratitude for all of the well wishes and support.

Alex Sonty is a professional DFS and poker player, while contributing to RotoGrinders and FanGraphs, as well as serving as a part-time political science professor in Chicago, IL. He’s been playing fantasy sports since 1996 and entered the DFS realm in 2014, currently playing high-stakes MLB and NFL cash games and GPPs. He is a Chicago Tribune and SB Nation alum, while holding a J.D./M.A. and L.L.M. from DePaul University.

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