Fantasy Daily notes for July 30
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NOTES | PITCHERS | HITTERS
Starting pitcher rankings for Jul 30
GSPitcherOPPERA /
WHIP
77C. Sale,
LHP, CWS
@Bos2.85 /
0.99
73M. Scherzer,
RHP, Wsh
@Mia2.33 /
0.83
67J. Arrieta,
RHP, ChC
@Mil2.61 /
1.00
64C. Carrasco,
RHP, Cle
@Oak4.26 /
1.21
58C. Martinez,
RHP, StL
Col2.34 /
1.23
56S. Kazmir,
LHP, Hou
LAA2.24 /
1.05
55C. Bassitt,
RHP, Oak
Cle2.94 /
1.13
54M. Shoemaker,
RHP, LAA
@Hou4.55 /
1.27
53M. Estrada,
RHP, Tor
KC3.55 /
1.18
53M. Pineda,
RHP, NYY
@Tex3.97 /
1.22
51J. Niese,
LHP, NYM
SD3.75 /
1.38
50Y. Gallardo,
RHP, Tex
NYY3.19 /
1.32
50A. Cashner,
RHP, SD
@NYM3.78 /
1.29
50S. Wright,
RHP, Bos
CWS4.78 /
1.33
49J. Nelson,
RHP, Mil
ChC3.97 /
1.30
48S. Miller,
RHP, Atl
@Phi2.27 /
1.13
48D. Haren,
RHP, Mia
Wsh3.51 /
1.10
47P. Hughes,
RHP, Min
Sea3.93 /
1.22
47J. Locke,
LHP, Pit
@Cin4.15 /
1.41
46C. Rusin,
LHP, Col
@StL4.13 /
1.53
46D. Duffy,
LHP, KC
@Tor4.03 /
1.41
46J. Happ,
LHP, Sea
@Min4.31 /
1.37
45A. Harang,
RHP, Phi
Atl4.08 /
1.24
44A. Simon,
RHP, Det
@Bal4.46 /
1.46
44D. Holmberg,
LHP, Cin
Pit-- /
--
43M. Gonzalez,
RHP, Bal
Det3.99 /
1.23
GS: The pitcher's projected "Game Score," from Bill James' original formula, which accounts for past history (three years' worth as well as past 21 days), opponent and ballpark. A Game Score of 50 typically is typically regarded a quality start; anything over 70 is exceptional, anything under 30 poor. An asterisk notes that the game score has been adjusted by the analyst. Opp: The pitcher's opponent for the day. ERA: Pitcher's earned run average. WHIP: Pitcher's average number of walks plus hits surrendered per inning.

Elite

Thursday's slate contains two headlining acts: Chris Sale versus the Red Sox and Max Scherzer versus the Marlins. Unfortunately, Scherzer's start is one of two early games on Thursday, so there will be limited DFS contests in which he is an option. Sale, of course, has double-digit K upside each time he takes the mound, as he's reached that plateau in more than 50 percent of his starts this season. Although the Red Sox whiff just 19.3 percent of the time against southpaws (24th in baseball), they sport a bottom-10 wOBA versus lefties (.298), so this is still a quality matchup for Sale, whose 11.5 K/9 rate is tops in the American League. For DFS contests where Scherzer is eligible, his road matchup against Miami is more appealing than Sale's. After all, the Marlins are tied for the worst wOBA in baseball against right-handed pitching (.290) and strike out at a decent clip versus righties (20.2 percent). Not to mention the fact that Scherzer has been much more dominant on the road this year (2.03 ERA, 11.5 K/9) than at home (2.70 ERA, 9.1 K/9). Both hurlers offer a high floor and high ceiling on Thursday.

Jake Arrieta may find himself third in the pecking order on Thursday, but he's not too far behind. He offers plenty of safety from a run-prevention perspective, as he keeps the ball on the ground (51.5 percent GB rate), limits walks (2.1 BB/9) and has allowed one or zero runs in five of his last seven starts (and only two and three runs in the other two, respectively). He doesn't have quite the strikeout potential of Sale and Scherzer, but he still misses enough bats (9.4 K/9) to give him a high start-to-start ceiling. Against a Brewers team that is worse than average against right-handed pitching and ranks top 10 in whiff rate versus righties, Arrieta deserves to be in the cash-game conversation.

When he's at the top of his game, Carlos Carrasco can hold his own against anyone in this tier. The problem is that he has a much lower floor. He's registered just four quality starts in his last nine outings, and in two of his last four starts he's surrendered five or more runs. In other words, Carrasco is best used as a GPP play, and even then, his matchup against an A's team that whiffs just 17.5 percent of the time versus righties doesn't leave a lot of room for upside.

Solid

Over his last 13 starts, Carlos Martinez has surrendered more than two runs just once (and that was three runs) while registering a 9.2 K/9. Whether for cash games or GPPs, an argument can be made to eschew everyone in the "elite" tier and just lock in Martinez on Thursday. The Rockies -- now without Troy Tulowitzki -- sport a .296 wOBA and 23.7 percent whiff rate away from Coors Field this year and can be easily exploited by someone with Martinez's stuff.

Scott Kazmir, whose 2.24 ERA is tops in the AL, makes his second start for the Astros, a home start against the Angels. To help put his ERA in perspective, consider that he's allowed more than three runs just once in 19 starts this season (and more than two runs only five times). That said, the Angels have scored more runs than any other team in July, and they don't whiff much versus left-handed pitching (18.6 percent), so it's not a particularly good spot for the Houston southpaw. Kazmir is more of a contrarian play on Thursday.

Yovani Gallardo and Michael Pineda meet at Globe Life Park on Thursday, but it's hard to give a strong recommendation to either in DFS. Gallardo has been off his game lately, allowing five runs in just four innings in each of his last two starts, and the Yankees are effective against right-handed pitching (.328 wOBA). Pineda, meanwhile, holds a 4.50 road ERA this year and gets a Rangers team that also gives trouble to right-handers (.326 wOBA).

Right-hander Shelby Miller, who has a road matchup against the Phillies, is in a much better spot. This isn't necessarily a high-upside matchup, as he's whiffing just 7.6 per nine innings and the Phillies are fanning just 19.1 percent of the time against righties. However, the Phillies are tied for the worst wOBA in baseball against righties (.290) and Miller has allowed one or zero earned runs in three of his last four starts, so it's unlikely that the Phillies' bats will get much going in this one.

Streamers

Hot spots

Some of the hurlers highlighted here have Game Scores that could technically push them up a tier, but we'll discuss them here because their availability in ESPN.com leagues makes them prime streaming options.

Marco Estrada, available in 77 percent of leagues, gets a home start against the Royals. The Royals strike out less than any team in baseball and handle right-handed pitching well (.323 wOBA), so it's not a great matchup by any means. That said, the right-hander holds a 3.17 ERA at home this year and has allowed two or fewer earned runs in six of his last seven starts, so the odds are good for a strong outing here.

A matchup against the Padres is pretty much always a good matchup, and Jon Niese is the beneficiary of that matchup on Thursday. Although strikeouts aren't a part of Niese's game (5.8 K/9), the Padres fan more against lefties (24.7 percent) than any other team, so he could still rack up a handful of K's here. They also rank 23rd in baseball with a .294 wOBA versus lefties. Niese is a free agent in 85 percent of ESPN.com leagues.

Dan Haren and Andrew Cashner, both of whom are available in roughly 50 percent of leagues, have both been the subject of trade rumors recently, so it's possible that one or both will be dealt before the trade deadline and not even make this start. As of now, however, they're both in line to take the hill on Thursday, and they both make for fine streaming options. Haren owns a 2.83 ERA at Marlins Park this year and has a solid matchup against the Nationals, who are middle-of-the-road against right-handed pitching and sport the third-highest strikeout rate in the NL (21.3 percent). Don't count on a win against Scherzer, but you should get a strong performance regardless. Cashner, meanwhile, has a 2.61 ERA in July and gets a Mets team that holds a .290 wOBA versus righties, tied for the worst mark in baseball.

A free agent in 84 percent of ESPN.com leagues, Matt Shoemaker has been on a roll of late, allowing two or fewer runs in five straight starts. There's always some risk in facing the Astros, who lead MLB in homers and rank top five in runs scored, but there's always upside, too, thanks to the team's 24.8 percent strikeout rate versus righties.

Cold streams

Danny Duffy has had some streaming appeal of late, as he's given up just four runs in his last four starts combined. That said, it takes some major cojones to start him on Thursday on the road against the Blue Jays, who have destroyed left-handed pitching to the tune of a .367 wOBA this year. There's just not enough potential value here to justify the risk.

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