Fantasy daily notes for Sept. 21
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NOTES | PITCHERS | HITTERS
Starting pitcher rankings for Sep 21
GSPitcherOPPERA /
WHIP
67J. DeGrom,
RHP, NYM
@Atl2.68 /
1.14
65S. Strasburg,
RHP, Wsh
@Mia3.34 /
1.15
64C. Kluber,
RHP, Cle
@Min2.54 /
1.11
59H. Iwakuma,
RHP, Sea
@Hou3.42 /
1.04
56E. Santana,
RHP, Atl
NYM3.74 /
1.28
56L. Lynn,
RHP, StL
Cin2.68 /
1.26
55M. Gonzalez,
RHP, Bal
Bos3.28 /
1.29
54D. Hutchison,
RHP, Tor
@NYY4.51 /
1.25
54A. Simon,
RHP, Cin
@StL3.35 /
1.19
54C. McHugh,
RHP, Hou
Sea2.66 /
1.03
53I. Kennedy,
RHP, SD
SF3.80 /
1.32
52S. Kazmir,
LHP, Oak
Phi3.44 /
1.15
50W. Miley,
LHP, Ari
@Col4.17 /
1.36
49A. Burnett,
RHP, Phi
@Oak4.40 /
1.40
49R. Porcello,
RHP, Det
@KC3.19 /
1.17
45W. Peralta,
RHP, Mil
@Pit3.70 /
1.33
48D. Haren,
RHP, LAD
@ChC4.14 /
1.22
47N. Eovaldi,
RHP, Mia
Wsh4.48 /
1.33
46J. Kelly,
RHP, Bos
@Bal4.28 /
1.38
45C. Rasmus,
RHP, LAA
Tex2.57 /
1.06
45M. Tanaka,
RHP, NYY
Tor2.51 /
1.01
44J. Guthrie,
RHP, KC
Det4.35 /
1.32
43N. Karns,
RHP, TB
CWS0.00 /
0.57
43V. Worley,
RHP, Pit
Mil3.18 /
1.26
43J. Danks,
LHP, CWS
@TB4.88 /
1.48
42J. Turner,
RHP, ChC
LAD6.20 /
1.61
42A. Swarzak,
RHP, Min
Cle4.42 /
1.42
41C. Bergman,
RHP, Col
Ari5.56 /
1.56
41R. Vogelsong,
RHP, SF
@SD3.98 /
1.28
36N. Tepesch,
RHP, Tex
@LAA4.32 /
1.36
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.

The elite (ranked for use in daily cash games such as 50/50s and double-ups)

Part of the trick of selecting pitchers as the season winds down is considering how many innings each candidate is likely to toss. Pitchers on playoff teams that have clinched are likely to be lifted after five or six frames. Younger pitchers might leave early to limit their innings. Better pitchers on teams trying to nail down a playoff berth are more apt to stay in the game. With that as a backdrop, here are the day's elite options.

Jacob deGrom might be a rookie, but he's 26 and has only racked up a modest 172 2/3 between Triple-A and the majors after a 2012 campaign in which he tossed 147 2/3. This is relevant, given that deGrom is now in the Rookie of the Year discussion and can safely add enough innings that cutting his last couple of outings short is not a concern. The surprising right-hander is in a great spot to add another gem to his ledger, as the New York Mets finish a series in Turner Field. Even at home, the Atlanta Braves possess a rather impotent attack, as evidenced by a .291 weighted on base average (wOBA) versus righties while fanning 23 percent of hitters.

Corey Kluber narrowly takes down the second spot, as his date with the Minnesota Twins in Target Field poses a bit of risk. For the season, the home team's .331 wOBA against righties is fourth best in the Majors. They whiff at a 19 percent rate, below league average. Kluber is coming off a 14-strikeout outing against the Houston Astros and has faced the Twins twice since August 21. In those two, he whiffed 15 in 15 1/3 frames, so something has to give.

Stephen Strasburg rounds out the elite tier with a tilt against the Miami Marlins in South Beach on the ledger. The Nationals are more concerned with lining up their playoff rotation with fresh arms, so Strasburg isn't likely to work more than five or six stanzas. Still, that could be long enough to collect several punchouts, considering the home team strikes out at an above-average pace.

Solid (can be considered for both daily cash games and tournament play)

The St. Louis Cardinals are embroiled in a first place battle with the Pittsburgh Pirates, which means Lance Lynn will be go as long as he's effective. The veteran righty is tasked with facing a visiting Cincinnati Reds squad that has been punchless since the All Star break and sports a meek .254 wOBA with a healthy 22 percent strikeout rate versus right-handers when traveling. In Lynn's past two outings, he's tossed a total of 15 innings and allowed a combined two runs with 11 strikeouts and two walks, so he enters the contest on a roll.

Since the Baltimore Orioles have clinched the AL East, there's a chance Miguel Gonzalez's outing is cut short, but with the best record in the league still within reach, there's a better chance things will be status quo. Other than some power from David Ortiz, the Boston Red Sox offense has been dormant the past month, and the squad brings a .286 wOBA against righties into Camden Yards. Gonzalez isn't especially dominant and has fanned at least six hitters in just eight of 25 starts, but he has a good chance to make it nine in 26, as the visitors are hearing strike three at an elevated rate the past 30 days.

Drew Hutchison reached double-digit strikeouts the past two games and looks to make it three in a row against the New York Yankees in a road tilt. In Yankee Stadium, the home team is extremely thrifty with the strikeouts, though losing Jacoby Ellsbury will hurt, especially if Chris Young takes his place. This is more of a high risk, high reward scenario that is usually saved for value plays, but Hutchison's recent success has him priced out of that tier.

Let's close out the tier with a couple notes on high-profile arms that could be viable for traditional fantasy but not for daily contests. Masahiro Tanaka makes his long-awaited return after rehabbing his elbow. The matchup isn't great, as the Toronto Blue Jays are among the league leaders in homers and he's not likely to go very deep into the contest, but if you've held onto Tanaka this long, you might as well run him out there assuming you've got a buffer in your ratios. Hisashi Iwakuma and the Seattle Mariners square against Collin McHugh and the Houston Astros in Minute Maid Park. Both hurlers are solid; it's just the offenses on either side are capable of taking advantage of the venue's friendliness to homers.

Value plays (best used in tournaments or on multiple-pitcher sites)

The value play of the day resides in Tropicana Field, where Nate Karns is making his second start of the season versus the Chicago White Sox. The Tampa Bay Rays have an established track record of developing solid arms, and the 26-year old righty could be next in line. In Triple-A, Karns fanned more than a batter an inning, though his walk rate was a bit high. However, his primary issue was the long ball, which should be tempered by his home park. For the past month, the Pale Hose have offered little resistance traveling against righties, as evidenced via a .282 wOBA and 25 percent strikeout rate over this span.

Before his latest outing in Coors Field, Dan Haren had allowed just two earned runs over his previous four starts, which spanned 26 innings. His seasonal numbers are rather pedestrian, so not only is he a fine candidate for a streaming spot-start in traditional formats, but he's also a potential value play in daily contests. Haren is facing the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field, which makes this the proverbial boom-or-bust scenario. On one hand, for the past month the home team is sporting an impressive .328 wOBA at home versus right-handers. But on the other, they're fanning at a 26 percent clip.

The arc of the San Diego Padres season resembles that of the old-school pro wrestler whose role is to lose. They started out slow, then went on a bit of a run, but in the end they laid down and did the job. Ryan Vogelsong laces up his cleats today for a bout in Petco Park. A win isn't assured with Ian Kennedy in the other corner, though Kennedy has been roughed up lately and allowed 10 runs in his past three starts. However, Vogelsong should be able to keep the San Francisco Giants in the match, as the Padres offense has tapped out the past month to the tune of a .281 wOBA at home versus right-handers.

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