Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Today’s main slate is completely full. I have analyzed three of the best value plays of the night, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them. My brain tells me to go with Verlander tonight, but Rich Hill would free much more salary for my hitters and Bauer is the safer play. The risk-reward of this operation is very important and is examined below.

High Salary Plays 

Justin Verlander, HOU (9-4, 2.15 ERA) vs OAK – $11,800 

It is very difficult to pick against a guy who has been as good as Verlander has been this year. However, his ERA has been raised by over a half point in his last three starts. While he always is able to put up points due to his strikeout totals, he will hope to improve on his recent performances in the runs allowed department. He did have a good game in his last outing against the White Sox and will look to keep that going in this game against the Rays.

According to DailyRoto, Verlander is the best value on the slate despite his price. As a guy who averages over 45 points per game, he is one of the safest options in the league. However, he has only averaged 33 points in his past three starts, which may point to a downward trend. That being said, June has historically been Verlander’s worst month while July is one of his best. His strikeout numbers actually increase as the year progresses, which makes me less concerned about his recent bad outings. On the year, his strikeout numbers have been very good with 154 punchouts in 126 innings pitched; his strikeout rate is in the top 10 amongst MLB pitchers. Additionally, he has given at least six innings in 17 of his 19 starts this year, and has not had a start shorter than five innings.

Going against Oakland tonight does not provide Verlander much of a boost nor a burden with regard to his performance; Oakland’s offense is just about league average in most categories. Tonight they will roll out a lineup with three lefties, but I don’t predict any major adjustments because Verlander is almost the same against righties and lefties. Additionally, Minute Maid Park is one of the most neutral stadiums in the league with regard to runs scored totals. Since the game is being played in a dome, the weather will have no influence. The umpire assignment will provide a huge boost to Verlander tonight; Ryan Blakney has one of the highest strikeout rates and lowest run rates in baseball. Ultimately, I have adjusted the DailyRoto projection due to the umpire tonight. I project Verlander to score 48 points, 4.07 points/$1000. His low for the year is 24 points, and his high is 70. I expect him to be well within this range tonight as his strikeout and innings pitched numbers are too consistent to see much variance in his performance.

Trevor Bauer, CLE (8-6, 2.45 ERA) vs CIN – $12,000

Bauer has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this year. Each of his last ten starts have been over 40 points. He almost always has at least eight strikeouts and has not had a non-quality start since June 2. His K% is in the top 10 this year, striking out over 31% of the batters he faces. He has been even better against lefties than righties this year, and will face six of them in the Reds lineup tonight. The Reds are a slightly above average team of hitters, but will struggle against Bauer tonight. In Cleveland tonight, the wind is blowing strongly in from center field, which will give Bauer an almost-unneeded boost. The temperature is unlikely to affect the game tonight. The umpire for tonight’s game, James Hoye, is unlikely to affect Bauer’s output. I am predicting 44.2 points, 3.68 points/$1000, and he has a very high floor. He may be the safest bet of the night.

Mid-Range Plays

Rich Hill, LAD (2-3, 4.56 ERA) @ SDP – $8,000 

Since coming off the DL almost a month ago, Hill has showcased improved mechanics and has been rewarded with a much better strikeout rate as well as far less runs allowed since being back. In fact, his ERA has dropped by a full point in just his past two starts. In three of his four games since being back, Hill has produced at least 30 points, averaging almost 35 points across the four. Hill has one of the better strikeout rates in the league, and surprisingly strikes out righties at a higher rate than lefties. He will probably see seven or eight righties tonight, and this certainly bodes well for him.

Going against San Diego tonight, the team with the most strikeouts in the league, Hill is certainly in a plus matchup. Petco Park is very unfavorable for hitters in both strikeouts and home runs, particularly for righties. ESPN rates Petco 29th in the league with regard to hitting favorability. At game time in San Diego, the wind is blowing out to right field but not very hard; this is likely to decrease his production slightly. The temperature is very mild, so there is no expected difference in his performance due to this. The umpire assignment will provide a big boost to Hill tonight as Vic Carapazza calls more strikes than most umps in the league. Ultimately, I have adjusted the DailyRoto projection due to the umpire and weather conditions tonight. All in all, I am projecting him at 36 points, 4.5 points per $1000, with the distribution of the outcomes being relatively tight because of how consistent he has been since returning from the DL and the very favorable situation he has tonight.