This is a very tough pitching slate with a few good options up top and then not much that I’m in love with after that. Bats are where GPPs will be won tonight, so I like taking some safety with one of the top guys and then paying down with my second pitcher. If you want more info about each pitcher (and the slate in general), check out this morning’s MLB Strategy Video. Awesemo will update this article with his takes later, so make sure to check back before lock!
Gerrit Cole ($12,100 DK/$10,000 FD)
Cole is my top guy tonight, but you’ll have to pay the price for him on both sites. His Swinging-Strike rates in his first two starts were 18.6% and 20.6% and his Whiff/Swing rate is 5th in the MLB for all starters. This Rangers team is down Elvis Andrus, and now they have 7 players in the projected lineup that strikeout over league-average against righties. This is a great spot for Cole to deliver another phenomenal performance, and I’m willing to pay up for him in all formats.
Eduardo Rodriguez ($8,500 DK/$6,600 FD)
Rodriguez is a guy that carries a lot of risk on DraftKings for his price. He regularly gets in trouble with walks and he’ll face a lot of right-handed bats for the Orioles, but it’s hard to ignore him as a -215 favorite with his team having a 6 implied total. E-Rod had a 13% Swinging-Strike rate in his first start, throwing 92 pitches, but only going 3.2 innings. The strikeouts and win are there for Rodriguez in this matchup, so he makes for a better play on FanDuel, but I like him on DraftKings as well as an SP2.
Andrew Heaney ($5,900 DK/$6,000 FD)
Right back to the cheap Angels pitchers we go! While we can’t expect a Nick Tropeano-esque performance out of Heaney tonight, he is coming off a nice Triple-A outing on April 6th, striking out 6 in 6.1 innings with one walk. Heaney had a 13.5% Swinging-Strike rate in five starts last year despite some underwhelming results, but there is some K-potential that we don’t usually see at this price. Cuthbert, Duda, Soler, and Butera all strikeout at an over 23% clip since the start of 2017, and Heaney had a 31.25% Whiff/Swing rate last season in his short sample. He’ll likely be popular tonight because of the expensive bats that are worth paying for, but I like his talent and am not scared off by this Royals lineup.
I agree with Jake that Cole is the top option tonight, and after striking out 22 batters in his first two starts, I think everyone knows it. Rodriguez is my second highest owned pitcher in my initial crunches on FanDuel; I think his low price makes him a great alternative to Cole if you want to get in some expensive stacks. I’m not as optimistic about Heaney as Jake, because he doesn’t have a track record of being a high strikeout pitcher. Last year he had a great strikeout % of 26.7% in the majors but in the same year he only managed 20% in AAA. The alternative I like is Jake Faria against the Phillies. He has been terrible this year but both of his starts have been against Boston. Hopefully his poor start to the season will scare people off, but I think he will still be a very popular option among sharp players.