Back at it again for another season of Tilted Frank’s pitching picks! I am honestly shocked that we are actually having baseball this year, but here we are. We have two amazing games to start the season with the World Champion Nationals facing former cheater, I mean Gerrit Cole and the Yankees ( Don’t hate me, I had to say it). Then we get to watch the Giants and Dodgers go at it, in an old fashion rivalry game with Johnny Cueto verus Clayton Kershaw.
Anyways, I am going to break down all pitchers for these matchups, but in future articles I will go back to the basics and just pick my favorites on the day. Anyways, lets go ahead and talk about the Yankees against the Nationals.
First of all, we may have some weather issues and honestly it wouldn’t be 2020 if the game wasn’t postponed. For our sake, let’s just pray and hope they play!
Gerrit Cole– Yankees are -140 favorite while the Nationals are dogs sitting at +120. Gerrit Cole will face the Nationals once again after losing against them in the world series and now he had to deal with the cheating scandal in Houston. Cole in his career against Washington has a 3-2 record, 27 innings pitched while giving up 32 hits, and has a career 2.92 era.
The one thing I noticed is that the Nationals are not showing a ton of power versus Cole, but man they are getting on base. Regardless, Cole is hands down the top pitcher on the slate. He has 34 strike outs in 37 innings against the Nats, and can easily put up double digit k’s in this spot. Don’t overthink this spot, Cole is your lock in cash and SE.
Max Scherzer– Someone I feel like is going way overlooked. He is a little bit riskier due to the long ball issue last season (0.147 ISO). Max is going to go against one the best lineups in the league and the Yankees can easily destroy any pitcher thrown at them. I think many will be afraid to play Scherzer instead of Cole because of Max’s meh season last year. He didn’t have the greatest numbers- xFIP – 2.98, wOBA- 0.260, ISO 0.147, 34.8% K rate, and walks were at 5.4%.
If you truly understand statistics, those numbers don’t scream the Mad Max that we once knew and love. He was giving up quite a bit of hard contact last year at 31.8%, but he also was giving up quite a bit of soft contact at 22.2%. So if you are wondering, what does this all mean? Well, Scherzer was giving up contact often. So looking at this matchup, you have to look at the Yankees lineup. The Yankee’s projected lineup have six out of nine hitters who strike out vs RHP more than 20% of the time and well in DFS we like K’s. In this situation, I feel like I may go over the field on Mad Max and hope he shines!
Clayton Kershaw– It is truly amazing to me how much hate this man gets. We get it, he has had his struggles come playoff time. He is still one of the most dominate pitchers in the league! Kershaw stats from last year- xFIP- 3.35, wOBA-0.278, ISO -0.162, and a 25.4% K Rate. Those are pretty good!
Kershaw is going against a totally new Giant’s lineup without Buster Posey and Brandon Belt out with an injury. The lineup San Francisco will put out looks more of a minor league lineup, but they have shown these dudes can be pesky hitters. While looking at past outings vs SF at home this is what I found. Starting March 29 of last year – 19 DK points, 31 DK points, 28 DK points, 9 DK points, 4 DK points. As you can see the decline as the year progressed, but I am more interested in how he started. I think he has potential tomorrow to put up 20+ DK points easily.
Johnny Cueto– Here we go, this man was so up and down last season. He was one of my DFS headaches! When I played him he was trash and when I stacked against him he was a monster.
Anyways, he is going against the best lineup in baseball the Los Angeles Dodgers. He is going to have to face a brand new addition Mookie Betts a day after his huge new contract extension. The Giants are as of right now a huge dog at +250 and for good reasons. As I sat down and broke down Cueto’s numbers, I was shocked to see what I found…eh not really.
Cueto’s xFIP-4.61, wOBA- 0.311, ISO- 0.182, and a K%- 18.2. Yeah those numbers are not good. The main stat that really sticks out is how much he struggles vs lefties and well the Dodgers have plenty of them! I can not sit here not say Cueto is going to get absolutely smacked. It is the first game of the season and I would not be shocked to see Cueto pitch well. He is just someone I will have a small % of in my lineups and will probably be with the field on overall ownership % in my builds.
Johnny Cueto- GPP only