The Daily Grind provides daily match-up advice for tinkerers and daily fantasy players. I welcome advice to help make this column more effective, including notice of impending weather events, new injuries, and changes to platoon situations. Ownership rates are from Yahoo!
The daily picks are a mixture of Daily League specific advice and information for the more typical fantasy owner.
Today’s weather watch
The weather continues to cooperate.
It’s the last Thin Thursday of the season and it turned out to be a solid one. Today features at least three starters you can feel comfortable using and several riskier choices.
Pitcher (to start): You may recall warnings from earlier in the weak that tomorrow is not the best day for pitcher stream. That’s still true.
Corey Kluber is your tried and true option for the day. Race out to the wire to pick him up, he’s up to 32 percent owned as teams cycle their roster to finish the season.
Tampa Bay, Cleveland, and Texas keep winning, so the Wild Card race remains the same. Alexi Ogando will be sent out to defeat the Angels and C.J. Wilson. Ogando is at 48 percent owned and owes his 2013 success to a .237 BABIP. Try to stay away form this match-up if you can.
Burch Smith is a risky pick, even against a tepid Giants offense. He’s been getting big whiff rates on his fastball but that’s offset by too many walks. His minor league track record includes a low walk rate, so this is an issue that could spontaneously resolve.
If you absolutely must use somebody, Ryan Vogelsong‘s match-up against the Padres should help him keep runs off the board. He’s struggled through his last four games so stay away if at all possible.
Brett Oberholtzer has out-pitched his peripherals, posting a 2.71 ERA on the season (compared to a 4.30 xFIP). The lefty won’t give you strikeouts, but he does face the Yankees, who have struggled against left-handed pitching all season.
Carlos Torres is another desperation option against the Brewers. He’s flown under the radar to post strong peripherals including a 4.25 K/BB ratio. His current walk rate does not jibe with his track record, so don’t expect it to carry over to next season or even his next start. Still, if you really need the innings, there are many worse options.
Rick Porcello is always a pedestrian option—aside from a false breakout earlier in the season. He’ll face the lowly Marlins for those needing to stream.
Pitcher (bum): Jeremy Hellickson has been an unpredictable mess this season. While the Blue Jays offense is a shambles, expect Hellickson to remain inconsistent.
Pedro Hernandez doesn’t pass the eye test as anything more than an organizational soldier. Keep in mind that the Indians have the best numbers against lefties this season and won’t be holding back in their quest for the postseason.
Collin McHugh‘s peripherals don’t quite add up. He’s drawn an adequate number of whiffs but has a tiny strikeout rate and tinier walk rate. A high BABIP against has hurt him this season. And of course, all small sample size rules apply. The Dodgers may also offer some help by resting their best players, but at the end of the day, bet against the 8.59 ERA.
How many ways can it be said that Christian Yelich has the ability to contribute to all five categories?
Hitter (speed): Will Venable has a lovely match-up against Vogelsong.
Craig Gentry may draw the start against Wilson.
I usually recommend Rajai Davis only against lefties, but give him a shot if you need steals.
Pitchers to come
Saturday: The final two days of the season are good for blasting past your innings cap. Scott Kazmir, Charlie Morton, Yordano Ventura, Erik Johnson and Yusmeiro Petit headline the Saturday mob with some fringier options available too.
Sunday: Just like Saturday, Sunday has plenty of options. Sonny Gray, Jose Quintana, John Lackey, Marco Estrada and Gerrit Cole are the cream of the crop and there are others to pick from as well. I even found Johnny Cueto in one league, although he might not get to five innings.
Monday: Let woe and longing salt the earth until nothing is left but the bitter tears of the sea. Which is my way of saying “no games on Monday.”