High-Priced Hurlers

Corey Kluber ($11,500) at Reds

OK, so Cincinnati isn’t the best place to start the second half of the year for the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner. Per ESPN.com’s park factors, Great American Ball Park has been the fourth-most hitter-friendly diamond in the league this season. 

But Kluber is a monster. For evidence, read Jason Lukehart’s article that’s linked in this tweet from @CoreyKluberNews:

His peripherals have been largely better than those from his 2014 season. Even with that putrid 4-10 record, Kluber eats up innings and misses bats with the best of them.


Michael Pineda ($10,400) vs. Mariners

Pineda was a disaster the last time I wrote about him, as he allowed eight runs on 11 hits in 3.1 innings against the Philadelphia Phillies on June 22. 

Terrible. Just terrible.

Since then, I’ve had cold feet starting the massive Yankees right-hander. 

But he draws a nice matchup against his former team Saturday night. The current Mariners roster hasn’t had much experience taking the batter’s box against Pineda, but in 44 total at-bats so far, it has combined to reach base less than 30 percent of the time, according to ESPN.com.

If Pineda can keep the fly balls in the yard, he’ll be a sound fantasy option even at that elevated price point. 


Tyson Ross ($8,900) vs. Rockies

Ross is my favorite of the “expensive” pitchers. NumberFire.com projects Ross to score the fourth-most fantasy points in the league Saturday night.

Ross has terrific stuff. Per ESPN.com, he’s eighth in the National League in strikeouts. But he still struggles with control. He leads the NL in walks…by 11! Luckily, the Rockies aren’t a particularly patient club. They’re 13th in the NL with 211 walks as a team.


If It Ain’t Broke…

Chase Anderson ($5,800) vs. Giants

Chase Anderson has been pretty good in his second season in the bigs. He has a 3.91 ERA, respectable for anyone pitching half their games at Chase Field. But in general, none of his peripherals—strikeout rate, WHIP or FIP—suggest that he’ll ever be an All-Star-caliber starter.

He did, however, have his best outing of the season against the Giants. On June 12 in San Francisco, Anderson allowed just one hit over seven innings against the defending World Series champions. 

Maybe he’ll do it again?


Too Cheap to Pass up

Chris Tillman ($4,100) at Tigers

According to ESPN.com’s team vs. pitcher stat, for his career, Chris Tillman is striking out one out of every five Tigers he faces. The current Detroit roster is hitting just .265 off the righty

That’s enough evidence to start anyone if they cost less than $5,000.


Chad Billingsley ($4,000) vs. Marlins

I remember in 2008 when Billingsley was the ace of the Dodgers staff and some kid named Clayton Kershaw came up and showed flashes of greatness. The rest of the NL West was really nervous. Was this one-two punch going to dominate the division for years to come?

The answer? A resounding no. Though Kershaw has more than held up his end of the bargain, Billingsley now finds himself pitching for the worst team in baseball.

He’s $10,000 cheaper than his former running mate on DraftKings today!

And that’s precisely why he’s valuable. Billingsley‘s lifetime 3.73 ERA and 7.8 strikeouts per nine innings make him exceedingly valuable for just $4,000.


Advanced statistics courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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