DAILY MATCHUPS: Urquidy draws Strong Start rating for Friday

As a way to preview the day's games, the 2019 Daily Matchups column will provide a list of all SP scheduled to start that day. The Daily Matchups column works hand-in-hand with the HQ Pitcher Matchup tool (also available as an 8-day scan). It will group the day's SP into strong starts, judgment calls, or weak starts and will provide an analysis of the most noteworthy SP along the way. Tips on how to best use these SP tools can be found in this 2019 GM's OFFICE column.

For additional DFS coverage collected in one place, see our Daily Dashboard page. Also reference our three-year ballpark factorsteam indicator pages, and SP Buyers Guide columns to help you optimize your SP utilization.

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Today’s schedule overview: All 30 teams are in action on Friday, with the Indians traveling to D.C. to take on the Nationals in the day's lone interleague contest, and the Tigers and White Sox playing a doubleheader in Chicago. The weather for that twin bill will be windy and overcast, with a slight chance of rain that bears monitoring.

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Strong Starts (Top tier starts rated >1.0; starts in 0.50-0.99 range also favorable):

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Walker Buehler (R) LA @SF 3.05 2.24 3.67 4.42 1.86 4 2 5 2 2
  Jose Berrios (R) MIN @KC 2.39 2.15 2.29 3.33 1.77 3 1 4 4 2
  Anthony DeSclafani (R) CIN @PIT 2.32 1.04 2.82 3.65 1.78 5 4 1 5 4
  Matt Boyd (L) DET @CHW 2.23 1.97 1.41 2.97 2.57 2 2 4 1 2
  Justus Sheffield (L) SEA vOAK 2.19 1.66 2.23 3.10 1.77 2 3 1 2 3
  Dakota Hudson (R) STL vCHC 2.09 0.96 1.75 2.32 3.32 4 2 2 2 1
  Jose Urquidy (R) HOU @LAA 1.88 0.95 2.01 3.60 0.94 1 4 4 0 3
  Zach Plesac (R) CLE @WAS 0.96 0.90 0.30 1.71 0.94 3 1 0 4 0
  Ivan Nova (R) CHW vDET 0.80 -0.89 0.69 1.94 1.44 0 2 2 2 2
  Steven Brault (L) PIT vCIN 0.77 1.17 1.50 2.03 -1.63 1 3 0 0 2
  Johnny Cueto (R) SF vLA 0.76 0.88 1.87 2.63 -2.36 3 2 3
  Patrick Sandoval (L) LAA vHOU 0.75 0.31 1.26 2.41 -0.97 4 2 0 3 1
  Joseph Palumbo (L) TEX vNYY 0.70 -0.24 0.99 1.99 0.07 1 0 0
  James Paxton (L) NYY @TEX 0.64 1.37 0.60 1.15 -0.57 1 5 4 2 4
  Tyler Glasnow (R) TAM @TOR 0.58 1.13 0.25 -0.25 1.18 5 4 2 4 4

Jose Urquidy (RHP, HOU) is a bit of a surprise choice for the top of the list on Friday, but there are several things to like about this start for him—he's racked up 14 Ks over his last 12 IP, backed by a 14% SwK, numbers that aren't far off from his overall skills for the season; he'll also be facing an Angels lineup without Mike Trout and Shohei Otani, and as of Wednesday, LAA was dead last in the majors in runs scored for the month of September. Urquidy was originally scheduled to serve in an opener capacity here, but has been upgraded to a normal start as the Astros try to determine whether to give him the nod over Wade Miley in the postseason. On the other hand, he hasn't gone deeper than 82 pitches or 5 IP this month, so keep your expectations in check.

Johnny Cueto (RHP, SF) might be sporting a 2.57 ERA over 3 GS since returning from Tommy John surgery, but his skills have not been of that same caliber (5.1 Ctl, 7.1 Dom, 4.64 xERA). His 65% FpK suggests he can get the walks under control, though the Dodgers, with their 10% walk rate and high-powered offense, are probably not the team to test that belief out against.

The Rays have been very cautious with Tyler Glasnow (RHP, TAM) in the three starts since his return from a forearm strain—he was expected to go four innings in his last start, but only lasted three, so there's a good chance he won't qualify for a win on Friday. His skills have been terrific in these short stints though, including a 2.31 xERA and 19.1 Dom, so he might be able to rack up a decent number of strikeouts, especially against a TOR lineup with below-average contact skill (72%).

Justus Sheffield (LHP, SEA) has quietly been very good since his recall in late August, though you wouldn't know it from his 5.79 ERA and 1.64 WHIP over 6 GS. But his skills during that six-game stretch paint a different picture: 3.2 Ctl, 10.3 Dom, 64% FpK, 14% SwK, 55% GB, 3.89 xERA. OAK leads the majors in runs scored in September through Wednesday's games, and owns an .806 OPS vs. LHP, so it will require a big leap of faith to go with Sheffield here, but he could prove worth it.

Ivan Nova (RHP, CHW) brings a 7.71 ERA, 2.14 WHIP, and 6.27 xERA over his last 6 GS, so it's probably best to avoid him, even against the lowly Tigers (against whom he also has a 5.02 xERA over three starts this year).

 

Judgment Calls (Overall ratings from -0.50 to 0.50):

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Eric Lauer (L) SD @ARI 0.36 1.15 -0.39 -0.91 1.59 1 2 2 0 3
  Nathan Eovaldi (R) BOS vBAL 0.29 1.07 -0.03 -0.32 0.45 3 2 2 1 2
  Vincent Velasquez (R) PHI vMIA 0.17 1.20 -0.27 0.05 -0.29 2 2 1 3 2
  Pablo Lopez (R) MIA @PHI 0.09 -0.53 -0.22 1.33 -0.21 0 4 0 3 1
  Eric Skoglund (L) KC vMIN 0.04 -0.01 0.45 1.62 -1.91 1 0 2

Nathan Eovaldi's (RHP, BOS) season has mostly been a disaster, but there have been some positive signs lately, as he sports an 11.2 Dom and 14% SwK over his last 5 GS, with a 68% FpK that's much better than his 4.6 Ctl during that stretch. That gives hope that he might be able to finish strong against a BAL offense that has been lackluster on the road (.696 OPS, .242 xBA, 4.0 runs per game).

 

Weak Starts (Overall ratings -0.51 and below):

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Mike Fiers (R) OAK @SEA -0.62 -1.32 -0.17 1.12 -2.10 2 0 0 0 5
  Asher Wojciechowski (R) BAL @BOS -0.64 0.12 -1.05 -0.66 -0.95 1 4 1 1 0
  Marcus Stroman (R) NYM vATL -0.73 -0.48 -0.89 -1.25 -0.31 2 2 4 5 1
  Antonio Senzatela (R) COL vMIL -0.85 -0.63 -1.29 -1.73 0.27 0 0 3 1 0
  Dallas Keuchel (L) ATL @NYM -1.12 -1.90 -0.80 -1.38 -0.38 2 1 3 0 1
  Austin Voth (R) WAS vCLE -1.21 0.76 -1.45 -2.69 -1.44 2 2 3 4 2
  Tyler Alexander (L) DET @CHW -1.54 -2.36 -1.80 -0.31 -1.68 3 1 2 2 1
  Zachary Davies (R) MIL @COL -1.65 -1.99 -2.17 -1.65 -0.77 2 2 2 2 2
  T.J. Zeuch (R) TOR vTAM -1.67 -2.46 -1.92 -0.63 -1.68 0 3
  Manuel Banuelos (L) CHW vDET -2.96 -0.97 -3.06 -4.72 -3.07 1 1 1 1 0
  Taylor Clarke (R) ARI vSD -3.15 -2.63 -3.87 -3.87 -2.21 0 3 4 2 0
  Alec Mills (R) CHC @STL -3.51 -2.68 -4.54 -2.99 -3.82 3 3 4

Mike Fiers (RHP, OAK) endured a horrific string of awful starts that included concerns over nerve irritation, but quieted a lot of the concern with a PQS-5 beauty of 8 shutout IP against the Rangers his last time out. However, even with that possibly behind him, there are reasons to be cautious about this start against SEA—his numbers against the Mariners over 3 GS this year are not good (5.79 ERA, 2.0 Cmd, 59% FpK, 5.25 xERA), and neither are his road stats (5.24 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 1.9 HR/9).

Marcus Stroman (RHP, NYM) has settled into a pretty good run of late, with a 3.44 ERA and more strikeouts (9.0 Dom, 12% SwK) over his last 6 GS (and that includes his last start, which was negatively affected by nausea). And he should benefit from facing the Acuna-less Braves as they rest up for the postseason.

Austin Voth (RHP, WAS) has negative ratings across the board for his start against Cleveland, and while he might not have the backing of the normal WAS lineup as the Nationals rest up for the postseason, his skills have been good enough (3.1 Ctl, 9.3 Dom, 63% FpK, 13% SwK, 4.34 xERA) to make him worthy of some consideration here.

Tyler Alexander (LHP, DET) has showcased incredible command in his MLB debut, issuing just 5 walks over 49 IP for a 0.9 Ctl, but an average strikeout rate (8.0) and 40% fly ball rate have limited his xERA at 4.67. He's faced the White Sox three times with poor results (5.93 ERA, 1.83 WHIP), but his underlying skills in those games have been better than the results (0.7 Ctl, 9.2 Dom, 4.42 xERA).

Shaky command (8 walks to 16 strikeouts) makes T.J. Zeuch (RHP, TOR) a risky starts today, though his 60% FpK suggests he can improve upon his 4.1 Ctl rate, and in his last start against the Yankees, he didn't issue a single walk over 4 IP. He has yet to go deeper than 5.1 IP in any of his four games, so the odds of a win are not great.

 
 

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There are roughly 150 starting pitchers in MLB rotations at any given time. For different league sizes, we can estimate the number of SP in the useable pool, and then determine the overall ratings that correspond to worst, 25th percentile, median, and 75th percentile SP.

                               Overall SP Rating
                   SP       by SP league percentile
League size       Pool*     .00    .25    .50    .75
==============    =====    ====   ====   ====   =====
12-team “only”     120     -.73   -.22   +.22   +.74
10-team “only”     110     -.54   -.11   +.30   +.79
20-team mixed      110     -.54   -.11   +.30   +.79
15-team mixed      105     -.46   -.05   +.34   +.82
12-team mixed       80     -.07   +.22   +.55   +.97
10-team mixed       60     +.22   +.46   +.74   +1.12

So if you’re in a 12-team “only” league, the median start should have a rating of about 0.2. The 120th start is around -0.7. In a shallower, 15-team mixed, the median start is 0.34 and a top pitcher +0.82.

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EDITOR'S NOTE ON DEADLINES AND ACCURACY: The writer deadline on these articles is noon before the publish day, with a goal to have the column available for subscribers by 10pm ET that evening. There will be instances when weather, managerial decisions, or other factors will take place after the piece is published that will affect the accuracy of the above information. In those instances, we strive to manually update the article by mid-morning at the latest. However, the HQ Pitcher Matchup Tool page is updated automatically and may have the correct data (scheduled starter, all the same component scores in a sortable chart) sooner than this column. Thanks for your understanding.


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.