DAILY MATCHUPS: Verlander stands atop Friday's strong starts

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 every game a nighttime start, and the Mets traveling to Kansas City for the day's lone interleague matchup. The weather forecast looks good for all games.

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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
  Justin Verlander (R) HOU @OAK 3.84 4.68 3.27 4.29 3.12 2 4 5 3 3
  Charlie Morton (R) TAM vDET 2.29 3.14 2.09 2.23 1.69 1 5 1 3 2
  Luis Castillo (R) CIN vSTL 2.27 3.21 1.91 2.13 1.82 2 2 5 4 4
  Patrick Corbin (L) WAS vMIL 1.76 2.35 1.92 1.74 1.03 2 3 4 1 3
  Noah Syndergaard (R) NYM @KC 1.71 1.74 1.99 1.89 1.20 5 3 5 4 2
  Lucas Giolito (R) CHW @LAA 1.10 2.79 0.77 1.26 -0.41 3 2 5 2 3
  Kenta Maeda (R) LA @ATL 1.03 0.76 0.93 1.30 1.13 2 3 2 1 5
  Chris Paddack (R) SD @PHI 0.99 1.34 0.58 1.56 0.47 4 0 3 2 3
  Joe Musgrove (R) PIT vCHC 0.62 0.84 0.29 1.10 0.23 4 0 2 2 2
  Jonathan Gray (R) COL vMIA 0.52 0.95 0.26 -0.15 1.02 0 2 4 2 0
  Jake Odorizzi (R) MIN @TEX 0.52 1.84 -0.10 0.35 -0.03 0 2 4 2 2

Lucas Giolito (RHP, CHW) may look like he's been struggling in the second half (5.09 ERA, 1.38 WHIP over 7 GS since July 1st), but he's been undermined by a 37% hit rate. His skills have held steady (3.73 xERA in the first half, 3.86 in the second), and in some cases, have even improved (12.4 Dom, 16% SwK in second half). The Angels present a challenge at home (10% walk rate, .779 OPS, 5.1 runs per game), but at the very least, Giolito should be good for some strikeouts, with the day's fourth-best K rating.

Joe Musgrove (RHP, PIT) is another victim of bad luck in the second half, as a 63% strand rate and 23% hr/f have pushed his ERA to 5.72 over his last 8 GS. His xERA during that time is 4.20, and he's been generating more strikeouts than ever (9.4 Dom, 13% SwK). And though the sample size is small, he has good numbers against the Cubs in 2019: 9 shutout IP, 9.6 Dom, 5.0 Cmd, 2.91 xERA in two starts, one a PQS-5 at Wrigley back on April 11, and the other a rain-shortened 3 IP start on July 2.

 

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

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Mike Leake (R) ARI vSF 0.41 -0.16 0.54 0.96 0.29 5 3 0 1 0
  Vincent Velasquez (R) PHI vSD 0.34 2.08 -0.37 0.60 -0.97 2 4 2 3 2
  Patrick Sandoval (L) LAA vCHW 0.34 1.12 0.47 0.25 -0.50 0
  Rick Porcello (R) BOS vBAL 0.10 0.17 -0.52 0.57 0.16 1 2 2 2 1
  Adrian Houser (R) MIL @WAS 0.03 0.19 0.46 0.61 -1.16 1 1 4 2 3
  Mike Minor (L) TEX vMIN -0.01 1.52 -0.87 0.11 -0.79 3 2 1 4 5
  Jeff Samardzija (R) SF @ARI -0.02 0.39 -0.17 0.49 -0.79 2 2 4 2 4
  Masahiro Tanaka (R) NYY vCLE -0.02 0.16 -0.64 0.08 0.34 1 0 1 0 4
  Kyle Hendricks (R) CHC @PIT -0.03 0.32 -0.35 0.65 -0.73 3 3 4 3 0
  Jacob Waguespack (R) TOR vSEA -0.12 -0.10 -0.34 -0.17 0.13 0 2 1 1 3
  Michael Montgomery (L) KC vNYM -0.15 -0.19 0.59 0.53 -1.51 0 0 2 2 5
  Matthew Wisler (R) SEA @TOR -0.34 -0.34 -0.89 0.49 -0.63 1 2 2 2
  Daniel Norris (L) DET @TAM -0.34 0.79 -0.23 0.21 -2.14 2 4 3 0 0

Mike Leake's (RHP, ARI) two starts since being traded to the Diamondbacks have not gone well, with a PQS-1 and a PQS-0 that add up to an 8.71 ERA and 6.36 xERA. Prior to the trade, his skills were steady, albeit unspectacular, so a road start against the Giants should be a good test of where he's at, as SF owns a .655 OPS, .243 xBA, and 3.5 runs per game average at home.

As always, Vincent Velasquez (RHP, PHI) remains a good strikeout option (9.8 Dom, 13% SwK, today's sixth-highest K rating), and questionable in all other regards. As a team, the Padres own a subpar 71% contact rate, so Velasquez's chances for Ks in bunches look better than usual today.

Patrick Sandoval (LHP, LAA) has made one start and one bulk-innings relief appearance, so we don't have a lot to go on, but his early skills are a mixed bag of good (11.2 Dom, 14% SwK) and bad (5.6 Ctl, 40% FpK) that add up to a 4.06 xERA. The White Sox have hit better against LHP, with a .763 OPS, and could throw out a lineup with up to 8 right-handed batters against Sandoval.

Rick Porcello (RHP, BOS) is in the midst of the worst season of his career, both from a surface stat (5.67 ERA) and a skill (5.25 xERA) standpoint. He hasn't even been able to muster good numbers against the lowly Orioles—over 2 GS against them in 2019, he has a 9.00 ERA, 2.56 WHIP, 6.0 Ctl, 6.0 Dom, and 7.71 xERA. Probably best to skip this one.

Adrian Houser's (RHP, MIL) return to the rotation has gone surprisingly well, with a 3.38 ERA, 1.7 Ctl, 11.8 Dom, 67% FpK, 14% SwK, and 2.62 xERA over 3 GS, and against some respectable opponents (OAK, CHC, TEX). The Nationals are a tough lineup at home, where they own an .817 OPS, 10% walk rate, 109 PX, and average 5.7 runs per game.

Mike Minor (LHP, TEX) is coming off back-to-back PQS-DOM starts for the first time since May 3, but he'll face a stiff test against the Twins, who have been the league's best offense vs. LHP (.883 OPS), and own a 125 PX and 5.8 runs per game average on the road. Minor does own the day's ninth-best K rating, but even in that regard, MIN fares better against lefties, with a 78% contact rate.

Jeff Samardzija (RHP, SF) is in the midst of a second half resurgence (1.95 ERA, 0.81 WHIP over his last 8 GS) that isn't quite matched by his skills (4.00 xERA, though that's an improvement over his 5.03 xERA from the first half). Arizona has had his number in two starts at Chase Field this year (6.35 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 3.2 Ctl, 4.0 Dom, 6.48 xERA), which is where he'll face them again on Friday.

Masahiro Tanaka (RHP, NYY) owns an 8.17 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 6.6 Dom, 2.2 Cmd, and 2.0 HR/9 over his last 8 GS, though he did right the ship with 8 shutout IP against the Blue Jays in his last start. He hasn't faced the Indians yet in 2019, but they've been in the Top 10 in runs scored since the All-Star break, and come into this game having won 22 of their last 31 games.

Kyle Hendricks (RHP, CHC) owns very shaky road numbers in 2019 (5.16 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 1.6 HR/9), though some of that can be blamed on a 34% hit rate. The Pirates own a 90 PX on the year, which could mitigate some of Hendricks's gopher ball issues, as could PNC Park (-26% RHB HR).

The league seems to be figuring out Jacob Waguespack (RHP, TOR), who now owns a 5.48 xERA over his last six appearances. However, the Mariners have been the league's worst offense since the All-Star break, and have looked even worse in August (.611 OPS), so this might be a case where the opponent makes the pitcher worth a shot.

In 5 GS since joining the KC rotation, Mike Montgomery (LHP, KC) has put up a mediocre 4.63 ERA, but his underlying skills have been quite good (3.40 xERA, 1.2 Ctl, 9.3 Dom, 63% FpK, 12% SwK), albeit heavily influenced by 7 shutout IP with 12 Ks against the Tigers his last time out. The Mets won't be as easy as Detroit, as they have fared better vs. LHP (.801 OPS), and come into this game as a Top 10 offense in August (.828 OPS).

Matt Wisler (RHP, SEA) is expected to serve as an Opener on Friday, though he's also scheduled to fill that role on Thursday, so plans could change for the Mariners between now and Friday night.

Daniel Norris (LHP, DET) has found his way to more strikeouts of late (9.4 Dom, 11% SwK over his last 6 GS), though his 4.48 xERA during that stretch underlines the limits on his upside.

 

Weak Starts (Overall ratings -0.51 and below):

  SP   Tm Opp RAT K ERA WHIP WIN L5 PQS
  Adam Wainwright (R) STL @CIN -0.59 0.96 -0.71 -0.27 -2.32 1 2 3 1 2
  Michael Soroka (R) ATL vLA -0.64 0.35 -0.96 -0.30 -1.63 0 3 2 3 5
  Aaron Civale (R) CLE @NYY -0.78 -0.66 -1.57 -0.06 -0.84 3 4 4
  Aaron Brooks (R) BAL @BOS -0.84 -1.05 -1.13 -0.52 -0.66 2 1 2 0 1
  Tanner Roark (R) OAK vHOU -1.13 0.11 -0.81 -0.20 -3.62 2 3 1 3 4
  Sandy Alcantara (R) MIA @COL -1.14 -0.05 -1.61 -1.37 -1.52 0 2 1 2 5

 

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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.