MLB DFS: Gerrit Cole, Shohei Ohtani Top Optimal Pitchers for Tuesday


August 9

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Pitchers with the highest optimal probabilities: Gerrit Cole, Shohei Ohtani

This pitching slate looks like the most loaded I can remember this season, with arms such as Gerrit Cole, Shohei Ohtani, Zack Wheeler, Shane Bieber, and Joe Musgrove featured. As a result, there will be plenty of strong options across the board when making your lineups with lower ownership on all guys.

Cole is shaping to be the top pitcher on our optimal board ahead of his matchup against the Seattle Mariners. We also find Cole in a pretty desirable leverage spot as well, given that in his most recent start against the Mariners, he got absolutely shelled, resulting in the influence of recency bias. He gave up six earned runs over six innings, but at the end of the day, should we really anticipate a pitcher of Cole’s caliber to get crushed by the same squad in back-to-back starts? That seems to be stretching it a little. 

The Mariners’ offense is no pushover, as Cole learned rather harshly last week. They have not been scorching hot lately, but they rank in the upper half of baseball in wOBA and wRC+ along with a top six ISO ranking over the past week. The ISO ranking is a bit concerning as Cole has the seventh worst allowed HR/9 among all qualified pitchers this season. As previously mentioned, Cole is seeing an expected ownership dip to roughly 10% with large due in part to his last matchup against Seattle, but how often can we expect to get Cole at 10% ownership? Rarely, if ever. Taking a chance and banking on Cole to not have a repeat performance makes this a low-risk, high-upside play, which does not often happen with him. 

Ohtani is coming in right behind Cole on the optimal board as he faces off against the Oakland Athletics. Make no mistake about it, the A’s are nowhere near a good baseball team, but they have been serviceable over the past two weeks. Oakland has been roughly league average in wOBA and wRC+ with a strong top-eight ISO finish. They have struggled striking out too much all year, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, so Ohtani could see an added upside boost in that category to his already absurdly good 35.9% strikeout rate, the best in baseball (minimum 100 innings pitched).

Ohtani has been dominant all season as his expected ERA and FIP are in the 2.50 range with that outstanding strikeout production. He faced the A’s in his most recent start, not a shutdown, but pitched dominantly as he went for five and two-thirds innings and only allowed two earned runs while striking out seven. Ohtani won’t come cheap as he is priced above the $10,000 on DraftKings, but with all those other dominant arms on the slate, we are not expecting his ownership to crack 20%. Getting Ohtani at that ownership against the Oakland A’s despite their fluke-ish recent surge… we used to dream of times like these. 

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