MLB DFS: Justin Verlander, Madison Bumgarner Top Optimal Pitchers for Wednesday


August 10

We have a new page to offer where the sims will be updated throughout the day. You can find it here, the link will be the same every day (for bookmarking purposes), and all the tables are pre-sorted for you.

Pitchers with the highest optimal probabilities: Justin Verlander, Madison Bumgarner

Justin Verlander takes the crown as tonight’s top pitcher on our optimal board, by a wide margin, ahead of his matchup against the Texas Rangers. Verlander continues to be phenomenal this season atop the Astros rotation, where he has not allowed more than a single earned run in each of his past seven starts. His strikeout production is not what it used to be, although it is still at a respectable mark of 25.5% on the season. He has the second-best WHIP in baseball with the best ERA, showing that the strikeout regression has not caught up to him yet. 

Tonight will be Verlander’s third time facing off against the Texas Rangers this season, and he pitched very well in the first two outings. Over a combined 13 innings on the mound, Verlander only surrendered a single run while striking out 16. That uptick in strikeout production is a welcomed sight that could ideally be carried over in tonight’s game since the Rangers strike out at one of the worst rates in baseball. Besides the strikeouts, the Rangers don’t offer too much offensively at just league-average. Verlander has an optimal probability north of 40%, while the next player doesn’t eclipse 20%. We also expect his ownership to be absurdly high, which could be in the 80%-90% range on DraftKings. Ownership that absurd makes you think that the opponent they are playing would be dead last in every offensive category, but the Rangers aren’t. Verlander is phenomenal, so there is always value to be had with him, but biting the bullet with that ownership projection is tough.

Madison Bumgarner is near the top of the optimal board as he prepares to face the Pittsburgh Pirates. Seeing Bumgarner in this bracket is odd since he has been pretty horrible for the better part of the season. His expected ERA is at the second highest mark in baseball and the fourth worst strikeout rate among all qualified pitchers at only 15.8%. He doesn’t limit power well either, as he has the sixth worst allowed HardHit% and poor allowed HR/9 numbers.

There is not much to get behind on Bumgarner’s side, but he is dirt cheap, and the Pirates are not good offensively. Over the past two weeks, Pittsburgh has ranked in the bottom four in wOBA and wRC+ along with a bottom ten ISO ranking. Their strikeout rate is also at the second-highest clip in baseball during that same stretch. We’re seeing him at below $7,000 on DraftKings with roughly a 10%-14% ownership projection, and given that the Pirates offense is not good at all, pivoting to Bumgarner if you are looking to steer clear of the Verlander wave could end up being a decent value play while giving you financial flexibility.

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