MLB DFS: Dylan Cease, Shohei Ohtani Top Leverage Pitchers for Saturday

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CEASE SEEING DESIRABLE LEVERAGE

Dylan Cease looks to be in a desirable leverage position for tonight’s slate as he goes up against the Minnesota Twins. Cease has had a strong season for the White Sox thus far, as we see both his expected and real ERA and FIP in strong spots. Longevity has been an issue for Cease since we don’t see him go too deep into games that often because of his 10.4% walk rate on the year. He has only pitched more than six innings in five of his 26 starts. That has been made up for with a high strikeout upside, but we have seen regression in that category. In July and August, Cease’s K/9 has only been at 9.40 compared to 13.44 over the season’s first three months. 

The Twins haven’t been swinging the bats too hot lately, and over the past two weeks, we see them in the bottom half of the league in ISO, wOBA, and wRC+. They have struck out at about a league average rate during that stretch, so we shouldn’t anticipate an added strikeout upside for Cease. However, what doesn’t favor our longevity possibilities is that the Twins have walked at the third-highest rate in baseball over the past two weeks. Even though the Twins’ offense has not been great lately, if we can only get roughly five innings of near-scoreless pitching without at least eight strikeouts, it won’t matter. Can we have complete confidence in that occurring? That is up to your discretion, but his price and expected ownership are in a strong place where the risk may be worth it. 

OHTANI HOPING TO EXTEND HIS DOMINANCE

Shohei Ohtani also finds himself in a vital leverage spot for tonight’s slate as he’ll go up against the Houston Astros. Ohtani has been remarkable on the mound for his spiraling Angels. He leads all pitchers in strikeout rate with his 34% clip while having the second-best xFIP in baseball (minimum 120 innings). His real and expected ERA also looks to be in great spots below 3.00 after coming off of a strong August with a 2.20 ERA.

The Astros have been in an offensive slump lately, but they still have managed eight of their last ten games. Over the past two weeks, Houston has found itself in the bottom eleven in ISO, wOBA, and wRC+, and runs scored with an accustomed strikeout rate north of 23%. Tonight will be Ohtani’s fourth time facing Houston this year, and over a combined 16.2 innings, he only allowed two earned runs with a staggering 33 strikeouts! Ohtani looks to be positioned to have a strong performance tonight, given his success against Houston thus far and their recent slump, so taking advantage of that sub-10% ownership is a smart play to make.