MLB DFS: Gerrit Cole, Chris Bassitt Top Optimal Pitchers for Friday

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HIGHEST OPTIMAL PROBABILITY PITCHER: GERRIT COLE

Gerrit Cole takes the mound as the top pitcher on our optimal board ahead of his matchup against the Oakland A’s. Cole has had a reliable season atop that Yankees’ rotation, where we have seen decent ERA and FIP numbers in the low-3.00 range with some drop-off in both his expected categories. We have seen a slight strikeout regression from Cole over his four starts in August, but we anticipate him cleaning it up down the stretch since he always has. He still gives up the long ball more than we would like, but given that his HardHit% and Barrel% are both at their lowest points in his time as a Yankee, we anticipate some continued regression in that category as he has not allowed a home run in three straight outings. 

The Oakland A’s don’t offer much opposition for Cole since he is better at baseball than the entire A’s roster. Nonetheless, it’s baseball, and anything can happen. The A’s might have a better shot than most expect because they haven’t been horrible at the plate lately. Over the past two weeks, they have been outside the bottom ten in production categories of wOBA and wRC+. Their power metrics are still low, but the A’s not being in the bottom ten is equivalent to an average offense in the top five. Cole’s ownership is not as ridiculous as expected because he will cost $800 more than any other pitcher on the DraftKings board. Taking a dominant pitcher against an offense with minimal upside is always a smart play as long as the expected ownership is reasonable, making paying up for the ace tonight a valuable investment in your lineups. 

BASSITT IS HOPING TO CONTINUE HIS STRONG AUGUST

We find Chris Bassitt behind Cole atop the optimal board for tonight’s slate as he’ll go up against the Colorado Rockies. Bassitt has improved as the season has progressed and has had himself one heck of an August that he’ll look to build on going forward. Over four starts, Bassitt has earned himself a 0.69 ERA while being in the bottom eight of qualified pitchers in baseball in Barrel% and HardHit% for the month. He doesn’t have extraordinary strikeout numbers, but he certainly won’t be a liability in that category. 

The Rockies aren’t offensively threatening, especially when they are away from Coors Field. Over the past two weeks, they have ranked in the bottom eight in baseball in ISO, wOBA, and wRC+. However, they don’t strike out much, which isn’t ideal for Bassitt’s overall upside, but if they aren’t swinging the bats well, which they haven’t, then the strikeouts could manifest. Bassitt is the second most expensive arm on the slate at $9,900 and is expected to see similar ownership to Cole’s. In comparing both of our top pitchers, paying up for Cole is the higher upside move as a worse team will oppose him, but settling for Bassitt is still a strong play with a high floor, given how dominant he has been in August.