MLB DFS: Gerrit Cole, Yu Darvish Top Optimal Pitchers for Monday

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Pitchers with the highest optimal probabilities: Gerrit Cole, Yu Darvish

Gerrit Cole enters tonight’s slate as the top pitcher on our optimal board by a pretty noticeable margin. He’ll be facing the Tampa Bay Rays for the third time in about three weeks, and he faired well over those first two appearances. Through two starts, Cole threw a combined 12 innings while only surrendering one run on seven hits, to go with 17 strikeouts which is what we’ll be looking for him to continue tonight. The Rays’ offense has not been that productive this season as they rank in the bottom ten in ISO, wOBA, wRC+, K%, and Barrel% while dropping seven of their past nine games in the process. Cole will be the most expensive pitcher on the slate, deservedly so, and is expected to come in under-owned compared to his optimal probability. Grabbing a high-ceiling pitcher against an offense he has already handled well while getting some leverage offers excellent value. You get what you pay for at the end of the day.

Yu Darvish will face the Arizona Diamondbacks for a second time tonight, a matchup where he had a no-hit bid before being pulled after six innings. Overall, Darvish has had a pretty disappointing season in the DFS world, mainly as his strikeout production fell off a cliff this season to a career-low of 20.5%. His next lowest season is above 27% by comparison. Darvish still sports a sub-1.00 WHIP while his xERA and xFIP are hovering around 4.00, and there is some optimism going into tonight as he is coming off of back-to-back dominant starts where he only allowed one run over a combined 15 innings. Coming into tonight with confidence against a below-average lineup that he has already gotten the best of earlier this season at an affordable price of $8100 on DraftKings looks excellent to us. However, it does to everyone else as well. We anticipate Darvish to eclipse 40% ownership. Although Darvish has been pitching well without the strikeout production, backing a guy at 40% ownership without the high strikeout production is not something we will be gushing over.