MLB DFS: Kevin Gausman, Yu Darvish Top Leverage Pitchers for Friday

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 seeing the most leverage: Kevin Gausman, Yu Darvish

Kevin Gausman finds himself at the top of the leverage board ahead of his fourth-season matchup against the Boston Red Sox. In those first three outings, Gausman was absolutely spectacular. Over a combined 21 innings pitched, Gausman tallied 27 strikeouts while only surrendering a single earned run. Overall, Gausman has had a pretty good season near the top of the Toronto rotation, featuring a sub-3.00 ERA and xFIP with substantial strikeout numbers at a near 27% mark. He also has limited power exceptionally well, as he has the lowest allowed HR/9 among all qualified pitchers in baseball. 

The Red Sox have not been great offensively for the better part of this season, including a pretty dreadful start to July. A 5-12 record paired with bottom eight marks in wOBA and wRC+ to go with the fourth worst strikeout rate is not what they needed to stay afloat in a hotly contested AL East race. Getting Gausman in a leverage situation feels too good to be true, given his excellence against them over his first three appearances this season. He won’t be overly expensive at a $9,100 price line on DraftKings. Grabbing up that leverage with hopes of Gausman pouncing on the Red Sox’s recent offensive struggles is a high-floor, high-ceiling play with minimal risk involved, given the minimal ownership.

Yu Darvish is near the top of the leverage board with Gausman, as his leverage situation makes a little more sense going up against a dominant team in the New York Mets. Darvish has had a reliable season thus far for the San Diego Padres, as his xERA and xFIP are below 4.00, and we have seen him limit power well. We have continued to mention the steep regression in strikeout production for him, but it appears that mark could be on the rise, as his once sub-20% mark has reached 23%. Still, those numbers are nothing to write home about, but the improvement gives us DFS players a little more confidence in a potential ceiling for Darvish in the future. 

The Mets faced Darvish once this year and fell victim to probably his best outing of the year, where he tossed seven scoreless innings where he only allowed two hits. By their standards, this offense has not had a great July, as they are only around the league average mark in ISO, wOBA, and wRC+ for the month. The leverage we see on Darvish is primarily due to this matchup against, allegedly, one of baseball’s most productive offenses. Suppose you view this matchup as Darvish against what has, at times, been an average offense. In that case, the leverage looks silly given his recent uptick in strikeouts, consistent performances, and strong outing against the Mets. Still, proceed with caution as the Mets can fully unload on any given night.