MLB DFS: Nick Pivetta, Johnny Cueto Top Leverage Pitchers for Thursday

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: Nick Pivetta, Johnny Cueto

Nick Pivetta is shaping up to be our top leverage pitcher on tonight’s slate, heading into his matchup against the Kansas City Royals. Pivetta had a July to forget, culminating in a 9.38 ERA over five starts. Simply put, he has been dreadful lately, but there was a stretch from May to June where he had a sub-2.25 ERA over a high number of starts each month, showing us that he can pitch at an elite level. His strikeout production has taken a dip this season, but he makes up for that by offering us longevity as long as he is not getting shelled, which has happened far too often lately. 

The Royals are not a great team with a mediocre offense that has ranked in the bottom ten in wOBA, wRC+, and ISO over the past two weeks. They have also struck out at the fifth highest clip in baseball over the past two weeks, which could be a much-needed boost to the strikeout upside of Pivetta. This is the type of opponent Pivetta has been wishing for to break his slump, and he certainly has the tools to exploit an unproductive offense. At a desirable salary with single-digit common ownership, taking a shot on Pivetta figuring it out is a low-risk, high-reward play to make.

Johnny Cueto is seated right behind Pivetta on our leverage board as he’ll face the Texas Rangers tonight. Cueto had himself a pretty great July that he should be looking to carry into August, where he had a 2.12 ERA over five starts. He offers us longevity as he has pitched a minimum of six innings in his last six starts, but his strikeout production fell off of a cliff as he only registered 15 strikeouts over 34 innings of work in July. 

The Rangers epitomize what it is to be a league-average offense, but they certainly have a few pieces in their lineup capable of producing a high-run output. They have struck out the fifth most in baseball since July 1, which could be a much-needed favor for Cueto given his recent difficulties ringing up opponents. Cueto is priced reasonably at $8700 on DraftKings, and given the low ownership projection, this is a play that certainly holds upside. Still, given that we cannot be confident in Cueto’s ability to rack up the strikeouts, we need to have him toss a seven-inning gem to be safe. That is going to have to come down to your confidence level in the Rangers’ offense that has been all over the place this year.