MLB DFS: Justin Verlander, Alek Manoah Top Optimal Pitchers for Thursday

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Pitchers with the highest optimal probabilities: Justin Verlander, Alek Manoah

Justin Verlander enters tonight’s slate as the top pitcher on our optimal board ahead of his matchup against the Cleveland Guardians. Verlander has had a Cy Young Award-worthy campaign that includes the league’s best ERA and second-best WHIP among qualified pitchers. He has been rolling lately over his past six starts with a combined 41.2 innings pitched while only allowing four earned runs while seeing a much-needed increase in his strikeout production. There is still an uptick from his actual ERA to his expected ERA. However, he is still having a spectacular season which shouldn’t give us any less confidence in him as a top optimal caliber pitcher. 

The Guardians have been having a fairly productive stretch coming into tonight as, over the past two weeks, they have ranked right on the outside of the top ten in wOBA and wRC+. They do not necessarily have the threatening power potential. Regardless Verlander has done a nice job of limiting that this season. Where the Guardians find upside is that they rarely strike out as they have consistently sported the lowest K% in baseball all year. Verlander will be the most expensive arm on the slate tonight with high ownership that is nothing too absurd to be concerned about. Expecting him to continue his dominance is a fair play with substantial upside available. 

Alex Manoah joins Verlander near the top of the optimal board ahead of his matchup against the Minnesota Twins. Manoah has had a solid year for the Blue Jays with a strong ERA of 2.43 despite a slight increase in his expected. A sub-1.00 WHIP is enough to signal that he has been having a well-rounded year. The strikeout production is lower than what we were expecting going into this season, but there is a high upside available for him to reach if he is on his game.

The Twins have had one of the more slept-on lineups this year, but over the past two weeks their bats have slightly cooled off to the point where they are right on the outside of the bottom ten in wOBA and wRC+. There is still a higher power upside available with this squad and a larger potential overall. We see that reflected by Manoah’s lower expected ownership projection, opening up a desirable leverage window as well. Manoah is priced reasonably at $9600, so if we view the Twins as a bottom-half offense in baseball which they have performed like lately, then this looks to be an excellent opportunity for the Jays hurler. Try not to look at the Twins’ potential if you are looking to make this play. 

The post MLB DFS: Justin Verlander, Alek Manoah Top Optimal Pitchers for Thursday first appeared on SportsGrid.

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