MLB DFS: Max Scherzer, Mike Clevinger Top Optimal Pitchers for Monday

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Pitchers with the highest optimal probabilities: Max Scherzer, Mike Clevinger

Max Scherzer enters tonight’s slate as the top pitcher on our optimal board ahead of his matchup against the Washington Nationals. Scherzer is having a great year, as per usual, despite an injury and joining a new club. His ERA sits at 2.09, but we see his expected ERA north of 3.00 which would generally be concerning if this were any other pitcher besides Scherzer. His strikeout production is still excellent at nearly 33%, and he has allowed the fewest HR/9 since his time with the Detroit Tigers. 

Simply put, the Washington Nationals stink and will likely lose their two best offensive pieces, Juan Soto and Josh Bell, shipped out by Tuesday night. With them, they still ranked in the bottom four in baseball in ISO, wOBA, and wRC+, which is where they have consistently been throughout the season. They’ll have their hands full against their old teammate in Scherzer, who comes in with extra confidence after tossing seven scoreless innings against the New York Yankees. Scherzer will be the most expensive pitcher on the DraftKings board at $10,600, causing him to see a dip in ownership compared to his optimal probability. Taking Scherzer against this dreadful lineup when he is not looking to be overly owned is a safe play.

Mike Clevinger sits behind Scherzer near the top of the optimal board as he faces off against the Colorado Rockies. Clevinger has had a good season for San Diego thus far as his real and expected ERA and FIP numbers are in the mid-3.00 range. He gets a reasonable strikeout production at a near 25% clip and gives up power at a pretty middle-of-the-pack rate. Clevinger is finally starting to show some longevity. Clevinger has thrown at least six innings in four of his last five starts, something we could not say to start the season. 

The Rockies will be on the road tonight, which does not work in their favor. They are a significantly worse offensive team away from Coors Field, contributing to why we are seeing a pitcher who isn’t anything too special propel to the top of the optimal board. Clevinger’s affordable $8,300 pricetag has him expected to see considerable ownership, and understandably so. The affordability and mediocre opponent alone make Clevinger a desirable play. Still, it will be up to your discretion if you are willing to surrender ownership to back a pitcher of his caliber.