MLB DFS: Josiah Gray, Sean Manaea Top Leverage Pitchers for Friday
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Pitchers seeing the most leverage: Josiah Gray, Sean Manaea
Josiah Gray will be on the mound against the Philadelphia Phillies and finds himself in the highest leverage position on tonight’s slate. Gray has certainly left more to be desired, but there have been flashes of promise which should give a directionless Nationals’ organization hope for the future. His xERA and xFIP are only slightly above 4.00, and he posts strong strikeout production at a 27% clip for the year. He has struggled giving up power, which isn’t unusual for a young, high-strikeout pitcher.
Gray has pitched well against the Phillies this season over a combined 12 innings. He has only allowed two earned runs off of five hits to go with 15 strikeouts. If those averages stay steady for tonight’s outing, we’ll be counting our winnings tomorrow! The Phillies are still a dangerous offense despite being in the bottom half of the league in ISO, wOBA, and wRC+ over the past two weeks. Nonetheless, Gray is a promising pitcher that can do damage, and he has already proved that he can do that to the Phillies lineup. Even if he doesn’t perform as well as he has against the Phillies, getting him at minimal ownership while only being priced at $8,500 on DraftKings makes it a risk worth taking.
Sean Manaea joins Gray near the top of the leverage board as he prepares to face the Los Angeles Dodgers. Manaea has been serviceable for the Padres as his strikeout production is around an expected 24%, along with an expected ERA and FIP that approach 4.00. He has been consistently average over his past seven starts, where he has let between two and four earned runs in each outing. The worst start of his season came at the hands of the Dodgers’ lineup, where he gave up six earned runs over four and a third inning.
The excellence of the Dodgers’ offense doesn’t need to be elaborated on as they have consistently dominated most of the pitchers they have faced. That has remained the same over the past two weeks, where they have ranked in the top seven in ISO, wOBA, and wRC+ with a strikeout percentage below 20%. Manaea is a little pricey at $9,400, and the minimal ownership projection is still not enough to ease the burden of the high price, given the potent offense he will have to face. When we can say that Manaea will give up a few runs at a minimum due to his recent track record, messing around with an offense of the Dodgers’ caliber is playing with fire.