MLB Takeoff 7/10 Preview: Real Aces?
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Freddy Peralta: In a small, yet deep pitching slate, Freddy comes out on top as the chalkiest and highest floor option today. The reason? Strikeouts. Despite several less-than-stellar outings, Freddy has not recorded fewer than 6 strikeouts in any game this season. This keeps him reliable. On DK, Peralta hasn't registered fewer than 16 FPTS in over 2 months and, despite the occasional early exit, he has not produced any sub-10 FPTS performances all season. But it's not all strikeouts with Freddy, he ranks in the top 6% of all pitchers when it comes to xSLG (.287), xwOBA (.251), xERA (2.51), xBA (.158), and, of course, K% (35.4). His 11.5% BB rate certainly can get him into trouble, but a strong 35.8 HardHit% and 87.5 mph average exit velocity see to it that he never really gets rocked. The Reds are far from the easiest matchup, ranking 9th in the majors with 4.86 runs/game, and they do prefer RHP, but this still doesn't change Freddy's floor. He's had three previous duels with the Reds this season, totaling 5 earned runs in 15.2 innings and 19 K's -- realistically some of his worst outings of the season, but again this is about floor and Peralta registered 16+ DK FPTS/ 27+ FD FPTS in each of those games.
Walker Buehler: Walker comes in as a somewhat riskier pick than some might expect. It seems he's capable on any given day of completely shutting down an offense or even racking up double digit K's, but lately it's almost just as likely that his strikeout pitch completely disappears or that the Marlins touch him up for 4 runs in 5 innings (see last start). There is also regression to be aware of, including a 3.54 xERA, more than a full point higher than his 2.49 ERA, but the greatest indicator must be the significant drop in spin rate with all of his pitches -- one of the steepest drop-offs for any pitchers since June 3rd. All the same, he's still a strong bet for a quality start every time he takes the mound, and his strikeout numbers have started to rebound again over his past few outings, though he is still liable to post a sub-5 strikeout performance at any time. Up against the Diamondbacks, today is probably as good as any to take a chance on Buehler. Arizona ranks 20th in the majors at 4.18 runs/game, 27th with a .67