Bullish or Bearish: Nick Pivetta
Price per talent is the most important aspect of any DFS play, but especially with pitchers. Taking a Trevor Cahill for $7,800 in a good spot can be a much better play than spending $12,000 on Max Scherzer, even though Cahill can’t sniff Scherzer’s jock strap in his wildest dream. When we narrow our format decision to tournaments, blowing a third of your budget on the elite Scherzer type arms, is just not a recipe for cashing big tickets. You need to spend your money on good bats and play for lightning in a bottle at the pitcher spot.
Which brings us to Nick Pivetta. Buying Pivetta for a cash game probably isn’t going to provide the kind of stability (high floor) you want. He has a 4.27 walk rate this year and projection systems “credit” him with improving that to a still bad 3.78 over the rest of the season. That means that he is prone to going short outings due to high pitch counts (fewer strikes means more pitches per out) and getting his teeth kicked in at random for giving up clumps of free passes. A 56.1% first pitch strike rate suggests that he is unlikely to beat projections let alone improve his current walk rate.
Yet Nick Pivetta has a well above average 9.5 K/9 rate, which is the first thing you should be looking at when trying to find lightning in a bottle. His 8.5% swinging strike rate casts a little doubt on this as sustainable, but at $7,300 as of Friday night, these concerns are well priced into his current FanDuel value. Taking a look through his box scores, he pitched 7 shutout innings at home against Boston with 9 Ks and 2 walks, then pitched a quality start against the Cardinals at home with a 10:1 K:BB line, and on Friday he put down 9 Padres without walking anyone over 7 innings at home.
The common denominator is that he was at home in all of those outings. Looking at his splits, he has a 24.5% K rate and a 11.1% walk rate on the whole this season, but that turns into a silly good 33.7% K-rate and an amazing 3% BB-rate. That extreme split is likely an unrealistic expectation for him any time or anywhere, but it shows that he’s clearly more comfortable and at his best at home. Understand that his home park, Citizens Bank in Philadelphia is a boon for homeruns, but at $7,300 on Fan Duel, those kind of Ks with no walks provides the surplus you need at the pitching position to take down a tournaments. Those numbers may even make for a good pitcher punting play in a cash game at home. Either way, he is underpriced for tournaments.
I am BULLISH on Nick Pivetta.
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