Adam Conley (SP, Mia): Conley threw seven and two-thirds no-hit innings Friday night against the Brewers. He was pulled with only four outs left to achieve the no-no as Don Mattingly questionably decided 116 pitches was the end of Conley's leash. He allowed four walks and struck out seven in his first win of the season, lowering his season ERA to 3.67. He's been useful this year, posting 28 K's in 27 innings. His bugaboo is still his control however, as he does have 12 walks in that span. He won't be a dominant starter until he can minimize the walks, but he'll continue to provide value in mixed leagues as long as he piles up innings and delivers a strikeout per, as well.
Juan Nicasio (SP, Pit): Nicasio tossed seven shutout innings against the Reds Friday, allowing only three hits and a walk with eight strikeouts. He picked up his third win of the season, lowering his ERA to 3.33 in the process. He's just another notch on pitching maestro Ray Searages' belt, taking a reclamation project and turning him into gold. Nicasio is still hard to trust moving forward however, sporting a pitch mix that consists of 95% fastballs and sliders. He's homer-prone and a very low swinging strike rate suggests the strikeouts may cool a bit as the season wears on. Not to mention he's still walking four batters per nine innings. If you can sell him as a number three starter, now is the time, but if you can't you might as well ride him until he turns into a pumpkin since his investment price was minimal.
Steven Matz (SP, NYM): Matz turned out another solid outing Friday against the Giants, going six shutout innings with four strikeouts, allowing seven hits and three walks. He lowered his ERA to 3.86, and has been lights out since being shelled for seven runs in one and two-thirds innings in his debut. He's allowed only two runs in his following 19.1 IP over the past three starts, and has a glorious 22:7 K:BB ratio in 21 total innings. His 2.77 FIP says things should continue to stay rosy, and he's keeping the ball on the ground as well, posting a 55.2% ground ball rate to this point. He's also limiting hard contact to the tune of 18.6%, which will help lower his BABIP. The knock on Matz is health, having barely pitched over 100 innings in any single season in his minor league career, but he'll be a very productive starting pitcher while he's healthy and on your active roster.
Robbie Ray (SP, Ari): Ray was hit hard by the Rockies Friday. Facing Colorado even out of Coors has a tendency to inflate your ERA, and Ray's now sits at 4.97 after allowing five runs on seven hits and two walks in four innings. Ray struck out five Rockies, and his season-long K/9 sits at a pleasant 9.59, but everything else in his profile suggests you steer clear. His 5.04 FIP confirms his 4.97 ERA is not simply bad luck, and his 5.33 BB/9 likewise confirms that his control issues have not been resolved. His repertoire is still 84% fastballs and sliders, and between that and his lack of command and control, he may wind up a reliever sooner or later. Until he shows he can limit the walks, he's a safe avoid.
Jerad Eickhoff (SP, Phi): Eickhoff has displayed terrific skills in his first 24.1 IP across four starts, displaying a 22.3% K-BB%. He's discounted due to his 4.07 ERA (and probably because he pitches for the Phillies) but his FIP is a cool 3.15. It's not the best matchup against the Indians, but he'll be opposed by Trevor Bauer on the mound. Bauer had the most walks per nine innings among qualified starters last year at 4.04, leading to a 4.55 ERA. Eickhoff not only has the skills to succeed, but also the matchup to come away with a win. He's a bargain at $7,900 on Draft Kings.
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