James Paxton (SP-SEA): James Paxton, who pitched through a torn fingernail, allowed two runs one five hits and two walks with three strikeouts over six innings against the A's. While Paxton has been extremely inconsistent in 2016, his upside makes him a must-own in all but the shallowest of leagues. He has posted a 93:22 K:BB ratio in 102 innings and his 12 percent swinging strike rate backed by a 97 MPH average fastball suggests more K's are in the tank. He has been unlucky with a .354 BABIP and 66 percent strand rate, too, so while he's a risk, he's well worth it in all leagues to finish 2016.
Jose Berrios (SP-MIN): While Corey Kluber continued dealing, Jose Berrios continued his struggles, allowing three earned runs on three hits and four walks in 2 2/3 innings. The Twins top pitching prospect posted a 125:36 K:BB rate in 111 1/3 innings at Triple-A this season, but he continues to struggle translating his success to the Bigs. He has flashed a solid three-pitch arsenal at times, but has also been reluctant to challenge hitters as indicated by a 56 percent first-pitch strike rate and a 12 percent walk rate. Still just 22 years old, Berrios has plenty of promise and isn't the first top prospect to struggle out of the gates. Don't forget about him in 2017.
Chris Tillman (SP-BAL): Chris Tillman won after allowing one run on four hits and one walk with four strikeouts over six innings vs. the Tigers. While a heavier reliance on the cutter has helped fuel the spike in his strikeout rate, Tillman has also been more susceptible to hard contact. His peripherals suggest a course correction is in order, as his BABIP and strand rates sit at .277 and 78 percent respectively. He has improved, but not to the extent his surface states indicate, which may lead fantasy players to overvalue him heading into 2017.
Yulieski Gurriel (INF-HOU): Yulieski Gurriel went 1-for-3 with a homer and a walk, but it wasn't enough against the Cubs. Gurriel has posted an 85 percent contact rate in the early going, and is showing signs that he is finding his timing after a long layoff from professional baseball. He posted a .997 OPS with more walks than strikeouts over 15 seasons in Cuba and at 32, is no ordinary prospect. He's ready to contribute now and will be a man to watch as drafting season unfolds in the spring. Buy.
Daniel Norris (SP-DET): Daniel Norris ($6600 on Fanduel) makes for a high-risk, high-reward play today. The young left-hander has posted a 40:15 K:BB ratio over 45 2/3 innings and hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in a start. The risk lies in his ability to pitch deep into the game, as he has made it into the seventh innings one time the entire season. He has struggled at home, but the sample size of 25 innings doesn't provide enough data from which we can extract anything meaningful. While the Twins are 11th vs. lefties in total offense, they have struck out 329 times against them, good enough for 6th in all of baseball.