This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
The eight-game main slate Thursday leaves us with a pretty sizeable gap between the most expensive pitchers on the slate and everyone else, which may make it difficult to find that second arm. On the offensive side we have two pitchers with ERAs in the stratosphere who could make for fine stack options if prospective owners decide to take a pitcher from the bottom of the pile.
Trevor Bauer ($11,000) will likely be a popular option when he takes on the Tigers. Bauer's walks and homers allowed have risen dramatically from his breakout 2018 season but he will take a 27 percent strikeout rate into the matchup against an offense that holds the second lowest wOBA in the league against right-handed pitchers (.284).
Stephen Strasburg ($10,500) has everything a prospective owner could want in a high-dollar pitching option, as he features strong strikeout and walk rates to go along with a 52 percent groundball rate. The Braves remain a top-10 team against righty pitching according to wOBA, however, which could make Strasburg a bit less popular in cash formats.
Charlie Morton ($10,200) has had an excellent 2019 season, posting a 2.35 ERA on the strength of a 31 percent strikeout rate. He has allowed just nine homers in 118.2 innings. The Yankees stand as one of the elite offenses in the league against right-handed pitching but Morton needs to be in player pools based on the dominance he has shown to this point.
Matthew Boyd ($9,600) has been on fire with his strikeout pitch of late, recording at least 10 punchouts in each of his last three games. It may surprise some to learn that the Indians are a middle-of-the-road team against righties but that likely won't keep many from selecting Boyd, who has tallied a minimum of 21.8 DraftKings points in those previous three outings.
Noah Syndergaard ($9,200) has seen his strikeout rate dip and his home run rate rise in 2019, which has contributed to a career-worst 4.55 ERA in 112.2 innings. The 26-year-old has been serviceable enough to demand plenty of attention against the Giants, who hold a bottom-10 wOBA against righty pitchers.
There is no mid-range to speak of Thursday so let's jump right into the low-cost options by looking at Dakota Hudson ($5,800) in his matchup against the Reds. After a slow start to the season, Hudson electrified in May and June, allowing just 18 earned runs in 63.1 innings. He has been hit a little harder to open July (4.09 ERA) but has struck out 11 batters in 11 innings over the two appearances. Meanwhile, the Reds hold a bottom-5 wOBA against right-handed pitching this season while striking out more than 24 percent of the time.
It's early days in the career of Kyle Wright but the 23-year-old looks to be unprepared to pitch at this level, having allowed a whopping 11 earned runs while walking 10 batters in 14 innings. Anthony Rendon ($5,100) has indiscriminately smashed both righties and lefties this season, which has resulted in a .298 ISO and .408 wOBA in 299 at-bats.
Alex Bregman ($4,900) has punished right-handed pitching all season, as evidenced by the .244 ISO he has posted in 246 at-bats. He will take on a pitcher in Matt Harvey who actually threw the ball well in his return from the injured list last week but has kept an unsightly 6.88 ERA in 53.2 innings this year.
We can look to take advantage of Merrill Kelly and his 5.00 xFIP against left-handed hitters with the powerful Mike Moustakas ($4,700) who has logged a .267 ISO against opposite-handed pitchers in 2019.
It may not seem right to target against Madison Bumgarner but the fact remains that the former World Series MVP has allowed a .477 slugging percentage and a 47 percent hard contact rate against righty hitters in 88.2 frames. Pete Alonso's ($4,500) performance against southpaws in 2019 has been something to behold, as he has logged a .442 ISO in 86 at-bats.
At the age of 39, Albert Pujols ($3,900) may not be looked at as a fantasy asset in most contexts but prospective owners should note that he has tallied a .238 ISO against lefty hurlers in 105 at-bats. This makes him a nice low-cost target against Wade Miley, who holds a 4.71 xFIP against right-handed hitters in his 79 innings this year.
Nationals against Kyle Wright (Braves)
A stack against Wright will likely be fairly chalky Thursday but it will be difficult to pass in light of his tremendous struggles and the firepower of the Nationals lineup. We can look to the returning Zimmerman for some salary relief, as he has logged a respectable .177 ISO against same-handed pitching this year.
Astros against Matt Harvey (Angels)
We can find surprisingly affordable options against a pitcher like Harvey, including Chirinos, who still holds a .207 ISO against righty pitching despite going through something of a slump.