This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Thursday's eight-game main slate doesn't offer many comfortable matchups at the top for pitchers, which may force prospective owners to find at least one value play among their selections. On the offensive side, we can load up on stacks against struggling pitchers in hitter-friendly ballparks.
Yu Darvish ($9,700) has been phenomenal in the second half of the season, logging a 2.83 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 35 innings since the All-Star break. The Phillies rate as a bottom-10 team against right-handed pitching this year but it's worth noting that Darvish has still allowed six homers in his last four outings, which could make him a bit of a risky play at Citizens Bank Park.
Speaking of players who have turned their season around, Mike Fiers ($9,500) left a disastrous month of April in the dust and now holds a 2.54 ERA in 78 innings at home. While this is undoubtedly impressive, Fiers still doesn't possess the strikeout potential we like to see in a top-priced asset, and the Astros have logged a top- 5 wOBA and ISO against righty hurlers in 2019.
Not even high-powered offenses like the Braves and Cubs could stop the run of Sonny Gray ($9,100), who logged 25 and 27.3 DraftKings points against the two clubs in his last two outings, respectively. Gray will take strong strikeout and groundball rates into a matchup against the Cardinals, who have notched a bottom-5 wOBA against right-handed pitchers.
Julio Teheran ($8,600) has been masterful at home in 2019, tallying a 2.52 ERA and allowing just a .287 wOBA against opposing offenses in 60.2 frames. The Mets may have recently come off a streak of winning baseball but they still reside just outside the bottom-10 in wOBA against righty pitchers.
Alex Young ($8,100) is coming off a shaky start in his last outing against the Dodgers but should still be popular against the Giants at this price thanks to the 3.32 ERA he has logged in his first 38 innings with the big club. Young doesn't do much to make DFS players sit up and take notice but does carry a 46 percent groundball rate.
Devin Smeltzer ($7,200) has shown some red flags in his first 7.2 innings on the road this season but the Rangers hold a .318 wOBA to go along with a 26 percent strikeout rate against left-handed pitching, making the rookie a decent choice for a GPP punt.
Aristides Aquino ($4,900) hasn't stopped hitting since receiving his call to the big show and now holds a .481 wOBA with a jaw-dropping six homers in 30 at-bats against right-handed pitching. Michael Wacha has been hit extremely hard by same-handed opposition this year, allowing a .591 slugging percentage in 54 innings.
Eduardo Escobar ($4,800) has done the bulk of his damage against southpaws in 2019 but has still provided plenty of firepower against righties, as evidenced by the .238 ISO he has logged in 320 at-bats. Meanwhile, Dereck Rodriguez has kept a 6.10 xFIP against lefty hitters in 26.1 frames.
Shohei Ohtani ($4,600) appears to be flying a bit under the radar in his sophomore season but hasn't had much of a let-off with the bat, as he has notched a .242 ISO and a .375 wOBA against right-handed pitching. Reynaldo Lopez has thrown the ball well in July and August but still holds a stunning 6.30 xFIP against left-handed hitters overall.
Jorge Polanco ($4,600) has handled right-handed pitching quite well this year, as we can see from the .229 ISO and .380 wOBA he has tallied in 332 at-bats. Rookie Pedro Payano's .260 wOBA against left-handed hitters through 10 innings with the big club seems unlikely to stand the test of time, as he owns a 5.21 xFIP over that span.
Ian Happ ($4,300) has been fantastic in 46 at-bats since being recalled from Triple-A, logging a .261/.358/.565 slash line over that span. Drew Smyly has thrown the ball better in his four starts with the Phillies but has still allowed 15 homers to right-handed hitters in 60 innings.
James McCann ($3,600) looks to be a fine low-cost option at catcher Thursday when he will face a pitcher in Andrew Heaney who has kept a 5.18 xFIP against righty hitters in 37 innings. McCann has done his best work against southpaws in 2019, tallying a .221 ISO and .379 wOBA in 95 at-bats.
Reds against Michael Wacha (Cardinals)
We spoke about Wacha's struggles against right-handed hitters above but he has had his issues against lefties as well, as evidenced by the .470 slugging percentage he has allowed in 35.1 innings. This gives us the freedom to stack indiscriminately as we look to exploit a vulnerable pitcher in a small ballpark.
D-Backs against Dereck Rodriguez (Giants)
I am more than happy to get two relatively cheap options in against Rodriguez, who has kept a 1.7 HR/9 rate on the road. Return from injury has made Lamb something of an afterthought but it should be noted that he has logged a .222 ISO in 27 at-bats in August.