This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Wednesday's rain-out may be for the best, as we head into Thursday's ALCS matchup with two clearly defined starters, which should help us in constructing lineups and formulating strategy. This includes taking a look at several hitters who have a chance to do some damage despite a rocky postseason at the plate to this point.
Masahiro Tanaka ($10,800) had what could charitably be called a mediocre 2019 season, but the veteran has come to life in the playoffs, allowing just one run and striking out 11 batters in as many innings. It becomes even more impressive when we remember that these starts came against the Twins and the Astros, two of the best offenses in the American League. Those who still wish to take a shot at exploiting Tanaka will remember the .508 slugging percentage he allowed against left-handed hitting this year, but it must be noted that the 30-year-old pitched significantly better at home this season, where he logged a 3.10 ERA and allowed just a .280 wOBA in 98.2 frames.
Zack Greinke ($10,400) has been hit hard in October, allowing nine runs in just 9.2 innings. The most alarming thing about Greinke's performances over this two-game stretch may be his flyball rate, as he has put 21 balls in the air while getting just eight grounders over that span. Greinke succeeded during the regular season by limiting homers and walks, and though that skillset should certainly not be overlooked, recent performance may indicate that he is at a disadvantage as he heads into Yankee Stadium against a powerful lineup.
Usual suspects like Aaron Judge ($9,000) and Gleyber Torres ($9,400) remain in play thanks to their strong postseasons up to this point, but prospective owners may also want to take a look at hitters who finished 2019 with strong flyball rates in order to fully take advantage of Greinke's recent struggles. This means considering Edwin Encarnacion ($8,400), Didi Gregorius ($6,000), and Gary Sanchez ($6,200), who had the highest such rates of any hitter on the team with a minimum of 100 plate appearances. Not only does this strategy allow us to zero in on some potentially good matchups, it can also provide us with significant salary relief as we try and construct our lineups.
Those who wish to take a look at the Astros would do well to focus on left-handed hitters due to the 1.6 HR/9 rate Tanaka allowed against his opposite hand during the regular season. While the majority of the big hitters in the Astros lineup are right-handed, we can still take a look at hitters like Yordan Alvarez ($9,200) and Michael Brantley ($7,400) who finished the regular season with ISOs north of .220 against right-handed hurlers.
Wednesday's rain-out means another day for Giancarlo Stanton ($7,200) to rest, making it more likely that he will be in Thursday's starting lineup. While it is true that Yankees manager Aaron Boone said recently that Stanton would be on the injured list if this were the regular season, he has worked out on the field in recent days. Stanton finished a truncated 2019 season with a .364 wOBA against righty pitchers in 45 at-bats. Gio Urshela ($6,800) will likely bat towards the bottom of the lineup, but he showed more than enough power during the regular season (.219 ISO) to be useful at this price.