This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
A five-game short slate means paying up for at least one pitcher in a strong matchup Thursday, leaving players to decide how to portion out the rest of their bankroll. Not to worry, as I highlight a couple of value bats capable of producing big in viable stacks.
Yu Darvish, CHC vs. MIL ($10,400): The Brewers will be worth a look on most nights, but they become an especially nice target when a pitcher like Darvish is on the hill due to the 2.12 ERA he has logged in 17 innings (three starts) this season. It should also be noted that Darvish possesses the most effective cutter in the league according to RAA, while the Brewers have registered a bottom-5 RAA against the pitch.
Anthony DeSclafani, CIN vs PIT ($8,200): Don't look now, but the Pirates are the worst offensive team in the league against right-handed pitching according to wOBA (.233). The strikeouts have yet to materialize for DeSclafani, but he is moving along just fine on the strength of a wipeout slider, as he has not allowed a run in 11 innings (two starts). While it can be a bit unnerving to roster a hurler at Great American Ballpark, DFS players can rest easy knowing that Pittsburgh's .100 ISO against right-handed pitching is tied for the second-worst mark in the league.
Bryce Harper, PHI vs. BAL ($5,400): Harper has mashed a bit harder against same-handed opposition in 2020 but is handling righty hurlers just fine, as evidenced by the .250 ISO and .402 wOBA he has logged in 24 at-bats. Tom Eshelman is keeping his head above water against lefty bats so far this year, but the 5.80 xFIP he is carrying against them may be an indication that the dam can break at any time.
Nick Castellanos, CIN vs. PIT ($4,800): Trevor Williams is off to a strong start to the 2020 season, but that start looks decidedly less strong in his two appearances away from PNC Park, where he has notched a 5.40 ERA in 8.1 innings (two starts). Castellanos is on fire at Great American Ballpark this year, logging an enormous .500 ISO in 32 at-bats.
Javier Baez, CHC vs. MIL ($4,600): Brett Anderson is listed as an opener for Thursday, but the left-hander has thrown at least 50 pitches in each of his first two starts, which should give us plenty of room if we want to build an offense around him. Baez has tallied a .375 ISO against southpaws in his 16 at-bats this season after finishing 2019 with a .314 ISO versus lefty pitching in 102 at-bats. This is more than enough reason to roster him against Anderson, who has yielded a .519 slugging percentage to his opposite hand in 6.1 frames.
Mitch Moreland, BOS vs. TB ($4,200): Moreland has shown surprising power in 2020, as we can see from the .704(!) ISO he has logged against right-handed pitching in 27 at-bats. Righty bats are the primary culprit behind Tyler Glasnow's poor start to the year, but the 4.49 xFIP he has kept against left-handed hitters may mean the roles will be reversed before too long.
Jose Martinez, TB at BOS ($3,900): Kyle Hart will take the ball for the Red Sox in what will be his first time throwing the ball at the major league level. While the 3.86 ERA he logged at Triple-A Pawtucket seems solid enough, the 5.17 xFIP he put up raises serious questions as to how he will perform with the big club. Meanwhile, Martinez has notched a .273 ISO in 22-at bats versus left-handed pitching this year.
Wil Myers, SD at LAD ($3,200): The power Myers has shown against lefty pitchers in 17 at-bats this season is hard to ignore on a slate like this. The former top prospect has logged a .588 ISO against opposite-handed hurlers in 17 at-bats. Julio Urias has been strong on the mound so far this year, but a depressed strikeout rate and a 4.36 xFIP against right-handed hitters certainly makes Myers worth a shot at this price.
Stacks to Consider
The Phillies feature enough powerful lefty batters to sufficiently expose the peripherals of Eshelman, as we discussed earlier. This is particularly true in the case of Bruce, who has tallied a .652 ISO in 23 at-bats against right-handed pitching this year. Gregorius is one of several lefty bats who have begun the year hitting better against southpaws, but the 30-year-old still carries a .361 wOBA against orthodox hurlers.
Castellanos heads up the stack we will use to coax another pitcher's peripherals to the surface in what appears to be a less than favorable matchup. Winker is a nice little value play in this group thanks to the .368 wOBA he has tallied against righty pitchers in 32 at-bats this season.