This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
We've got a nearly full 14-game slate Friday evening, with only the Cubs-Diamondbacks' matinee being omitted. Four arms are priced as elite options, with two squaring off with each other, but I think this is a slate that presents with depth options on the bump, allowing us to pay up a bit more freely for bats.
Zack Wheeler, PHI vs. ATL ($10,200): Given the plethora of options at fair prices, the only real reason to pay up for arms appears to be differentiation rather than stability. Both Wheeler and Gerrit Cole ($10,500) have been up and down against their Friday opponents. But the fact remains the Braves' lineup is so depleted, and the bottom half are near automatic outs. They fan at a 24.8 percent rate, and Wheeler owns two performances with 61 or more FDP against them.
Eduardo Rodriguez, BOS vs. NYY ($8,300): The Yanks have plus splits against lefties, and only fan 23.3 percent of the time. But this is a matchup that's been successful all year, so why not ride it? Rodriguez has faced New York three times, has a 28 FDP floor and posted 47 and 48 FDP in the other two outings. Having been worth 40 FDP or better in three of his last four, I'm willing to roll the dice on form and history.
Wily Peralta, DET at KC ($7,700): Peralta is going to be a chalky pay down, but what reason would we find to fade? He's allowed one total run across his last four starts, spanning 24.0 innings. With only 17 Ks, maybe there's limited upside, especially with the Royals' 22.1 percent K rate. But Kansas City's .141 ISO suggests there's minimal combustibility, and at this number, there's a clear path to 5x.
Tyler Mahle, CIN vs. STL ($7,600): Mahle is my preferred, less used, pay down option. He's had a 25 FDP floor across his last 10 outings. He's managed that by a plus strikeout rate, fanning less than six just once in that span. It may not be super safe with the Cardinals striking out only 21.9 percent of the time, but Mahle managed eight Ks in route to 49 FDP against this lineup previously, and a .147 ISO and 85 wRC+ shouldn't scare anyone away from the matchup.
Juan Soto, WAS at BAL ($4,700): That Soto is the most expensive bat on the slate speaks volumes; he's been $1,000 cheaper as recently as a month ago. He's simply that hot, homering five times since the All-Star Break, adding 12 hits, 12 RBI, eight runs scored and six walks in six games. We know the ball flies at Camden Yards, and O's starter Jorge Lopez isn't one to shy away from despite some oddly favorable LvR splits at home.
George Springer, TOR at NYM ($4,000): Springer is simply hot, seeming to get his timing down finally after multiple injuries early in the year. He's been worth at least 15.2 FDP in four straight while not being dependent on the long ball either. It's always advisable to have some piece of the Jays' loaded offense, and Springer offers upside and a slight discount to Vladimir Guerrero ($4,500).
Freddie Freeman, ATL at PHI ($3,900): Freeman is surging, and his price hasn't caught up to his form. He's batting .410 in 17 July games, earning a .501 wOBA, 215 wRC+ and .295 ISO, homering five times. Yes, I like Wheeler above thanks to the lack of depth in this lineup, but Freeman has enjoyed success against him (18-of-43, 1.203 OPS), walking 14 times in the process. That seems to suggest a stable floor at worst.
David Fletcher, LAA at MIN ($3,300): If you're not able to fit Shohei Ohtani ($4,400), Fletcher makes for a nice fallback piece against J.A. Happ. He's boasting a .401 wOBA and 158 wRC+ against lefties, and has hit safely in a remarkable 29 of his last 30 games. There's no power upside, but hitting atop the lineup, he figures to have ample chances to come around and score.
Jonathan India, CIN vs STL ($3,200): I'm expecting Reds' bats to be heavily targeted against the slate's lowest-priced arm in left Wade LeBlanc. As such, I'll refrain an easy stack and take the likely leadoff hitter with team-best splits against lefties and load up elsewhere. India brings a .396 wOBA and 147 wRC+ against lefties into Friday.
Austin Hays, BAL vs. WAS ($2,900): The O's have some pretty favorable splits against lefties, but the problem is we don't know what we're going to get out of Nat's starter Patrick Corbin, who's had an up and down season. I wouldn't blame anyone for a GPP stack here given the price points. But if needing a one off at a discount, Hays and his .394 wOBA, 153 wRC+ and .221 ISO work. Corbin is allowing a .395 wOBA and 6.89 FIP to righties on the road.
Stacks to Consider
Fried has struggled mightily on the road, allowing carrying a 6.43 ERA (4.91 FIP) outside of Truist Park into Friday, and he's also been vulnerable in the first inning of contests. We'll adjust this as the Phillies lineup becomes available, as they shift often, but we can loosely pencil in these three righties. McCutchen has a .433 wOBA, 173 wRC+ and .315 ISO against lefties, and seems like a lock. Realmuto has only a .352 wOBA, but is 9-of-20 with a 1.405 OPS. Segura's .372 wOBA against lefties is usable atop the order, but he's had issues against Fried historically.
Bubic has been borderline terrific at home, so this sets up for GPPs predominately, but given the price and plus numbers versus lefties, the Tigers are attractive. This is a likely 1-2-3 order stack in a super favorable spot. Schoop has a .406 wOBA, 158 wRC+ and .260 ISO against lefties, with Grossman going .391/149/.245 and Candelario posting a .360/128/.134. Yes, the latter power from Candelario isn't great, but for the tag, there's justifiable upside.