This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Saturday's 10-game evening slate features powerhouse pitching at the top, but doesn't allow much room to maneuver if prospective poolies want to stay competitive. However, discerning players can find at least one punt option that can allow them to experiment.
Cutting down on the home runs allowed seems to have been the last piece of the puzzle for Kevin Gausman ($9,700), as the 30-year-old has combined his strikeout prowess with control to produce a 1.84 ERA across 117.2 frames. The Pirates make more contact than one might expect, but still hold the eighth-lowest wOBA in the league against right-handed pitchers. It's also worth noting Gausman has held opponents to a .185 wOBA in 48 home innings.
Hyun Jin Ryu ($8,400) endured a rocky start to his summer, but appears to have righted the ship in July with a 2.81 ERA over 16 innings. The Mets represent a powerful offense, although they lose quite a bit of thump when facing a southpaw sporting a bottom-10 wOBA and 25 percent strikeout rate against left-handers.
Carlos Hernandez ($4,600) wasn't able to complete five innings in his first start of the year against the Orioles, but still struck out six batters through four frames and walked away with 13.4 DraftKings points. That strikeout ability should come in handy against the Tigers, who enter with a 26 percent strikeout rate against righties this year. There's always a worry that starts from converted bullpen arms won't give us the necessary length, but Hernandez doesn't have to do a lot to produce a nice return at this salary.
One might think they can explain Kyle Freeland's struggles by pointing out he calls Coors Field home, but the 28-year-old has actually been hit harder on the road this season allowing a .398 wOBA from 23 frames. Justin Turner ($5,600) has hit the ball well against righties and lefties, but has really found his power stroke against his opposite hand with a .257 ISO in 105 at-bats.
There are many different metrics I can choose to describe J.C. Mejia's rough season, but it may be best to point out the 24-year-old has put up single-digit DraftKings scores in eight of his last 10 starts. It appears Nelson Cruz ($5,500) got to Tampa just in time having posted a .256 ISO over 195 at-bats against right-handed pitching.
One disastrous outing in Pittsburgh isn't solely to blame for Taijuan Walker's numbers in July considering he hasn't logged an xFIP below 4.97 in any of his three starts this month. Marcus Semien ($5,600) has shown impressive power against same-handed pitching in 2021 with a .253 ISO across 267 at-bats.
Things haven't exactly worked out for Wil Crowe in his first full season at the highest level with a 6.12 ERA from 32.1 frames. Mike Yastrzemski's ($3,800) overall numbers have taken a hit this year, but the power still exists in his .305 ISO from 210 at-bats against righties.
Jake Woodford's splits are as drastic as they come holding righty bats to a .246 slugging percentage while allowing a .632 mark to lefties over 13.2 innings. Meanwhile, Tyler Naquin ($2,600) has logged a .205 ISO and 42 percent hard contact rate against right-handers in 239 at-bats.
Tony Gonsolin has been able to prevent runs so far this season, but the ax may fall sooner rather than later based on his 5.68 xFIP across 16.1 frames against left-handed hitting. Ryan McMahon's ($3,800) power has largely been absent in July, but he still comes in with a .380 wOBA in 50 at-bats.
Stacks to Consider
Pujols may be the offensive bargain of the slate considering his .300 ISO and a .400 wOBA against lefties in 97 at-bats. The Dodgers offer quite a few bats we can plug in for the purpose of exploiting southpaws, and Pujols allows us to keep our salary for the higher-valued talent.
The Rays have struggled with punchouts this season, but our left-handed bats won't have much to worry about against Mejia and his 7.71 K/9 rate against lefties this year. While we don't have any money-saving options here, Meadows comes in as something of a steal due to his .288 ISO against right-handers over 222 at-bats.