DraftKings MLB: Thursday Picks
DraftKings MLB: Thursday Picks

This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.

PITCHER

James Shields, SD vs. SF ($8,200): Shields has been frustrating to roster at times this season, but he draws a home matchup against a team he regularly dominates. He has held the Giants to a .204 batting average over 25 innings during the last three full seasons, while generating a solid 2.88 ERA and surrendering only one homer to them. He's already extended the trend in 2016, as evidenced by a seven-inning, three-hit outing against San Francisco on April 26 at AT&T Park. Shields also has 17 whiffs over his last 13 innings, and the dangerous triumvirate of Buster Posey, Hunter Pence and Denard Span notably has a collective .125 average against him over 64 career at-bats, with no homers and only two RBI.

Michael Wacha, STL vs. COL ($7,200): Wacha's solid 3.23 ERA is a much better indicator of how effective he's pitched than his ugly 2-4 record. He's fallen victim to a couple of different factors out of his control on more than one occasion, including poor defense in his last start, and the fact that his offense has been blanked in two of his other losses. The Rockies are a solid offense but are always significantly less daunting away from Coors Field, and Wacha has held opposing batters to a .218 average and 2.69 ERA over the last three full seasons at Busch Stadium, while generating a 14-4 record.

CATCHER

Yadier Molina, STL vs. COL ($3,100): Molina has four double-digit fantasy-point outings in the last 10 games, and three other games over that span with at least eight. He's enjoying a terrific season at the plate, slashing .321/.399/.421, as well as a .363 wOBA against right-handed pitching. Meanwhile, righty bats have proven to be Rockies starter Jon Gray's weakness, as he's surrendered a .345 wOBA, four homers and a 30.8 percent hard contact rate to 152 hitters of that handedness.

FIRST BASE

John Jaso, PIT vs. ATL ($3,500): Jaso continues to lead off and draws a potentially fruitful matchup versus Mike Foltynewicz, whose Achilles' heel over his young career has been lefty hitters. The Braves starter has surrendered a .421 wOBA to left-handed bats this season, and a .412 figure in that category to a 267-batter sample in two-plus major league seasons. He's certainly pitched well over his last two starts, but Jaso has continued a career-long trend of mashing righties. He's posting a .343 wOBA against right-handed pitching, and has hit all three homers this season off of them as well. Those numbers fall right in line with the .352 wOBA and the 39 dingers (out of 40) he's blasted over his career against righties.

SECOND BASE

Brandon Phillips, CIN vs. CLE ($3,800): The home run-prone Josh Tomlin takes the hill for the Indians, and we'll try to capitalize with a couple of different players in favorable lineup spots. Phillips has hit five of his six homers against right-handed pitching, while posting a .325 wOBA and 31.1 percent hard contact rate. Those trends fit right into Tomlin's weakness, as he's proven to be a reverse-splits pitcher, surrendering a .333 wOBA and five of the seven homers this season to righties, while yielding a 40 percent hard contact rate.

THIRD BASE

Todd Frazier, CWS vs. HOU ($4,700): Astros starter Colin McHugh has been battered this season, and he has given up a .386 wOBA and 30.7 hard contact rate to right-handed bats. While he's been more vulnerable to the long ball against lefties, Frazier has been on a homer tear since donning a White Sox uniform, blasting 12 dingers and generating a .270 ISO. He's also posted a .348 wOBA and .268 ISO against right-handed pitching and sports a massive ceiling, having tallied fantasy point totals of 16, 17, 23 and 42 in four of his last 10 games.

SHORTSTOP

Zack Cozart, CIN vs. CLE ($3,200): Cozart is the second target against Josh Tomlin and comes with the added benefit of a leadoff role and favorable history against the Indians starter. Cozart has slashed .625/.625/1.000 over eight career at-bats versus Tomlin, including a double and a triple. Tomlin's struggles against right-handed bats are well documented, while Cozart has posted a .332 wOBA and 34.9 percent hard contact rate versus right-handed pitching this season.

OUTFIELD

Carl Crawford, LAD at LAA ($3,000): Crawford makes for what should be a very low-owned tournament play, but he has owned Angels starter Jhoulys Chacin throughout his career. The Dodgers outfielder has slashed .667/.667/.889 over nine career at-bats versus Chacin, with two doubles and a pair of RBI. While he's mostly struggled this season, Crawford does have a .345 wOBA against right-handed pitching throughout his career, while Chacin has given up four of his five homers on the season, 40 percent hard contact rate and 21.1 percent HR/FB rate to the 77 left-handed bats he's faced this year. He's also yielded a .335 wOBA to lefty hitters over his seven-plus major league seasons.

Josh Reddick, OAK vs. NYY ($4,000): Reddick looks to continue his stellar offensive season versus Ivan Nova, against whom he's slashed .364/.364/.818 over 11 career at-bats, with two doubles and a solo homer. Reddick has also decimated right-handed pitching this season overall, tallying a .400 wOBA over 123 plate appearances. While a lot of that success has come on the road, Nova has yielded a .440 wOBA and 46.2 percent hard contact rate to lefty bats on the road this season over a small sample, and a .330 wOBA and 32 percent hard contact rate to them away from Yankee Stadium over six-plus major league seasons.

Adam Eaton, CWS vs. HOU ($4,600): Eaton has been an outstanding play in both cash games and tournaments all season, and he has been swinging a particularly hot bat recently out of the leadoff spot. As much as Colin McHugh has struggled against righties, he's been even worse against lefty bats, surrendering a .397 wOBA, five of his six homers on the season and a 5.01 xFIP over a 103-hitter sample.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Juan Carlos Blanco plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jcblanco22, FanDuel: jc_blanco22, DraftPot: jc_blanco22, FantasyDraft: jc_blanco22, OwnThePlay: jcblanco22.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for close to 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, and the NFL for Rotowire.com, including serving as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' beat writer. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports.
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