This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Pitching is a bit shallower than one might expect for a nine-game slate, so those trying their hand at DFS on Thursday may be wise to select at least one chalk option to begin their squad. The upshot of this is that there are several pitchers that can be stacked against, allowing players to save money in certain spots.
For those interested, we've started an MLB DFS Slack channel for paid RotoWire subscribers. (There is a season-long one as well.) To join those channels, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cole Hamels, TEX at CWS ($10,800) - The price may seem unreasonable but Hamels has a forgiving matchup Thursday, as Chicago is a bottom-5 team against lefties according to wOBA. They also strike out against southpaws at a 27 percent clip. Hamels has notched a 12 percent swinging strike rate this season and should be able to keep the opposition at bay with his cutter, a pitch the White Sox have notched a bottom-5 RAA against in 2018.
Cheap GPP Consideration: Vince Velasquez, PHI at STL ($7,300) - Velasquez has been hurt by the long ball this season but has been a different pitcher on the road, where he has kept a .316 wOBA against opposing offenses while allowing just two homers in 20.1 innings. The Cardinals have notched a bottom-5 wOBA at home this season, which could allow Velasquez to harness the potential we saw in his last outing against the Giants when he struck out 12 batters in six innings.
GPP Fade: David Price, BOS vs. BAL ($8,400) - Baltimore has performed well against left-handed pitching this year, as evidenced by their .178 ISO and 10 percent walk rate. This could create a problem for Price, who has allowed a .558 slugging percentage over 13.2 innings at Fenway Park while walking nine batters over that span.
John Hicks, DET at SEA ($3,400) - It's tough to glean much from the 17 at-bats Hicks has registered against left-handed pitching this season, but the 28-year-old showed good power against his opposite hand last season notching a .213 ISO in 61 at-bats. Meanwhile, opposing starter Marco Gonzales has allowed a .503 slugging percentage and a 40 percent hard contact rate to right-handed hitters in 34.2 innings this year.
Matt Olson, OAK at TOR ($3,600) - Aaron Sanchez's 4.08 ERA may not raise any red flags but the 25-year-old has walked more left-handed batters than he has struck out this season while surrendering a .476 slugging percentage over 19.1 innings. Olson has shown good power against right-handed pitching (.221 ISO) and becomes an even more intriguing play once we take into account that his 30 percent strikeout rate shouldn't be as much of a concern.
Yangervis Solarte, TOR vs. OAK ($3,400) - Solarte has shown power against both sides of the platoon in 2018, resulting in a .214 ISO. Opposing starter Andrew Triggs has allowed a 43 percent hard contact rate against left-handed hitters while surrendering a .475 slugging percentage on the road through 25.2 innings.
Nolan Arenado, COL at SF ($5,100) - There aren't many reliable third basemen on the docket, which makes me feel comfortable paying a bit more for a player like Arenado on the road. While some may think all Colorado hitters are a product of Coors Field, Arenado has actually done more damage away from home this season, where he has logged a .280 ISO over 75 at-bats. Jeff Samardzija can't seem to get on track in 2018, having allowed at least five earned runs in three of his five starts.
Xander Bogaerts, BOS vs. BAL ($4,300) - Kevin Gausman has performed well on the road to start the season but will carry a glaring weakness into the matchup against the Red Sox, as he has thrown one of the least effective fastballs this season according to RAA (-7.2) while Bogaerts has registered a 4.9 RAA against the heater. The 25-year-old has also logged a .388 wOBA against right-handed pitching in 84 at-bats.
Joey Gallo, TEX at CWS ($4,300) - Gallo has hammered right-handed pitching this season, notching a .267 ISO in 120 at-bats. James Shields owns a 5.77 xFIP against left-handed hitters and has struck out just 15 southpaws over 23 innings, which should allow owners to select the big slugger without having to worry too much about his 34 percent strikeout rate.
Franchy Cordero, SD at PIT ($3,700) - Cordero's power has been a nice addition to the Padres everyday lineup this season. The 23-year-old has logged a .227 ISO against right-handed pitching to go along with a .382 wOBA. Cordero should have every chance to show off his power against Chad Kuhl who has been tagged by lefty hitters to the tune of a .616 slugging percentage in 19 innings.
Teoscar Hernandez, TOR vs. OAK ($3,800) - Hernandez gets the nod as our second recommendation against Triggs due to the tremendous power he has shown against right-handed pitching (.321 ISO in 81 at-bats). Triggs has allowed homers to both sides of the platoon this season, resulting in a 1.6 HR/9 rate in eight starts.