DraftKings MLB: Friday Picks
DraftKings MLB: Friday Picks

This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.

Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please. Pinch-hitting for Derek VanRiper is Todd Zola.

We're looking at a typically full Friday slate with all 15 games under the lights. There's a little something for everyone with usable pitching in all price ranges, including a rookie making his MLB debut.

There's a couple of places to look for stacks (Rockies in Arlington and Dodgers at home) but this could be a night to use a few mini-stacks in lieu of focusing on one team.

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Pitcher

Corey Kluber, CLE vs. MIN ($12,000) – There's ample lesser-priced pitching to lock Kluber in for cash play. After beginning the season a little light in the strikeout department, Kluber is back to his dominant self, fanning 42 over his last five outings, spanning 34.1 innings. The Twins offense is league average, in terms of both strikeout percentage and weighted on base average (wOBA) versus righties. This plays fine for cash though it does limit Kluber's upside in tournament play.

James Paxton, SEA vs. BOS ($10,000) – One of the oddest statistical anomalies to this point of the season is the fact the Red Sox are the ninth lowest club in terms of wOBA versus southpaws with a healthy 25 percent strikeout rate. Yet, are you comfortable starting a left-hander against the likes of Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts? This sure seems like a spot to get low ownership on one of the better pitchers on the board for GPP action.

Ross Stripling, LAD vs. SFG ($9,100) – Imagine the funny looks you would have received back in the spring if you claimed on June 14, Stripling would be the best starter in the Dodgers rotation. Well, that's the case and he draws an offensively challenged Giants squad, without Evan Longoria. Stripling's 30.1 percent strikeout rate and 4.6 percent walk rate are both elite. The Giants 25 percent strikeout clip puts Stripling in play in all formats.

Zack Godley, ARI vs. NYM ($7,200) – Godley's walk rate continues to be a huge concern… against most lineups. The Mets have pushed across a mere 13 runs in their last dozen games. That's not good. Godley isn't safe enough for cash but he can be deployed in GPP, especially since late games usually get less ownership, even those played in venues with a retractable roof.

Reynaldo Lopez, CHW vs. DET ($6,700) – There's a lot of good fortune baked into Lopez's 3.26 ERA, including a paltry .8 HR/9 despite being a fly ball pitcher in a venue favoring the long ball. That said, the Tigers tote the league's worst home run rate versus righties into Guaranteed Rate Field. At this price, it's worth risking the regression monster stays away another day in GPP play.

Seth Lugo, NYM at ARI ($6,400)Paul Goldschmidt and the Diamondbacks offense has awoken from their season-long slumber. Still, with this discount, Lugo is another cheap option to pair with Paxton in tourneys, leaving ample budget for a couple elite sticks. Length shouldn't be a problem as the reliever-turned starter worked six frames his last time out against the Yankees, punching out eight.

Jonathan Loaisiga, NYY vs. TAM ($5,600) – Speaking of the Bronx Bombers, Loaisiga will be summoned from Double-A Trenton to make his MLB debut. The 23-year old righty has only pitched 25 innings in the Eastern league, fanning a robust 32 with just three free passes. He's not likely to work deep into the game, but that's fine at this price. Obviously, he's GPP only, best suited for those playing multiple lineups.

Catcher

Austin Barnes, LAD vs. SF ($2,800) – It's not a sure thing Barnes will play, but he has been facing southpaws lately and Derek Holland will be on the hill. Hitting eighth is a problem in cash games, though with the state of the position, and few options on tonight's slate, I may make an exception and use Barnes even in cash. If you're willing to pay up, Tucker Barnhart in the two-hole against Chad Kuhl is the prime cash option.

Alternatives: Tucker Barnhart, CIN at PIT ($3,200), Chris Iannetta, COL at TEX ($3,500), Kevan Smith, CHW vs. DET ($2,800)

First Base

Joey Gallo, TEX vs. COL ($4,000) – Gallo is in a power drought, reflected in his price. He faces righty Chad Bettis who has surrendered homers in five of his last six games, including six over his last three outings. Even while slumping, Gallo has been hitting fifth or sometimes sixth which is fine for GPP action. If you want a safer cash choice, leaving salary to use Kluber, Yonder Alonso facing Kyle Gibson is the call.

Others to consider: Eric Thames, MIL vs. PHI ($4900), Jose Abreu, CHW vs. DET ($4,000), Yonder Alonso, CLE vs. MIN ($3,500)

Second Base

Yoan Moncada, CHW vs. DET ($3,700) – One of the benefits of using a hitter against the Tigers is eventually they'll have to turn to their bullpen, ranked in the bottom third of the league. Detroit is starting Mike Fiers who has pitched well lately, but we've seen this before. Moncada is a dual threat, capable of scoring points with his muscle or speed. Hitting leadoff, he's in play for cash as well as GPP, though Enrique Hernandez hitting clean-up against Derek Holland is a safer option.

Alternatives: DJ LeMahieu, COL at TEX ($4,600), Enrique Hernandez, LAD vs. SF ($3,300)

Third Base

Nolan Arenado, COL at TEX ($4,900) – If you're paying up for any batter, it has to be Arenado. Southpaw Yohander Mendez is coming up from Triple-A Round Rock to fill in for the injured Doug Fister. In 10 games for the Express, Mendez posted a rather high 5.29 ERA and 1.80 WHIP, serving up 10 long balls in just 51.1 frames. The cost-efficient cash game option is Colin Moran batting clean-up against Matt Harvey.

Alternatives: Justin Turner, LAD vs. SF ($4,000), Colin Moran, PIT vs. CIN ($3,200)

Shortstop

Dansby Swanson, ATL vs. SD ($3,900) – There's not a lot of value at shortstop on Friday's slate with the surging Swanson the best moderately priced option as he enjoys the platoon edge from the two-hole with southpaw Clayton Richard on the hill. If you can pay up, Trevor Story makes a great two-man stack with Arenado.

Alternatives: Trevor Story, COL at TEX ($4,900), Marcus Semien, OAK vs. LAA ($3,800)

Outfield

Matt Kemp, LAD vs. SF ($4,200) – There was no way Kemp could keep up his torrid pace and sure enough, he's slowed in June but he remains dangerous, especially against a middling southpaw like Derek Holland.

Aaron Altherr, PHI at MIL ($3,300) – Stacking against the Brewers is risky. If the starter manages to get through five, Milwaukee's bullpen is lights out. However, using a one-off as a cash play is fine, especially when the starter is Brent Suter. The idea is the Phillies will do ample damage to keep Josh Hader and company out of the game so Altherr also gets a couple hacks against the lesser bullpen arms.

Mark Canha, OAK vs. LAA ($3,300) – With some pricey infielders, here's another cost-efficient cash play, usually hitting second against southpaws. Tyler Skaggs will take the hill for the Angels, giving Canha the platoon advantage at a friendly price.

Alternatives to consider: Shin-Soo Choo, TEX vs. COL ($4,600), Corey Dickerson, PIT vs. CIN ($3,900), Lonnie Chisenhall, CLE vs. MIN ($3,200)

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. Todd Zola plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: ToddZ, Fanduel: ToddZ.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Todd Zola
Todd has been writing about fantasy baseball since 1997. He won NL Tout Wars and Mixed LABR in 2016 as well as a multi-time league winner in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. Todd is now setting his sights even higher: The Rotowire Staff League. Lord Zola, as he's known in the industry, won the 2013 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Article of the Year award and was named the 2017 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year. Todd is a five-time FSWA awards finalist.
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