This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Thursday's eight-game main slate features two stacks that really stand out and one high-priced starting pitcher who may not be worth his salary, despite the nice matchup on paper. As with Wednesday's article, I tried to work in a few value bats with my stack recommendations in order to not break the bank.
Dinelson Lamet, SD at SF ($9,200) A late power surge against the bullpen prevented Chris Paddack from reaching his full point potential Wednesday, but we shouldn't let that stop us from picking against the Giants once again, as they are a bottom-10 team against right-handed pitchers according to wOBA, and carry the worst walk rate (2.8 percent) of any team through the first week of the season. This should set up perfectly for Lamet, who always has had a bit of an issue with control but logged a robust 34 percent strikeout rate in 73 innings last season.
Ross Stripling, LAD at ARI ($8,400) Stripling seems too good to be true at this price. The 30-year-old combined strikeouts with control to post a 3.47 ERA in 2019, and came out firing in his first start of this season, allowing just one run while striking out seven batters in seven frames against the Giants. The D-Backs aren't a team that strikes out all that much, but they were a top-10 club when it came to groundball percentage last year, and have opened the new campaign hitting balls on the ground at a 49 percent clip. This bodes well for Stripling if he's unable to fan the world, as he owns a 49 percent groundball rate for his career.
Brady Singer, KC at DET ($6,800) Rolling with rookie pitchers (especially in this environment) is a bit of a gamble, but I like enough of what I see in the profile of Singer to grab him at this price. The Tigers have begun the year as a bottom-half team against right-handed pitching according to wOBA, but our focus should immediately be drawn to the 34 percent strikeout rate the team has tallied in the early days of the 2020 season. Singer has also kept the ball on the ground throughout his minor league career, which should come in handy against a team that has tallied a 49 percent groundball rate.
Pete Alonso, NYM vs. BOS ($5,100) Martin Perez's patented combination of too many walks and not enough strikeouts did not serve him well in his first start as a member of the Red Sox when he allowed five runs (four earned) in five innings against the Orioles. While he has always been good about keeping the ball on the ground, Perez needs to be thought of as a target whenever he takes the mound, as he hasn't recorded an ERA under 5.00 since 2017. Alonso is off to a slow start overall this year, but hit lefties incredibly well in 2019, as evidenced by the .347 ISO he logged in 150 at-bats.
Aaron Judge, NYY at BAL ($4,900) We can almost put Judge in the "value" section Thursday, as he comes in $600 cheaper than Wednesday despite seeing what looks to be a more favorable matchup. John Means' numbers against right-handers in 2019 were fairly solid, but a look under the hood reveals an xFIP of 5.80 against his opposite hand in 116 frames. Judge fared well against southpaws in 2019, tallying a .313 ISO and .459 (!) wOBA in 99 at-bats.
Anthony Santander, BAL vs. NYY ($4,000) Before we all rush out to roster J.A. Happ against the Orioles, it should be noted that Happ struggled against right-handed hitters in 2019, allowing a .503 slugging percentage in 118.1 innings. Santander is hardly a name that will be on many radars, but the 25-year-old tallied a .228 ISO against southpaws last year to go along with a whopping 43 percent hard contact rate.
Albert Pujols, LAA vs. SEA ($3,800) Pujols just keeps chugging along, as the 40-year-old deposited his first home run of the season in Wednesday's contest against the Mariners. While he's clearly not the hitter he once was, we shouldn't forget that Pujols was still dangerous against left-handed pitching in 2019, tallying a .255 ISO and a .340 wOBA in 165 at-bats. Meanwhile, Marco Gonzales finished the 2019 season having notched a 5.08 xFIP against right-handed hitters.
Jorge Soler, KC at DET ($3,600) Soler very quietly mashed same-handed opposition in 2019, as we can see from the .318 ISO and .384 wOBA he put up in 446 at-bats. Ivan Nova is a low-strikeout pitcher with a bit of a home run problem, making him a great matchup for a power hitter like Soler, who is prone to striking out. He finished last season having surrendered a .470 slugging percentage to right-handed hitters.
Stacks to Consider
There's no such thing as a cheap Yankees stack, but I consider it a win that we can select three powerful right-handed hitters against Means for under $5,000. None of our hitters logged an ISO below .240 against left-handed pitching last season, and LeMahieu kept a .443 wOBA in 160 at-bats. Means is making his first start of the season Thursday after battling arm fatigue, which could mean a worse version of the left-hander if he is dealing with any lingering effects.
We get some nice value at the back end of this stack, owing somewhat to the uncertainty surrounding Cespedes. It can be a bit hard to know what Cespedes will do at the plate due to all the time he has missed, but the 34-year-old hammered lefty pitching in 2017, logging a .321 ISO in 78 at-bats. For his part, Davis tallied a .227 ISO and a .378 wOBA against opposite-handed pitchers in 2019.