This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
The hitting conversation begins in Colorado on Monday, as offenses in both dugouts look primed for big days. I tried to look for value plays and stacks that were priced way down as a result, in order to help players fit those big bats into their lineups.
Mike Soroka, ATL vs. NYM ($9,400): The Mets have beefed up their offensive statistics at the expense of some mediocre pitching, but it seems as though the team-wide slump may be just around the corner, with star Pete Alonso having notched just a .262 wOBA, and slugger Yoenis Cespedes leaving the team due to Covid-19 concerns. Soroka may not blow teams away with strikeouts, but the young-right hander used his control and heavy groundball profile to post a 2.68 ERA in 174.2 innings and has begun the 2020 campaign allowing just two runs in 11.1 innings. It must also be noted that the Mets have hit the ball on the ground at a 43 percent clip this year.
Frankie Montas, OAK at SEA ($7,200): Montas is another pitcher who rides a heavy groundball rate for success, but he may be an even more appealing option due to the 26 percent strikeout rate the right-hander logged in 96 innings last season. While he hasn't quite found his put-away pitch in 2020, it may be the case that he can use those grounders to control the action, as the Mariners have notched the second-highest groundball rate in the league this season (49 percent).
Trevor Story, COL vs. SF ($5,900): You'll find nearly half the Rockies' batting order in the $5,000 range Monday, but those who can only afford one priced-up hitter would be wise to select Story. The 27-year old has been absolutely unconscious in his 29 at-bats this year, tallying a .414 ISO and .759 wOBA over that span. Story shouldn't be expected to keep numbers like that even in a 60-game season, but he showed incredible power at Coors Field in 2019 as well, as evidenced by the .334 ISO he put up in 296 at-bats. Meanwhile, Johnny Cueto doesn't seem to have found his footing after throwing just 69 innings over the last two seasons. He has allowed five runs and four walks in just 7.2 innings (two starts).
Mike Yastrzemski SF at COL ($5,900): Yastrzemski looks to be out to prove the .245 ISO he posted in 371 at-bats during his rookie campaign was no fluke, as he has come out of the gate in 2020 having tallied a .314 ISO in 35 at-bats. Chi Chi Gonzalez had poor stints at both Triple-A Colorado Springs and the major league level in 2019, having not posted an ERA below 5.00 with either club in a combined 170 innings.
Aaron Judge, NYY vs. PHI ($5,100): Few hitters have been as hot as Judge to begin the year, with the Yankee right fielder having notched six home runs in the past five games, contributing to a monstrous .613 ISO in his first 31 at-bats. Jake Arrieta hasn't had a chance to pitch this year, but the right-hander struggled to keep the ball in the park while on the road last year, as we can see from the 1.8 HR/9 rate he allowed in 71.2 innings.
Stephen Piscotty, OAK at SEA ($3,600): Piscotty hasn't quite found his groove in the early part of the 2020 season but absolutely handled southpaw pitching last year, tallying a .267 ISO and a .419 wOBA in 86 at-bats. Justus Sheffield simply can't find his way after a mostly promising minor league career. The 24-year-old owns a career 6.26 ERA in 41.2 innings at the highest level, having walked a whopping 25 batters over that span.
Nico Hoerner, CHC vs. KC ($3,000): There isn't much to go on with Hoerner at the highest level, but it's easy to like what we have seen so far. Hoerner has hit left-handed pitching well during his cup of coffee with the big club between 2019 and this season and showed power at A-ball with the organization in 2018. This makes him worthy of a shot against Danny Duffy, who has opened the year sporting a 5.79 ERA in his first two starts after logging an xFIP over 5.00 against righty bats last season.
Adam Engel, CWS at MIL ($2,800): Engel has started off hot in 2020 (.318/.348/.591), and did his best work last season against left-handed pitching, logging a .356 wOBA in 83 at-bats. Brett Anderson showed some cracks against right-handed hitters in 2019, allowing a .488 slugging percentage and a 44 percent hard contact rate in 127.1 frames. Anderson dealt with a blister on his pitching hand out of training camp, which could make him a desirable target to see if he is fully healed from the ailment.
Stacks to Consider
It can be a bit scary loading up a stack against Sheffield, as many of the A's haven't been great to begin the 2020 season. I've kept my selections priced down as a result, with the exception of Canha, who has hit the ground running with a .292/.438/.500 slash line in 24 at-bats. Our other bats both performed well against left-handed pitchers in 2019, and I'm betting a matchup with Sheffield is just what they need to get going.
We are fortunate to get such a stack of potential mashers at these prices, as Holland has consistently had trouble keeping the ball in the yard against right-handed hitters, and finished last year with a 6.08 ERA in 84.1 frames. Both Sano and Cruz notched ISOs over .350 (!) against left-handed pitching last season. While Polanco may have had more success with righty starters, he still secured a hard contact rate over 43 percent against lefty hurlers in 196 at-bats.