This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Thursday's five-game main slate forces us to dig in order to find quality matchups, but values exist across all price ranges if one knows where to look, making this a deceptive slate in terms of edge. On the hitting side, in particular, we can find more than a couple of bats with the ability to leave the yard under $4,000.
Yu Darvish, CHC vs. MIA ($9,700): It's no shock that Darvish would end up here, but the pricing pleasantly surprises me, as Darvish's salary hasn't been below $10,000 for any of his last 10 outings. The 34-year-old finished the regular season with a 2.11 ERA and 30 percent strikeout rate through 12 starts, and the Marlins held a bottom-5 mark against right-handed pitching according to wOBA. They also tallied a top-10 strikeout rate against righties.
Ian Anderson, ATL vs. CIN ($7,500): Anderson represents another fairly obvious play for the money, as he finished 2020 with a sparkling 1.91 ERA and 30 percent strikeout rate, with a heavy groundball rate (53 percent) thrown in for good measure. The Reds were a middle-of-the-road team against right-handers during the season but kept a strikeout rate around 26 percent against them in 1,545 plate appearances. It should also be noted that the Reds struggled mightily away from Great American Ball Park, registering a bottom-5 wOBA on the road.
Mitch Moreland, SD vs. STL ($5,000): Placing Moreland among the better power hitters in the league may seem strange, but that aptly describes the veteran against right-handed pitching, as he logged a .315 ISO against his opposite hand in 111 at-bats. Adam Wainwright had an impressive season on the mound but still allowed seven home runs to lefty hitters in just 32.1 frames.
Tim Anderson, CWS at OAK ($4,900): Anderson's prowess against lefty pitching was a thing to behold in 2020. He finished the year sporting an incredible .551 ISO and .606 wOBA in 49 at-bats. Sean Manaea was undeniably tough in September after a rough start to the year but still finished with a 40 percent hard contact rate against right-handed bats.
Jake Lamb, OAK vs. CWS ($3,300): Nothing about Lamb's season-long profile would inspire confidence that he could be a strong DFS play, but something clicked after he was acquired from the D-Backs in mid-September, as he went on to notch a .271 ISO and a .372 wOBA in 48 at-bats during the final month of the season. Dane Dunning finished his rookie year with a respectable 3.97 ERA but also owned a 5.37 xFIP against lefty hitters.
Dylan Carlson, STL at SD ($2,900): Carlson's 21-point day on Wednesday didn't come out of nowhere, as the rookie ended the year with a .286 ISO over 41 at-bats in September. This makes him an incredibly attractive play at this price against Zach Davies, who logged a 4.71 xFIP against lefty hitters in 34.1 frames.
Stacks to Consider
There's no denying that the Padres are a tough team to stack Thursday, as Profar represents the only left-handed bat under $5,000, but they have more than enough power to exploit the homerun-allowing tendencies of Wainwright we discussed earlier. This is particularly true of Cronenworth, who notched a .265 ISO against righty pitching this season.
The A's don't seem to have many impressive bats up front, but digging deep can allow us to save some money with powerful hitters to attempt to exploit the rookie. Grossman is a perfect example of someone to roster for this purpose due to the .260 ISO he logged in 146 at-bats against righty pitching this year.