This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Saturday's five-game evening slate is made even tougher by the fact the two most dominant pitchers on the docket are facing top offenses, but we can still find plenty of arms and bats to fill our lineups.
Zack Greinke ($8,700) has been undeniably mediocre to start the season, striking out just 10 batters in 17.2 innings en route to a 4.08 ERA. What's worse is there isn't any clear sign from his peripherals that a correction is coming. His swinging-strike rate sits at eight percent while his xERA is in line with the actual mark (4.21). So why does Greinke get my recommendation here? Because he draws the Mariners, who are a bottom-five team against right-handers when it comes to strikeout rate (29 percent) and isolated power (.109). This makes the veteran more than worthy of a look on a short slate, particularly when we consider he still has one effective pitch (the curveball).
Dane Dunning ($7,500) tore through the White Sox minor league system in 2017 and 2018, culminating in a solid cup of coffee in the majors last year that saw him post a 3.97 ERA and 35 strikeouts across 34 frames. That early promise may be showing itself in 2021, as Dunning has logged 11 strikeouts in his first nine innings (two starts) while walking just two batters and allowing one run. Baltimore's hot offensive start fizzled in a hurry, as the club now finds itself sporting a bottom-five wOBA and strikeout rate against righties.
Trevor Cahill ($6,900) has experienced issues with walks and homers for the majority of his career, but the good news is that the incredibly high strikeout rate that accompanied his 2020 campaign seems to have returned this year with 12 punchouts over his first two starts. The Brewers have been one of the worst offensive teams at home this season, as we can see from the .258 wOBA, .084 ISO, and 28 percent strikeout rate they have posted at Miller Park in 221 plate appearances.
It's tempting to write-off Nelson Cruz's ($5,800) eye-popping .624 wOBA against southpaws as a product of small sample size, but it must be noted he has been obliterating his opposite hand to a similar degree since at least 2019 when he notched a breathtaking .464 ISO in 115 at-bats. Jose Quintana ended 2020 with strong peripherals. And while he has been decidedly unlucky in allowing nine runs in five innings over his first two starts (.556 BABIP), he has still surrendered a bloated 50 percent hard contact rate over that span.
After a subpar 34 games in 2019, Jared Walsh ($4,900) announced his presence with authority in 2020 with a .293/.324/.646 slash line from 99 at-bats. The power remains present early this year (.324 ISO), but he also seems to have improved his eye at the plate by notching a 9.3 percent walk rate. Matt Shoemaker's trouble keeping the ball in the yard that cropped up last season seems to have followed him to 2021 with three homers allowed in his first 11 innings.
It looked as though a year in the KBO did the trick for Chris Flexen after he tossed five scoreless innings against the Giants in his first start of the year, but the 26-year-old came back to earth a bit against the Twins by giving up six runs (five earned) over five frames. Carlos Correa ($4,800) hasn't put the ball in play much against same-handed opposition this year, but he has made his contact count with a .320 ISO in 25 at-bats.
Prospective poolies should temper their expectations somewhat in regard to the power of Phillip Evans ($3,700) as the 28-year-old has never put up anything close to the .289 ISO he currently carries in his professional career. He still has always gotten on base and has improved his hard contact rate every year in the majors, so there is plenty to like about him at this salary. Meanwhile, Brett Anderson has yielded a .571 slugging percentage in 9.1 innings against right-handed hitters.
Mitch Haniger ($3,500) remains one of the most underrated assets in DFS circles, as he appears to be working on his fourth consecutive season with an ISO north of .200. He has hit the ground running in this pursuit by logging a .623 ISO in 53 at-bats. This should be music to the ears of those who don't trust that Greinke is ready to return to form, as he has allowed a .571 slugging percentage in 11 innings to righty bats.
The news that Cody Bellinger will be placed on the injured list with a fracture in his calf wasn't met warmly by most in the fantasy baseball universe, but DFS players can take heart in knowing Zach McKinstry ($3,100) and the .500 ISO he has produced in 22 at-bats against righty pitching will have an everyday spot in the lineup for at least a little longer. Yu Darvish has been his dominant self in 2021, but has had some trouble with left-handed hitters along the way by allowing a .487 slugging percentage in 10.2 innings.
Stacks to Consider
High walks and strikeouts have been the calling card of Kremer for most of his career. And while he made it work in the minor leagues, the 25-year-old has been greeted rudely at the highest level by logging a career 6.20 ERA in six starts between 2020 and 2021. Contrary to what may be expected, Gallo has not been the power hitter in this stack so far this year. That honor belongs to Nate Lowe, who has contributed a .345 ISO against right-handers over 29 at-bats.
While Quintana may not be entirely to blame for his poor performance so far this season, it's worth throwing bats against him to see if he has righted the ship. Donaldson may be hard to trust due to his injury history, but the veteran likely won't stay at this salary for long as he gets rolling. Donaldson traditionally takes better swings against right-handed pitchers, but still ended 2020 with a .200 ISO against southpaws in limited at-bats.