This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Thursday brings a limited slate in baseball, which includes just five games making up the main evening slate on DraftKings. Let's dive into the teams who are scheduled to take the field and highlight some players to consider adding to your entries.
Walker Buehler ($10,000) is by far the biggest name pitcher for this slate. He's been a steady contributor out of the gate, pitching exactly six innings and allowing two or fewer runs in each of his first three starts. He only registered 12 strikeouts across 18 innings, but his performance in that department should improve as the season moves along based on his career 28.1 percent strikeout rate. Even though facing the Padres is no easy task, Buehler should still be a popular option.
It's difficult to get excited about any of the other pitchers for this slate. With that being said, one viable option could be Aaron Sanchez ($7,100). He hasn't allowed more than two runs in any of his first three starts, which included limiting the Marlins to one run across 4.2 innings in his last outing. He'll face them again Thursday, and he'll be doing so with the Marlins' best hitter, Starling Marte (ribs), on the IL.
Alex Cobb ($7,700) has never been a big strikeout pitcher, so it's surprising to see him having registered 17 strikeouts across 11.2 innings in his first two starts. He likely won't be able to sustain that level of success, but he could still be a viable option for his matchup with the Astros. Their lineup isn't as fearsome with George Springer now a member of the Blue Jays and they could also be without Jose Altuve, who has remained in the league's health and safety protocols.
Kris Bryant ($4,500) should be considered a top target whenever a left-handed pitcher is on the mound. Even with his struggles last season, he still had a .374 wOBA against lefties. For his career, he has a .415 wOBA against them. He won't exactly be facing an overwhelming one, either, in Joey Lucchesi ($6,500), who has a career 4.16 FIP and 24.4 percent strikeout rate.
The Mariners have to be thrilled with how Mitch Haniger ($4,100) has played after missing all of last season. He hasn't skipped a beat, posting a .260 ISO and a .382 wOBA. His strikeout rate sits at 23.1 percent, which is nearly identical to his career mark. Look for him to keep things rolling against Nick Pivetta ($7,400), who has a 1.44 WHIP for his career.
Staying with the Mariners' matchup against Pivetta, Kyle Lewis ($3,100) is also appealing. He missed the start of the season with a knee injury, finally making his debut Tuesday against the Dodgers. The young outfielder is off to an impressive start to his career, posting a .211 ISO and a .349 wOBA through his first 321 plate appearances. His promising young teammate Taylor Trammell ($3,400) could be another Mariner with a cheap salary to consider based on how poorly Pivetta has pitched.
Stacks to Consider
Dunn, a former first-round pick for the Mets, has had a tough time keeping men off base, leaving him with a 1.39 WHIP for his career. His 19.3 percent career strikeout rate likely isn't doing him any favors, either. This is a tough matchup against a loaded Red Sox lineup, which has been led by Martinez in the early going. Bogaerts is also swinging a hot bat, following up his 130 wRC+ from 2020 with a 180 wRC+ entering Wednesday.
Williams isn't much more than a back-of-the-rotation pitcher who can help eat up innings. He doesn't exactly pitch well in those innings, though, finishing both of the last two seasons with an ERA of at least 5.38 and a FIP of at least 5.12. He allowed a WHIP of at least 1.41 in both of those campaigns and is on a similar path this season with a 1.60 WHIP through three outings. Smith and Alonso bring the power to this stack while Nimmo is an on-base machine, posting a career .394 mark in that category.