This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Saturday's six-game evening slate features a few big bats, but we can afford to splurge thanks to a couple of reasonable quality arms. This should open us up to a few early-season standouts, as well as some hitters from the matchup at Coors Field.
It may come as a surprise due to how potent the offense has been overall, but the Dodgers rate as a bottom-5 team against lefty starters according to wOBA while also holding a .135 ISO in 266 plate appearances. Blake Snell ($9.400) has walked far too many batters to start the season, but is always a threat to put up big points thanks to the 34 percent strikeout rate he's logged over 15.1 frames.
Pablo Lopez's ($6,900) salary doesn't make much sense, as he's produced at least 16.9 points in three of his four starts and carries a 3.32 ERA (2.95 xFIP) across 21.2 innings. My confusion mounts when we consider the opposition, as the Giants have a .295 wOBA against right-handed pitching. It's also worth noting San Francisco enters the contest with the league's second-highest strikeout rate (29 percent) and Lopez has K'd 25 batters in 21.2 innings to begin the year.
Speaking of salaries that require an explanation, Kyle Gibson ($6,600) clocks in as one of the lowest-valued pitchers on the slate despite logging a 2.53 ERA in four starts. While his peripherals may not blow prospective poolies away, there's not much in those numbers to suggest the performance is fluky as shown in his 2.36 xERA. The White Sox aren't generally a team you want to go up against in DFS, but I like the matchup for Gibson as a groundball pitcher against an offense that has put the ball on the ground more than any other in the league.
We are taking the name of this section literally for our first selection because Ronald Acuna ($6,400) has been just that good. Through his first 16 games (72 at-bats), Acuna has produced a slash line of .419/.486/.887 with seven homers and three stolen bases. Madison Bumgarner has struggled mightily to open 2021. And while lefty bats have done the most damage, we can certainly take advantage of the .585 slugging percentage he's allowed to opposite-handed hitters in 15.2 frames.
Trey Mancini ($5,100) has yet to hit for average against anyone this season, but the 29-year-old has shown plenty of power against right-handed pitchers as evidenced by the .233 ISO over 43 at-bats. Chris Bassitt has only had one start on the road this year, but didn't do too well away from the cavernous confines of the Oakland Coliseum last season by allowing a .530 slugging percentage across 25.2 innings.
Eduardo Escobar ($4,800) appears to be in full bounce-back mode after a shaky 2020. Nowhere is this more apparent than in his work facing lefties, against whom he has logged a .438 ISO in his first 16 at-bats. Drew Smyly missed a turn through the rotation while recovering from elbow inflammation, but wasn't exactly lighting the world on fire before his stay on the injured list having allowed a .533 slugging percentage against right-handed hitters in eight innings.
After a cup of coffee last year that saw him post just a .248 wOBA in 56 at-bats, Jazz Chisholm ($4,100) has come out of the gate firing this season by notching a .320/.426/.600 slash line in 50 at-bats. Kevin Gausman has done well to keep runs off the board to this point, but a look under the hood suggests that may not continue as he holds a mediocre 4.53 xFIP against left-handed hitters over 10 innings.
It's never a good idea to get too invested in hitters facing Aaron Nola, but Raimel Tapia ($3,000) has tallied a .200 ISO and .379 wOBA against right-handed pitching in 50 at-bats this year. This makes him worth a stab at Coors Field against Nola, whose ERA was nearly two points higher (4.26) on the road last season.
Trevor Bauer has been nothing short of fantastic this year, but the problems he had keeping left-handed hitters in the ballpark seem to have followed him from 2020 as he's allowed three homers across 12 frames against his opposite hand. Eric Hosmer has yet to show off the prodigious power he logged last season, but that may change in short order with a 37 percent hard contact rate against right-handed pitchers in 60 at-bats.
Stacks to Consider
Hoskins and Realmuto are the bats in this stack that will be tasked with doing the heavy lifting against Senzatela, as the right-hander has allowed a .595 slugging percentage to same-handed hitters in 8.1 frames. Maton was expected to return to the bench when Didi Gregorius recovered from his elbow injury, but the 24-year-old is slugging .500 in 12 at-bats and that's likely influenced the decision to keep him in the lineup Friday.
We covered Bumgarner above, but it's hard not to return to the well on a short slate given just how hard the former World Series MVP has been hit this year. Heredia almost certainly won't sustain the .412 ISO he has logged in 33 at-bats this year, but the hot start has seen him moved to sixth in the batting order and worth a punt play at this salary.