This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
With no day games on the schedule Friday, we have a packed night of games to choose from on DraftKings. Let's get right down to business and highlight some players to consider as you build your entries.
Not much has gone right for the Yankees this season, but at least Gerrit Cole ($10,500) has still been his dominant self. Through 31.2 innings, he has a whopping 50 strikeouts, while issuing only three walks. He's coming off of back-to-back seasons with a WHIP under 1.00 and could dominate a Tigers lineup that entered Thursday with the worst OPS (.635) in baseball.
The Marlins are loaded with talented young starting pitchers, one of which is Pablo Lopez ($7,800). He's trying to prove that his excellent performance during the shortened 2020 season was no fluke, posting a 2.93 ERA and a 3.05 FIP through his first five outings. His strikeout rate has increased each season of his career, so maybe he can come close to sustaining his current 28.6 percent rate. Look for him to try and take advantage of a Nationals lineup currently without Juan Soto (shoulder).
Andrew Heaney ($6,800) was shelled in his first start of the season, allowing seven runs over three innings against the White Sox. However, he's rebounded to allow a total of three runs across his last three starts. He also had 25 strikeouts across 17/2 innings during that stretch. His strikeout prowess is noteworthy given that he will be facing a Mariners team that entered Thursday tied for the fifth-most strikeouts in baseball.
Robbie Ray ($6,600) has a 28.5 percent strikeout rate for his career, but his lack of control has held him back. He has an 11.0 percent walk rate, leaving him with a career 1.38 WHIP. Also, he's allowed at least 1.6 HR/9 in back-to-back seasons. Ronald Acuna ($5,600) is an appealing option most nights, but he really stands out based on this matchup.
Whenever Kris Bryant ($4,800) is facing a left-handed pitcher, he has to at least be on your radar. For his career, he has a .417 wOBA against them. Not only will he face a lefty Friday, but he will be up against Wade Miley ($7,400), who has a 1.38 WHIP for his career.
Going back to the Braves' matchup against Ray, Austin Riley ($4,000) is also someone to consider. He has a .302 ISO and a .343 wOBA against left-handed pitchers during his brief career. Also, he's shown an improved eye at the plate this season, entering Thursday with an 11.8 percent walk rate.
Gio Urshela ($3,600) has become a different player since joining the Yankees. He went from being more known for his defense to posting a .365 wOBA since joining the team in 2019. He's one of the few Yankees off to a good offensive start this season and could provide value in a matchup against Tarik Skubal ($6,100), who enters with a 1.58 WHIP.
Stacks to Consider
After struggling to establish himself with the Mets, Flexen pitched in the KBO in 2020. Now a member of the Mariners, he has a 2.74 ERA and a 2.61 FIP through his first four starts. However, his WHIP sits at 1.35. That was an area that he struggled with in New York, evident by the fact that his career WHIP sits at 1.93. This will be a tough trio for him to retire considering they each hit for average and power. Walsh might not garner the headlines that Trout and Ohtani do, but he's off to an excellent start with a 174 wRC+.
Webb is coming off of an impressive start against the Marlins in which he pitched seven shutout innings. However, even with that start, he still has a 1.57 WHIP this season. That's been his problem throughout his tenure in the majors given his career 1.53 WHIP. His inability to keep runners off base could be a recipe for disaster against the Padres' potent lineup. Hosmer is a great option with a right-handed pitcher on the mound, given that he has a career .352 wOBA against them, as opposed to a .290 wOBA versus lefties.
Smyly's tenure with the Braves is off to a rocky start. He's allowed at least four runs in each of his three starts, including a whopping six home runs. He's allowed 1.5 HR/9 for his career, so his struggles in that area should not come as a surprise. All three of these Blue Jays' hitters bring plenty of power to the plate, while Springer also stands out as a top option based on his career 147 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers.