This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Sunday's pitching slate was watered down a bit with the unfortunate news Corbin Burnes won't be able to take the hill in what would have been a great matchup against the Dodgers. But that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of things to look forward to on the slate, which will be highlighted below.
Max Scherzer ($9,700) has been dinged by the long ball early on this season, but otherwise has looked like his usual dominant self. He'll draw a home matchup against the Marlins, who are a bottom-10 offense in terms of both strikeout rate and wRC+ this season. Trevor Rogers ($7,900) is an interesting play on the opposite side of the matchup, but the Nationals' lineup has heated up recently by posting a 108 wRC+ while striking out at only a 20.2 percent clip over the last seven days.
It's only based on a few starts, but Tyler Mahle ($7,800) has the highest strikeout rate of any pitcher on the slate at 35.3 percent. His SIERA is slightly less impressive but is still a solid 3.16 – fifth-best today. As the 10th highest-valued pitcher, Mahle represents a potential bargain in the middle tier of the position for an unimposing matchup against the Cubs.
There are two intriguing cheaper options on the slate based on matchup. The first is Garrett Richards ($7,100), who put together a 10-strikeout performance in his last outing against the Mets. He's certainly no lock to replicate that, but the Rangers have been very susceptible to strikeouts and have flashed very little power as a club. Carlos Martinez ($6,800) has quietly put together consecutive strong starts and will now take the mound in one of the league's best pitcher's parks against another poor lineup in Pittsburgh.
Even when he was a strong pitcher, Mike Foltynewicz struggled against left-handed hitters. For his career, he has performed significantly worse without the handedness advantage (1.6 HR/9, .339 wOBA). The Red Sox are a great team to stack, but Rafael Devers ($5,200) stands out among the pack as the top option given Foltynewicz's splits.
Ross Stripling is middle-of-the-pack among pitchers on the slate from a skills perspective and has actually posted a fairly impressive 17.1 K-BB percentage (based on only 8.1 innings). However, he hasn't been able to keep the ball in the yard since 2020 by surrendering 2.3 HR/9 across his last 57.2 innings. Ronald Acuna ($5,500) could be a top hitter on any slate, although he's actually valued at one of his lowest points this season in a park that has supported offensive firepower along with an exploitable pitcher matchup.
The Astros' offense has been clicking on all cylinders to start the season and list a number of hitters who excel against left-handed pitching (more on this later). Alex Bregman ($4,700) will be the pick for this section as he offers a nice floor (.416 wOBA vs. LHP between 2020 and 2021) and ceiling (.265 ISO during that same span).
Alex Kirilloff ($3,000) has announced his presence in the big leagues with a massive weekend performance against the Royals. On top of his raw stat production, Kirilloff has managed exit velocities of 108.4 mph, 106.1mph and 105.5mph. His salary has yet to increase in a meaningful way to reflect this production and now draws a matchup against Brad Keller who has only managed a 2.1 K-BB percentage through five starts this year.
Keep an eye out for Mike Ford ($3,100) in the Yankees lineup. Since the retirement of Jay Bruce and acquisition of Rougned Odor, Ford has split time at first base with DJ LeMahieu. When Ford has gotten the bat in his hand, he's taken advantage by barreling three balls in only 14 batted ball events. If he isn't in the lineup, both Odor ($3,900) and Aaron Hicks ($3,400) offer potential cheap options to get exposure to the Yankees lineup in an exploitable matchup.
Counting on Tony La Russa to do the right thing this season has been a fool's errand, so it's unfortunately no guarantee Andrew Vaughn ($2,600) will be playing today. However, like fellow top prospect Kirilloff, Vaughn has shown signs of breaking out of relatively poor season-long numbers without a corresponding increase in salary.
Stacks to Consider
The Astros have been among the best lineups to begin the season and have particularly crushed southpaws. It may be too early to rely on that sample on a team level, but both Bregman and Gurriel carry a lengthy history of hitting lefties well. As for the third piece, Yordan Alvarez ($4,700) is the preferred option, but he may be difficult to fit in based on the combined stack salary.
The Dodgers' bats are getting healthier and there's a number of potent lefty bats to run out against Bettinger, who will be making his big-league debut. Both Josh Hader and Devin Williams are likely to be unavailable and the rest of the Brewers' pen was worked hard in an extra-inning win Saturday night.
As previously mentioned, Foltynewicz is giving up home runs at a remarkable clip over the past two seasons. The Red Sox offer a number of hitters who can take advantage, spanning from the high-salaried options listed above as well as J.D. Martinez ($5,700). There are also some intriguing salary relief options available, including Franchy Cordero ($2,400) who has been slumping but represents a source of power when able to make contact.