This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
There are no day games in baseball Friday, which leaves us with a packed evening slate on DraftKings. Let's get right down to business and highlight some pitchers and hitters who could thrive based on their respective matchups.
Not much of a case needs to be made to deploy Max Scherzer ($11,400) in DFS. He's having another fantastic season, recording a 2.34 ERA and a 3.19 FIP. After an uncharacteristically high 1.38 WHIP last season, he's back to his old ways with a 0.82 WHIP this year. His 36.5 percent strikeout rate is even on pace to be the highest mark of his career. With a matchup against a Phillies team that entered Thursday with the fourth-most strikeouts in baseball, Scherzer could once again shine.
Speaking of pitchers who miss a lot of bats, Freddy Peralta ($10,400) has been just as good as Scherzer this season with a 37.2 percent strikeout rate. Peralta's WHIP is also a sparkling 0.92, which has contributed to his 2.38 ERA and 3.01 FIP. Add in a matchup against a struggling Diamondbacks squad and Peralta is an appealing option.
Working our way down to a pitcher with a cheaper salary, Cody Poteet ($6,600) could provide value. He's looked sharp since being called up, posting a 2.95 ERA and a 3.13 FIP. He was beat up in his last start when he allowed five runs over 4.1 innings, but that came on the road against a very tough Red Sox lineup. He will he facing a much easier foe here in the Pirates, who entered Thursday with the second-worst OPS in baseball.
Keegan Akin ($4,600) made his first start of the season last weekend against the White Sox and limited them to one run over 4.2 innings. However, he did allow seven base runners, which has been a problem during his brief career given his 1.40 WHIP. He also had a 1.52 WHIP at Triple-A in 2019. In an effort to exploit this matchup, consider Jose Ramirez ($5,100), who has been one of the lone bright spots in Cleveland's lineup given his .279 ISO and .371 wOBA.
Until Luis Castillo ($7,300) shows signs of turning things around, he might be someone to attack in DFS. He's allowed at least four runs in seven of his 11 starts, leaving him with a 7.22 ERA to go along with a 1.78 WHIP. This could be a night to deploy Tyler O'Neill ($4,200), who entered Thursday with a .336 ISO and a .391 wOBA.
Staying with the Cardinals' matchup against Castillo, Dylan Carlson ($3,400) might also be someone to consider. He entered Thursday with a 23.1 percent strikeout rate, which is a significant improvement over his 29.4 percent rate last season. That's helped propel him to hit .279 with a .347 wOBA.
Why does Nick Castellanos ($3,900) have a salary this low? He entered play Thursday on an 18-game hitting streak that saw him hit 32-for-69 (.464) with three home runs and eight doubles. He doesn't exactly have a tough matchup, either, against Kwang Hyun Kim ($7,000) and his 1.41 WHIP. This almost feels too good to be true.
Stacks to Consider
After King had mostly pitched well out of the bullpen, the Yankees turned to him to start last weekend against the Tigers. He struggled mightily, allowing four runs (two earned) over 2.1 innings. Now he has to face a Red Sox lineup that entered Thursday with the third-highest OPS in baseball. Martinez has been leading the charge for them with his .405 wOBA.
After pitching well out of the gate, Gray has a 4.73 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP over his last six starts. He only registered 6.4 K/9 during that stretch and also issued 12 walks across 32.1 innings. His career 23.4 percent strikeout rate doesn't exactly help his cause at Coors Field, which is where he will make this start. Olson has been one of the driving forces behind the A's lineup, entering Thursday with a .393 wOBA and a 16.7 percent strikeout rate that is more than eight percentage points lower than his career mark.
Keller pitched five scoreless innings in his last start, but it came at home against a Rockies lineup that is flat-out anemic on the road. Even with that stellar performance, he still has a 6.54 ERA and a 1.69 WHIP, although his FIP has been better at 4.49. This matchup may create a rare opportunity to deploy a Marlins stack. Their lineup is certainly more dangerous now that Marte is back. He entered Thursday with a robust 12.6 percent walk rate, which has resulted in his .413 wOBA.