This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Thursday doesn't bring the busiest of nights with seven games making up the main slate on DraftKings. There is no shortage of appealing pitching options, though, which means runs could be difficult to come by in a few games. Let's highlight some players to consider as you build your lineups.
Yu Darvish's ($10,200) first season with the Padres has been a smashing success with him recording a 2.65 ERA and 3.20 FIP. His strikeout rate sits at 30.6 percent, which puts him on pace to have a strikeout rate of at least 30 percent for the third straight season. He's been even better pitching at home, where he has a 2.86 FIP, 0.90 WHIP and 33.5 percent strikeout rate. That's where he'll take the mound for his matchup with the Nationals, who are sporting a depleted lineup with Kyle Schwarber (hamstring) on the IL.
The Mets have to be thrilled with the initial returns from Taijuan Walker ($8,400), who has a 2.44 ERA and a 3.06 FIP through 15 starts. He's normally done a good job of keeping hitters inside the ball park and he's taken that to another level this season, allowing just 0.6 HR/9. Even his strikeout rate has jumped up to 25.9 percent, which is four percentage points higher than his career mark. He has an excellent opportunity to keep things rolling versus the Pirates, who have the worst OPS in baseball.
Alek Manoah's ($6,800) salary seems to be way too cheap. Yes, the last time he played the Orioles in Baltimore, he allowed five runs over 3.1 innings. However, he's allowed two or fewer runs in five of his seven starts, accumulating a 29.1 percent strikeout rate along the way. There's the potential for significant value here.
The duo of Jesse Winker ($5,300) and Nick Castellanos ($5,200) have helped propel the Reds to ranking inside the top-10 in baseball in runs scored. Not only have they both hit for power, but they have a .401 wOBA and a .412 wOBA, respectively. They are appealing options for a matchup against Adrian Houser ($7,000), who has followed up his 1.50 WHIP last season with a 1.35 WHIP this year. He also doesn't miss many bats, recording only a 20.8 percent strikeout rate for his career.
Dominic Smith ($3,900) was one of the anchors of the Mets lineup last season, posting a .299 ISO and a .412 wOBA. He hasn't been able to build on those stellar numbers, recording a .143 ISO and a .315 wOBA this season. His strikeout and walk rates remain similar to last season, but his hard-hit rate has dropped from 46.7 percent to 39.1 percent. On the bright side, he's shown signs of getting back on track, hitting 17-for-54 (.315) with three home runs and two doubles over his last 17 games. That could make him someone to consider for his matchup against the Pirates and JT Brubaker ($6,500).
Harold Ramirez ($3,400) isn't a great source for power considering he has six home runs all season. Four of them have come over his last 26 games, which was a stretch that also saw him hit 25-for-89 (.281) with just a 14.4 percent strikeout rate. Add in his .354 wOBA against left-handed pitchers this year and there's a possibility that he provides value against Danny Duffy ($7,400) and the Royals.
Stacks to Consider
It's not that difficult to make a case for stacking against the Orioles on a nightly basis. Their starting rotation has been awful, with Akin's performance being no exception. His ERA is a bloated 7.46 and his FIP isn't all that much better at 5.34. Allowing 2.0 HR/9 to go along with a 1.68 WHIP is a deadly combination. While his salary will do a number on your budget, Guerrero is as appealing as it gets with his .338 ISO and .464 wOBA.
Alzolay hasn't exactly been awful, but there is plenty of room for improvement given his 4.48 ERA and 4.98 FIP. He's been done in by the long ball, allowing 2.0 HR/9. That could be his downfall against this powerful trio. While Hoskins continues to hit for a low average, he brings plenty of power to the plate with his career .255 ISO.
The Tigers don't have many dangerous hitters in their lineup, but this matchup against Happ makes them an intriguing stacking option. Happ's tenure with the Twins has been a disaster with his 6.09 ERA and 5.44 FIP. He's not missing many bats with his 17.6 percent strikeout rate, which could be partly to blame for his 1.50 WHIP. Schoop is an ideal option to build any Tigers stack around given his .376 wOBA against left-handed pitchers this season.