This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
We're treated to 13 games in our main contest Friday evening as the season's second-half gets underway. And while most arms should be rested, many teams are still determining how they'll set up their rotation for the coming weeks. As of Thursday evening, we are down to four unannounced starters, but it would behoove all to continually check starting arms as much as bats leading up to lock. This figures to be as fluid of a slate as we'll experience this year, which further manifests itself by a plethora of top priced arms having matchups with top offenses.
And who knows what's happening with Yankees-Red Sox. I'm omitting them given the circumstances.
Robbie Ray, TOR vs. TEX ($9,800): As just mentioned, there isn't a clear, must have pay up arm. It came down to Ray or Sean Manea ($9,500) for me, as the opponents profile almost identically (.306 wOBA, 23.6 percent K rate for Texas, .301 wOBA, 23.4 percent K rate for Cleveland). Ray went into the break in better form however, with double-digit strikeouts in four of his last seven, resulting in five games of 49 or more FDP. That's the upside we need for the cost.
Charlie Morton, ATL vs. TB ($8,700): I'm pleasantly surprised the tag isn't higher. Morton has fanned at least seven in five straight, earning three wins and four quality starts. The Rays are pesky, and rank 11th with a .319 wOBA against righties, but they also fan 26.6 percent of the time. Morton should have a little extra juice too against his old team.
Michael Wacha, TB at ATL ($7,400): Wącha isn't for the faint at heart, and is a GPP option only, who's arguably overpriced. He's lasted more than 3.2 innings just six times, but twice in his last three where he's fanned 18 across 14.0 innings. He's averaged 29.3 FDP in that stretch, a 3.96x return even at the inflated tag. Mix in a Braves lineup that's without Ronald Acuna, and one we know has a proclivity to swing and miss, and there's potential. There's also the chance Wacha completely implodes.
Chris Flexen, SEA at LAA ($7,000): Flexen is coming off of a 49 FDP outing against these Angeles, where he fanned six across seven innings. He's allowed one for no runs in for of his last five starts, showing a 39 FDP floor in those successes. If we assume Shohei Ohtani is tired, there's a cool path to 4x if not more.
Mookie Betts, LAD at COL ($4,300): Rockies' starter Antonio Senzatela has been very good at home, allowing a .309 wOBA overall, while his batter handedness has varied greatly across parks. But how can we not target at least someone from a top offense in Coors Field? Betts is 5-of-10 against the Rockies' starter with two homers and a double. Give me four ABs, and one of those outcomes, and we win.
Matt Olson, OAK vs. CLE ($3,900): Cleveland starter Eli Morgan's split's are all over the place with regards to home v road, and/or LvR; case in point, Morgan has a 7.20 road ERA but a 2.16 FIP and 1.69 xFIP. As such, I'm not stacking A's, but will take their anchor, whose .383 wOBA, .263 ISO and 13.5 percent K rate against righties should offer stability and upside.
Juan Soto, WAS vs. SD ($3,900): There's reasonable debate on the merits of the Home Run Derby as it relates to second-half surges or plunges. Mark me in the former for Soto. He's always an OBP guy, giving him a stable floor, and he's facing an arm in Chris Paddack that has allowed five homers, 24 runs, and 43 hits across his last 30.1 innings.
Salvador Perez, KC vs BAL ($3,300): Perez is simply a lineup staple against lefties, carrying a .472 wOBA, .391 ISO, 202 wRC+ and 45.7 percent hard hit rate into Friday. He went toe-to-toe with Pete Alonso in Monday's home run derby, and it's not a gamble he carries that power stroke into Friday.
Jake Cronenworth, SD at WAS ($2,800): Cronenworth's .353 wOBA isn't top notch, but in an LvR matchup, it should play well, especially against an arm in Erick Fedde, who is allowing a .369 wOBA to lefties on the road against a .243 spot to righties. The All-Star had three multi-hit games in seven leading up to the break, and doesn't need that success to return at a sub-3k tag.
Stacks to Consider
Cease hasn't been vulnerable regardless of handedness, but the Astros' lefties simple tee off on opposite handed bats. Brantley is the cheapest, yet leads the way with a .404 wOBA and 162 wRC+. Tucker and Alvarez bring more upside, going .385/.268 and .383/.250, respectively. The price point makes this stack super appealing, as you could argue each is worth $500 more.
Going all in on an LvR stack here. Rodgers, assuming healthy off the break, has a meager 12.6 percent K rate against lefties, and has the "worst" .386 wOBA and 130 wRC+, while boasting the highest .294 ISO. Hampson sports a .426 wOBA and 156 wRC+ while Cron has a .403/141 slash. Urias allowed four runs across six innings against the Rockies earlier this year, and that outing came in Dodger Stadium.