This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Monday brings the start of some exciting series, including the Dodgers hosting the Giants and the Blue Jays taking on the Red Sox. We also have 11 games making up the main evening slate on DraftKings, so let's highlight some players to consider as you work your way through the options.
The Padres are expected to activate Yu Darvish ($9,200) from the IL to start against the Braves. He last pitched July 8, so don't expect him to have any limitations. He also came out of his bullpen session on Saturday fine, saying that he's completely healthy. With his 3.29 FIP and 29.8 percent strikeout rate, he could take advantage of a Braves lineup that is compromised without Ronald Acuna Jr. (knee).
There are a couple of intriguing pitchers with cheap salaries, the first of which is Caleb Smith ($6,600). His 4.54 ERA and 4.90 FIP don't make him an overly appealing option, but his 25.7 percent strikeout rate does indicate that he has some upside. Also working in his favor is a matchup against the Pirates, who have the third-worst OPS in baseball.
Another player with a cheaper salary who might be worth considering in tournament play is Casey Mize ($6,600). Unlike Smith, Mize doesn't have a ton of strikeout upside given his 19.9 percent strikeout rate. The good news is that his WHIP is only 1.14 and he's inducing weaker contact, lowering his barrel rate allowed by four percentage points compared to last season. He also has a favorable matchup against the Rangers, who have the sixth-lowest OPS in baseball.
Ross Stripling ($8,500) was awful last season with a 5.84 ERA and a 6.15 FIP. He's improved dramatically this year, recording a 4.34 ERA and 4.87 FIP. The issue is, he's still having problems keeping hitters inside the park, allowing 1.9 HR/9. That could end up being his downfall against Rafael Devers ($5,800), who has already slugged 22 home runs on his way to a .279 ISO.
Another pitcher who has had problems limiting home runs is Vladimir Gutierrez ($7,400). In his first taste of the majors, he's been taken deep eight times over 50.1 innings. Also, he doesn't miss many bats given his 16.5 percent strikeout rate. This could be an ideal matchup to deploy the powerful Pete Alonso ($5,900). What is also noteworthy with Alonso is that he's cut his strikeout rate down to 20.5 percent, which is five percentage points lower than last season.
Jesse Winker ($4,200) has gone cold, hitting 12-for-83 (.145) over his last 22 games. That has caused his salary to decline to the point where he could be a bargain for his matchup with Jerad Eickhoff ($5,000). After posting a 5.71 ERA and 6.51 FIP for the Phillies last season, Eickhoff has allowed a whopping six home runs across just 12.2 innings this year.
Going back to the Red Sox facing Stripling, Devers might not be the only player on the team to consider. If you want to try and exploit that matchup on the other end of the salary scale, then consider Jarren Duran ($2,300). After posting a .291 ISO and .397 wOBA at Triple-A, the Red Sox have called him up to provide an offensive jolt for their outfield.
Stacks to Consider
Mejia faced the Astros earlier this month and did not pitch well, allowing six runs across four innings. They weren't the only team to give him problems, though, given that Mejia has allowed at least six runs in three of his last four starts. While Brantley doesn't carry the same power upside to the plate that Alvarez and Altuve do, he's an extremely tough out given his 11.1 percent walk rate. Also, he's on pace to record a wOBA of at least .362 for the third straight season.
The Marlins have been hit hard by injuries to their starting rotation and had yet to officially name a starting pitcher for this game as of early Monday morning. They could go with Nick Neidert ($4,000), who has a 1.65 WHIP through five appearances. They could go the bullpen-game route, which would also likely benefit the Nationals. Both scenarios could mean that another big night is coming from Soto, who is 15-for-42 (.455) with five home runs over his last nine games.
Lester's first season with the Nationals has been a disaster with him recording a 5.54 ERA and 5.68 FIP through 14 stats. He's allowed 1.7 HR/9 and has just a 14.1 percent strikeout rate to go with an ugly 9.4 percent walk rate. While the Marlins don't have an imposing lineup, this could still be a matchup to exploit. Duvall is one of the more appealing options for build a Marlins stack around because not only has Lester struggled, but Duvall has a .319 ISO and .384 wOBA on the road this season.