This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
A somewhat larger than normal nine-game slate awaits Saturday evening. Four pitchers are priced in five figures, and there's a sharp decline after that, seemingly forcing our hands in paying up on the bump. Only the Padres have not made their pitching intentions clear, so at least we've got 17 options to choose from as of submission. Writing this column on consecutive days is going to lead to similar offensive options, undoubtedly led by a scorching hot Juan Soto.
Corbin Burnes, MIL vs. NYM ($11,100): The choice atop this pitching slate between Burnes and Clayton Kershaw ($11,000) is a pretty easy one for me. Kershaw likely isn't working a ton of innings, and the D'Backs have actually been decent offensively against lefties. The Mets, meanwhile, have just a .308 wOBA and moderate 23.5 percent K rate. Burnes is fanning 12.6 per nine, has gone at least six innings in every game since July 30 and has six quality starts in his last eight outings, suggesting a stable floor with tremendous upside.
Robbie Ray, TOR at MIN ($10,800): He's not coming at much, if any, discount, but if choosing from the second wave of top pitching, Ray makes more sense to me than Lance Lynn ($10,000), who will be facing the Indians for a fourth time, owning a 4.50 ERA against them with just one game over 30 FanDuel points (FDP). The profile is almost identical to Burnes above; he is averaging 11.8 Ks per nine, while the Twins have a .313 wOBA and 23.3 percent K rate against lefties. Ray isn't the most efficient with his pitches, as he's failed to go to five in two of his last three, but still has nine quality starts in his last 11 outings.
Jordan Lyles, TEX at BAL ($8,100): After our top four pitchers, it's really tough to trust the remaining options. We're looking for innings first top hopefully offset any damage they allow, and while I'd feel better if this were a home game and not in hitter-friendly Camden Yards, Lyles has the softest matchup we can find. Baltimore checks in with a .298 wOBA and 86 wRC+ while fanning 24.8 percent of the time. Lyles has been incredibly feast or famine of late, allowing one run of less in three of his last his last six, and 16 total runs in his other three. We'd want less volatility at this price, but given the other options, Lyles does have some GPP upside.
Jaime Barria, LAA vs. SEA ($6,900): I wouldn't normally include a fourth option on this limited slate, but pay-down guys should strongly consider Barria. The Mariners fan 25.5 percent of the time against righties while posting only a .299 wOBA and 93 wRC+. That's awfully similar to the Orioles above. Barria has gone for 25 to 27 FDP in three straight starts, and that is right around a 4x return if he can replicate it again.
Juan Soto, WAS at CIN ($4,500): The price rose from Friday, and Soto had his nine-game hitting streak snapped last night, but he still made 21.6 FDP thanks to three walks. Said it yesterday, and I'll say it today; how do you fade him? He's now been on base 32 times in his last 13 games, scoring seven times in his last three. He's in a hitter friendly park against a fading pitcher. He's just far too hot to not use.
Joey Votto, CIN vs. WAS ($4,100): Staying in the same game, we can rely on Votto to take advantage of Nats' starter Erick Fedde. Votto has been great all year against righties, even more so at home, where he boasts a .459 wOBA, 184 wRC+ and .349 ISO, by far his best splits.
Charlie Blackmon, COL vs. SF ($3,600): Blackmon is looking like his vintage self to close the season. He's got a robust .536 wOBA, 213 wRC+ and .440 ISO against righties at home in September, numbers that play well despite the price rising to about as high as I'd be comfortable considering him. He'll hopefully reach base and give you shares of C.J. Cron and Trevor Story's run production.
Luis Robert, CWS at CLE ($3,500): Cleveland starter Eli Morgan has crazy home/road splits. In Cleveland, he is allowing a .487 wOBA to righties against .329 to lefties, while on the road he surrenders a .234 wOBA to righties and .379 to lefties. He's yet to face the White Sox, so we're left to trust the splits and hope for the best from one of baseball's better offenses. Robert has a .387 wOBA against righties, best amongst Chicago regulars. His .180 ISO is paltry, but he has homered in two straight.
Stack to Consider
Truthfully, I'm not in love with stacking on this slate, but pairing two bats from a couple of lineups makes sense. I also expect we'll see heavy usage from Toronto, San Francisco, Los Angeles (Dodgers) and perhaps even San Diego lineups, so I'm trying to differentiate here a bit. Hill is allowing a moderate .340 wOBA to righties on the road, by far his worst split. Garcia is a fine stand-alone play, posting a team-high .395 wOBA against lefties, adding a .257 ISO. Adames sits at .362/.170, but we've seen him go on power binges before, and he homered last night, his first since coming off the injured list. Escobar's splits don't suggest he's a great target, but we need a third piece for this column, and he gives us a capable bat at a fair price, placed in a lineup spot to do some run producing.