This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Thanks to nasty weather both Friday and early in the season, there will be a significant amount of baseball throughout Saturday. The main slate offers a healthy eight games, leaving us with plenty of options to work with.
Corbin Burnes ($10,300) stands out as the top pitcher on the slate, and it's not particularly close. He's maintained a strikeout rate above 35 percent across the last two seasons and is the only one to punch out over 30 percent of the batters he's faced in the player pool. Atlanta boasts a talented offense, particularly with Ronald Acuna back, but Burnes has been strong enough to overlook the matchup.
The choices at the position get interesting from there. Pablo Lopez ($10,000) and Sean Manaea ($9,300) face each other and are two of the best pitchers in the second tier. Of the duo, I'd side with Manaea because: 1) he has the easier matchup; 2) he has the better chance of earning a win and; 3) he's cheaper.
After that, there's risk in pretty much every other option. Josiah Gray ($7,400) has racked up DK points so far, but has also allowed multiple walks in every start. He's limited home runs to this point, and he'll have to continue to do so to maintain strong results. A matchup against the Angels is particularly concerning.
If you're looking for a punt and willing to take on risk, Kyle Freeland ($6,400) is the one to target. It's only one start, but he scored 19.1 DK points in his only outing on the road this season. On Saturday, he'll take on an Arizona offense currently in the bottom third of the league in wOBA and the fifth-highest strikeout rate.
Wander Franco ($5,100) has been relatively quiet of late, but that's resulted in a significant salary drop. He draws a matchup against Marco Gonzales, who has allowed 1.9 HR/9 and 18.2 percent strikeout rate over the last two seasons.
I mentioned Gray in the pitcher section as a potentially nice value play. However, his flaws were also noted, which also makes him an interesting pitcher to target. There are a lot of options to choose from in a strong Angels' lineup, though Anthony Rendon ($4,900) is a player I'd like to roster based on the fact he hits immediately behind Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout with a pitcher on the mound who is very prone to walks.
Austin Hays' ($3,200) salary remains befuddling. He's hitting cleanup – albeit in a poor lineup – and has a 75th percentile xwOBA and 80th percentile xBA. He faces Carlos Hernandez, who's managed more walks than strikeouts.
Andrew McCutchen ($3,300) is an auto-play against lefties. He's occupied the leadoff spot in Milwaukee's lineup while maintaining a .429 wOBA against southpaws last year.
Brendan Rodgers ($3,600) has quietly started to turn things around at the plate by collecting multiple hits in four of his last five games. The matchup against Zach Davies has already been covered and is very attackable.
Top Stacks to Consider
It's difficult to recommend any of the Royals' hitters individually because they don't boast particularly powerful bats. The exception is Perez, but his value is prohibitive outside of a stack context. Lyles has given up 1.8 HR/9 across the last two seasons, paired with only an 18.8 percent strikeout rate. The Royals are one of the least strikeout prone teams in the league, and the hope would be they string together several hits and that a few clear the fence.
Gonzales has the golden combo to target with a lack of strikeouts and lots of home runs surrendered. The Rays don't boast a lot of star power, but they have a productive lineup with a few power bats mixed in. The salary is also right, as it would be possible to build a lineup with Burnes, Manaea and this stack.
This is going to be one of the keys to the slate as the Angels are likely to be very popular. Both the merits and drawbacks of Gray have been discussed in this article, so stacking them is a bet that his homer rate from last season will start to return as the weather warms up. In addition to being popular, this group is also extremely expensive, perhaps prohibitively so. You'll definitely need to save salary at pitcher to fit the top of the Angels' order into lineups.