This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Monday provides us with substantially more meat on the bone than the three-game appetizer from Sunday, with nine contests appearing on the 1:05 ET PM main slate. Those focusing on games in the afternoon will want to be wary of rain in Chicago, Minnesota and Cincinnati, but there has been no indication that these games are in danger of being postponed.
Noah Syndergaard, NYM vs. ATL ($11,600): Syndergaard thrust himself into pitching's upper echelon with his tremendous 2016 season when he tallied a 2.60 ERA with a 29 percent strikeout rate while allowing just 11 home runs in 183.2 innings. The Norse God will have a chance to get himself off to another strong start when he takes on the Braves, who were a bottom-five team against right-handed pitching last year according to wOBA. It is also worth noting that Atlanta finished last in the league in runs above average against the slider, a pitch Syndergaard threw more than 21 percent of the time in his sophomore campaign.
Marco Estrada, TOR at BAL ($7,000): Estrada tends to get overlooked as a flyball pitcher who calls the Rodgers Centre home, but the 33-year-old makes it work, having finished last season with a 23 percent strikeout rate and 3.48 ERA. Estrada should be able to keep the (other) Birds off balance, as they ended 2016 with the lowest runs above average score against the changeup, a pitch Estrada has thrown more than 28 percent of the time in each of the last three seasons.
Salvador Perez, KC at MIN ($3,300): Perez becomes an attractive option whenever he is facing a groundball pitcher, as he finished 2016 with a 47 percent flyball rate. Ervin Santana is clearly head-and-shoulders above the rest of the Minnesota starting staff, but still held an xFIP above 4.00 and a 31 percent hard contact rate against righties last year.
Miguel Cabrera, DET at CWS ($4,600): Cabrera will stand in the box against an accomplished starter in Jose Quintana, but Miggy will have a clear advantage in the matchup, as he registered a whopping 9.1 runs above average against the curveball, a pitch Quintana threw a quarter of the time in 2016. Cabrera shined against righties and lefties last season, finishing the year with wOBAs of .403 and .385 against them, respectively.
Daniel Murphy, WAS vs. MIA ($4,500): Miami starter Edinson Volquez may be one of the most exploitable pitchers on the slate, having notched an ERA of 5.37 in 189.1 innings last year. Murphy slugged a mammoth .614 against his opposite hand in 2016, and could find more than a few balls to barrel up against Volquez, who allowed a 34 percent hard contact rate against southpaws.
Nolan Arenado, COL at MIL ($5,000):Junior Guerra was able to keep an eight percent HR/FB rate despite allowing a 34 percent hard contact rate in 2016, which may be a sign that regression is on its way. Arenado secured the sixth highest flyball percentage in the league last season (47 percent), and should have no problem finding balls to lift against an extreme groundball pitcher like Guerra.
Jonathan Villar, MIL vs. COL ($4,300): After performing well on the road in 2015, Jon Gray's numbers were universally underwhelming last year, despite strong strikeout numbers against both sides of the platoon. One of Gray's biggest issues was the amount of hard contact he surrendered to lefties (36 percent). Villar ended 2016 with a runs above average mark of 6.0 against the slider, a pitch Gray threw 27 percent of the time.
Jay Bruce, NYM vs. ATL ($3,400):Julio Teheran is a good pitcher who carries awful peripherals against lefties, as evidenced by the 5.54 xFIP he notched against them in 82.1 innings in 2016. Bruce hammered righties in time split between the Reds and the Mets, finishing with a .283 ISO and a .361 wOBA over 381 at-bats. Bruce notched a competitive 2.6 runs above average mark against the slider in 2016, which means he could be able to effectively neutralize some of the advantage Teheran has with the pitch.
Bryce Harper, WAS vs. MIA ($5,100): Harper's power scaled back considerably last year after reaching incredible heights in 2015, but he still had a very productive season, logging a .198 ISO with a .343 wOBA. Harper will look to exploit the same deficiencies as Murphy, while also taking advantage of his ability to handle the curveball (6.0 runs above average last year), as Volquez threw the pitch a quarter of the time.
Odubel Herrera, PHI at CIN ($4,200): There is something to be said for the way Scott Feldman limits hard contact, but the journeyman made just five starts last season, logging a 10 percent walk rate and a 5.29 xFIP over that span. Herrera finished 2016 with a .360 wOBA against righties, while also notching a 5.2 runs above average score against the curveball, which Feldman threw 25 percent of the time.