This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
We will keep our focus on the 7:05 p.m. slate today, as selecting from one group of games allows us to build a more cohesive team. Be sure to keep your eyes on weather reports out of Cincinnati, as there is rain in the forecast.
Sonny Gray, OAK vs. CWS ($9,600): Gray draws a comfortable matchup for his first start in 2016, as the White Sox were the sixth-worst team against righties last season, according to wOBA. While we will be looking at five new faces in the lineup, the additions may actually help our cause, as only Todd Frazier (.331 wOBA) rated above average against right-handers in 2015. Gray possesses a strong ground-ball rate and solid control, which should allow him to turn in a good outing in his spacious home park.
Kenta Maeda, LAD at SD ($9,200): Maeda is a notorious control artist who will be pitching in a big ballpark. While it's difficult to translate numbers directly, it must be noted that Maeda posted an ERA below 3.00 in the Japan Central League for each of the last six seasons, finishing with a 2.39 in over 1,500 innings. There is certainly an unknown factor here, but that may work in his favor, as opposing hitters won't quite know what they are going to get. The Padres finished 2015 tied for the fifth-worst strikeout rate (21.7 percent) and the second-worst wOBA (.299) against right-handed pitchers, making this a worth wile gamble, particularly if we get scarcity from the price.
Josh Phegley, OAK vs. CWS ($2,800): Phegley has good power against everyone, but he turns into a complete player when facing southpaws, as he hit .276 with a .466 slugging percentage in 52 games last season. Carlos Rodon's walk rate ballooned to 12.2 percent against his opposite hand in 2015, leading to an xFIP of 4.20.
Joey Votto, CIN vs. PHI ($4,700):Aaron Nola fell apart against lefties during his first trip around the majors in 2015, notching just a 12 percent strikeout rate while allowing 1.3 HR/9. Votto hammered pitchers indiscriminately last season, but he showed slightly more pop against righties, as evidenced by his .235 ISO against them over 379 at-bats.
Daniel Murphy, WAS at ATL ($4,000):Bud Norris was lit up in 2015, allowing a wOBA close to .400 in 55.2 innings as a starter. Now on his third team in less than two years, Norris will need to prove he can be an effective major league pitcher again, but the Nats will be a tough draw for that purpose.
Corey Seager, LAD at SD ($3,900):Andrew Cashner's control completely abandoned him against left-handed hitters in 2015, as he walked 12 percent of southpaws he faced. Corey Seager has done nothing but impress during his time in the big leagues, capping off his maiden voyage with a 12.4 percent walk rate and a .561 slugging percentage in 27 games.
Eduardo Escobar, MIN at BAL ($3,100): Mark Wegner will settle in behind the catcher for the outing at Camden Yards after seeing the fourth-most walks in the league among umpires who called at least 20 games in 2015 (6.55/G). This is potentially bad news for opposing starter Yovani Gallardo, as he finished the year with a nine percent walk rate against left-handers. Escobar showed tremendous power after the All-Star break in 2015, notching a .216 ISO in 208 at-bats.
Eddie Rosario, MIN at BAL ($3,900): Rosario is a power hitter with an abysmal walk rate (just 3.2 percent last season), but I will pair him against Gallardo, as Wegner should be able to get a few counts in his favor. Once that occurs, we are left with the .186 ISO that Rosario kept against righties in 2015.
Chris Davis, BAL vs. MIN ($4,900): It makes sense to have a decent investment in this game, as Gallardo and Kyle Gibson both feature mediocre walk and strikeout rates to left-handed hitters. Davis kept an absurd .350 ISO against right-handed pitchers last season.
Stephen Piscotty, STL at PIT ($3,900): Piscotty hit everyone he laid eyes on in 2015, notching similar numbers against lefties and righties (.376 and .360 wOBA, respectively). Pittsburgh starter Juan Nicasio posted a 25.5 percent strikeout rate out of the bullpen for Colorado last year, but paired it with a 13 percent walk rate. Nicasio has struggled with command at times throughout his career, and he could find it tough to produce such gaudy strikeout numbers as a starter.