This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
We have a full 15-game slate Friday and some interesting ones to look at. There are five pitchers who are -130 favorites or better according to Vegas. That means we have clear chalk in only one-third of games. We also have six games with a run total of at least eight, so over one-third of these matchups are expected to yield a lot of runs. We also have only four games with run lines of seven or less. That means we have some nice pitching prospects according to Vegas as well. Here are some of the plays I have my eye on for Friday:
Scott Kazmir ($9,100)
Kazmir has been great to start the year, as he is 2-0 with 23 strikeouts, only 16 baserunners allowed and a 1.33 ERA in 20 innings. He is a high strikeout pitcher who gets a match up with the team that has struck out the most, in his pitcher-friendly home park. Other than Jose Altuve, there's no one on that Astros roster I am really afraid of. The Astros are only hitting .220 against left-handed pitching, with a .293 on-base percentage. Those numbers are good for sixth-worst, or the bottom 20 percent, in the league. Kazmir has gone at least six innings in each start and averages almost eight strikeouts per appearance. That puts his projection somewhere in the 14-to-18 point range, which would be a very solid return for his backers. He's a -135 favorite in a game with a seven run line, so it makes sense on all fronts.
Buster Posey ($4,400)
Posey is one of the best hitting catchers in the game. He bats cleanup for the Giants and gets to play in Coors Field against the Rockies on Friday. Eddie Butler, who has struggled early this season, is slated to be on the mound. Left-handed bats tend to do better against him, but Posey is the rare righty who can hit right-handed pitching almost as well as he hits lefties. Butler is a gas can and Posey is a former MVP. I'll take the stud bat over the young pitcher every day of the week, especially in a hitter's park like Coors.
Edwin Encarnacion ($4,200)
This is an excellent match up for Encarnacion. E-Squared is one of the best power hitters on the Blue Jays and is slotted to hit fourth now with Jose Bautista (shoulder) on the mend. He goes up against Drew Smyly, who is a lefty making his first start of the season off the disabled list. He has always struggled with right-handed hitters and guys tend to need a start or two to knock off the rust after missing time. I expect a power surge from the Blue Jays Friday, with Encarnacion right in the middle of it. If the game was at Rogers Centre I would be expecting him to hit a home run, but in Tampa I will not make that call.
Jimmy Paredes ($3,000)
Paredes is a young switch-hitting utility man for the Orioles. He has been hitting in the 2-hole recently and producing some nice numbers. He gets a solid match up against Rick Porcello, who the Orioles just lit up a few days back in Boston. This time, the venue shifts to his more hitter-friendly home park. I debated the merits of him against Devon Travis for this spot and ultimately decided on Paredes to save $100 and not have too much exposure to Toronto. I would not fault anyone who went the other way, but if Paredes is in the 2-hole again, I think taking him will be the lower-owned play, as opposed to Travis who was highly owned on Thursday's short late slate.
Jed Lowrie ($3,200)
Lowrie returned to the lineup Wednesday and promptly went 3-for-3 to pick up right where he left off. He is a switch hitter who is better from the right side. Other than Jose Altuve, who is a stud against left-handed pitching, Lowrie is the next-best weapon. He hits second through fifth in the order depending on matchups, and I would not be shocked to see him back in his normal 3-hole. Kazmir is a tough matchup, but he has the right splits and lineup placement at a cheap price in a tough-to-fill position. Many will be paying up for a guy like Jose Reyes, but he has not been paying off lately. Lowrie has the best chance at a square price to do some damage. Plus, he could get a few RBI chances with Altuve likely reaching base in front of him multiple times.
Josh Donaldson ($4,300)
Donaldson made a name for himself in Oakland by smashing left-handed pitching. He gets Drew Smyly in this matchup and Smyly is fresh off the disabled list and likely on a pitch count. Donaldson is swinging a hot bat since sliding into the 3-hole with Jose Bautista (shoulder) injured. He homered Tuesday to help the surging Blue Jays offense build a big lead, which was needed after the way their bullpen pitched. I like Donaldson for multiple hits Friday and the upside being a good chance for a home run. He is pricey, but that will only help keep his ownership down, so roll him on out there.
Lorenzo Cain ($4,000)
This is a very fair price for Cain in a quality match up. Right-handed batters tend to do well against Jose Quintana, who has struggled to start the season. Cain is usually not a heavily-owned player, and he should be so again Friday. He bats third for a lineup that always has runners on, so he should be in line for some RBI chances. He has power, speed and patience at the plate. He also plays in a hitter's park, so there's a big chance for a home run to come off his bat.
Angel Pagan ($3,400)
Pagan is now hitting third for the Giants. He gets a matchup against a young gas-can righty named Eddie Butler to start the road trip at Coors Field. His price has not risen to reflect the venue or his new lineup placement. With the way teams score at Coors, his splits advantage, and the overall run total on this game, Pagan could be in line for a great performance at a low price.
Nick Markakis ($3,200)
Markakis is a solid left-handed bat that gets to go up against Aaron Harang in the hitter-friendly Phillies home stadium. Harang has always had more trouble with left-handed sticks and I do not buy into his early season success. He did the same thing last year before an epic blowup that won his doubters large field daily fantasy tournaments. The Braves may throw a lineup at him that is very lefty-dominant, like they did against Bartolo Colon on Wednesday. Eventually the lefty barrage did weaken Colon and they managed to get some runs to tie the score before chasing him from the game. On paper, this Braves team looks overmatched, but they just keep playing well and having Markakis bat in the middle of the order is great for a guy that is only $3,200 on FanDuel.