This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
What appears to be a challenging 13-game slate is on tap for Friday evening. Only three arms are priced in five-figures, but 11 more sit between $8,700 and $9,700. It leads to a plethora of fine pitching choices, and a struggle to find targetable offensive matchups, at least for me.
Cash players really should just pay up for Dylan Cease ($10,900) and move on. He's failed to reach 38 FDP in just two games since May 29. But where can we try to extract similar upside for a lesser cost? Eric Lauer ($9,700) is the clear outlier in the top tier of arms. He's getting the best matchup however, facing a Reds' lineup with a below-average 96 wRC+ that also strikes out 24 percent of the time, but Lauer hasn't topped 40 FDP in his last four outings.
Robbie Ray ($9,400) has been worth (-1) FDP in his last two starts combined, but both came against the Astros. He'll face an Angels lineup Friday that fans 24.3 percent of the time against lefties while posting an 82 wRC+, and one he put up 58 FDP against previously. You can build a case for almost all the arms in this tier, but perhaps another overlooked option can be Corey Kluber ($8,800). He's coming off of a game where he fanned 10 over six innings, and despite allowing four runs in three straight, he's also posted 40+ FDP in three of his last five. He should see ample run support squaring off against Bryan Garcia, and we know we can always target arms against Detroit.
If you are still struggling despite the depth atop the pitching options, there are some surging pay down choices. German Marquez ($7,400) has put together three quality starts in his last five outings, averaging 31 FDP in that stretch, and will face a Diamondbacks offense with a below average 91 wRC+ and 23.1 percent K rate. Mitch Keller ($7,700) has four straight quality starts and a 27 FDP floor across his last five entering Friday's matchup with Baltimore and their 97 wRC+ against righties. And finally, we have Kyle Gibson ($7,000) against a Nationals lineup that's been surprisingly feisty following the trade of Juan Soto but absolutely shouldn't be feared. Gibson has allowed two runs or less in three of his last four starts, averaging 27.25 FDP despite a blow up (-5) against the Cubs.
We can seemingly trust the Dodger bats against lefties, even when facing an upper-tier one in Sean Manaea. The got him for seven runs and two homers across just 4.1 innings earlier in the year, and if we pair a .423 wOBA, 182 wRC+ and .296 ISO with a 9-for-17 history against him, Mookie Betts ($4,200) stands out.
I absolutely don't trust Ian Anderson, but the New York born righty has been solid overall against this Mets lineup, allowing a combined 14-for-74 (.171) with a .575 OPS, and he's been better on the road too, so I don't want to go all in. Pete Alonso ($4,200) has homered in three of his last four and has a stable .380 wOBA, 152 wRC+ and .276 ISO against righties and can serve as our buy in against Anderson.
For better or worse, both sides of the Cincinnati-Milwaukee game intrigue me. Kolten Wong ($3,100) has had a 9.2 FDP floor during his eight-game hitting streak and is second on the team with a .374 wOBA and 140 wRC+ against righties. On the other side, Kyle Farmer ($2,800) boasts a .419 wOBA against lefties, adding a .261 ISO and 167 wRC+. And Jonathan India ($3,200) is hitting .311 with four homers in 15 games since the break, leading to a .410 wOBA and 161 wRC+.
Tampa doesn't have a regular with a wOBA north of .344 against righties, which is probably why they don't have a bat priced above $3,000, but we probably want some shares of their offense nonetheless against the aforementioned Garcia. Randy Arozarena ($3,000) had four hits Thursday, and Brandon Lowe ($3,000) has homered in two of four, so there is upside potential to outproduce their price thanks to the matchup. Garcia has thrown only 3.2 Major League innings this season, but had a 5.60 xFIP at Triple-A.
Stacks to Consider
Otto is allowing a .399 wOBA to righties as opposed to a .283 wOBA to lefties, a number that rises to .473 at home, where he's surrendering a 1.111 OPS, allowing a 7.39 ERA and 6.18 FIP. Robert isn't a must-play given the price point, especially when paired with the plethora of right-handed options the White Sox present with, but he does have three three-hit games in his last five outings. Abreu on the other hand seems to have stand alone appeal and flirts with a must use for me. He's posted a .380 wOBA, 152 wRC+ and .245 ISO to start the second half. Jimenez comes to us on the cheap, and gives us some power upside with the low price. It's not eye popping, but his .343 wOBA is third amongst Chicago regulars, and he was riding a nine-game hitting streak prior to it snapping Thursday.
This slate was difficult for me to find a bat I loved, let alone three in an order. I love Gray's talent, but two things here are targetable. 1) He's allowing a .404 wOBA to lefties against a .277 to righties. And 2) He appears to be tiring, allowing 20 runs on 30 hits across his last five starts. We shall see if we get lucky and the Phillies adjust their order Friday to give us more favorable batting spots for a lefty trio. Schwarber is a a lock atop the lineup, and is a nice 4-for-8 with two homers off of Gray to boot. Hall brings a .370 wOBA and .270 ISO against righties to the table. Marsh is our wild card. He hit ninth in his Philadelphia debut, which can pair with Schwarber after the first time through, but he gives us a reasonable third left-handed option on the cheap. Bryson Stott ($2,700) also merits consideration.