This article is part of our FantasyDraft MLB series.
As we get into teams' second and third starters, you'll notice the projected runs get higher, which means a lot of good hitting options today.
Chris Sale, BOS vs. PIT ($21,600): The nice thing about the set up at FantasyDraft is that due to the unique lineup configuration, you can spend up on pitching and still have plenty left for hitters. With that in mind, I'd suggest paying a premium for pitching on most nights, if it makes sense, and it does in the case of Sale. Pittsburgh actually handled lefties fairly well last season, posting the sixth-best wOBA in the majors, but they also struck out at the fourth-highest rate, which certainly works in Sale's favor. He may get knocked around a little in this game, but he'll make up for that with plenty of strikeouts and likely a win.
Jacob deGrom, NYM vs. ATL ($20,400): Did I mention that paying up for pitching was a good idea? deGrom was a bit of a let-down last season, but that was due to some injury issues, all of which seem to be in the past. When he's on, deGrom is one of the best strikeout pitchers in baseball, and though the Braves made good contact against righties last season, they got off to a poor start on Monday against another righty, striking out 11 times. Atlanta was generally good at making contact against righties last year, but they didn't do much when putting the ball in play, so even if deGrom struggles to get many strikeouts, there's still a good chance that he gets through the lineup unscathed.
Pablo Sandoval, BOS vs. PIT ($7,200): As you'll see below, it's worth targeting lefties against Jameson Tailon, and though Sandoval has been out of the mix for a while, he's one of a few left-handed bats in the Red Sox lineup, so he's a viable option. He was able to contribute in the season opener against Gerrit Cole, so any rust issues from being out last season can be put to rest.
Joey Votto, CIN vs. PHI ($9,600): Votto didn't come through in a similar situation in the season opener, but he's facing a more vulnerable righty Wednesday. Jerad Eickhoff toes the rubber for the Phillies, and lefties posted a .347 wOBA against him last season. Until there's proof that he's improved, we'll have to assume the struggle will continue this year. As for Votto, he hit right-handed pitchers to the tune of a .429 wOBA last season.
Nolan Arenado, COL at MIL ($9,600):Wily Peralta is coming off an awful 2016 season and only time will tell if it was a fluke or the start of a trend, but this early in the season, we have to assume that he's going struggle until proven otherwise. His splits against righties and lefties were very similar last season, so the best course of action is to look at the Rockies' lineup and identify the best hitters against right-handed pitching. Enter Arenado, who ranked 14th in the wOBA last season against righties.
Andrew Benintendi, BOS vs. PIT ($7,600): A perfect scenario for Benintendi, as opposing starter Jameson Tailon struggles to get lefties out and Benintendi hammered righties last season. Benintendi didn't play much last season, but in limited time he posted a .402 wOBA against righties and he's off to a good start already this season against them, as he hit his first homer of the year Monday against Gerrit Cole.
Billy Hamilton, CIN at PHI ($8,000): Hamilton fared better against righties than lefties last season, and there is an added bonus when Hamilton faces a righty – stolen bases. 46 of Hamilton's 58 stolen bases came off of right-handed pitchers last season. If he can get on base, he's likely to steal a base or two or three or four…
Joc Pederson, LAD vs. SD ($7,200): For a minute, Pederson was the next big thing in LA and then Corey Seager came along. While Pederson has been an afterthought since, he has shown signs that he can be a serviceable big leaguer. He struggles against lefties, but against righties he ranked 23rd in all of baseball in wOBA. He's locked into a platoon right now, but with Trevor Cahill on the mound, Pederson will be back in the line up. With any luck, he'll add to his league-leading total of five RBI.
DJ LeMahieu, COL at MIL ($8,700): It might be a long night for Wily Peralta, as the Rockies have four guys who ended up in the top-30 in wOBA against righties last season. LeMahieu wasn't far behind Arenado last year, as his wOBA ranked 17th in the majors. LeMahieu is off to a slow start this season, with just one hit in two games, but that should turn around once he gets a look at Peralta.
Gerardo Parra, COL at MIL ($7,600): Unlike LeMahieu, Parra is off to a great start after two games. Perhaps he feels the presence of David Dahl, who'll take his job when he gets healthy. Whatever the reason, Parra is locked in and the stats are in his favor against Peralta, who, again, was brutal against lefties last season. Parra sits just beyond the meat of the order in the lineup, but there should still be plenty of chances to knock in some runs.