I’m born and raised in the Great White North, so excuse my ignorance on this matter, but does the MLB season “officially” start after Memorial Day or Independence Day? Honestly, I’m dialed into every pitch from Opening Day, so it doesn’t really matter to me, but the question is particularly relevant this morning.
Let’s just say it’s Memorial Day. Welcome to the “start” of the baseball season. We’ve got a massive 13-game featured slate on DraftKings to break down.
Zac Gallen, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Colorado Rockies, $10,700 - Join me in a quick tip of the cap to the Rockies. With a .291 wOBA on the road this season, Colorado isn’t dead-last in the category for the first time in what feels like forever. Still, that number is the lowest mark in the National League and the only teams doing worse within the split reside in the AL Central. It’s not the best company. Meanwhile, Gallen boasts a 2.10 FIP and a 28.3% strikeout rate across 66.2 innings. I expect he’ll pad those stats in a fantastic matchup on Tuesday.
Miles Mikolas, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Kansas City Royals, $7,700 - It was a nightmarish start to the season for Mikolas, but things have recently been trending in the right direction for the veteran RHP. Over his last six outings, Mikolas has pitched to a sterling 1.98 ERA with a respectable 3.37 FIP. His strikeout rate is never going to be impressive, but Mikolas can volume his way to notable DFS performances, as evidenced by him collecting 26.8 DKFP during his last appearance. It also helps matters that Kansas City owns a 27.0% strikeout rate and an 85 wRC+ across the past two weeks.
Pete Alonso, New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies, $5,500 - It’s never a bad time to use the MLB leader in home runs — especially when he’s facing a struggling LHP. Ranger Suarez ($5,200) has looked terrible since coming off the IL, registering a 9.82 ERA in an 11.0 inning sample. Has Suarez been a little unlucky? Of course. Yet, at the same time, Alonso owns a 168 wRC+ and a .457 expected wOBA against southpaws in 2023. I’ll side with him.
Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Washington Nationals, $5,100 - You’ll have to keep an eye on Muncy’s status — he left Sunday’s game with a hamstring cramp — but it seems like the veteran will be good to go on Tuesday against Jake Irvin ($5,300). Irvin has had a bumpy ride through his first five MLB outings, pitching to an ugly 6.51 xERA with a ghastly 16.0% walk rate. The Dodgers are going to score some runs tonight, and Muncy should be in the middle of the action. The former All-Star sports a 150 wRC+ versus RHPs in 2023.
Rodolfo Castro, Pittsburgh Pirates at San Francisco Giants, $3,500 - Castro might be a switch-hitter, but make sure you’re exclusively playing him in matchups with left-handed opponents. In 64 plate appearances within the split this season, Castro is slashing .321/.422/.660 with a .340 ISO. That’s a lot of pop from a middle infielder. Sean Manaea ($5,900) and his 6.55 xERA are on the hill for the Giants this evening in a bulk role. Take advantage.
Jake Burger, Chicago White Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels, $3,300 - Of the 261 players with at least 30 plate appearances against left-handed pitching in 2023, only three have an expected wOBA above .500 within the split: Jorge Soler, Bo Bichette ($5,200) and Burger. The 27-year-old has crushed southpaws to the tune of a .394 ISO. The lefty Burger draws tonight? Tyler Anderson ($5,700), who is sporting a 5.53 FIP and a career-low 13.6% strikeout rate.
Ronald Acuna Jr., Atlanta Braves at Oakland Athletics, $6,400 - I’m not quite sure how the Braves lost to the Athletics last night, but it feels like revenge will be on the menu this evening in Oakland. JP Sears ($7,300) will be on the mound for the A’s, a man who has surrendered 2.47 home runs per nine to opposing RHBs this season. Considering Acuna owns a stunning .492 expected wOBA versus lefties, he’s worth his hefty price tag on this slate.
Luis Robert, Chicago White Sox at Los Angeles Angels, $4,600 - Another asset that is almost an automatic play when facing a lefty. In 45 plate appearances within the split in 2023, Robert is slashing .351/.455/.649 with a 206 wRC+. This shouldn’t come as a shock, either. For his career, Robert is hitting .350 with a 1.013 OPS versus left-handers.
Luke Raley, Tampa Bay Rays at Chicago Cubs, $3,400 - We’ve simply reached a point where Raley deserves to be more expensive than $3.4K. The journeyman may have taken an unconventional route to the majors, but he’s hit to a .389 expected wOBA and a 152 wRC+ in his 139 plate appearances in 2023. Obviously, this is also about the presence of Kyle Hendricks ($6,600), who allowed LHBs to compile a .401 wOBA last season. Yikes.
Connor Joe, Pittsburgh Pirates at San Francisco Giants, $3,400 - Joe’s overall numbers have cooled off after a torrid start to the season, but the 30-year-old is still crushing lefties. In 60 plate appearances within the split, Joe is slashing .314/.417/.647 with a 184 wRC+. Joe hit third in the Pirates’ order the last time they saw an LHP. Now you know why.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and customer (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.