It’s Friday. That’s it. That’s the whole thought. At some point, we will all collectively get off work, it will be the weekend and there will be 14 baseball games to watch. I’m not sure if I believe in heaven, but that sounds pretty close to it, my friends.
Let’s go position-by-position so you can set some lineups on DraftKings.
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels vs. Texas Rangers, $8,700 - This is an odd pitching slate. Adam Wainwright ($10,000) is the most-expensive hurler because he got to face the Pirates three times in August, Freddy Peralta ($9,300), Trevor Rogers ($9,200) and Jose Urquidy ($8,400) are all coming back from extended absences and, somehow, Vladimir Gutierrez ($8,500) is above $8K. It’s all pretty weird and it seems to me than Ohtani is the safest asset of the bunch. The MVP frontrunner has pitched to a 2.20 ERA and a 2.98 FIP since the beginning of July, a span where he’s also sporting a 0.78 WHIP and an 11.0 K/BB ratio. Add in an underwhelming opponent in the Rangers, and Ohtani is by far my no. 1 option on Friday.
Cal Quantrill, Cleveland Guardians at Boston Red Sox, $7,200 - Between Triston McKenzie and Quantrill, Cleveland is quietly building up another stable of incredible and young starting pitchers. The latter has been phenomenal dating back to July 17, a stretch of nine outings where Quantrill has registered a 1.47 ERA and a 23.9% strikeout rate, all while holding opponents to just 0.5 home runs per nine. Generally speaking, the Red Sox at Fenway Park would not be an ideal matchup for any DFS pitcher; however, with Boston missing it’s entire middle infield due to COVID, the team has posted a 26.7% strikeout rate and an 87 wRC+ across the past seven days. This is the time to take advantage.
Carson Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Seattle Mariners, $5,300 - This season, Kelly has accumulated 105 plate appearances against left-handed pitching. In those opportunities, he’s slashing .326/.443/.628 with a 180 wRC+. You’ll be hard-pressed to find better production from a backstop. With Tyler Anderson ($8,000) having already surrendered 19 home runs to RHBs in 2021, Kelly appears to be in a pretty nice spot this evening.
Luis Torrens, Seattle Mariners at Arizona Diamondbacks, $3,800 - On the other side of this contest we find Torrens, who hit fifth in Seattle’s lineup the last time the team faced a left-handed pitcher. It makes sense. In 114 plate appearances within the split so far in 2021, Torrens has managed a .292 ISO and a 131 wRC+ against southpaw pitching. Considering Madison Bumgarner ($8,600) has looked shaky over his last two starts, Torrens could be in line for a big night.
Refer a friend and get $20 DK Dollars! Head to the DraftKings Playbook Promo page for more details!
Pete Alonso, New York Mets at Washington Nationals, $4,800 - For the third time in his four starts this season, Sean Nolin ($7,400) will square-off with the Mets. For a journeyman pitcher with a FIP of 6.00 at the major league level in 2021, that much familiarity can’t be a good thing, right? Regardless, this play is more rested in Alonso’s ability to crush any left-handed opponent. The Home Run Derby Champion has mustered an eye-popping .333 ISO within the split in 157 plate appearances, showcasing a sky-high DFS ceiling.
Jared Walsh, Los Angeles Angels vs. Texas Rangers, $3,900 - Walsh’s production has tapered off since the All-Star break, yet if the 28-year-old has illustrated two skills so far in 2021, it’s been his ability to hit right-handed pitching and his ability to hit in his home ball park. In fact, Walsh owns a .987 OPS and a 166 wRC+ under those precise conditions. With Glenn Otto ($5,000) making just his second-career MLB start, I’d look for Walsh to do some damage.
Brandon Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Minnesota Twins, $5,400 - Like a small child waiting for Santa on Christmas, I’ve been patiently biding my time for the return of Randy Dobnak ($6,200) and, mercifully, he’s finally back. There are few things in life as rewarding as stacking left-handed bats against the former Uber driver, as Dobnak’s conceded a .633 slugging percentage and a .430 wOBA to the 85 LHBs he’s faced so far in 2021. Lowe, who owns a 149 wRC+ since the All-Star break, is in the perfect matchup on Friday.
Jorge Polanco, Minnesota Twins at Tampa Bay Rays, $4,000 - Honestly, both sides of this pitching matchup are ripe for stacking, as Michael Wacha ($6,800) will be taking the mound for the Rays. Wacha had the privilege of facing 118 opposing hitters throughout the month of August. That collection of bats combined to slash .373/.415/.582 with a .426 wOBA off of the former Cardinals’ top prospect. I’d assume Polanco, who is sporting an .888 OPS since the beginning of June, will be able to thrive with Wacha tossing meatballs.
Alex Bregman, Houston Astros at San Diego Padres, $5,100 - Remember when Jake Arrieta ($7,000) was just sort of bad and you could only stack left-handed bats against him? Well, that’s no longer the case. In Arrieta’s past 11 starts — a span where he’s pitched a robust 10.71 ERA — RHBs (.691) have actually produced a higher slugging percentage against the former Cy Young Award winner than LHBs (.683). So, feel free to use literally any member of the Astros in a lineup this evening. Don’t even worry about handedness.
Josh Donaldson, Minnesota Twins at Tampa Bay Rays, $3,800 - For as much as you might not still think about him in this capacity, Donaldson remains one of the best hitters in baseball when healthy. He’s 98th percentile average exit velocity (94.2), 97th percentile in barrel rate (17.8%) and 93rd percentile in expected wOBA (.388). Every day he’s priced below $4K is a gift, especially when someone like the aforementioned Wacha is facing the Twins.
Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Oakland Athletics, $5,300 - As I’ve mentioned many times this season, Bichette is at his best in a matchup with a left-handed pitcher. The All-Star is batting .320 with a 142 wRC+ within the split in 2021. Still, this isn’t all about Bichette’s handedness domination, it’s about the very pronounced struggles we’ve seen from Sean Manaea ($7,700) in his recent outings. In fact, in his past five starts, the LHP has pitched to an ugly 9.90 ERA while allowing opponents to rack up a .455 wOBA. To me, you need to at least get a piece of the Jays lineup this evening.
Jonathan Villar, New York Mets at Washington Nationals, $4,200 - I simply don’t have a lot of faith in Nolin to have a quality outing on Friday, which would obviously mean the Mets have an opportunity to put up some crooked numbers. Villar has been on fire since the beginning of August, slashing .304/.360/.543 with a 146 wRC+ and a pair of stolen bases. Because of his recent form, he’s now New York’s full-time leadoff hitter. There’s a lot to like about the veteran on this slate.
Aaron Judge, New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles, $5,800 - Couple things to think about with Judge. First and foremost, among American League players with at least 100 at-bats against LHPs in 2021, no one has a higher expected wOBA (.457). Judge is also hitting .338 with a 175 wRC+ since the All-Star break, so it might not even matter than John Means ($6,600) is left-handed. Look for the Yankees to jump all over the Orioles’ ace on Friday night.
Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins at Tampa Bay Rays, $3,400 - Buxton hasn’t quite looked like himself since coming back from yet another lengthy IL stint, but it’s hard to ignore a guy with a 1.009 OPS that’s priced just above $3K, particularly when said asset is facing the struggling Michael Wacha. Look for Buxton to get things back on track in a plus-matchup.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (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 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.
21+ (18+ NH). CO/IL/IN/IA/NH/NJ/PA/TN/VA/WV/MI only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.