This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Thursday's six-game main slate doesn't give us a whole lot to work with, as we see good pitchers in tough matchups and not much inherent value in the lower-cost options. This could force DFS players to roll with a few less-than-stellar performers based on who they have in front of them in order to roster some high-powered bats.
Jacob deGrom ($12,000) has had a phenomenal season, logging a 32 percent strikeout rate while allowing just 15 homers in 162 innings. The issue here is that the Cubs are a top-10 team in terms of both wOBA and ISO against right-handed pitching, making deGrom something of a tough sell at this price, even on a limited slate.
There's no question that Hyun-Jin Ryu ($10,500) has done great work in 2019 but he may have hit a bit of a wall in August, as he has allowed a .594 slugging percentage in 17 innings this month. Add to this the fact that the Dodgers were thinking about skipping Ryu to manage fatigue, and it gets difficult to have much confidence in him heading into the matchup against the D-Backs, who hold top-5 marks in wOBA and ISO against southpaws.
Lance Lynn ($10,000) should benefit from the 25 percent strikeout rate the Mariners have logged against right-handed pitching in 2019. This is about where the advantages end for Lynn, as the Mariners have logged a .198 ISO against righty pitching. Lynn features pretty clean peripherals in terms of walk and home run rates but there isn't much to make us fall in love with the right-hander at a five-figure salary.
Chris Paddack ($9,000) is likely where most prospective owners will want to sink their teeth in at the top end of pricing. Paddock will take on the Giants, who have logged a bottom-5 wOBA and a 23 percent strikeout rate against right-handed pitching. Paddack has really had trouble keeping the ball in the yard this year (1.6 HR/9 rate) and has been rouged up so far in August (10.07 ERA) but San Francisco hasn't hit for much power against righties in 2019, making Paddock a relatively safe option at this price.
There hasn't been much to like about Alex Wood ($7,900) since he joined the Reds but DFS players will likely want to take a look at him all the same for this matchup against the Marlins, who hold the second-lowest wOBA against lefty pitching this year. It's worth noting that Wood will likely be popular despite his struggles due to the positive matchup, which could make him someone to fade entirely.
If your aim is simply to find a cheap pitcher in a positive matchup, Dereck Rodriguez ($4,600) may make more sense. Rodriguez has struggled mightily as well, but does have two performances of over 20 DraftKings points in his last five starts, and will be facing a Padres team that has logged a bottom-10 wOBA and a 27 percent strikeout rate against right-handed pitching.
It seems bizarre to say that Felix Hernandez is someone to target as a vulnerable arm Thursday, but the once and former king has struggled seemingly every step of the way in 2019, having allowed a .597 slugging percentage to lefty hitters in 14.1 frames. He may not have much success trying to piece things together against a hitter like Shin-Soo Choo ($4,800), who has tallied a .214 ISO and .382 wOBA against right-handed pitching.
Joc Pederson ($4,400) may not be the Dodger to grab headlines these days but he is still plenty useful to DFS players thanks to the .287 ISO he has logged against righty pitching. Merrill Kelly has given up a few more homers to right-handers so far this season but holds an xFIP over 5.00 against opposite-handed bats.
Jon Lester has struggled to keep the ball in the yard against righties in 2019, as evidenced by the 19 homers he has allowed in 108.2 frames. J.D. Davis ($4,200) has done a bit more damage against right-handers this year but has still kept a .369 wOBA against southpaws in 113 at-bats.
Jose Iglesias ($3,600) has largely been overlooked in August despite providing moderate power and a .388 wOBA in 84 at-bats. The price is right to test him against rookie pitcher Robert Dugger, who was walloped to the tune of a 7.59 ERA in 53.1 innings at Triple-A this season.
Rangers against Felix Hernandez (Mariners)
Hernandez is still working his way back from more than a three-month layoff after recovering from a lat injury, but won't have much margin for error in one of the best hitter's ballparks in the league. Those looking for a cheap bat to throw into this stack should definitely consider Solak, who has logged a .431 wOBA in his first 28 major league at-bats after showing power throughout his stint in the minors.
Reds against Robert Dugger (Marlins)
Duggar has yet to show he belongs at the Triple-A level, to say nothing of the six runs he has given up in five innings with the big club this year. This should allow us to comfortably fit in cheaper assets like Votto and Iglesias as a way to save money.