Major League Baseball is back! MLB gave us a small appetizer yesterday with two games, but Friday is the main course. There is an 11-game main slate starting at 7:05 p.m. ET, and DraftKings is offering a tournament with a $1 million in total prizes, including $250,000 for first place.
With so many teams in action, there are plenty of stacks to consider for your DraftKings lineups. Most teams will be rolling out their top pitchers, but there are still a few options that look to be vulnerable.
Let’s break down some of the top options, starting with the team that should command the highest ownership.
It’s important to note that you should always keep an eye on the news and lineup notes from @DKLive in order to best prepare for each slate. In addition, feel free to get at me on Twitter with any questions — @MattLaMarca.
As a special promotional to start the season, DraftKings is offering a special contest, the MLB Risk-Free $3 [3 Entry Max, $300K + Cash Back!]. There is no risk to play since every entry will earn back at least the $3 entry fee with an opportunity to earn up to $20K for first place. Set your lineups here: MLB Risk-Free $3 [3 Entry Max, $300K + Cash Back!]
1. Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox have arguably the best matchup on the slate vs. left-hander Tommy Milone ($4,000). He would not be an Opening Day starter for basically every other team in baseball, and he probably wouldn’t have drawn the assignment for the Orioles if not for an injury to John Means. Milone struggled for the Mariners last season, pitching to a 4.76 ERA, and some of his advanced metrics suggest he was actually pretty lucky. He allowed a batting average on balls in play (BABIP) of just .252, which was one of the better marks in the league.
Any Red Sox stack should start with J.D. Martinez ($4,800), who absolutely feasted on left-handed pitchers last season. He posted a ridiculous 242 wRC+, and a whopping 41.3% of his fly balls turned into home runs. Martinez has crushed left-handers for the majority of his career, so we shouldn’t expect much regression this season.
Rafael Devers ($5,400) is the most expensive batter on the Red Sox, but I would exercise some caution with him. He was significantly worse vs. left-handers than right-handers last season, which is not all that surprising since he bats left-handed. Still, that could work to lower his ownership in tournaments, and Milone had plenty of struggles vs. lefties last year.
If you’re looking for a cheap option, consider Michael Chavis ($3,000). He’s a bit of an all-or-nothing hitter, but that won’t necessarily kill you in tournaments. You’re looking for upside, and Chavis has plenty of pop: he posted a .255 ISO vs. southpaws last season.
Players to Consider
Rafael Devers ($5,400)
Xander Bogaerts ($4,900)
J.D. Martinez ($4,800)
Christian Vazquez ($4,700)
Andrew Benintendi ($3,800)
Michael Chavis ($3,000)
2. Cleveland Indians
The Indians weren’t exactly an offensive juggernaut last season, ranking just 17th in wRC+. That said, they are expected to be better this season.
Their offense in particular figures to be potent vs. left-handed pitchers, which doesn’t bode well for Royals starter Danny Duffy ($6,400). Duffy was pretty mediocre in 2019, pitching to a 4.34 ERA and 7.97 K/9. His Statcast data was also dreadful vs. right-handed batters in particular, allowing them to post a hard hit rate of 41.3%.
The Indians’ lineup figures to be chock-full of right-handers in this contest, and most of them can flat-out rake vs. southpaws.
Jose Ramirez ($5,200) had a disappointing first-half last year, but he bounced back in a big way after the All-Star break. He posted a 176 wRC+ during the second half, and he continued that production during Spring Training. He’s also a switch-hitter who tends to fare better against left-handed pitchers than right-handed pitchers, which is another factor working in his favor.
Jordan Luplow ($4,200) might be my favorite member of the Indians considering his price-point. He may not be a household name, but he absolutely destroyed left-handers last season. He posted a ridiculous 198 wRC+, which was the top mark on the team by a significant margin.
Players to Consider
Jose Ramirez ($5,200)
Francisco Lindor ($5,00)
Carlos Santana ($4,600)
Jordan Luplow ($4,200)
Franmil Reyes ($4,400)
Domingo Santana ($3,600)
DraftKings is hosting a fantasy baseball tournament on Friday that pays out $1 million in total prizes, including $250K to first place. The action locks at 7:05 p.m. ET. Set your DraftKings fantasy MLB lineups here: MLB Million Dollar Swing [$1M Guaranteed, $250K to 1st].
3. San Diego Padres
The Padres have an Opening Day showdown vs. Madison Bumgarner ($8,400), who will be making his first start for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Bumgarner still has the reputation of an ace pitcher – albeit one on the decline – but his move to Arizona could spell disaster for him. He got to pitch roughly half his starts in San Francisco last year, which is one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in baseball. He pitched to 2.93 ERA in those outings, but he became a completely different pitcher when on the road. His ERA jumped all the way to 5.29, and his advanced metrics suggest that wasn’t exactly a fluke. Ultimately, he seems due for a pretty big decline.
If you are going to target Bumgarner, the best way to do it is with right-handed batters. He was dreadful vs. righties last season, allowing them to post a whopping 49.0% hard hit rate outside of San Francisco.
The Padres have plenty of right-handed batters to consider in this matchup, but Fernando Tatis Jr. ($4,800) is the clear top option. He dazzled as a rookie, posting a massive 223 wRC+ vs. southpaws. He’s also a threat to do some damage on the basepath with his legs in addition to what he can do in the batter’s box.
Wil Myers ($3,400) is also someone I’m particularly interested in. He smashed left-handers last season, resulting in a .368 wOBA and 52.2% hard hit rate. His average exit velocity was also over 100 miles per hour vs. southpaws! That could lead to success vs. a pitcher who already struggles with allowing hard contact.
Players to Consider
Fernando Tatis Jr. ($4,800)
Tommy Pham ($4,400)
Manny Machado ($4,000)
Wil Myers ($3,400)
Jurickson Profar ($3,400)
Ty France ($3,000)
Curious about when major leagues and events will return? Check out our DraftKings Sports Calendar for the latest updates.
4. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers could be a bit overlooked on Friday. They didn’t exactly set the world on fire vs. Johnny Cueto on Opening Day, and they’re also one of the most expensive teams to stack. That will make it tough to fit in a stud pitcher or two on a day with a lot of good arms to pay up for.
Still, it’s hard to deny their upside vs. Jeff Samardzija ($6,500). They ranked second in baseball in wRC+ vs. right-handers last season, and they finished first in ISO. They’re currently implied for 5.9 runs, which trails only the Red Sox’ mark of 6.1 on Friday’s slate.
They are led by last year’s NL MVP Cody Bellinger ($5,300), and you probably don’t need me to tell you that he’s a strong option if you can afford him. He crushed against right-handers in 2019, posting a .428 wOBA and .323 ISO.
But the Dodgers’ embarrassment of riches doesn’t end there. Mookie Betts ($5,200) had a down season in 2019, but he still posted a expected wOBA of .419 vs. right-handers. Max Muncy ($4,500) and Joc Pederson ($4,400) have also displayed prodigious power, and they combined for 60 HRs vs. right-handers last year.
Players to Consider
Cody Bellinger ($5,300)
Mookie Betts ($5,200)
Justin Turner ($4,600)
Max Muncy ($4,500)
Joc Pederson ($4,400)
Will Smith ($4,400)
5. Oakland Athletics
The A’s are in a very interesting spot today vs. Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney ($8,000). Heaney has awesome stuff when he’s on his game – evidenced by a K/9 of 11.14 last season – but frankly that doesn’t happen all that often.
He is particularly generous with the long ball, which is a major plus for DFS. He allowed 1.89 HRs per nine innings last season, thanks in part to a sky-high fly ball rate. He also gave up lots of hard contact to both left-handed and right-handed batters, which gives the A’s plenty of upside.
Their ownership should be very reasonable, and they’re also quite affordable. They don’t have a single batter priced above $4,300, and guys like Stephen Piscotty ($3,600) and Chad Pinder ($2,900) are dirt cheap.
The A’s also displayed plenty of production vs. southpaws last season, with eight of their nine projected starters posting an expected wOBA of at least .343.
Players to Consider
Marcus Semien ($4,300)
Ramon Laureano ($4,200)
Matt Chapman ($4,100)
Khris Davis ($4,000)
Stephen Piscotty ($3,600)
Chad Pinder ($2,900)
Set your DraftKings lineups here: MLB Million Dollar Swing [$1M Guaranteed, $250K to 1st].
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) 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.