On Thursday, Major League Baseball has games spread throughout the day, giving us hardball all day long and multiple slates to attack on DraftKings. The main slate of seven games gets underway at 1:10 p.m. ET. All of the seven games are continuations of a series that started earlier this week, and all seven games are scheduled for outdoor stadiums, so make sure to double-check the forecast before locking in your lineups.
Let’s break down some of the best options on Thursday’s slate. The players listed below are in the best positions to succeed based on current form, expected matchup and potential opportunity. Throughout the day, stay locked into the DK Live app for updates, and you can also follow DK Live on Twitter @dklive for the latest news and analysis leading up to first pitch. You can also let me know what you think of these picks, ask any questions and find more bargain-specific content on my Twitter, @ZT_Sports.
Dylan Cease, Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Guardians ($10,100) – As a general rule, I try not to highlight the most expensive option on the slate, but Cease has been so locked in that he’s worth paying up a little more to tap into his recent consistency. After allowing just one run over seven innings in Spring Training, he has gone 10 2/3 innings over his first two starts with one run allowed and eight strikeouts in each of his outings. He posted 26.3 DKFP vs. the Tigers and 27.8 DKFP vs. the Rays while looking dominant in each outing. The Guardians have been a tough matchup, but Cease has been strong enough to still be the clear top option if you have the salary to spend.
Other Options – Carlos Carrasco ($9,800), Joe Ryan ($9,300)
Jordan Montgomery, New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers ($6,900) – Montgomery gets a good matchup in Detroit since the Tigers were only hitting .209 as a team over their first 11 games coming into Wednesday night’s action. They only scored 31 runs over those games, the third-fewest of any team in the Majors. Montgomery is coming in with good momentum after throwing five shutout innings vs. the Orioles and allowing just three hits. Even though the Yankees’ bats haven’t been great, they should be able to get going against former-Yankee Michael Pineda ($6,300) to provide him enough run support to put him in a good spot to return value at this sub-$7K salary.
Other Options – Paul Blackburn ($8,600), Tanner Houck ($7,800)
Francisco Lindor, New York Mets vs. San Francisco Giants ($5,700) – Lindor had a rough first season with the Mets, but he has turned things around so far this year. In his first 12 games, Lindor was 13-for-42 (.310) with three home runs, three stolen bases, a .310 ISO and .462 wOBA. He also has a pair of home runs against Anthony DeSclafani ($8,000) in nine career at-bats.
Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants at New York Mets ($5,600) – Belt has also started the year swinging a hot bat, although he has cooled off in this series vs. the Mets. Coming into the series, he was 10-for-29 (.345) with three homers, but New York was able to keep him in check during Tuesday’s doubleheader before he hit his fourth homer of the season on Wednesday off of Chris Bassitt. Belt hit .280 with a .348 ISO and .417 wOBA against right-handed pitchers last year, and the lefty provides nice numbers with nice power upside from the top of the Giants lineup against Carlos Carrasco ($9,800) Thursday afternoon.
Other Options – José Ramírez ($5,500), Thairo Estrada ($4,000)
Nicky Lopez, Kansas City Royals vs. Minnesota Twins ($3,500) – While Bobby Witt Jr. ($2,600) is the better long-term prospect and provides great upside, Lopez has gotten off to a much stronger start to the season. The 27-year-old is 10-for-26 (.385) with three doubles and a .415 wOBA over his first nine games of the season. He has moved up to the second spot in the lineup due to his production and should be a solid value if he stays locked into that lineup slot. His opponent, Joe Ryan ($9,300), has been very tough on righties this year but has allowed a .386 wOBA to lefties in a very small sample size.
Zack Collins, Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox ($2,700) – Collins was acquired in a seemingly minor trade just before the season began, but he has provided some nice left-handed thunder as DH early in the season. He’s also still eligible as catcher, which makes him worth even more since power is hard to come by at that spot. Collins got Wednesday off but went 8-for-20 (.400) with two doubles and two home runs with an impressive 53.8% hard-hit rate and .533 wOBA over his six prior games.
Other Options – Isiah Kiner-Falefa ($3,400), Gio Urshela ($2,100)
Andrew Vaughn, Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Guardians ($5,400) – The White Sox suffered through a disappointing doubleheader on Wednesday, dropping both games and managing to score just two runs. Vaughn went an underwhelming 1-for-6, but he is still hitting .310 on the season with two home runs. He posted an eye-popping 63.2% hard-hit rate with a .304 ISO and .460 wOBA through his first seven games before Wednesday’s letdown. He and the White Sox should be able to get back on track against Zach Plesac ($8,300) as they look to avoid a sweep and support Cease.
Editor’s Note: Andrew Vaughn is not in the starting lineup for the White Sox on Thursday.
Mike Yastrzemski, San Francisco Giants at New York Mets ($4,100) – Yaz picked up a couple of hits on Wednesday night and is still just 7-for-34 (.206) on the season. He has been locked in atop the Giants’ lineup, though, and actually has a 41.7% hard-hit rate, indicating some of it is him getting unlucky on balls in play. He and Belt make a nice mini-stack with potential power production on many slates, and the two of them are a solid tandem against Carrasco in this matchup.
Other Options – Starling Marte ($5,900), Juan Soto ($5,800)
Aaron Hicks, New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers ($3,400) – Hicks has hit leadoff for four straight games and hit safely in three of those games while even adding a stolen base on Tuesday. Coming into Wednesday night’s game, he is 10-for-29 (.345) with seven walks, that stolen base, a home run and a .401 wOBA. Against Pineda, he should be a catalyst once again, if he sticks in the leadoff spot, and has potential with all the big Yankee bats behind him, even though they haven’t found their rhythm yet.
Yadiel Hernandez, Washington Nationals vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($2,800) – Coming into Wednesday’s game, Hernandez had started the year 8-for-21 (.381) with two doubles and had at least one hard-hit ball in each game in which he had multiple plate appearances. Hernandez had a .320 wOBA last season in 112 games for the Nationals after getting called up and has a .391 wOBA in limited action so far this year. In a good matchup highlighted below, he should be a bargain under $3K.
Other Options – Raimel Tapia ($3,200), Cristian Pache ($2,000)
TEAMS TO STACK
New York Mets vs. San Francisco Giants – The Mets are in the top 10 in batting average, home runs and runs per game coming into play on Wednesday. They should have their lineup mostly whole now that Brandon Nimmo ($3,900) and Mark Canha ($2,600) are back from the COVID-19 IL. They’ll go up against DeSclafani, who had been much better since joining the Giants — before last season — but has still been beatable, especially by lefties. He let lefties post a .301 wOBA last year and has let them go 5-for-14 in his two starts this season. Nimmo is a solid lefty to target at the top of the order while Lindor (discussed above) and Eduardo Escobar ($4,900) will also hit from the left as switch-hitters. Big bats Starling Marte ($5,900) and Pete Alonso ($5,400) make sense even though they’re righties, and Robinson Canó ($3,300) and Jeff McNeil ($3,800) are nice value lefties who can chip in production from the bottom of the lineup.
Washington Nationals vs. Arizona Diamondbacks – Washington’s offense hasn’t been great, but they have a great matchup against Zach Davies ($5,400). Davies has given up seven runs on 11 hits over 9 1/3 innings, including two home runs to left-handed hitters. Last year, 10 of his 25 home runs came against left-handed batters, and in his career, he has let lefties post a .322 wOBA. While Juan Soto ($5,800), Nelson Cruz ($4,400) and Josh Bell ($4,400) bring obvious middle-order power, I also like the value available from leadoff hitter Cesár Hernández ($3,400), Yadiel Hernández (discussed above) and Mikel Franco ($2,800).
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) 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.
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