DraftKings picks: Papi, Hamilton, Felix
With a diverse set of scheduled starters for Friday, DraftKings owners could go in a variety of directions with lineup construction. Offensive stacks could be the norm on this day, when several talented lineups will be playing in hitter-friendly venues. The players listed below warrant special attention when filling out Friday lineups.
David Ortiz (Red Sox): The designated hitter could rip a roundtripper when he brings his career .972 OPS vs. right-handers (.818 against lefties) into a matchup with Orioles righty Miguel Gonzalez (career 1.3 HR/9 rate) at homer-happy Camden Yards.
Pablo Sandoval (Red Sox): Sandoval has compiled a career .304/.358/.491 slash line against right-handers, and the third baseman could belt a long ball or reach base multiple times when he faces the homer-prone Gonzalez in a hitter-friendly venue.
Adam Jones (Orioles): The outfielder has been one of baseball's best hitters this month, with a .418 batting average and five homers in 55 at-bats. With a lifetime .799 OPS vs. right-handers (.757 against lefties), Jones could continue his April surge against Red Sox righty Rick Porcello, who has posted a career 4.34 ERA, and a 6.63 ERA this season.
Billy Hamilton (Reds): The owner of balanced batting splits in his young career, Hamilton could run the bases aggressively if he can get to first against Cubs lefty Jon Lester. The southpaw has had a tough time with his new team, posting a 6.89 ERA and enduring struggles in throwing to first base.
Brandon Phillips (Reds): Hitting out of the middle of the lineup, the second baseman could drive in multiple runs if Cincinnati can extend Lester's April 2015 woes (6.89 ERA, 1.79 WHIP). Phillips has posted a career .805 OPS against lefties (.718 vs. right-handers).
Jose Abreu (White Sox): Abreu is among the best in baseball against left-handers, with a career 1.056 OPS in those matchups (.938 vs. righties). The first baseman could reach base often or smack a homer when he greets Royals southpaw Danny Duffy at hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field.
Alexei Ramirez (White Sox): Ramirez has long fared best off southpaws, posting a .769 OPS against them compared to a .701 mark vs. righties. The shortstop -- who hit .273 with 15 homers and 21 steals in 2014 -- could provide multidimensional production for DraftKings participants when he faces Duffy.
Adam Lind (Brewers): The left-handed-hitting first baseman could thrive at hitter-friendly Miller Park when he faces Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez. Lind has posted a career .858 OPS against right-handers (.591 vs. lefties), and Martinez has struggled vs. left-handed batters to the tune of a career .830 opponents' OPS.
Angel Pagan (Giants): The outfielder will look to jump-start a slumping Giants offense when he brings his career .294/.346/.427 slash line against right-handers into hitter-friendly Coors Field to face Rockies righty Eddie Butler. The rookie hurler could be a good target, having compiled a 4.50 ERA and a 1.75 WHIP in 32 career innings.
Corey Dickerson (Rockies): Dickerson will bring a career .941 OPS vs. right-handers (.684 against lefties) and a lifetime 1.080 OPS at home (.695 on the road) into an advantageous matchup with Giants righty Chris Heston. The 27-year-old hurler with 26 Major League innings to his credit has fared well across three 2015 starts, but he could be challenged by a deep Rockies lineup at hitter-friendly Coors Field.
David Freese (Angels): The third baseman has long been stellar against left-handed pitchers, hitting them at a .317/.381/.488 rate in his career. Freese could improve on those numbers when he faces Rangers southpaw Wandy Rodriguez, who will be making his 2015 debut after a 2014 season plagued by injury and ineffectiveness.
Chris Iannetta (Angels): Iannetta could provide a cost-effective catcher option, as his career .863 OPS vs. left-handers (.723 against righties) could actually be improved upon against Rodriguez.
Garrett Richards (Angels): The right-hander is coming off a breakout 2014 season (2.61 ERA, 1.04 WHIP), and he could notch a quality start and a win in a seemingly advantageous matchup with Rodriguez and the Rangers in his pitcher-friendly home park.
Felix Hernandez (Mariners): The right-hander has started 2015 in stellar fashion, compiling a 2.37 ERA, a 0.89 WHIP and 23 whiffs in 19 innings across three starts. He could continue his April dominance during a home start against a Twins lineup that has posted an American League-low .607 OPS.
Scott Kazmir (A's): The left-hander could rack up plenty of quality innings and whiffs during a start at his pitcher-friendly home park when he faces an Astros lineup that leads the Majors with 143 K's.
Zack Greinke (Dodgers): Trying to best a 2014 campaign in which he posted a 2.71 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP, Greinke has opened 2015 on a roll (1.83 ERA, 0.71 WHIP across three starts). The veteran could continue to post strong stats during a road start at pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
Aaron Harang (Phillies): Harang could be a sneaky good pick, as he will be facing a Braves lineup that lacks a single player who went deep 20 times in 2014. If the veteran pitches well -- and he certainly could if he continues to pitch anything like the hurler who has opened '15 with a 1.96 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP -- then he may end up as a cost-effective option for all who pick him. And since few will likely do so, Harang might be an excellent choice for those seeking to go against the grain in fields with a high number of entrants.
All statistics are accurate through the completion of Wednesday's games.