DraftKings picks: Heyward, Harvey
Hitters could produce a tidal wave of runs today, as few accomplished hurlers are on the docket. DraftKings participants will have a tough decision between paying for the few high-end aces or stacking hitting lineups with studs and opting for low-cost starters. But regardless of the direction you take, the players listed below merit close inspection when setting lineups.
Evan Longoria (Rays): Blue Jays lefty Daniel Norris has posted a 6.08 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP across three 2015 starts, and he recently announced that he has been going through a dead-arm phase this month. Meanwhile, Longoria has compiled a lifetime .915 OPS against southpaws (.816 vs. right-handers). With said platoon advantage, he could be a productive third baseman for DraftKings participants.
Desmond Jennings (Rays): DraftKings owners who wish to stack Rays hitters against the struggling southpaw Norris could include Jennings, who owns a career .271/.357/.449 slash line against left-handers.
Jason Heyward (Cardinals): The outfielder owns pronounced career splits, with an .830 OPS against right-handers that exceeds his .652 mark vs. lefties. Heyward could thrive at hitter-friendly Miller Park when he faces Brewers right-hander Wily Peralta, who has allowed opposing left-handed hitters such as Heyward to compile a career .786 OPS (.650 vs. RHB).
Justin Morneau (Rockies): Morneau could reach base multiple times at his hitter-friendly home park when he faces Giants righty Tim Hudson. The Rockies first baseman has compiled both an .876 at Coors Field since joining Colorado prior to the 2014 season and a lifetime .893 OPS vs. right-handers (.705 against lefties).
Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies): Like Morneau, the outfielder thrives against right-handers (career .907 OPS) and at Coors Field (career 1.009 OPS). DraftKings participants could choose to stack Rockies such as Morneau, Gonzalez, Corey Dickerson and Nick Hundley, as Hudson has compiled a lifetime 7.29 ERA when pitching in Colorado.
Buster Posey (Giants): The Giants' offense could keep pace with the Rockies in a potential high-scoring affair with Posey -- who holds a lifetime .329/.390/.571 slash line vs. lefties -- leading the charge against southpaw Jorge De La Rosa. After opening the season on the disabled list, De La Rosa surrendered seven earned runs (nine total) across two innings in his 2015 debut on Monday.
Pedro Alvarez (Pirates): With a career .794 OPS against right-handers (.582 vs. lefties), Alvarez could be in position to excel at homer-happy Chase Field when he faces D-backs right-hander Rubby De La Rosa (career 4.49 ERA and 1.47 WHIP). The left-handed-hitting first baseman could knock one out of the park, as he has belted 94 of his 108 career homers off righties.
Neil Walker (Pirates): The switch-hitting second baseman has long fared best vs. righties, posting an .800 OPS against them compared with a .662 mark vs. southpaws. Walker will get the chance to play at hitter-friendly Chase Field against the right-handed De La Rosa, who has allowed an .828 OPS to left-handed hitters in his career.
Mike Trout (Angels): With a career .964 OPS vs. right-handers (.890 against lefties), the outfielder could be primed for a productive game when he welcomes Rangers righty Colby Lewis (career 4.82 ERA) to Los Angeles.
Kole Calhoun (Angels): The lefty-hitting outfielder has fared best vs. righties in his big league tenure, producing 24 of his 28 homers and seven of his eight steals when facing them. And because Texas' Lewis has allowed a lifetime .831 opponents' OPS to left-handed batters, Calhoun could be in position to reach base multiple times out of the leadoff spot.
Matt Joyce (Angels): DraftKings participants looking to stack the entire Angels outfield against Lewis (career 1.39 WHIP) may find Joyce to be an inexpensive option due to his slow start this season. For his part, the left-handed slugger has registered a lifetime .808 OPS against right-handers such as Lewis (.577 vs. southpaws).
Stephen Strasburg (Nationals): Some DraftKings participants may shy away from the right-hander, as he has compiled a lifetime 5.59 ERA at Marlins Park. However, Strasburg has made just seven starts at that pitcher-friendly venue, and he could rack up several K's against a Miami lineup that ranks third in baseball with 137 whiffs. He could also pick up a win in a seemingly advantageous matchup against Tom Koehler.
Matt Harvey (Mets): High-level pitching options are scarce today, which should prompt DraftKings participants to give the right-hander a long look for a challenging outing at hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium. Harvey boasts a lifetime 10.0 K/9 rate, and the Yankees are tied for fourth in baseball with 135 whiffs.
Shelby Miller (Braves): The right-hander has opened his Braves career in strong fashion, going 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP in his first three starts. He could continue to have success against a Phillies lineup that ranks last in baseball with 41 runs scored. The sample size for 2015 stats remains small, but DraftKings participants should always consider the quality of opposing lineups when selecting hurlers.
Adam Wainwright (Cardinals): Despite a mediocre total of 14 K's in 21 innings this season, the right-hander has calmed concerns about his offseason elbow surgery by posting a 1.71 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP across three starts. Wainwright could produce quality innings and a win against a Brewers team that ranks last in baseball with three victories.
All statistics are accurate through the completion of Thursday's games.