DraftKings picks: Mauer could thrive vs. Texas
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The players listed below could provide difference-making stats for DraftKings participants on Saturday.
Joe Mauer (Twins): Mauer rarely compares to the premier sluggers at first base at this point in his career, but he could thrive when he brings his lifetime .905 OPS against right-handers (.751 vs. lefties) into hitter-friendly Globe Life Park in Arlington to face righty Colby Lewis. In his career, the right-handed hurler has allowed lefty hitters such as Mauer to post an .830 OPS (.722 OPS allowed to righty batters).
Prince Fielder (Rangers): The first baseman -- who is hitting .346 with 10 homers across 234 at-bats this season -- will look to improve on his career .965 OPS against right-handers (.801 vs. lefties) when he faces Twins righty Mike Pelfrey (career 4.42 ERA, 1.47 WHIP).
Shin-Soo Choo (Rangers): Choo has produced notable career splits, with a .903 OPS against right-handers in comparison to a .673 mark vs. lefties. In a Rangers lineup that ranks second in the Majors in runs since May 1, the outfielder could score multiple times against Pelfrey.
Pedro Alvarez (Pirates): The first baseman has traditionally excelled vs. right-handers, against whom he has registered a lifetime .796 OPS (.578 vs. lefties). On Saturday, Alvarez could drive in multiple runs when he faces Phillies righty Sean O'Sullivan (career 5.76 ERA, 1.54 WHIP).
Neil Walker (Pirates): With a lifetime .798 OPS against right-handed hurlers (.656 vs. lefties), Walker could be part of a Pirates stack on Saturday. The switch-hitting second baseman will bat from the left side for much of this game, facing a righty starter in O'Sullivan (4.96 ERA, 1.39 WHIP in 2015), who in his career has allowed lefty hitters to register an .899 OPS (.818 OPS allowed to righty batters).
Gregory Polanco (Pirates): The outfielder has produced pronounced lifetime splits, with a .726 OPS against right-handers that exceeds his .446 mark vs. lefties. Polanco could reach base often against O'Sullivan and swipe a bag against catcher Carlos Ruiz, who has thwarted just six of 32 basestealers this season.
Jason Heyward (Cardinals): Heyward could rip a round-tripper when he faces Royals righty Jeremy Guthrie, who has posted a career 1.2 HR/9 rate. The outfielder has accumulated 68 of his 89 career homers against right-handers, which has contributed to an .823 OPS in those matchups (.660 vs. lefties).
Brian McCann (Yankees): McCann could provide DraftKings participants with a powerful catcher when he takes his lifetime .834 OPS against right-handers (.748 vs. lefties) into cozy Camden Yards to face Orioles righty Bud Norris (career 4.38 ERA, 1.38 WHIP).
Matt Wieters (Orioles): The catcher could rip a round-tripper when he takes his career .827 OPS against left-handers (.712 vs. righties) into a matchup with Yankees lefty CC Sabathia at homer-happy Camden Yards. Since the outset of the 2013 season, Sabathia has surrendered 50 homers across 52 starts.
Mike Trout (Angels): DraftKings participants may be wise to make a large investment in Trout for his home matchup against A's righty Kendall Graveman (4.83 ERA, 1.59 WHIP in 2015). In his career, the superstar outfielder has registered a game-changing .311/.395/.566 slash line against right-handers.
Bryce Harper (Nationals): DraftKings participants seeking to employ a stars-and-scrubs strategy could combine Harper with fellow superstar Trout on Saturday. Harper -- who has hit .328 with 20 homers and 47 RBIs across 198 at-bats this season -- will vacate his pitcher-friendly home venue to hit at offense-inducing Miller Park against Brewers righty Jimmy Nelson (career 4.24 ERA).
Gerrit Cole (Pirates): The right-hander could improve on his impressive 2015 results -- 1.73 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 86 strikeouts across 78 innings -- when he plies his trade at his pitcher-friendly home park against the Phillies. Of note: Philadelphia's lineup ranks last in the Majors in runs scored (194) and OPS against righties (.626). Additionally, Cole could be considered a strong favorite to earn a win as Pittsburgh's lineup has the skills to excel against O'Sullivan.
Shelby Miller (Braves): With a 1.84 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP, the right-hander has been among this season's notable breakout players. Miller could continue to dominate on Saturday, when he works at pitcher-friendly Citi Field against a Mets lineup that ranks 25th in baseball with a .667 OPS against righties.
Collin McHugh (Astros): The right-hander -- who has a 3.27 ERA with 218 strikeouts across 231 1/3 innings since the outset of 2014 -- could compile several quality frames against a Mariners lineup that ranks 26th in the Majors with a .665 OPS against righties. With a quality effort, McHugh could earn a win in a seemingly advantageous matchup against the inexperienced Mike Montgomery.
Chris Archer (Rays): With a 1.84 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP, Archer has emerged as an ace this season. He could continue to thrive when he works at his pitcher-friendly home park against a White Sox lineup that ranks 28th in the Majors with 211 runs scored. Of note: Archer will work in front of a Rays defense that ranks third in the Majors with a .711 defensive efficiency ratio.
All statistics are accurate through the completion of Thursday's games.