DraftKings picks: Kershaw could hang up K's
Welcome to DraftKings fantasy baseball, the Official Daily Fantasy Game of Major League Baseball.
The players listed below could provide difference-making stats for DraftKings participants on Friday.
Pedro Alvarez (Pirates): The first baseman has long fared best vs. right-handers, against whom he has produced a career .796 OPS (.578 vs. lefties). Alvarez could drive in multiple runs when he faces Phillies righty Kevin Correia, who owns a 4.59 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP as a big leaguer.
Neil Walker (Pirates): As a big leaguer, the second baseman has registered a .798 OPS against right-handers that exceeds his .656 mark vs. lefties. On Friday, Walker could provide valuable production at a premium position as part of a Pirates stack against Correia, who will be making his season debut after posting a 5.44 ERA in 2014.
Andrew McCutchen (Pirates): The star outfielder traditionally fares best against left-handers, but he has posted a quality lifetime .291/.377/.479 slash line vs. righties. McCutchen -- who has hit .343 since the beginning of May -- could swipe a base against catcher Carlos Ruiz, who has allowed more steals than all but five catchers this season.
Gregory Polanco (Pirates): With lopsided career splits that include a .726 OPS against right-handers and a .446 mark vs. lefties, the outfielder could be the final piece of a Pirates stack against Correia (1.50 WHIP in 2014). Polanco could reach base often or score multiple runs from a premium lineup spot and tally his 17th steal of the season against Ruiz.
Dee Gordon (Marlins): The second baseman could be a source of hits and runs when he puts his lifetime .709 OPS against right-handers (.606 vs. lefties) to the test against Rockies righty Kyle Kendrick (6.16 ERA, 1.41 WHIP in 2015). Gordon -- who has swiped 84 bases since the outset of 2014 -- could run on catcher Nick Hundley, who sometimes struggles to thwart would-be basestealers.
Christian Yelich (Marlins): Yelich has produced notable career splits, with a .761 OPS against right-handers that exceeds his .667 mark vs. lefties. The outfielder could reach base often against Kendrick (lifetime 1.37 WHIP), as he will be hitting into a Rockies defense that ranks 24th in the Majors with a .679 defensive efficiency ratio.
Evan Longoria (Rays): The third baseman could improve on his lifetime .289/.379/.536 slash line against left-handers at the expense of White Sox southpaw John Danks (5.17 ERA, 1.52 WHIP in 2015). Of note: Longoria will hit into a White Sox defense that ranks 28th in the Majors with a .667 defensive efficiency ratio.
Chris Colabello (Blue Jays): The slugger -- who has hit .341 with 20 RBIs across 129 at-bats this season - could be a cost-effective option for DraftKings participants on Friday. Colabello will hit in a Blue Jays lineup that has scored 50 more runs than any other team in the Majors when the club faces Red Sox righty Joe Kelly (5.40 ERA, 1.42 WHIP in 2015).
Brian Dozier (Twins): With 11 homers and 47 runs across 258 plate appearances, Dozier has been among the most productive second basemen this season. He could reach base often when he leaves his pitcher-friendly home park and brings his career .875 OPS against left-handers (.681 vs. righties) into hitter-friendly Globe Life Park in Arlington to face southpaw Wandy Rodriguez (lifetime 1.33 WHIP).
Trevor Plouffe (Twins): Plouffe has flashed his power stroke on a regular basis this season, leading to nine homers and 32 RBIs across 208 at-bats. With a career .823 OPS against southpaws (.691 vs. righties), the third baseman could thrive against Rodriguez at Texas' offense-inducing venue.
Mark Trumbo (Mariners): Seattle's newest slugger could display his power when he heads to Minute Maid Park to face lefty Brett Oberholtzer (career 1.33 WHIP). The outfielder has produced notable career splits, with an .828 OPS against southpaws that exceeds his .729 mark vs. righties.
Nelson Cruz (Mariners): With a career .915 OPS against left-handers (.812 vs. righties), Cruz wields one of the most potent bats in the Majors when he faces an opposite-handed hurler. The slugger could build on his American League-leading home run total when he faces Oberholtzer, who has posted a 2.08 WHIP across 12 innings during an injury-affected 2015 season.
Mike Zunino (Mariners): Hitting .168 this season, the catcher may be an economical DraftKings option when he puts his career .702 OPS against left-handers (.606 vs. righties) up against Oberholtzer. With 29 homers and a .190 average since the outset of 2014, Zunino could be classified as a boom-or-bust selection.
Felix Hernandez (Mariners): With a 2.51 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP and 81 strikeouts across 82 1/3 innings this year, Hernandez continues to be one of the most reliable workhorses in the Majors. The right-hander could add a high strikeout total to several quality frames when he faces an Astros lineup that leads the Majors with 561 whiffs.
Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers): With a 28-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio across his past three starts, the left-hander has regained his 2014 National League MVP form. Kershaw could post difference-making numbers when he visits pitcher-friendly Petco Park, where he has posted a 2.22 ERA and a .194 opponents' batting average across nine career starts.
Jordan Zimmermann (Nationals): The right-hander -- who has posted a 3.18 ERA this season that is slightly lower than his impressive 3.23 career mark -- could log several quality frames when he faces a Brewers lineup that ranks 25th in the Majors with a .671 OPS against righties.
Hector Santiago (Angels): By virtue of his 2.55 ERA and 1.16 WHIP across 70 2/3 innings this season, Santiago has emerged as a reliable hurler for the Halos. The southpaw could be a productive second starter for DraftKings participants when he works at his pitcher-friendly home park against an A's lineup that ranks 27th in the Majors with a .627 OPS against lefties.