DraftKings MLB: Thursday Picks
DraftKings MLB: Thursday Picks

This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.

Thursday's five-game main slate makes low-cost pitching options hard to come by, but we can dig into some numbers to find a few arms that are likely under the radar. The offensive side can get a little complicated, as we have several openers toeing the rubber, but prospective owners should be able to plan around the different hurlers.

Pitching Overview

Mike Clevinger ($11,400) will undoubtedly be popular on the short slate thanks to the 35 percent strikeout rate he has kept in 107 innings. He has allowed just nine home runs over that span. The Tigers have struggled mightily against right-handed pitching in 2019, logging a .287 wOBA to go along with a 27 percent strikeout rate.

Kyle Hendricks ($9,800) has managed to go the whole season without losing the impeccable 1.75 ERA he carries at Wrigley Field. This should make him someone to look at as he heads into a matchup with the cardinals, who have tallied a bottom-10 wOBA against right-handed pitching.

Kyle Gibson ($8,200) hasn't been much of a DFS play for most of the season, but he should be able to use his slider to get outs against the Royals, as they will enter the contest with the lowest RAA in the league against the pitch. It is also worth noting that Kansas City has notched the eighth-highest groundball rate in the league, while Gibson has thrown grounders at a 51 percent clip.

Trying to find a true value play in the pitching department will be tough, but prospective owners might want to look towards a familiar name in Masahiro Tanaka ($7,500). Tanaka has had a largely forgettable 2019 season but still holds one of the best sliders in the league (20.2 RAA). The Angels have logged a bottom-5 mark against the slider, which could make Tanaka a sneaky play with some upside.

Key Values

Wilmer Font has been crushed on the road this season, allowing a .557 slugging percentage in 34.2 frames. He will set the table for Anthony Kay, who has kept a 6.30 ERA in 10 innings with the big club. Meanwhile, Trey Mancini ($4,900) has hit for good power against both sides of the platoon, resulting in a .248 ISO in 145 games.

Carlos Santana ($4,700) has been downright special against left-handed pitching in 2019, notching a .243 ISO to go along with a .419 wOBA in 173 at-bats. Daniel Norris has had trouble keeping the ball in the yard against his opposite hand, while Drew VerHagen has kept a 5.18 xFIP against lefty hitters in 23.1 frames.

Kole Calhoun ($4,100) may get overshadowed on the Angels, but it would be a mistake to overlook the robust .248 ISO he has tallied against right-handed pitching in 2019. Those who want to pick against Tanaka will certainly have reason to do so, as he has surrendered a .507 slugging percentage to left-handed batters in 83 innings.

Justin Smoak ($3,900) has had a disappointing season overall so it may surprise some to learn that his power against right-handed pitchers has not waned (.231 ISO). This makes him a nice low-cost option against Gabriel Ynoa, who has allowed a .553 slugging percentage to righty hitters in 49 innings.

Stacks

Indians against Daniel Norris and Drew VerHagen (Tigers)

Carlos Santana (1B - $4,700) Roberto Perez (C -$4,000) Greg Allen (OF - $3,900)

Norris generally throws a full three innings as an opener before VerHagen takes over, so we should get at least a couple of at-bats against the primary target. Norris is left-handed while VerHagen is a righty, so prospective owners would be wise to mix and match hitters in terms of handedness.

Gabriel Ynoa against the Blue Jays (Orioles)

Justin Smoak (1B - $3,900) Brandon Drury (3B/OF - $3,300) Cavan Biggio (2B- $5,300)

The Blue Jays are a below-average offensive team that carries surprising power. We should be able to use this to our advantage Thursday in order to sneak in some players who won't break the bank. Drury is a perfect example of this, as he may well be in the lineup after Vladimir Guerrero Jr. left Wednesday's contest due to a left rib injury.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Christopher Olson plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: Sommerset, FanDuel: Christop, Yahoo: Martins.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christopher Olson
Christopher Olson writes DFS articles and blogs for a variety of sports including MLB, NFL and MMA. Follow him on Twitter @RealChrisOlson
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