Thursday presents an interesting slate in terms of pitching, mainly because none of the top arms are worth top dollar. Jon Lester ($45) is far from dominant and has a difficult matchup, while David Price ($44) has been all over the place. I went cheap with both my guys, and I donít think itíll be an issue. That left me with tons of cash to work with for hitting.
Chad Kuhl, PIT vs. SD ($36): Kuhlís price is surprisingly low considering heís hit 15 fantasy points in four of his last five starts to go with a career-best 21.9 K percentage. That should lead to a decent amount of strikeouts against the Padres, which own a 27.3 K percentage, .109 ISO and .291 wOBA against righties over the last month.
Vince Velasquez, PHI at STL ($34): I could spend up on Cole Hamels ($42) or get the same production from Velasquez for cheaper. Velasquez roasted the Giants for 12 Ks last time out and has hit 18 fantasy points in five of his last seven starts. I like him as a small underdog against a Cardinals team that struggles against righties with a 24.1 K percentage and poor .282 wOBA in the past month.
John Hicks, DET at SEA ($14): Hicks is one of many Tigers who have stepped up after some big names went down with injury. He hit a double a week ago against Marco Gonzales and had a solid .213 ISO against southpaws in limited time last season (66 plate appearances). Gonzales has run into some issues, giving up 19 hits and eight runs over his last two starts, which doesnít combine well with his career .387 wOBA against righty bats.
Josh Bell, PIT vs. SD ($16): Bell is having his way with lefties with a .381 BABIP and that goes well with last yearís .211 ISO against them. On the mound, rookie Eric Lauer gave up four homers last start and hasnít made it past three innings in two of his four outings. Against 68 righties faced, heís allowed 23 hits, a .377 AVG.
Brock Holt, BOS vs. BAL ($10): Holt doesnít have huge numbers, but he doesnít cost much and gets on base (eight XBH hits in 55 at-bats), while not striking out against righties (8.6 K percentage). Kevin Gausman could be elite if he didnít face lefties, but thatís not possible. His early 10.4 BB percentage has been a problem, although thatís better than a year ago when he also had a 4.92 xFIP against lefty bats.
Matt Davidson, CWS vs. TEX ($18): Hamels is having a better season than his 2-4 record suggests, but his numbers should fall back to earth, at least closer to 2017ís 5.01 xFIP against righties. His worst stat this year is the eight homers allowed to righty bats, and thatís where Davidson steps in, already with four home runs in 31 at-bats against southpaws. That falls in line with his career .222 ISO and .334 wOBA.
Jean Segura, SEA vs. DET ($16): Segura has upped his game with a .447 BABIP in 60 plate appearances against southpaws after roping them for a .353 wOBA last year. Matthew Boyd had decent success the last time he saw the Mariners (3 H, 3 ER), but heís been fairly lucky, and it canít be forgotten he has a career .349 wOBA against righties. Ö It also wouldnít hurt to give Pete Kozma ($9) a shot if short on money.
Nomar Mazara, TEX at CWS ($21): Mazara is roping righties in the early season with seven homers and five doubles. Those are pushing his career numbers up, which are still solid with a .195 ISO and .340 wOBA. James Shields always has trouble against the left side of the plate with an early negative-1.0 K-BB percentage after last seasonís miserable 5.97 xFIP.
Mitch Haniger, SEA vs. DET ($19): I like this game to hit the over, and Haniger should be part of that with eight extra-base hits in only 50 at-bats against lefties. His career .205 ISO points to success against Boyd and his career 4.99 xFIP against righties.
Trey Mancini, BAL at BOS ($18): Even after a better performance last start, Iím not convinced David Price is back to normal. Heís still walking a ton of righties (11.8 BB percentage) and has given up 28 hits and 18 runs in his last four starts. The Orioles have picked up their bats since a slow start and that includes Mancini, who has a .375 BABIP in 50 plate appearances against lefties, and thatís how his short career has gone with a .198 ISO and 359 wOBA.