This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
We've got a reduced eight-game main slate on tap for Saturday evening. Seven of the 16 arms are valued at $9,000 or greater with substantial drops in salary after that tier, so spending up almost seems to be a requirement.
There's nothing wrong with the top tier of pitchers. But in analyzing this slate, I immediately dropped to Alex Cobb ($9,200) squaring off against Merrill Kelly ($9,000). There's familiarity here given the divisional nature of the matchup - which has favored Kelly this year - but I think both should do well in a game where neither offense is feared. Cobb has allowed eight runs and 17 hits across 18.0 innings (3.50 ERA) and striking out only 12 while allowing a .246 OBA. Kelly has dominated the Giants across four starts having given up four runs and 14 hits over 28.1 innings and striking out 24 while allowing a .146 OBA. I expect these two to duel it out and provide a nice return for a slight discount.
The lesser options are honestly lacking. Perhaps we can argue in favor of Glenn Otto ($7,000) limiting damage against the Guardians, who carry a moderate .311 wOBA and 103 wRC+ against righties. He's not going to be clean and 7.0 K/9 won't play up against their 17.1 K rate, but there's still a path to 3-4x. Otherwise, I'd perhaps look at Reid Detmers ($8,000) for similar stability and ignore the lower-salaried options. The Twins offense offers a .308 wOBA, 102 wRC+ and 21.6 percent K rate.
With the reduced slate, we shouldn't fade Coors Field where Rockies starter Chad Kuhl is allowing a .388 wOBA to lefties against a .295 to righties. As such, building around Juan Soto ($4,200) seems to make sense.
Unlike many of his teammates, Eloy Jimenez ($3,800) continues to hit having done so safely in 16 of his last 18 outings. He leads White Sox regulars with a .385 wOBA and 154 wRC+, creating a stable floor with reasonable upside in a favorable matchup against Drew Hutchison.
The Cardinals rake against lefties, but Clayton Kershaw isn't your typical southpaw and is in terrific form having only given up four runs in four starts over 24 innings since returning from IL. I'm not willing to reach for the likes of Nolan Arenado ($3,900) or Paul Goldschmidt ($3,800). But why not gamble on Albert Pujols ($2,700) in GPPs? He's 13-for-36 (.361) off Kershaw lifetime with a .952 OPS and boasts a .478 wOBA, 217 wRC+ and .409 ISO versus lefties to date.
Mookie Betts ($3,400) turned in a 0-for-4 night last night, which lowered his salary by $100. There's no doubt he's slumping, but he's worth an add based on value and potential. And Betts is still sitting with a .432 wOBA< 184 wRC+ and .324 ISO against lefties.
Seattle seems like an obvious spot to stack bats against Kris Bubic, but the Mariners are decimated by injuries and that makes it tough to trust our options. Absolutely nothing wrong with loading up on the top of their order once we see the lineup. But if going solo, perhaps Jesse Winker ($2,200) is our target. Bubic is curiously getting hit harder by same-handed bats to the tune of a .461 wOBA and 1.081 OPS.
Stack to Consider
This small slate didn't immediately present some clear stacking opportunities. So when in doubt, take the easy path. Surely the Astros will bring a better approach after being shut out Friday. We don't expect Baumann to go too deep into this one, but we can still attack his 1.48 WHIP and meager 6.4 K/9. The Orioles' bullpen isn't awful - actually, far from it with a 3.30 ERA and 1.21 WHIP - but I'm banking on a bounce back from Houston. Alvarez enters with a .434 wOBA, 190 wRC+ and .343 ISO against righties and Bregman is at .383/154/.228, representing the top two splits on the squad.