This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
12-games await Friday evening's main slate. Only three of the 24 pitchers are priced in double-digits, with most not being household names, at least entering the season. As such, it shouldn't be too surprising to see only two games with a run total of eight or less. Offense should be available throughout Friday, while choosing the right arm looks paramount to success.
Anthony DeSclafani, SF vs. MIA ($9,100): DeSclafani's runs are up and his strikeouts down over the last two outings, which seems less than ideal. But it's lowered his price to a more palatable spot in a plus matchup. Miami sits with only a .294 wOBA, 85 wRC+ and fan a moderate 23.4 percent of the time off righties. They played Thursday afternoon before boarding the long flight west, and now will sit until 10:05 "their" time. I look for a lackadaisical effort from their bats Friday.
Martin Perez, TEX vs. COL ($8,400): I believe I've targeted Perez in each of his last two starts, both of which have been clunkers, allowin 16 hits and 11 runs across just 8.2 innings, one against lowly Oakland. We know he isn't as good as last season's numbers, but he's also likely better than those two starts and has another favorable matchup. Colorado has a .285 wOBA, 77 wRC+ and 25.1 K rate on the road, and .297/70/24.5 off lefties.
Brandon Bielak, HOU vs. OAK ($7,000): With no real clear favorites on the bump, why not simply resort to targeting against the Oakland offense? The A's strike out a nice 26.0 percent of the time off righties, perhaps allowing Bielak to reach a 4x return on this number for the first time to date. Bielak has a pretty ugly 1.83 WHIP, which leads to an 8.32 xERA against a 3.29 ERA. But he's worked deeper into each game through his last three, and facing this dreadful offense, he could even last long enough for a quality start. There's minimal upside, but that's factored into the price.
Are we kidding with some of these prices? I understand that players shouldn't be priced based on name recognition alone, but for under a roster average price, and decently under $4,000 too, we can consider a lineup that includes Fernando Tatis ($3,700), Mike Trout ($3,600) and Pete Alonso ($3,600).
Tatis is my preference to build around. His .394 wOBA, 153 wRC+, .292 ISO and 40 percent hard-hit rate off lefties is the foundation of that belief. And I'm not buying James Paxton's impressive debut. The Padres are in a slump, but this could be a spot to stack their offense as they have multiple options against the lefty, all priced favorably.
We don't want to chase past recent past performances, and it does feel a little bit like we are with Trout and Alonso, who have homered in two and four straight games, respectively. Trout has a difficult matchup against Joe Ryan, but is the Angels best against righties with a .406 wOBA, 160 wRC+ and 44.6 percent hard-hit rate. Alonso seems to have the less difficult matchup against Cal Quantrill, who oddly doesn't have targetable splits despite his 3.97 ERA not being backed by a 5.56 xFIP. Alonso brings a .373 wOBA, 141 wRC+, .306 ISO and 37.0 percent hard-hit rate into Friday.
The Nationals don't have a bat north of $2,900, and four semi-regulars with a wOBA of a .370 or greater. All come with BABIPs north of .400, so it may not be sustainable, but for one more game, it makes sense to target any of Lane Thomas ($2,900), Luis Garcia ($2,800), Alex Call ($2,700) or Stone Garrett ($2,700) to help round out your lineups in a plus matchup against Matthew Boyd and his 6.47 ERA and 5.29 xFIP, with Thomas likely being my preference.
The Rangers have a very clear opportunity against Karl Kauffmann, a rookie making his debut for an injury-depleted Rockies rotation after posting a 7.78 ERA in Triple-A. They'll be a popular stack, so I'll take Corey Seager ($3,000) individually, and look elsewhere for differentiation. He's priced down with just one game back from injury, but had a .416 wOBA, 169 wRC+ and zero-percent soft contact off righties in 38 plate appearances before going down.
Houston will be another popular offense, facing lefty Ken Waldichuk. As a one-off however, I like Jeremy Pena ($3,100) Friday. He's hit safely in six of his last eight, three times collecting multiple knocks, and has a .389 wOBA and 151 wRC+ off lefties.
Finally, a slumping Daulton Varsho ($2,800) could pop Friday. O's starter Kyle Gibson has allowed 12 runs and 23 hits over his last three starts, but it's lefties who are killing him, allowing a .409 wOBA against .262 to righties. Varsho is virtually all the Jays have to attack Gibson from the left.
Stacks to Consider
We saw a massive 24 runs scored in St. Louis Thursday, and with bullpen's taxed as a result, we could see more fireworks Friday, particularly from the Dodgers against Matz, who has an ugly 5.62 ERA (4.93 FIP). He's been far more vulnerable to righties, allowing a .403 wOBA and .937 OPS. As such, I'll target Betts atop this lineup, who also has the best splits versus lefties, sitting with a .425 wOBA, 172 wRC+ and .372 ISO. Martinez gives us another righty to help balance the budget, and hitting around Will Smith gives in the heart of the order, he should see run-scoring chances. Freeman seemingly remains matchup proof. he's 10-for-33 (.303) of Matz, and has a .391 wOBA, 149 wRC+ and .345 ISO off southpaws to date.
I've never been a Kikuchi believer. He comes to Friday with a 3.89 ERA, but an elevated 5.46 FIP and 2.4 homers per nine. He hasn't been hit harder regardless of batter handedness, so we can freely target the Orioles lineup as your builds elsewhere allow. Collectively, Baltimore is 20-for-66 (.303) with a 1.067 OPS off the Jays left. All three of these options have a wOBA of at least .408, a wRC+ of at least 163 and an ISO of at least .255. All of those "low" numbers are owned by Mullins, the most expensive option here. So feel free to pick and choose as needed.