This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Baseball series.
The MLB season is young. Most teams have only played one game. However, there are a couple of things I already feel confident about for the 2023 season. For one, games are indeed going to be notably shorter this year. And two, there will be more stolen bases. Hitters who excel at getting on base and offer speed are going to carry more DFS value than before. As for Saturday, it's back to business as usual for MLB with every team in action. First pitch is at 2:10 p.m. EDT. Here are my lineup recommendations.
Spencer Strider, ATL at WAS ($57): Strider starred as a rookie, perhaps the best rookie pitcher in all of baseball. He made 31 appearances – 20 of those starts – and posted an 1.82 FIP. The Nationals finished 26th in runs scored last season, but they had Juan Soto during most of that period. This year, they seem primed to be potentially the worst offense in baseball.
Patrick Sandoval, LAA at OAK ($39): The Angels have struggled to put enough talent around Mike Trout (and now also Shohei Ohtani), but Sandoval was one of the positives from 2022 as he produced a 2.91 ERA, though admittedly with a significant drop in his home runs. Pitching against the Athletics doesn't concern me in terms of potential long-ball regression since they finished 29th in runs scored within a pitcher-friendly ballpark.
Sonny Gray, MIN at KC ($39): Gray moved from Cincinnati to Minnesota last year. And while his strikeouts dropped, he also lowered his ERA to 3.08 and his FIP to 3.40. The Royals finished 24th in runs scored last season, and they don't exactly have a more imposing lineup in 2023.
In 2022, Julio Rodriguez ($22) emerged as one of baseball's new stars. That's what happens when you hit .284 with 28 homers and 25 stolen bases. Over his career, Aaron Civale has allowed 1.33 home runs per nine innings and struggled to a 5.88 road ERA last season.
The wonders of Shohei Ohtani ($18) continue in 2023. In addition to his above-average pitching, he's one of the best hitters having posted an .875 OPS with 34 homers and 11 stolen bases a year after .964/46/26 swiped bags. He'll be facing his countryman Shintaro Fujinami, who will be making his MLB debut.
After a stellar rookie campaign, Jonathan India ($14) endured a sophomore slump. Hopefully this year, he looks more like the hitter who posted a .376 OBP with 21 homers and 12 stolen bases. I'm going with India because I needed a righty versus the left-handed Rich Hill. The 43-year-old pitcher has changed teams yet again, possibly because he hasn't posted a FIP below 3.91 since 2017.
This could be a bounce-back campaign for Brandon Lowe ($13). He struggled last year, but slugged over .500 the three previous seasons while registering 39 homers in 2021. Over the course of his career, the lefty Lowe has excelled at facing righties. Speaking of 2021, that's the last time Spencer Turnbull pitched in the majors and he'll be making his return from Tommy John surgery on Saturday.
Stacks to Consider
Braves at Nationals (Josiah Gray): Ronald Acuna ($19), Michael Harris ($17), Austin Riley ($17)
Pitching in the bigs has been brutal for Gray with a 5.88 career FIP. Why? Because he's allowed 2.34 home runs per nine innings. And this trio could take advantage of that.
Acuna suffered a bit of a power outage in 2022, but listed an OBP of .351 with 29 stolen bases across 119 games. Prior to that, he boasted enough power and a career .517 slugging percentage. As a rookie, Harris produced 19 home runs and 20 stolen bases. He also had a .943 OPS versus righties and a .965 on the road. Riley is the one hitter with the power you can definitely trust considering his 33 home runs in 2021 after tweaking his approach and followed that up with 38 last season.
Mets at Marlins (Edward Cabrera): Pete Alonso ($21), Francisco Lindor ($18), Jeff McNeil ($16)
Cabrera doubled his starts from 2021 to 2022, going from seven to 14. His ERA lowered from 5.81 to 3.01, but his FIP only dropped from 6.62 to 4.59. Cabrera posted a 4.58 home ERA, so he still has a lot to prove while this Mets trio is fairly established.
Alonso is full of power, having slugged .534 over his career. He also hit 40 home runs in 2022 with a career-high 131 RBI and more talent around him in the lineup. Lindor batted .270 with 26 homers and 16 stolen bases last season. And he managed a couple years with over 20 stolen bases in Cleveland, so he should be able to increase that stat. McNeil bounced back from a tough 2021 and has hit .300 in four of his five campaigns. The second baseman also recorded an .863 OPS versus righties in 2022.
Padres vs. Rockies (Jose Urena): Juan Soto ($19), Xander Bogaerts ($18), Jake Cronenworth ($15)
Urena can't blame his career 4.80 ERA on Coors Field. After all, he's only made 17 of his career starts with the Rockies spending most of his career with the Marlins. I wanted to get at least two lefties in this stack as they've hit .327 against Urena since 2021.
In Soto's worst season of his career, he still posted a .401 OBP with 27 home runs. When that is your floor, that's impressive. And last year, Soto managed a .942 OPS against righties. Bogaerts is in his first season with the Padres, but was steady with the Red Sox with a career .292 average and slugging .523 the four seasons prior to 2022. Cronenworth's average dropped last year, but still clubbed 17 home runs and a career-high of 88 RBI. He also registered a .275 BABIP and that should improve with the new rules surrounding the shift.