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I feel like I say this once every couple of weeks, but the pitching on the slate tonight could be the most disappointing gun collection I’ve ever seen. To be fair, it’s just a six-game slate tonight at DraftKings, but when Ross Stripling ($ 8,800) Your third most expensive arm is you have some quality control issues.
So who can you trust not to implode on the hill on Thursday? Let’s go through position by position and break it all down.
Sonny Gray, Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, $ 9,300 – While two of Gray’s last three starts haven’t gone well, no one on this board can even come close to keeping up with the right-handed’s blanket. Gray comes into play Thursday with a 29.0% strikeout rate for the season and an even better 29.3% strikeout rate since early 2019. He has proven time and again that he can generate swings and misses, now it’s just a matter of a little luck. Gray’s 3.33 xFIP in 2021 is almost entirely lower than his 4.26 ERA and is almost directly the result of a 0.340 BABIP and some battles with RISP. With the Pirates finishing last in ISO vs. RHPs (.130) in baseball, tonight should be an opportunity for Gray to get back on track.
Touki Toussaint, Atlanta Braves at St. Louis Cardinals, $ 7,400 – Toussaint was shaken when he last played against the Brewers, but his numbers during his current MLB stint are still looking pretty good. In 17.0 innings of work, the 25-year-old has an xFIP of 3.02, a strikeout rate of 28.2%, and a K / BB ratio of 5.00. Sure, the opponents made some tough contacts in the three starts of Toussaint, but thanks to a ground ball rate of 52.4%, which is well above average, very few of these 95 mph batted ball events have turned into barrels. Obviously, much of Toussaint’s viability is down to the specific desperation of today’s slate, but with St. Louis only owning an 87 WRC + against RHPs, the former first-round pick is undeniably in a fine matchup.
Sal Perez, Kansas City Royals at Chicago White Sox, $ 4,600 – Perez is a perfect DFS asset. It’s hyper-aggressive, has a lot of power and has an obvious split advantage: the veteran simply crushes left-handed pitching. So far in 2021, Perez is cutting .346 / .375 / .720 with a 193 wRC + in his 112 record appearances against southpaw. Registering a 1,095 OPS with a 3.6% gait rate is absolutely insane.
Martin Maldonado, Houston Astros vs. Minnesota Twins, $ 2,500 – Houston has the highest implied team total on that table, with the Astros forecast for nearly six runs on Thursday night. That means anyone on the team’s line-up – especially someone below $ 3,000 in price – is a viable option. It also helps that Maldonado is right-handed, there Griffin Jax ($ 5,800) has given a percentage of 0.635 to the 72 RHBs he has faced so far in 2021.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays vs. Cleveland Guardians, $ 6,200 – Guerrero is basically viable against any pitcher in the league at this point, but he’s going to have a particularly nice matchup on Thursday Triston McKenzie ($ 8,400) Tip toe for Cleveland. Although the young RHP has strikeout stuff, his control is absent, which has resulted in McKenzie dropping 2.76 homers per nine to opposing RHBs so far this season. Given Guerrero’s 198 WRC + in right-to-right situations, I think he will be able to pay that hefty salary.
Ty France, Seattle Mariners at New York Yankees, $ 4,000 – France has swung a hot bat since the start of the second half, beating .320 / .370 / .493 with a 144 WRC + in 81 record appearances. France also showed its power against left-handed pitching more often than against right-handed pitching in 2021, with an ISO of 0.195 against the former. Nestor Cortes ($ 7,900) was great for the Yankees, but this is a nice place for France at an affordable price.
Ozzie Albies, Atlanta Braves at St. Louis Cardinals, $ 4,900 – Albies was a force to beat right-handed in 2021 as the infielder recorded a .920 OPS and a 141 wRC + when competing against LHPs. With the added advantage of being the Braves’ leadoff hitter against southpaw, Albies should be able to score on Thursday. At least that’s the presence of Wade LeBlanc ($ 6,700) and its 5.39 xERA suggest.
Jorge Polanco, Minnesota Twins at Houston Astros, $ 3,800 – This is in part the result of a small slate of slate, but there’s no good reason for Polanco ever to be this cheap. The infield player has been on fire since early June, slashing .310 / .358 / .548 with a .238 ISO and a 146 wRC + in 229 record appearances. Additionally, the last time the Twins competed an LHP, Polanco hit the leadoff, so tonight he has a very realistic take of five PAs. Framber Valdez ($ 9,900) is great but I will be sure to get to know Polanco and Minnesota in GPPs.
Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves at St. Louis Cardinals, $ 4,600 – Riley has been on fire in the batter’s box since the beginning of July when the third baseman slashed .318 / .409 / .645 with a .327 ISO and a 174 wRC + in that period. Thanks to the fact that Riley’s 27 RBI have hit mostly in the cleanup area since July 1st, they are also the second most all National League players. In short, he’s been really good lately and the contact-oriented LeBlanc shouldn’t be a big test.
Abraham Toro, Seattle Mariners at the New York Yankees, $ 3,500 – It won’t take forever, but Toro has been a machine since it traded to Seattle last week and hit .429 in three home runs and .429 ISO in 32-record appearances with his new team. Beating in a premium lineup slot at Yankee Stadium, this prize doesn’t reflect Toro’s skill set. His switch flicking skills should come in handy too, as Cortes has more than five innings left in a game this season.
Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox vs. Kansas City Royals, $ 5,800 – It took some time, but Anderson has finally started to look like himself in the past few months, and that’s largely due to his left-handed ability. Anderson’s had 62 record appearances within the split since early June, cutting 0.300 / 0.323 / 533 with a 133 wRC +. Add in the stolen base benefit and an implied team total of nearly six passes and you have the recipe for a valuable DFS asset.
Carlos Correa, Houston Astros vs. Minnesota Twins, $ 4,200 – Correa’s price cut made sense as it struggled to hit in July, but that trend is a thing of the past. In his last eight games, Correa beats .313 with a 157 wRC +. On Wednesday evening he even managed his first home run since July 3rd. The slump is over, but the cheap salary remains. With the aforementioned Jax struggling to retire RHBs in 2021, Correa could wait for a tremendous feat.
Mitch Haniger, Seattle Mariners for the New York Yankees, $ 5,200 A Mariners stack is likely to give you some GPP differentiation tonight and it’s not that you have to sacrifice talent for that. Haniger is a perfect example. The outfielder loved two things in 2021: beating LHPs and beating away from Seattle. On Thursday he does both. In fact, Haniger has a 1,106 OPS and a 201 wRC + in his 71 record appearances against left-handers on the street this season. These are certainly tempting divisions.
Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros vs. Minnesota Twins, $ 3,800 – As always, it’s very unclear why Tucker is so cheap. Tucker has a .399 wOBA and a 161 wRC + against RHPs in 2021. He has a 1,028 OPS in the second half. Hell, it has an expected WOBA of .400 going back to early May. He’s one of only 10 players sitting at or above .400 and the other nine are all all-stars. Respect this man’s name. Please.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and sometimes play on my personal account in the games on which I offer advice. While I have provided my personal opinion on the games and strategies mentioned above, they do not necessarily reflect the opinion (s) of DraftKings and I can use different players and strategies than I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to non-public information.
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