This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Monday brings an eight-game main slate on DraftKings that includes a few top-tier pitchers. Let's dive into the matchups and discuss some players to consider as you craft your lineups.
One of the top pitchers who is scheduled to take the mound is Gerrit Cole ($10,900). The Yankees' ace has been as good as it gets, starting out the season with 78 strikeouts and just three walks. That's helped him produce a sparkling 0.68 WHIP. He'll look to keep things rolling against a Rangers team that is tied for the fourth-most strikeouts in baseball.
Another pitcher from New York who might be worth considering is Taijuan Walker ($9,100). He's allowed two or fewer earned runs in six of his seven starts, which has left him with a 2.20 ERA that is supported by a 2.94 FIP. Another key to his success has been giving up just one home run across 41 innings. While facing the Braves isn't the easiest of matchups, they could be compromised if Ronald Acuna Jr. (ankle) remains out.
It's difficult to find a much better matchup for a starting pitcher than the Tigers. The have the worst OPS in baseball and have struck out the third-most times. Enter Yusei Kikuchi ($7,800), who is coming off of a great performance against the Dodgers in which he allowed three runs and recorded 11 strikeouts across 6.1 innings. He saw his strikeout rate jump up to 24.2 percent last season and he's been able to carry that into this season, posting a 25.6 percent strikeout rate across his first seven starts.
Nelson Cruz ($4,900) doesn't seem like he will ever age. He's continued to be one of the Twins' best hitters, opening the season with a .239 ISO and a .367 wOBA. He has a staggering .430 wOBA against left-handed pitchers, which is no surprise given his career .401 wOBA against them. That could leave him with a productive evening against Dallas Keuchel ($6,200).
Jose Ramirez ($5,700) has been a bright spot in an otherwise struggling Indians lineup. He's already hit 11 home runs, leaving him with a .314 ISO. The problem is, with so few hitters on base ahead of him, he only has 22 RBI. Still, he's a great option to consider with the Angels set to start Patrick Sandoval ($5,200), who has a career 5.40 ERA and 5.50 FIP.
Staying with the Indains' matchup against Sandoval, Jordan Luplow ($3,100) might also be someone to target. Sandoval has had problems keeping hitters inside the ballpark, allowing 2.1 HR/9 for his career. Luplow has an underwhelming .183 batting averaging this season, but he's slugged six home runs on his way to a .280 ISO. For his career, he has a .231 ISO, so he's shown significant power.
The Mariners finally called up top prospect Jarred Kelenic ($3,000), breathing a sigh of relief for those who drafted him in season-long formats. He's off to a bit of a slow start with three hits in 18 plate appearances, but his three hits were a home run and two doubles. He won't be facing an overwhelming pitcher in Casey Mize ($6,900), who only has a career 17.8 percent strikeout rate, so Kelenic could provide value.
Stacks to Consider
There wasn't much to like about Lyles' performance last season since he finished with a 7.02 ERA and a 5.95 FIP. He's carried over his struggles into this season with a 6.63 ERA and a 5.58 FIP, which should make the Yankees a popular stack. Judge could be a key player to build the stack around given that he's 12-for-21 with five home runs and a double over the last six games.
Prior to this season, Hentges had never pitched above Double-A. His 3.29 ERA through 13.2 innings might look nice, but his 6.21 FIP and 1.76 WHIP indicate he hasn't pitched well at all. Trout and Rendon are two big bats to consider, but don't sleep on Ward, either. He's had problems making contact early on during his career, but he's shown some improvement in that area with a 19.5 percent strikeout rate through his first 41 plate appearances.
Happ started off the season well, but it's worth noting that four of his first five starts came against bad lineups in the Tigers, Pirates, Indians and Rangers. He faced these same White Sox in his last start and was crushed for nine runs over 3.1 innings. Abreu and Anderson have had plenty of success against left-handed pitchers in their careers, posting wOBAs of .390 and .363, respectively.