This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
We have another Sunday DraftKings slate that chops the West Coast games. That means there are no true aces – Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer are set for a duel in L.A. in the afternoon slate – to choose from. Expect plenty of scoring even with some "B Team" lineups.
Daniel Ponce de Leon ($6,700) and Matt Shoemaker ($6,900) immediately jump out as misvalued starters. They offer different rewards and risks, but both are worth serious consideration. Shoemaker's biggest problem throughout his career has been remaining healthy, something we can mostly disregard in DFS. Another considerable problem has been the longball, as he's surrendered 1.6 HR/9 across 172 innings between 2017-2021. Yet, Seattle has been one of the best matchups for opposing pitchers early on this season, combining light hitting (.111 ISO, 88 wRC+) with a high strikeout rate (29 percent).
Ponce de Leon is similar to Shoemaker in that he's rarely maintained a consistent role with the Cardinals. Again, this can be disregarded as he's locked into the rotation - at least for now. Speaking of opposing strikeout rate, Milwaukee has punched out at a 31.6 percent clip to this point in the campaign and surpassed only by Baltimore. Add in a friendly home pitching environment and there's little reason for Ponce de Leon to be the slate's fifth lowest-valued pitcher.
Jordan Montgomery ($9,900) smashed the Orioles in his opening start and offers the skills to back it by racking up a 19.2 percent swinging strike rate and surrendering only one barreled ball. The Rays aren't an offensive juggernaut, but this is buying Montgomery at his peak in a far worse matchup than his season debut. He could keep it going, but I'll fade for the salary.
Marcus Stroman ($9,100) may be the most stable option on the slate. After not throwing a pitch in 2020, he appeared to be in mid-season form in his first start as he only struck out three but induced an 83.3 percent groundball rate. The Marlins are hardly a formidable matchup, but the salary point is a bit unsettling due to the nearly guaranteed lack of Ks. Nevertheless, Stroman's aforementioned stability is nice on a slate with a lot of poor pitching and offers a nice pairing with one of Ponce de Leon or Shoemaker.
The offseason talk surrounding Eric Hosmer ($5,400) was that his changed batted ball profile of 2020 was set carry over into 2021, meaning his home-run launching ways would continue. A week into the season, the second half of that statement is true despite the fact his average launch angle remains -3.5 degrees. While that significantly lowers his floor, Hosmer has absolutely demolished the ball early this season and Mike Foltynewicz has allowed 1.5 HR/9 to left-handed batters throughout his career.
Rafael Devers ($5,400) began the year with one of his patented painful April slumps, although he's managed to turn things around earlier than usual. He's mashed home runs in two consecutive games, but this isn't simply a ride-the-hot-hand recommendation as the matchup against Jorge Lopez says go back to Devers – and all Red Sox lefties, for that matter.
The Padres were intent on starting Ha-Seong Kim ($3,000) slowly in his MLB debut, but that all changed when Fernando Tatis went down. Thrust into an everyday role, Kim has quickly adapted. Not only did he crank his first major-league home run Saturday, but registered three of his six previous batted ball events as hard hit according to Statcast. Kim's value will eventually increase, but for now he's an auto-play. Because I've talked about both Kim and Hosmer, it goes without saying this is a stack I like on the slate. Trent Grisham ($4,100) represents another standout option given his salary, but all Padres are in play.
The combination of a southpaw on the mound and a Sunday afternoon contest make it likely Kevin Pillar ($3,200) will find his way into the Mets' lineup. While it may be an unintelligent lineup decision, there's also a similarly strong chance he'll bat towards or at the top of the batting order. If that's the case, his salary is simply too low on volume alone.
Jake Bauers ($3,500) has done little to start the season and has been forced into a platoon with Yu Chang at first base. That's not exactly star fantasy material. However, he still has the chance to perform well against subpar right-handed pitching. Enter Jose Urena. Bauers faced a similar matchup earlier this season with Julio Teheran and smashed a pitch 110.1 miles per hour. It's not sexy, but the matchup says play Bauers and hope he gets some loft on a meatball.
Stacks to Consider
The White Sox are a very tricky matchup for left-handed pitchers. Sure, they are without Eloy Jimenez and Tim Anderson, but the trio of Abreu, Robert and Grandal have pummeled plenty of southpaws and are locked into the middle of the order. Mike Minor doesn't jump out as a weak pitcher relative to the slate, but that's no reason to shy away. This is an exceptionally expensive stack, but should be doable with some of the solid cheaper pitching options.
The Red Sox are missing J.D. Martinez in the middle of their lineup, but this stack should feature three of the top four hitters in their lineup. Boston has an implied total of 5.5 on DraftKings Sportsbooks, tied for highest on the slate. A much cheaper alternative to the White Sox, the sportsbooks suggest this is a sharp play depending on coverage projections.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Alex Cobb
Straying a bit from traditional handedness/matchup analysis and shifting to common sense and game theory lands us on the Blue Jays. The Angels and Blue Jays have taken turns obliterating the baseball in their weekend series and were undoubtedly part of tournament-winning stacks on both Friday and Saturday. Numbers aren't reliable enough to know exactly what park factors say about TD Ballpark based on the small sample, but the stadium certainly doesn't suppress offense. Tanner Roark is the more stackable matchup in this game, also putting the Angels in play. However, they got next to nothing out of starter Jose Quintana on Saturday and needed four pitchers to stumble through nine innings. Even so, getting destroyed on the road in a game that concluded roughly 12 hours before first pitch of the next contest can't be easy to bounce back from mentally. Getting some leverage based on the likelihood that more poolies will shift to Los Angeles and Toronto is an interesting play.