Saturday’s batch of daily fantasy baseball picks are devoted entirely to hitters, but DraftKings participants should all build around an ace.

Two young aces leaping to superstardom take the hill on Saturday. The red-hot Chris Archer gets a great matchup in the Chicago White Sox, and the surging Gerrit Cole receives baseball’s worst offense in the Philadelphia Phillies. Fading both puts gamers in the—well, Chris’s long-lost brother Sterling can explain it better.

While the night slate offers fewer premium options, Zack Greinke becomes an essential play for anyone playing the isolated late shift. Either way, nobody can fill up on Giancarlo Stanton and Paul Goldschmidt while paying over five figures for an ace. So let’s highlight some affordable sluggers presented great opportunities on Saturday.


C Salvador Perez ($3,500) and OF Lorenzo Cain ($3,800), Kansas City Royals at St. Louis (LHP Tyler Lyons)

Lance Lynn was originally scheduled to face the Kansas City Royals, but the St. Louis Cardinals shelved him with a forearm injury. The team announced the move and his replacement on Friday:

Kansas City goes from facing a stout righty to an unproven southpaw. That’s great news for Salvador Perez, a career .307/.342/.502 hitter vs. lefties with a .362 weighted on-base average, per FanGraphs. Also benefiting from the swap, Lorenzo Cain comes at $3,800 while lighting up lefties (.344/.420/.525) all season.

Because of the last-minute change, Perez and Cain come at bargains despite the favorable platoon splits. On the other end of the coin, lefties Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas lose appeal.


1B David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox ($4,000) vs. Toronto (RHP R.A. Dickey)

David Ortiz has endured a dishearteningly slow start—but only against southpaws. He’s just fine when fed a righty, whom he has punched for an .897 OPS. Although it’s usually foolish to look at batter vs. pitcher matchups, there’s something to be said for his ability to handle R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball.

Big Papi has gone 8-for-23 with two homers and two doubles against Dickey, who has a 5.35 ERA this season with a .478 opposing slugging percentage against right-handed batters.

Essentially, the head-to-head success supports a preexisting inkling to use a slugging lefty against a righty prone to offering up gophers. While $4,000 may seem steep for someone hitting .225/.303/.387, DraftKings usually inflates the price much more for someone receiving such a golden matchup.


2B Kolten Wong ($4,000) and 3B Matt Carpenter ($4,300), St. Louis Cardinals vs. Kansas City (RHP Jeremy Guthrie)

Jeremy Guthrie enters the weekend with a .318/.396/.591 opposing slash line against lefties, surrendering nine homers and 31 earned runs through 31.1 innings. He has also relinquished a .945 OPS and 8.17 ERA outside of Kauffman Stadium, so stack some Cardinals teeing off at Busch Stadium.

The most tantalizing lefties in play are Kolten Wong and Matt Carpenter, both of whom top St. Louis’ batting order and flourish against opposite-handed pitchers. For $3,200, Randal Grichuk also has the pop to pay off as a high-reward tournament play.


3B Joey Gallo ($3,800), Texas Rangers vs. Minnesota (RHP Mike Pelfrey)

Don’t be deceived by Mike Pelfrey‘s 2.28 ERA. Although he has harnessed better command and netted more ground balls, he has also notched 34 strikeouts through 67 innings. He remains much closer to the gentleman with the career 4.42 ERA.

Pelfrey will look to inflate his strikeout numbers against rookie Joey Gallo, but even if he does, so what? We’re here to see some dingers, and the rookie offers all the power in the world against righties. He registered a 1.141 OPS versus righties before his promotion and is 8-for-19 with three walks, a homer and a double against them in the majors.

Other Texas Rangers sluggers—most notably Mitch Moreland at $4,600—received price hikes heading into Saturday. Yet Gallo is affordable and awfully dangerous.


OF David Peralta ($3,500), Arizona Diamondbacks at San Francisco (RHP Ryan Vogelsong)

David Peralta hasn’t homered since May 29, which is great news for DraftKings players. The power outage has diminished his price to $3,500 despite facing Ryan Vogelsong, a soft-tossing righty with a 4.52 ERA and 2-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Peralta still maintains a .500 slugging percentage against right-handed pitchers. Before assuming the past couple weeks represent the new normal, he’s a career .312/.347/.506 hitter against righties dating back to last season.

That production is available for the same price as Eduardo Nunez or Michael Bourn? Please and thank you.


OF Andre Ethier ($3,300), Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego (RHP Ian Kennedy)

If Andre Ethier is going to remain so cheap, why not keep going to the well? He’s back to his old self against righties, hitting .291/.387/.539 against them prior to Friday night. 

Although he’s playing at Petco Park, he gets a laboring Ian Kennedy, who sports a 6.48 ERA while having already surrendered a dozen homers. Nine have come inside the supposed pitchers’ haven, which has actually induced deep balls at an above-average rate this season, according to ESPN’s park factors.

Just check the Los Angeles Dodgers’ lineup before finalizing yours to make sure manager Don Mattingly doesn’t throw Alex Guerrero a bone. In that case, play him instead for $2,800.


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