With plenty of day games across the majors Thursday, we only have five games to choose from for the main evening slate that locks at 6:35 p.m. ET. That makes viable stacks a little harder to come by, but there are still some teams in excellent positions to provide value.
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Here are five hitting stacks to consider while compiling your DraftKings entry:
1. PITTSBURGH PIRATESAt first glance, rolling with a Pittsburgh stack might not be the best idea. This team has scored the second-fewest runs (120) and has the fifth-lowest OPS (.673) in the league. However, the Pirates are also finally starting to get healthy after dealing with injuries to some of their key players. With more potent bats in their lineup, the Pirates have averaged 5.3 runs across their last eight games.
It also helps their cause that they will be facing Michael Wacha ($7,600) in this game. Not only have his control issues resulted in a 14.8 percent walk rate across his first six starts, but Wacha has also allowed six home runs across just 31 1/3 innings. With the opportunity to put plenty of men on base here, a Pirates stack is actually very appealing.
Players to ConsiderJosh Bell ($4,400)
Starling Marte ($4,200)
Gregory Polanco ($3,700)
Adam Frazier ($3,400)
Colin Moran ($3,000)
2. NEW YORK YANKEESVeteran Mike Leake ($6,000) will be starting this game for the Mariners, which immediately makes the Yankees stand out as a viable stack. Leake provided the Mariners with innings last year, but he was underwhelming with a 4.15 xFIP and a 15.2 percent strikeout rate. It’s been much of the same for him this season with a 4.67 xFIP and an 18.3 percent strikeout rate across his first seven starts. However, maybe the most concerning stat is that he’s allowed 11 home runs over just 40 1/3 innings.
The Yankees have been decimated by injuries, but that hasn’t stopped them from continuing to win games. While they are still missing some key bats, New York’s lineup is actually the healthiest it’s been right now in a while. The Yankees have still managed to hit the seventh-most home runs (55) in the league, which could spell trouble for Leake. Another encouraging stat for the Yankees is that they’ve stuck out the seventh-fewest times (306).
Players to ConsiderLuke Voit ($5,200)
Gary Sanchez ($5,300)
Clint Frazier ($4,500)
Gleyber Torres ($4,400)
Brett Gardner ($4,400)
3. SEATTLE MARINERSThe Yankees aren’t the only team to consider stacking in this game. J.A. Happ ($8,100) hasn’t pitched nearly as well as he did after being acquired from the Blue Jays last season, recording a 5.03 xFIP through his first seven starts. After limiting batters to a 30.9 percent hard-hit rate last year, he’s recorded a 38.7 percent hard-hit rate this season. His strikeout rate has also plummeted by almost 10 percentage points.
The way to attack Happ is with right-handed hitters. He held lefties to a .222 wOBA last year, but righties had far more success with a .313 wOBA. The Mariners have plenty of righties with significant upside, which has helped them record the fourth-highest wRC+ (122) against left-handed pitchers to start the season.
Players to ConsiderEdwin Encarnacion ($5,100)
Mitch Haniger ($4,500)
Domingo Santana ($4,500)
Tim Beckham ($3,800)
Ryon Healy ($3,700)
4. WASHINGTON NATIONALSThe Nationals have dealt with almost as many key injuries as the Yankees have. They are currently without stars Juan Soto (back) and Trea Turner (finger) while missing key role players in Ryan Zimmerman (foot) and Matt Adams (shoulder). The one bit of good news is that they were able to activate Anthony Rendon from the IL on Tuesday.
Their depleted lineup has made scoring hard to come by. However, I actually think this is an appealing stack to consider against Rich Hill ($9,700). While Hill is the most expensive pitcher for this slate, he allowed three runs and two home runs across four innings in his first start off the IL against the Padres. He’s now allowed four home runs in two starts after allowing 1.4 HR/9 last season. If you’re looking for a stack with potentially low ownership percentages in tournament play, the Nationals are a team to consider.
Players to ConsiderAnthony Rendon ($4,400)
Victor Robles ($3,800)
Howie Kendrick ($3,900)
Brian Dozier ($3,200)
Adam Eaton ($3,700)
5. ST. LOUIS CARDINALSWith the Cubs heating up, the Cardinals have picked an unfortunate time to go into a slump. They’ve lost six of their last seven games (including three against the Cubs) in large part because of their lineup. While they have some big names that can do damage, they averaged just 2.6 runs during that seven-game stretch.
Keeping those recent struggles in mind, they might not be the most reassuring stack to target. However, on a limited slate, they are intriguing based on the upside of a lot of the hitters in their lineup. They also won’t face the most dominant of forces in Joe Musgrove ($7,300), who has a 20.8 percent strikeout rate across his first seven outings.
Players to ConsiderPaul DeJong ($5,600)
Paul Goldschmidt ($4,300)
Matt Carpenter ($4,000)
Marcell Ozuna ($5,300)
Jose Martinez ($4,500)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mbarner51) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.