Max Scherzer, SP, at Atl (Banuelos), $12500 at FanDuel: As usual, I’ll recommend paying up for a top pitcher, especially with the softer pricing on FanDuel this year. Scherzer certainly qualifies as one, as he’s top-three among all starters in MLB in ERA (1.79), FIP (2.02), WHIP (0.79), K-BB% (27.4) and SwStr% (14.2). He owns a 1.40 ERA and 0.83 WHIP on the road, and he’ll be facing a Braves team Thursday that’s scored the fifth-fewest runs at home and will be missing its best hitter. The Nationals are easily the most favored team (-200) on the day while tied for the lowest over/under (6.5). Scherzer is expensive, however, so let’s dig for some cheap hitting options to fill out a lineup.
Mike Napoli, 1B, at Tor (Boyd), $2700: He’s at a pretty good price for someone who’s homered five times over 67 at bats against left-handed pitchers this season. Napoli will be facing a hurler who served up three bombs over 6.2 innings during his major league debut in his last start.
Josh Donaldson, 3B, vs. Tor (Miley), $3900: He’s batting .368/.397/.667 against southpaws with a 1.069 OPS at home. He’s $1200 cheaper than the most expensive third baseman and is just $300 more than Matt Duffy.
Mike Moustakas, 3B, vs. Min (Gibson), $2700: If you prefer to go cheaper at third base, here’s one who bats atop a lineup and is hitting .341 against RHP. Kyle Gibson has a 24:15 K:BB ratio over 43.1 innings on the road this season, which is why this won’t be the last Royals batter I’ll recommend for Thursday.
Alcides Escobar, SS, vs. Min (Gibson), $2500: He hits leadoff and owns a career .471/.500/.529 line over 17 at bats against Gibson. Shortstop remains mostly a wasteland as well.
Nelson Cruz, OF, at Oak (Kazmir), $3000: He’s back in action and even homered Wednesday. Scott Kazmir is a good pitcher, but Cruz has hit .392/.492/.902 with seven homers over 51 at bats when facing left handers this season, so this price sure seems right.
Ryan Raburn, OF, at TB (Moore), $2400: He sports a .968 OPS against southpaws while often hitting cleanup against them. And while I have high hopes for Matt Moore moving forward, he’ll be making his first start Thursday since April 7 in 2014 while returning from Tommy John surgery.
Alex Gordon, OF, vs. Min (Gibson), $2500: I’m going to recommend him for the second straight day here at this price, as he has a .389 OBP against RHP and a career 1.113 OPS against Gibson (albeit over just 14 at bats).
Yan Gomes, at TB (Moore), $2400: He’s been a massive disappointment since returning from a knee injury, but Gomes was typically drafted as a top-five fantasy catcher before the season started coming off a .278-21-74 season as a 28-year-old. He sat out Wednesday so the backstop should be in the lineup Thursday, and he’ll be facing a pitcher making his season debut (a theme here). Gomes hit .331 versus LHP last year.