Despite Major League Baseball trying to cram in a lot of games over a short period of time, we actually have a pretty light schedule Thursday. There are only six games, five of which will make up the main slate on Yahoo. Let's dig into the matchups and discuss some players who might be worth pursuing for your lineup.
It's been awhile since we've seen Yu Darvish ($53) take the mound. He hasn't pitched in eight days because of the Cubs having their weekend series against the Cardinals postponed. He's looked great out of the gate, allowing four runs across 17 innings. His 16 strikeouts are a bit disappointing, but look for him to right the ship in that department given his career 29.8 percent strikeout rate. Although facing the Brewers might seem like a daunting task, their .668 OPS as a team is the fifth-worst mark in baseball.
Speaking of teams who have struggled offensively, the Pirates have the second-worst OPS at .601. They will face the Reds on Thursday, so Anthony DeSclafani ($42) is a pitcher to consider. He's already off to an excellent start this season, allowing no runs and recording eight strikeouts across 11 innings. He's only allowed six total base runners and he did make improvements in that area last year with his career-low 1.20 WHIP.
We should have a fun matchup between two exciting young players when Fernando Tatis Jr. ($27) and the Padres take on Julio Urias ($36) and the Dodgers. Tatis has exploded out of the gate, launching eight home runs and four doubles across 19 games. As talented as Urias is, this could still be a favorable spot to add Tatis to your entry considering his insane 223 wRC+ against lefties last season.
Another extra-base machine this season has been Anthony Santander ($17), who has four home runs, six doubles and a triple. He is coming off of a career-high .476 slugging percentage last season in which he had 20 home runs and 20 doubles across just 93 games. His power stroke could lead to a productive performance against Jake Arrieta ($30), who allowed 1.4 HR/9 last year and has allowed two home runs through 11 innings this season.
With the Red Sox short on pitching options, they will turn to left-hander Kyle Hart to make his big-league debut against the Rays. He saw his first taste of action at Triple-A in 2019, finishing with a 4.32 FIP and a 1.27 WHIP to go along with a paltry 19.4 percent strikeout rate. With a lefty on the mound, the Rays could have Mike Brosseau ($9) in their starting lineup. He's also starting to heat up at the plate, launching a home run in both of his last two starts.
Brosseau isn't the only budget-friendly option on the Rays who could provide value. Jose Martinez ($8) should also be in the lineup with a lefty on the mound given his 160 wRC+ against southpaws last season. His 31.4 percent strikeout rate in the early going is a concern, but that might not be a problem in this matchup given Hart's lack of strikeouts at Triple-A.
Stacks to Consider
Williams is coming off of a disappointing 2019 campaign in which he recorded a 5.12 FIP to go along with a 1.41 WHIP. Left-handed hitters recorded a .393 wOBA against him, so Winker and Votto are enticing options. While he doesn't have the platoon advantage, it's hard to argue against rolling with Castellanos given his stellar 1.050 OPS out of the gate.
Eshelman's first stint in the majors last year did not go well. He produced a 7.33 FIP across 10 appearances, four of which were starts. Despite only pitching 36 innings, he allowed a whopping 12 home runs. That could end up being his downfall against this powerful trio. Harper has posted three straight multi-hit performances and has as many walks (10) as he does strikeouts, which has helped him record a .491 OBP.