Most days of the year, it is typically frowned upon to wear a retired jersey number, but April 15 is a noteworthy exception when Major League Baseball embraces the idea. Seventy-four years ago today, Dodgers legend Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball. Robinson’s No. 42 is retired by every MLB team; however, today you will see the number worn by all players, coaches and umpires in honor of Robinson’s enduring legacy.
Thursday’s main slate features five games starting at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Highest-Rated pitchers on DraftKings and FanDuel using the Bales Model:
Patrick Corbin, Washington Nationals
Patrick Corbin is looking to bounce back after a rough season debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Corbin allowed six earned runs in only 4.1 innings of action. Nonetheless, despite Corbin’s poor start to 2021, the Bales Model suggests that the left-handed pitcher will perform well against his former team: The Arizona Diamondbacks.
Corbin has held opposing hitters below a .300 cumulative batting average in eight of his nine MLB seasons. But last year, his streak ended, and opposing batters slipped above the .300-mark for the first time in his career. Will Corbin get back to his winning and dominant ways of previous years? Or is the 2020 version of Corbin here to stay?
Rich Hill, Tampa Bay Rays
The second-highest rated pitcher in the Bales Model is Rich Hill, who looks great from a strict win-loss perspective. However, don’t let his 1-0 start to the year fool you: His ERA is not in mid-season form. Hill has allowed four runs in both of his starts in 2021.
On the other hand, Hill has logged 11 strikeouts in 10 innings to open the season, and he draws an advantageous matchup against the Texas Rangers, who lead MLB in strikeouts (126). Throwing to the Rangers tonight may be just what Hill needs to amend his season stat-line.
Sean Manaea, Oakland Athletics
You guessed i: Another lefty to round out the top three pitchers in the Bales Model! Sean Manaea from the Oakland Athletics is due for a breakout game against the Detroit Tigers. Detroit ranks poorly in team batting average (.221) and strikeouts (119) through 12 games.
However, to the Tigers’ credit, they are also tied for the second-most home runs (19) in MLB. If Manaea can keep the ball in the yard, then I expect him to be a great pitching DFS play today.
Other Pitchers Worth Consideration
The top-priced pitcher on DraftKings and FanDuel is Julio Urias of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Urias is off to a strong start to the young season and is looking to maintain that form against the visiting Colorado Rockies. Although he has allowed 12 hits in his 12.2 innings pitched, Urias has only given up four runs.
The Dodgers are the biggest favorites on the slate at -281, while Rockies have the lowest projected runs total (3).
If you are looking to save some salary at the pitching position, then consider rostering Jakob Junis of the Kansas City Royals. Junis started the season in the bullpen but earned a spot in the rotation after throwing seven scoreless innings and striking out nine batters.
His DraftKings salary ($6,400) is the the second-lowest price tag among the pool of starting pitchers on Thursday’s slate. Moreover, Junis’ $6,000 salary on FanDuel is the absolute lowest price-point on the board. So, if you’re looking to save salary, then Junis is a value play that deserves strong consideration.
Tonight’s top stack comes to you via the Washington Nationals (-171 vs. Arizona):
- Trea Turner (R)
- Juan Soto (L)
- Josh Bell (S)
- Kyle Schwarber (L)
The Nationals’ batters will be eager to tee off against opposing Diamondbacks pitcher Merrill Kelly, who has already given up nine runs in his first 10 innings this season. Washington’s implied runs total (4.6) lends additional support to rostering a Nationals bat — or perhaps even four of them, as demonstrated in the featured stack above.
On FanDuel, this stack will cost you $15.1k in salary and is projected to score 49.6 total fantasy points.
Another stack to consider is from the Tampa Bay Rays (-183 vs. Texas):
- Austin Meadows (L)
- Randy Arozarena (R)
- Brandon Lowe (L)
- Yandy Diaz (R)
This stack is projected for 46.3 fantasy points on FanDuel, and the four Rays players above will only cost you $13K in total salary.
Ownership is expected to be high for Dodgers batters, since Thursday’s slate only includes five games. The two most notable Los Angeles players to consider rostering are Mookie Betts and Corey Seager.
Both players offer high floor projections, and both players can take advantage of Rockies’ left-handed pitcher Austin Gomber. Furthermore, Gomber has walked 11 batters in his 9.1 innings. Meanwhile, the Dodgers lead MLB in walks (59) this season.
Lastly, I would like to highlight a handful of the best value plays to look at before completing your lineups today.