MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

Sluggers set to power way into weekend

Cruz, Davis could belt long balls; Arrieta, Scherzer may K many

Sluggers set to power way into weekend

Welcome to DraftKings fantasy baseball, the Official Daily Fantasy Game of Major League Baseball.

The players listed below could provide difference-making stats for DraftKings participants on Saturday.

Nelson Cruz: Cruz -- who is the only player to hit at least 40 homers in each of the past two seasons -- owns an impressive lifetime .297/.373/.542 slash line against left-handers. The outfielder could display his power when he vacates his pitcher-friendly home park and travels to homer-happy Yankee Stadium to face southpaw CC Sabathia (4.73 ERA, 1.42 WHIP in 2015).

Chris Iannetta: The catcher will be poised to provide cost-effective power at a premium position when he brings his lifetime .865 OPS against left-handers (.711 vs. righties) into a matchup with the southpaw Sabathia at a hitter-friendly road venue. Since the outset of 2013, Sabathia has posted a 4.81 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP.

Zinkie on fantasy prospects

Franklin Gutierrez: The outfielder -- who hit 15 homers across 171 at-bats in 2015 -- has produced pronounced career splits that include an .837 OPS against left-handers and a .656 mark vs. righties. Batting at an offense-inducing road venue, Gutierrez could be part of a Mariners stack -- along with Cruz, Iannetta and outfielder Norichika Aoki -- against the lefty Sabathia (4.64 FIP in 2015).

Justin Bour: As a big leaguer, the first baseman has produced an .822 OPS against right-handers that exceeds his .594 mark vs. lefties. Bour could drive in multiple runs when he faces Braves righty Bud Norris, who has posted a 6.63 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP since the outset of 2015.

Christian Yelich: Hitting third in a lineup that includes superstar Giancarlo Stanton in the cleanup spot, Yelich could reach base often or score multiple runs when he faces the right-handed Norris (career 4.46 ERA, 1.40 WHIP) and an unsettled Braves bullpen that ranked 29th in the Majors in 2015 with a 4.67 ERA. In his career, Yelich has registered an .808 OPS against right-handers in comparison to a .701 mark vs. lefties.

Dee Gordon: With balanced career splits, Gordon -- who hit .333 with 58 steals in 2015 -- has the plate skills to thrive against the righty Norris (career 4.25 FIP) and the Atlanta relief corps. The second baseman could also swipe a base against A.J. Pierzynski or Tyler Flowers, as both catchers were among the top-10 in steals allowed last season.

Gordon's triple

Jean Segura: With balanced career splits, Segura -- who is hitting .395 this season -- will be in position to reach base often against righty Andrew Cashner (4.34 ERA, 1.44 WHIP in 2015) and a Padres relief corps that lacks dominant options. The shortstop could also steal a base against Derek Norris, who allowed more steals than all but one catcher in 2015.

Chris Davis: With 130 homers and 336 RBIs since the outset of 2013, Davis is arguably the most powerful hitter in baseball. The first baseman could rip a round-tripper when he travels to hitter-friendly Globe Life Park in Arlington to tangle with Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis (career 4.79 ERA, 1.36 WHIP). Since the outset of 2013, Davis his registered an impressive .262/.374/.595 slash line against righties.

Manny Machado: Machado emerged as one of the most diverse offensive threats in the Majors when he recorded 35 homers, 102 runs and 20 steals in 2015. The third baseman could produce in multiple ways when he takes his lifetime .290/.338/.480 slash line against right-handers into a matchup with righty Lewis.

Jonathan Schoop: After hitting 15 homers across 305 at-bats in 2015, the second baseman has emerged as one of the most powerful players at his premium position. Schoop could put his put a ball into the outfield seats when he brings his .733 OPS against right-handers (.557 vs. lefties) into a matchup with the righty Lewis (4.66 ERA in 2015).

Lucas Duda: Duda has long fared best vs. right-handers, against whom he has logged a lifetime .839 OPS (.667 vs. lefties). The first baseman could go deep when he faces Indians homer-prone righty Josh Tomlin (career 1.5 HR/9 rate) at Progressive Field, which has been one of baseball's seven- or eight-best parks for lefty power in recent years.

Duda's RBI single

Michael Conforto: Since arriving to the Majors on July 24, 2015, the outfielder has posted an .860 OPS against right-handers that dwarfs his .594 mark vs. lefties. Conforto could hit a homer or drive in multiple runs when he faces the righty Tomlin (career 4.65 ERA) at Progressive Field.

Chris Young: An extreme fly-ball pitcher, Young is perfectly suited to have success in the pitcher-friendly Oakland Coliseum on Saturday. Supported by a winning team that plays terrific defense in the outfield, the right-hander -- who owns a 3.38 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP since joining the Royals at the outset of 2015 -- could be a cost-effective second starter in DraftKings contests. 

Zinkie picks two-start pitchers

Jake Arrieta: With a 2.25 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP since joining the Cubs during the 2013 season, Arrieta has emerged as one of the most consistently dominant pitchers in baseball. The right-hander could combine six-plus quality frames with a win when he works at home against the Rockies in a seemingly advantageous matchup with Christian Bergman (career 5.43 ERA).

Max Scherzer: With a 10.5 K/9 rate since the outset of 2012, Scherzer is capable of putting up a difference-making total in DraftKings contests when he faces the Phillies on Saturday. Philadelphia's lineup features just one hitter (Ryan Howard) who exceeded the 15-homer mark in 2015.

Tom Koehler: Koehler may not be DraftKings players' top choice given his lifetime 4.09 ERA and 1.34 WHIP, but he could be a useful second starter when he works at his pitcher-friendly home park against the Braves on Saturday. Atlanta's lineup does not include a single player who hit 20 homers last season, and the club is working without injured sparkplug Ender Inciarte.

All statistics are accurate through the completion of Thursday's games.

Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.