MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

Astros' Altuve, Gomez, Springer set to excel

Angels' Trout, Nats' Ross could join Houston stack among top Friday performers

Astros' Altuve, Gomez, Springer set to excel

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 Friday.

Paul Goldschmidt: With a lifetime .333/.433/.597 slash line against left-handers, the first baseman has proven to wield a potent bat during those matchups. Goldschmidt could display his power when he faces southpaw Adam Morgan (career 5.16 ERA, 1.32 WHIP) at homer-happy Citizens Bank Park.

Welington Castillo: The catcher has long fared best vs. left-handers, against whom he has produced a lifetime .877 OPS (.684 vs. righties). Castillo could deliver powerful production at a premium position when he faces the left-handed Morgan (6.33 ERA, 1.45 WHIP in 2016) at Philadelphia's offense-inducing venue.

Zinkie on waiver-wire options

Yasmany Tomas: Tomas owns notable lifetime splits, with an .860 OPS against left-handers that exceeds his .658 mark vs. righties. The outfielder could thrive against the southpaw Morgan, who in his career has allowed right-handed hitters such as Tomas to post an .837 OPS (.703 vs. lefty batters).

Michael Saunders: Hitting .310 with 11 homers across 213 at-bats, Saunders has been a cost-effective asset to many 2016 DraftKings squads. The outfielder could excel in a matchup against Wright, who in his career has allowed left-handed hitters such as Saunders to post a .956 OPS (.794 OPS allowed to righty batters).

Mike Trout: The outfielder could provide a difference-making DraftKings total when he brings his lofty lifetime .311/.399/.570 slash line against right-handers into a matchup with A's righty Kendall Graveman (career 4.46 ERA, 1.48 WHIP). Also working in Trout's favor: The superstar slugger will attempt to put balls into play against an A's team that ranks 27th in the Majors with a .677 defensive efficiency ratio.

Zinkie on buy-low candidates

Jose Altuve: With a lifetime .355/.403/.505 slash line against left-handers, the second baseman has proven to be among the best in baseball during those matchups. Altuve has the plate skills to thrive against Reds southpaw John Lamb (career 5.50 ERA, 1.55 WHIP) and the speed to swipe a base against Tucker Barnhart, who has allowed more steals than all but three catchers in 2016.

Carlos Gomez: Hitting .198 this season, the outfielder could have a reduced price tag in DraftKings contests when he brings his lifetime .755 OPS against left-handers (.713 vs. righties) into a matchup with Lamb and a Reds relief corps that ranks last in the Majors with a 6.25 ERA.

George Springer: Hitting out of a premium lineup spot, the outfielder could reach base often or score multiple runs at the expense of the left-handed Lamb (5.14 ERA, 1.55 WHIP in 2016) and an unreliable Reds bullpen. In his career, Springer has posted an .898 OPS against left-handers that exceeds his .790 mark vs. righties.

Franklin Gutierrez: The outfielder has traditionally excelled vs. left-handers, against whom he owns a lifetime .833 OPS (.657 vs. righties). Gutierrez could provide cost-effective production for DraftKings participants when he faces Red Sox southpaw Roenis Elias (career 4.04 ERA, 1.32 WHIP).

Nelson Cruz: The only player in baseball to reach the 40-homer mark in each of the previous two seasons, Cruz owns an impressive lifetime .928 OPS against left-handers that exceeds his .821 mark vs. righties. The outfielder could display his power when he vacates his pitcher-friendly home venue and faces the southpaw Elias (career 4.23 FIP) at Fenway Park.

Curtis Granderson: As a big leaguer, the outfielder has registered an .859 OPS against right-handers that exceeds his .693 mark vs. lefties. Hitting leadoff, Granderson could maximize his opportunities to reach base and score runs against rookie righty John Gant (5.63 ERA, 1.75 WHIP) and a Braves bullpen that ranks 28th in the Majors with a 4.61 ERA.

Starlin Castro: The second baseman could provide production at a premium position when he brings his lifetime .760 OPS against left-handers (.713 vs. righties) into a matchup with rookie southpaw Pat Dean (4.17 ERA, 1.42 WHIP) and a Twins bullpen that ranks 26th in the Majors with a 4.58 ERA. Also of note: Castro will attempt to put balls into play against a Minnesota squad that ranks last in the Majors with a .657 defensive efficiency ratio.

Castro's homer hits foul pole

Masahiro Tanaka: With an impressive lifetime 3.14 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP, the right-hander has the skills to spin a gem when he faces a Twins lineup that ranks 22nd in the Majors with a .702 OPS against righties. Once he leaves the game, Tanaka's chances of securing a win could be enhanced by handing the ball to a bullpen that features a trio of dominant relievers -- Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman.

Joe Ross: Having produced a 3.34 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in the Majors, the second-year starter has already emerged as a reliable option for DraftKings participants. Ross could deliver a stellar start when he works at pitcher-friendly Petco Park against a Padres lineup that ranks last in the Majors with a .642 OPS against righties.

Matt Harvey: With a 0.90 ERA and a 0.55 WHIP across his past three starts, the ace right-hander is back on track after a slow start to the season. Harvey could have a memorable start when he brings his impressive lifetime 2.84 ERA and 1.06 WHIP into a matchup with a Braves lineup that ranks 29th in the Majors in OPS vs. righties (.650) and last in total home runs (28).

Harvey fans eight over six

Matt Shoemaker: The owner of a 48-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio across his past five starts, the right-hander is one of the hottest starters in baseball as he heads into a Friday matchup at pitcher-friendly Oakland Coliseum against an A's lineup that ranks 26th in the Majors with a .690 OPS against righties.

All statistics are accurate through the completion of Wednesday'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.