Aaron Civale, CLE vs CWS ($9,700) - Civale gets the call among the high-priced options on Thursday's slate, primarily due to the South Sider's struggles with right-handed pitching in 2019. The White Sox finished the year as a bottom-5 team against orthodox hurlers according to wOBA, while striking out a blistering 26 percent of the time. Civale had an excellent year with Cleveland (2.34 ERA, four homers allowed in 57.2 innings) and while he may not blow opposing hitters away, the 25-year-old features three above-average pitches, and won't have to throw the ball in the hitter-friendly environment of U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox starting lineup has stayed largely intact since last season, giving us a pretty good idea of what we can expect from the offense.
Adrian Houser, MIL at PIT ($8,300) - Houser might have put up a pedestrian 3.72 ERA last year, but his peripherals show us a bit more to get excited about when looking at the 27-year-old. Houser profiles as a strikeout/groundball pitcher, as evidenced by the 25 percent strikeout rate and 53 percent groundball rate he posted in his 111.1 innings. While the Pirates did not strike out much last year, they hit the third-most ground balls in the league by percentage, which should give Houser an opportunity to control the game. Another thing to note is that Houser's fastball rated at 14 runs above average. The Pirates finished last year as a bottom-10 team against that pitch.
George Springer, HOU vs. SEA ($5,400) - Springer actually performed better against same-handed pitchers in 2019, as we can see from the .322 ISO and .407 wOBA he logged against right-handed hurlers in 354 at-bats. Kendall Graveman was once looked at as something of a sleeper pick in fantasy circles, but the groundballer didn't throw a pitch in 2019 while recovering from Tommy John surgery and was tattooed with a 7.60 ERA in 34.1 innings in 2018.
Jose Ramirez, CLE vs. CWS ($5,000) - For all the talk of Ramirez's struggles in 2019, he finished the year with a more-than-respectable batting line. This is because of the incredible .412 ISO and .441 wOBA the 27-year-old posted over 165 at-bats in the second half. Dylan Cease can curiously be found near the top of the slate in terms of pitcher salary, but he finished 2019 allowing a .542 slugging percentage against left-handed hitters. Eugenio Suarez, CIN vs. CHC ($4,600) - Suarez has a strange ability to fly under the radar at times despite the .301 ISO he put up from both sides of the plate in 2019. The third baseman was even stronger against left-handed pitching, notching a .406 wOBA in 123 at-bats. Meanwhile, Jon Lesterallowed a .469 slugging percentage against right-handed hitters last year with a 4.48 xFIP in 134 innings.