Major League Baseball has a split schedule Wednesday with five games during the day and seven games under the lights. While DraftKings has featured slates and MLB Snake Draft contests for each window of action, we’ll focus on the seven night games in this post.
At the start of the season a few weeks ago, DraftKings launched a new MLB Snake Draft fantasy format. The new style of play gives you a chance to build a small squad of top hitters, so check out how it works and put your fantasy baseball draft skills on display all season long. Remember that MLB Snake only includes hitters, and the classic format requires two infielders, two outfielders and two utility players. The lowest score of the seven players on your roster is automatically moved to your bench slot if possible, so drafting at least three IF and three OF allows maximum flexibility.
The seven games on Wednesday night do have some weather issues to monitor in Atlanta and Baltimore, so be cautious of over-stacking those games. One player from a canceled game won’t hurt you since they’ll be moved to your bench, but stacking up too many Mariners could end up hurting even more than usual. Of the night games, the highest over/under on the DraftKings Sportsbook is that matchup between the Seattle Mariners and Baltimore Orioles which is set at 9.5 runs. The contest between the Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros checks in just behind with an over/under of 9.0 runs.
Check out some of the players I’m significantly higher or lower on than their current MLB Snake rank listed below.
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Favorable Early Round Targets
Freddie Freeman, IF, Atlanta Braves
MLB Snake Rank: 9th
Freeman has at least 14 DKFP in six of his past eight games and is hitting for plenty of power which makes him a solid fantasy contributor even though he hasn’t piled up his usual number of hits. He has a decent .335 wOBA to go with a .333 ISO, which would be a new career high if he can maintain it. He has run into some awful BABIP luck with just a .103 BABIP (league average is usually around .300), and it hasn’t been a result of weak contact since he has a 51.5% hard-hit rate according to Statcast.
Due to the low BABIP and high hard-hit rate, Freeman is a great candidate for some positive regression on top of his already-productive recent results. He gets a decent matchup against Marlins SP Nick Neidert, who has been solid overall but given up a .403 wOBA to lefties in his brief time in the Majors.
Randy Arozarena, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
MLB Snake Rank: 11th
The breakout star of last postseason has continued his success to start the season with a .380 wOBA and .171 ISO over his first 10 games. He has a 48.1% hard-hit rate in the early going and is averaging just under 10 DKFP per game. He has double-digit DKFP in four of his past five contests after going 2-for-3 with two runs scored on Tuesday.
Arozarena and the Rays’ righties are in a good spot against Rangers SP Kohei Arihara. Of the limited amount we’ve seen from the Japanese rookie this season, Arihara has given up a .525 wOBA to righties in his first two MLB starts including the one home run he has served up over his nine innings. While it’s a very small sample size, righties have a 61.1% hard-hit rate against him, so Arozarena is on the better side of the split even though it doesn’t look like it at first glance.
Early Round Player to Avoid
José Abreu, IF, Chicago White Sox
MLB Snake Rank: 4th
Abreu has started the season 9-for-43 (.209) with two home runs, a .305 wOBA and .163 ISO. Those power numbers aren’t awful but do represent a sharp drop-off from his .411 wOBA and .300 ISO last season. It’s still way too early to be concerned about Abreu in the bigger picture after just 11 games, but I haven’t seen enough to be willing to spend a top-five pick on him in this matchup against Zach Plesac. Plesac has a 2.07 FIP through his first two starts, allowing just nine hits in 13 innings. Plesac has held Abreu to just 2-for-11 in their past meetings, and I usually only target the White Sox slugger this early in drafts when he’s taking on a lefty in a more favorable split.
Late Round Flyers
This section tries to exploit players who are in favorable matchups and should out-produce their rankings even though they are below the threshold for drafted players in some formats.
Mitch Haniger, OF, Seattle Mariners
MLB Snake Rank: 67th
Since so many of the early options are IF-eligible, I’m focusing on three OF plays for you to consider in the late rounds to help give your roster that maximum flexibility. Haniger is a great option if the weather looks like it will be cooperative in Baltimore. He has started the season as Seattle’s everyday leadoff hitter and has gone 14-for-45 (.311) with four doubles, two home runs, a .222 ISO and .360 wOBA. He has a 42.9% hard-hit rate and seems to be back to full health after missing a season and a half due to multiple injuries including a pair of core surgeries and a back issue.
Haniger and the Mariners will get a great matchup against Matt Harvey, who as looked a little better this year after a disastrous 2020 but has still given up a 45.5% hard-hit rate. Last season, he gave up a 54.0% hard-hit rate in his short stint with the Royals, giving up six home runs in just 11 2⁄3 innings. This year, he has only given up one long ball in 9 2⁄3 but has still allowed six runs in that span.
Akil Baddoo, OF, Detroit Tigers
MLB Snake Rank: 86th
Baddoo’s meteoric rise to the Majors has continued in the early going this season, as the Rule 5 pick who had never played above High-A just continues to rake after winning a spot on the roster with a red-hot Spring Training. Baddoo has gone 9-for-23 (.391) in his eight games with four home runs, 10 RBI, a stolen base and 12.1 DKFP per game. His success is backed up by the metrics as well since he has four barrels and a 44.4% hard-hit rate, according to Statcast. He’s posted a ridiculous .652 ISO to go with his .577 wOBA.
The Tigers have taken each of the first two games of their series in Houston, and Baddoo and company will face Lance McCullers Jr. in the finale. It isn’t an ideal spot since McCullers has been dialed in, but the left-handed hitting Baddoo is on the good side of the splits, since McCullers has given up a .437 wOBA to lefties this season while holding righties to 0-for-27. For as long as he stays hot, Baddoo is a nice late-round option to keep in the queue.
Corey Dickerson, OF, Miami Marlins
MLB Snake Rank: 130th
Dickerson hasn’t been starting against lefties, so he was out of the lineup Tuesday against Max Fried. He should be back in the leadoff spot on Wednesday night, though, since the Fish will be facing Charlie Morton as long as the weather cooperates in Atlanta. Dickerson has six extra-base hits in his 7-for-30 (.233) start to the season, so similar to Freeman, don’t get caught up in that low batting average. The lefty has a 33.3% hard-hit rate and .315 wOBA, so the hits should be there as the season goes on. In his career against Morton, Dickerson has gone 6-for-14 with a pair of home runs.
In his first two starts for the Braves, Morton has gone 1-1 with a 3.27 ERA and 2.05 FIP. Over the past two seasons, Morton has given up a 30% hard-hit rate to lefties, though, so Dickerson and the other Marlins lefties should be able to make good contact. He usually hits in the leadoff spot against right-handed starters, which gives him more opportunities, and he makes a solid late-round OF option.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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