Wednesday’s main DraftKings MLB slate has an early start time of 1:10 p.m. ET due to a lot of day games, so fantasy owners should take note of the early lock. Day games can also result in many regulars being rested, so be sure to verify lineups before lock. For up-to-the-minute news related to today’s DraftKings MLB slate, download the DK Live app and follow DK Live on Twitter at @dklive.
The idea of this fantasy baseball rankings page is to rank the top DraftKings options in each salary range, helping you make quick decisions when debating which players to roster for the upcoming main DraftKings MLB slate. Players are sorted from top to bottom in order of preference.
The players listed in the tables below are players that I’m considering rostering based on their price and matchup. If a player is not listed in these rankings but is in the lineup, that just means I am not focused on paying for this player today due to the combination of their matchup and price. They might still be a viable option, but I’m looking to spend my DraftKings capital elsewhere today.
One of the best ways to find hitter value in DraftKings MLB contests is through lineup slot upgrades after pricing has been set. These lineup slot upgrades often do not happen until teams release lineups a few hours before the game locks. Check back before lock to see potential updates to the rankings.
Notable Lineup Absences
Brewers 2B Kolten Wong (oblique) is not in the lineup. OF Lorenzo Cain ($3,000) will get a lineup slot upgrade and bat leadoff.
|Hyun Jin Ryu||SP||TEX||$7,300|
Trevor Bauer, Los Angeles Dodgers ($10,200)
Last week, we noted how Bauer’s 2020 production was fueled in part due to a big increase in backspin rate on his fastball. We also noted some concerns going into this season, because MLB is apparently going to more rigorously enforce their ban on using illegal substances to increase spin rate. There was some concern that Bauer’s increase of roughly 400-500 RPM on his fastball was due to foreign substances, and if he isn’t able to use those substances this season, his spin rate might drop, resulting in decreased effectiveness.
That didn’t happen in his first start. Bauer’s four-seam spin rate remained elite, sitting at about 2,750 RPM, which is comparable to last season. Maintaining a high spin rate on a fastball is important because the more backspin a four-seam fastball has, the more “rise” and “lift” the pitch has, which allows pitchers to pitch above the barrel and generate swinging strikes and weak fly balls.
Bauer’s first start took place at Coors Field, and despite the horrible park, Bauer generated a lot of swings and misses, striking out 40% of batters while generating a swinging strike on about 16% of his total pitches, both elite marks. Bauer gets a huge park upgrade at pitcher-friendly Oakland today to face an Athletics offense that is projected to be mediocre.
Blake Snell, San Diego Padres ($9,900)
Last week, we noted that Snell was a candidate for more volume with the Padres given the Rays’ strategy of aggressively yanking starting pitchers. While Snell could still see boosted volume in his new home as the season progresses, his volume was still not great in his first start with San Diego, failing to complete five innings. Snell threw 86 pitches in the start, which is comparable to his median pitch count from last season. The good news is that 86 pitches is not unusual league wide as teams look to ease off the gas in April due to the shortened 2020 season.
As far as today’s matchup goes, Snell draws an excellent park at home in San Diego to face a Giants offense that is projected to be weak overall, although San Francisco does have some hitters who can hit left-handed pitching well.
Hyun Jin Ryu, Toronto Blue Jays ($7,300)
Ryu, who has been one of baseball’s best run preventers over the last several seasons, is incredibly cheap for a matchup against a Rangers offense that is projected to be poor. The Rangers slotted four left-handed batters in their first seven lineup slots against Blue Jays LHP Steven Matz on Monday, which would give Ryu the platoon advantage. The Rangers are also starting ineffective pitcher Kyle Gibson, which makes Toronto a solid -190 favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook and puts Ryu in good position to get the four-point win.
Ryu saw a tick up in velocity in his first start of the season, which is a good sign considering velocity can sometimes be down in early April as pitchers build themselves up.
Pairing Ryu with Jack Flaherty ($7,800) of the St. Louis Cardinals is a potential value combination at SP on this slate. Flaherty has a soft matchup at pitcher-friendly Marlins Park (recently renamed “loanDepot park”) against a Marlins offense that is projected to be among the worst in the league. Flaherty’s poor first start of the season could help keep his ownership rate down.
|Vladimir Guerrero Jr.||1B/3B||TEX||$5,000|
|Lourdes Gurriel Jr.||OF||TEX||$4,000|
Salary Relief ($3,900 and under)
Nelson Cruz, Minnesota Twins ($5,100)
Cruz has consistently been one of baseball’s best hitters against left-handed pitchers, and he continued to cream LHP in the shortened 2020 season, posting an explosive .586 wOBA with an isolated power of .442. Cruz has a wOBA over .400 vs. LHP over the last five seasons.
Today, Cruz faces LHP Matt Boyd, who he has had success against in a small sample, which includes a ding dong Johnson that left Cruz’s bat at 111 mph and traveled 437 feet.
Toronto Blue Jays stack
The Blue Jays travel to Texas to face Kyle Gibson, who has been one of baseball’s least effective starting pitchers. Gibson’s 5.35 ERA from 2020 was about 20 percent worse than the league average, and he allowed batters to produce an expected wOBA of .360 based on the exit velocities and angles of their batted balls, about 40 points worse than average.
Gibson was foul in his first start of the season, allowing five runs while recording only one out. Batters produced an expected wOBA of .600 based on the exit velocities and angles of their batted balls, which indicates Gibson was getting creamed.
Bo Bichette ($5,300), Marcus Semien ($5,200), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($5,000), Cavan Biggio ($4,700), Teoscar Hernandez ($4,800) and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. ($4,000) are stacking options in this soft matchup.
Pitching has both quality stud and value options, so there are numerous ways we can go today. I am leaning towards playing Ryu and Flaherty as value plays at pitcher due to their soft matchups and affordable price tags, which creates more salary to pay for stud hitters like Nelson Cruz and a Blue Jays stack.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is timfinn521) 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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