Wednesday features a 11-game MLB main slate, and the action on DraftKings gets underway at 7:05 p.m. ET. Let’s go position-by-position and break down everything you’ll need to know to set your lineups.
Kevin Gausman, San Francisco Giants vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($9,900) — It’s tempting to copy and paste the Gausman blurb from Saturday. It’s the same matchup and it worked exactly as planned last time. The reasoning is still the same, so loyal readers should play Gausman and move on to the next pick. For new readers, here’s an in-depth breakdown of Gausman from Saturday August 4 and Saturday July 24. The Reader’s Digest version is Gausman struggled with his elite splitter in two starts, then bounced back by striking out nine Astros (lowest K rate in baseball) by catching them looking (highest called strike rate in baseball). The Diamondbacks have the second highest called strike rate, so it was predicted he would follow up the Astros game with a similar approach. Gausman struck out eight Diamondbacks over six innings, but it wasn’t because of the called strike on his four-seam fastball — he found his splitter. Although his spin rate has not returned to early season form, his splitter saw an increase in vertical and horizontal movement. In the three starts before Arizona, the splitter’s SwStr% dipped from 16.7% to 12.5% to 9.7%, but against Arizona it ballooned to an otherworldly 25.9% SwStr%. Gausman has a great chance at double digit strikeouts in a matchup with a team that takes a lot of strikes and missed a lot of splitters a week ago.
Other Option: Corbin Burnes ($10,300)
Tyler Anderson, Seattle Mariners vs. Texas Rangers ($7,600) — His strike out numbers should be higher. Generally, the rule is that a pitcher’s strikeout rate should be twice his swinging-strike rate. Anderson has a 19.6% K rate and an 11.6% SwStr%. That is not the most striking disparity, but it is a slight head scratcher. His 34.5% O-Swing% (chase rate) ranks 15th, but his 74.1% Z-Swing% is the highest in baseball. Basically, batters swing at everything Anderson pitches, so it would behoove him to throw more pitches outside of the zone. He seems to be losing out on several strikeouts per game by throwing too many pitches in the zone — particularly, his below-average fastball. The lefty’s slider/cutter and changeup have been plus pitches, especially against right-handed batters. In this matchup, he’ll face a lineup full of right-handed batters that are inept at hitting left-handed pitching — 80 wRC+, .285 wOBA, .131 ISO, 23% K rate and a 6% BB rate. In his last start and second with Seattle, Anderson’s fastball usage dropped to a near season low 40.2% and his Z-Swing% dropped to 66.7%. The end result was two earned runs and four strikeouts over five innings against the surging Yankees. After four years in Colorado, Anderson seems primed to emerge as a top-end pitcher for the underdog Mariners.
Other Option: Matt Harvey ($5,000)
Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($4,100) — There are a lot of good catcher options on Wednesday’s slate, but it should not be a surprise because there are a lot of games on this slate and poor pitchers to boot. Posey draws a matchup with Merrill Kelly ($8,600), a reverse splits pitcher that struggles with right-handed batters — .344 wOBA, .198 ISO, 38% hard contact rate and 1.6 HR/9. Posey has a .391 wOBA, .198 ISO, 147 wRC+ and a 37% hard contact rate against right-handed pitching.
Other Option: Eric Haase ($5,100), Tyler Stephenson ($4,500)
Pedro Severino, Balitmore Orioles vs. Detroit Tigers ($3,300) — On Saturday, Severino left the game early with a knee injury, but he avoided the IL. There are several pivots if he does not play, but if Severino suits up, then he’ll be facing facing a lefty (.369 wOBA, .208 ISO and a 137 wRC+) in a hitter’s park. The lefty isn’t particularly good against right-handed batters — Tarik Skubal ($6,300) has allowed a .342 wOBA, .257 ISO, 39% hard contact rate and 2.4 HR/9 — so all Orioles right-handed batters are in play.
Other Option: Alejandro Kirk ($3,000)
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays at Los Angeles Angels ($6,200) — No one has hit right-handed pitching better than Vlad Jr. — 193 wRC+ (first), .456 wOBA (first) and a .356 ISO (third). He can be rostered against any right-handed pitcher, but especially the bad ones like Dylan Bundy ($6,500) — .347 wOBA, .231 ISO, 36% hard contact rate and 1.9 HR/9 against right-handed batters.
Other Option: Trey Mancini ($4,300), Paul Goldschmidt ($4,600)
Darin Ruf, San Francisco Giants vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($3,000) — The problem with San Francisco is that they have too much depth. There bench players could start anywhere. Thairo Estrada could be a starting shortstop for half of the league, but there wasn’t a place for him, so he got sent down the minors. Ruf got a chance to play on Sunday, and he homered. He has a .386 wOBA, .258 ISO, 145 wRC+ and a 46% hard contact rate against right-handed pitching. Merrill Kelly is better against left-handed batters, so Brandon Belt should get the day off, but that’s assuming Major League managers actually look at the numbers.
Other Option: Josh Bell ($3,700)
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Jonathan India, Cincinnati Reds at Atlanta Braves ($4,800) — Saturday’s Targets article mentioned that India was making a run for NL Rookie of the Year. He had the second best odds at +110 on DraftKings Sportsbook. It was mentioned that he moved to +105 in Monday’s article — he’s now the favorite at -130. Let’s skip to the point and avoid the clutter of showing his remarkable stats since the beginning of June and his amazing road splits — those stats are available in the previous articles linked above — if Vegas says he’s good, then take their word for it. On Wednesday night he faces Touki Toussaint ($8,100), a raw prospect that projects to be a backend start someday, but not right now — in 14 innings against right-handed batters he has a .346 wOBA, .269 ISO, 44% hard contact rate, 2.5 HR/9 and a 58% strand rate.
Other Option: Marcus Semien ($5,100)
Jace Peterson, Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs ($3,900) — Against right-handed pitching, Peterson has been an above-average hitter (.336 wOBA and a 108 wRC+) and those stats are weighed down by an ugly April. Last month, he had a .359 wOBA, .205 ISO and a 124 wRC+ against right-handed pitching. Jake Arrieta ($6,400) is allowing a .386 wOBA, .228 ISO, 39% hard contact rate and 2.1 HR/9 to left-handed batters and he’s below average in preventing stolen bases (-1 rSB).
Other Option: Wilmer Flores ($3,600), Kolten Wong ($4,200)
Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates ($4,900) — The Wil Crowe ($6,200) Medicine Show is looking to get rocked like a wagon wheel — .413 wOBA, .269 ISO and 2.9 HR/9 against right-handed batters. Arenado is better against lefties, but he’ll take a bad righty (.332 wOBA, .222 ISO and a 110 wRC+). The Cardinals superstar third baseman had been disappointing this season and his overall numbers are cool at the moment, but he’s homered twice in the last week and this is a great spot for him to get another.
Other Option: Eduardo Escobar ($5,900)
Jeimer Candelario, Detroit Tigers at Baltimore Orioles ($3,900) — Matt Harvey ($5,000) facing Detroit (91 wRC+) could be the best value pitcher on the slate or the Detroit Tigers could be the best stack on the slate. Harvey has been decent this season, but there are red flags — 36% hard contact rate, 46% fly ball rate and a 16% K rate against left-handed batters. Pitching to contact — hard and of the fly ball variety — is not a recipe for success in a hitter’s park in Baltimore.
Other Option: Eugenio Suárez ($4,100)
Willy Adames, Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs ($5,600) — He has hits in nine of the last 12 games (.395 wOBA and a .314 ISO) and has homered in four of the last eight games. Arrieta is not only struggling with left-handed batters, but he’s not getting right-handed batters out either — .390 wOBA, .265 ISO, 39% hard contact rate and 2.5 HR/9.
Other Option: Bo Bichette ($5,900)
Kyle Farmer, Cincinnati Reds at Atlanta Braves ($4,000) — Forever Free Kyle Farmer. DraftKings will not budge on his price. Since July 1, Farmer has a .430 wOBA, .239 ISO and a 168 wRC+ (.403 wOBA, .193 ISO and a 150 wRC+ vs. RHP). He’s not the greatest shortstop ever, but he’s hitting and is surrounded by an explosive offense.
Other Option: Ramón Urías ($2,700)
George Springer, Toronto Blue Jays at Los Angeles Angels ($5,600) — Against right-handed pitching, Springer has a .410 wOBA, .362 ISO and a 162 wRC+ and Dylan Bundy has a 4.28 xFIP vs. RHB. If Springer didn’t miss a large portion of the season, his 4.44 wFB/C (total runs above average contributed against fastballs) would qualify as the best in baseball. Bundy is surrendering a .369 wOBA to right-handed batters with his fastball.
Other Option: Jesse Winker ($5,800), Franmil Reyes ($5,300)
Austin Hays, Baltimore Orioles vs. Detroit Tigers ($2,500) — With 30 teams and 25 players on each team, it’s easy for a player to fly under the radar. Hays is still cheap despite hitting two home runs on his current seven-game hit streak. He has a .383 wOBA, .243 ISO and a 146 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. At his price, he will likely be one of the most popular value plays of the day.
Other Option: Nick Castellanos ($4,400), Brandon Nimmo ($3,300), Tyler O’Neill ($3,200), Cedric Mullins ($4,400)
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