There’s only six games on tonight’s featured MLB slate, yet that doesn’t mean we’ve got a shortage of great pitching. Really, we’ve covering the entire spectrum. There’s savvy veterans like Clayton Kershaw ($9,900). There’s young studs like Spencer Strider ($9,300). We’ve even got a top prospect making his big league debut in Taj Bradley ($4,000).
So where do you go? Who can you stack against? Let’s dive into it all.
Spencer Strider, Atlanta Braves vs. Cincinnati Reds, $9,300 - If you were to take a quick glance over at the DraftKings Sportsbook prior to opening the slate, you might be a little shocked to see Strider as only the third-most expensive arm. That’s because his strikeout prop is set at 9.5 tonight, easily the highest of anyone taking the mound past 6:30 p.m. ET. I can’t say I blame the book, either. The RHP has struck out nine opponents in each of his first two outings of 2023. In fact, his 40.0% strikeout is somehow an improvement upon the 38.3% rate Strider posted as a rookie. As for the matchup, though the Reds haven’t been as completely inept as their lineup would make you believe, the team still owns just a 95 wRC+ with a top 10 strikeout rate (24.3%). Strider should cruise.
Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays, $7,400 - Even on a small slate like this, I feel like Sale is going to offer a bit of differentiation. No one wants to go against the Rays right now and that makes sense. Tampa comes into Wednesday’s action leading baseball with a 165 wRC+. For context, Toronto is second with a 125 wRC+. Still, Sale has some upside. He’s been prone to surrendering the long ball in 2023, yet he’s also sporting a 31.1% strikeout rate and a 14.1% swinging strike rate. I’m sure I’ll have some Bradley shares, as well, but let’s not completely skip over the difficulty of a jump from Triple-A to the majors. Grayson Rodriguez was beat-up by the Athletics yesterday. This stuff is hard.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays vs. Detroit Tigers, $5,800 - Vladdy wasn’t able to get in on the Jays’ home run party on Tuesday, yet he’s still been off to a blistering start in 2023. Across 53 plate appearances, the All-Star is slashing .400/.472/.556 with a staggering .496 expected wOBA. Guerrero’s also stuck out just three times and he’s in possession of a career-best launch angle (11.6 degrees). That combination should be giving opposing pitchers nightmares. Eduardo Rodriguez ($5,800) and his 7.31 FIP will try and shut Guerrero down this evening. I don’t think he’ll be overly successful.
Adley Rutschman, Baltimore Orioles vs. Oakland Athletics, $5,100 - The only area where Rutschman underwhelmed in his rookie campaign was batting against LHPs. Though it had never been an issue in the minors, the switch-hitting backstop struggled over 115 plate appearances within the split, finishing the year with a 64 wRC+. Spoiler alert: It hasn’t been an issue in 2023. Rutschman is 7-for-15 with a .556 OBP as a RHB so far this season and he’ll get a juicy matchup with a southpaw on Wednesday. Ken Waldichuk ($6,100) has allowed opposing right-handed hitters to bat .410 with six long balls across his first two starts. Yikes.
Jorge Mateo, Baltimore Orioles vs. Oakland Athletics, $3,900 - Will Mateo be able to maintain a 147 wRC+ for the whole season? I’d say no. However, in an opposite-hand matchup with the aforementioned Waldichuk, there’s no reason to think the good times can’t keep rolling for at least another 24 hours. The Orioles own this slate’s second-highest implied team total. Mateo should be able to do some damage with the bat. If not, he might at least make an impact with his legs, as Mateo currently leads baseball in steals (6).
Ryan Noda, Oakland Athletics at Baltimore Orioles, $2,500 - The Athletics’ lineup is a little like the Sun, if you stare at it too long, you get a headache. Still, someone has to hit near the top of it, and for the last couple days, that person has been Noda. The LHB has hit second in the opening two games of this series in Baltimore and he’ll likely do so again on Wednesday against the right-handed Dean Kremer ($5,500). Kremer’s struggled in 2023 with lefties, surrendering a .400/.438/.800 split to the 16 he’s faced through two starts. Noda smacked 25 home runs in Triple-A last season. He’s got some pop. At this price, he’s worth a look.
George Springer, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Detroit Tigers, $5,400 - Unlike many of his teammates, Springer’s started 2023 a little slowly. However, the veteran outfielder has collected four hits and a pair of home runs over his last three games. In other words, he appears to be heating up. Toronto owns this slate’s highest implied team total and Springer will probably see at least five plate appearances in this contest. Most of those will come against the left-handed Rodriguez. For his career, Springer sports a .235 ISO and a 144 wRC+ versus southpaws.
Anthony Santander, Baltimore Orioles vs. Oakland Athletics, $4,100 - Despite his early season struggles, this price feels a little too low for Santander. The switch-hitting outfielder was especially good as a right-handed batter in 2022, registering a .255 ISO and a 159 wRC+ in 178 plate appearances within the split. With Waldichuk currently allowing opposing hitters to combine for a ghastly .693 expected slugging percentage, I’ll take my chances that tonight’s the night Santander breaks out of his slump.
James Outman, Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants, $3,600 - Until the price goes up, I’m willing to keep riding with Outman. It’s only 43 plate appearances, but the rookie comes into Wednesday’s action sitting in the 92nd percentile or better in expected wOBA (.482), expected slugging (.673) and barrel rate (28.6%). Alex Cobb ($7,900) is no slouch, but it’s rare to find those kind of numbers this far below $4K.
Harold Ramirez, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox, $3,300 - If you’re not insane like me, you’ll probably be looking to stack the Rays instead of investing in Sale. I can’t blame you. It helps that so many of Tampa’s assets remain at a very enticing price. Ramirez is a perfect example. A classic Rays platoon bat, Ramirez already has a pair of home runs off left-handed pitching in just 10 PAs within the split in 2023. That’s after slashing .360/.413/.459 with a 158 wRC+ against southpaws back in 2022. He’s simply too cheap.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and customer (my username is theglt13) 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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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.