Despite a glut of teams taking the field at 6:40 p.m. ET, tonight’s featured MLB contests on DraftKings will get going just after 7:00 p.m. ET, making this a small six-game slate. Still, we’ve got Spencer Strider ($12,300), Max Scherzer ($11,000) and Justin Verlander ($10,200) all toeing the rubber. Which of those three aces leads your lineup is the biggest question you’ll face this evening.
For that and so much more, let’s dive into the numbers.
Max Scherzer, Texas Rangers vs. Houston Astros, $11,000 - This is all about exposure. Scherzer, Strider and Verlander are the only three pitchers on this slate priced above $8.5K. All three will carry heavy ownership. However, I expect Strider’s strikeout prowess to make him the most popular. I also think Houston’s utter dominance of Texas pitching the last two days will make some afraid to trust Scherzer. That’s an opportunity to get leverage. Simple as that. Scherzer has registered a 3.21 xERA and a 28.8% strikeout rate in 2023. Even at 39-years-old, he’s elite, and an elite starter can silence hot bats any day of the week.
Clarke Schmidt, New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers, $7,100 - Schmidt has been wildly inconsistent so far in 2023, but here are few things to note about the young starter. First and foremost, the RHP looked very good throughout August, posting a 3.83 FIP and 10.3 strikeouts per nine in his 29.2 innings in the month. Secondly, Schmidt’s biggest issue this season has been retiring left-handed opponents, which isn’t as big a deal on Wednesday as usual, with Riley Greene (elbow) currently on the IL. Add in the Tigers’ 28.4% strikeout rate the past two weeks, and it’s isn’t hard to see Schmidt’s path to viability on this slate.
Matt Olson, Atlanta Braves vs. St. Louis Cardinals, $6,200 - As a pitcher, your primary goal when facing Olson should be a strikeout. Olson has a 100th percentile hard hit rate this season (57.1%). He’s also 99th percentile in average exit velocity (94.6) and 95th percentile in expected wOBA on batted ball events (.477). Well, Dakota Hudson ($5,600) has only struck out 12.7% of the LHBs he’s faced in 2023. That’s a bad omen going into tonight’s tilt with the Braves.
Francisco Lindor, New York Mets at Washington Nationals, $4,800 - Taking the mound tonight for Washington is Joan Adon ($5,900), a man with a career ERA of 6.55 in 99.0 MLB innings. As such, the Mets should be able to produce some crooked numbers. Expect Lindor to be in the middle of the action, as LHBs own a .381 wOBA off of Adon in his time with the Nationals. The former All-Star has technically been better as a right-handed hitter in 2023, but Lindor is dangerous from either side of the batter’s box.
Yoan Moncada, Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals, $3,400 - It’s been a bleak couple seasons for Moncada, yet the former top prospect has been hot at the dish the past few weeks. Dating back to August 20, Moncada is slashing .388/.434/.592 with a 183 wRC+ in 53 plate appearances. Is it a large sample? No. Yet it’s a promising sign, particularly headed into a matchup with Jordan Lyles ($6,100). Lyles has surrendered 2.15 home runs per nine to opposing LHBs in 2023. Let’s just say lefties have hit him well.
Austin Wells, New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers, $2,500 - On a slate where you’re almost forced to spend up at pitcher, there’s nothing better than being able to punt at catcher with a high-upside asset. Wells should be back in the Yankees’ lineup after getting Tuesday off, and the former first-round pick draws an opposite-hand matchup against Matt Manning ($6,700). To be fair, Manning’s been quite good lately, but the savings here are too much to ignore.
Brandon Nimmo, New York Mets at Washington Nationals, $4,200 - It’s been a little lost in the shuffle of the Mets second-half implosion, but Nimmo is having the best offensive campaign of his career and he’s red-hot since August 1. The 30-year-old is slashing .303/.382/.541 with a .239 ISO and a 155 wRC+ in that span of time, hitting out of the leadoff spot for New York. It hasn’t been enough to turn the season around, but it’s more than enough to be viable on this slate.
DJ Stewart, New York Mets at Washington Nationals, $2,900 - Yet another left-handed bat to throw at the aforementioned Adon. Stewart was unable to play in Tuesday’s victory due to back pain, but if the former first-round pick is in the lineup tonight — use him. In his 92 plate appearances against RHPs in 2023, Stewart has mashed nine home runs. That equates out to a 1.003 OPS within the split. Not too shabby.
Aaron Hicks, Baltimore Orioles at Los Angeles Angels, $2,400 - If you want a piece of the Orioles tonight — and you should — Hicks might just be the best dollar-for-dollar asset in the lineup. In 57 plate appearances against LHPs in 2023, Hicks is hitting .320 with a 144 wRC+. Patrick Sandoval ($7,700) just got destroyed by the Athletics. I doubt he has an easy time with an incredibly potent Baltimore attack.
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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.