We’ve got a full day of baseball on Wednesday, with games getting underway as early as 12:35 p.m. ET. As such, DraftKings is offering three unique slates depending on when you need to scratch that DFS itch. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be focusing on tonight’s seven-game featured contest, which gets going at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Let’s highlight some studs and values.
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels vs. Tampa Bay Rays, $8,800 - I can already guarantee that Ohtani will be the most popular pitching option on this evening’s slate, especially considering the performance of the Rays on Tuesday. Tampa was no-hit by Reid Detmers, and though it appears Wander Franco ($5,500) will be available for this game, recency bias will tout this as a tantalizing matchup. Then there’s the fact that the pitcher version of Ohtani is seemingly always underpriced by the algorithm. Through five starts, the RHP boasts a 1.52 FIP and a 38.0% strikeout rate. What else can he do to get above $9K?
Joey Wentz, Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland Athletics, $5,300 - Full disclosure: I had never heard of Wentz before I started writing this article. However, that’s not to suggest the 24-year-old doesn’t have promise. The former first-round pick is a Top 10 prospect in the Tigers’ system and his change-up has proven to be a legitimate swing-and-miss pitch in the minors. In fact, across his five starts at Triple-A in 2022, Wentz has racked up 26 strikeouts in 19.2 innings of work. More important than all of that, the left-hander will get to make his MLB debut against an Athletics team that currently sits dead-last in both wOBA (.262) and wRC+ (77). I’ll take my chances.
Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Baltimore Orioles, $5,000 - Generally speaking, Spenser Watkins ($6,700) has been able to survive his five starts this season despite a putrid 6.01 xERA and a microscopic 10.3% strikeout rate. I think that all comes to an end on Wednesday. You see, Watkins has mostly struggled in right-on-right matchups, surrendering a .313/.411/.625 slash line to the 56 RHBs he’s faced. Well, few lineups have as much right-handed pop as the Cardinals, with Goldschmidt leading the charge. The veteran also sports a 191 wRC+ when hitting at home in 2022. That’s pretty good stuff.
Pete Alonso, New York Mets at Washington Nationals, $4,900 - Like the aforementioned Watkins, Aaron Sanchez ($6,300) has struggled with right-handed batters in 2022, conceding a .414 average and a .466 wOBA within the split. Well, Alonso’s a dangerous RHB, to be sure. Polar Pete has a 161 wRC+ against RHPs so far this season, and he’s really been heating up in the early weeks of May. As per usual, Alonso is also miscast with a salary below $5K.
Bobby Witt, Kansas City Royals at Texas Rangers, $3,900 - It’s been a slog, but things are starting to turn around for one of the top prospects in all of baseball. Not only has Witt been hitting leadoff in recent games for the Royals, but since Apr. 21 the rookie is batting a respectable .279 with a 105 wRC+ and four stolen bases. He’ll also draw a juicy matchup on Wednesday in the form of a Rangers bullpen day. Considering Texas’ relievers own the league’s worst FIP (4.66), Witt should be able to put up some numbers.
Spencer Torkelson, Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland Athletics, $3,000 - Let’s ride with another frontrunner for American League Rookie of the Year. Torkelson hasn’t produced in 2022 like many hoped he would, but he’s certainly been at his best when squaring off with a left-handed opponent. In fact, in his 27 plate appearances within the split, the 22-year-old has produced a .374 xwOBA. With raw power to spare, Torkelson at least provides some upside in his matchup with Zach Logue ($7,100), which is all you can ask from an asset priced at $3K.
Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros at Minnesota Twins, $5,900 - Another year, another season where Alvarez is absolutely destroying right-handed pitching. The hulking DH is sometimes a little streaky, but to this point in early May, Alvarez has posted a 1.015 OPS and a 194 wRC+ against RHPs. That should come into play on Wednesday with Chris Archer ($7,700) on the mound for the Twins. Archer’s faced 35 LHBs so far in 2022 and they’ve combined for a .594 slugging percentage and a .393 wOBA.
Brandon Nimmo, New York Mets at Washington Nationals, $4,800 - Nimmo has been among the best leadoff hitters in baseball this season, registering a .389 xwOBA to go along with a 146 wRC+ in 113 plate appearances. With the Mets in possession of this slate’s second-highest implied team total — due mostly to the presence of Sanchez and an inconsistent Nationals bullpen — Nimmo’s in a very nice position to return value on Wednesday.
Michael Brantley, Houston Astros at Minnesota Twins, $3,900 - Count Brantley among those with far better advanced numbers than surface stats at this point in the season. While the veteran hasn’t been hitting for much power so far in 2022, a .386 xwOBA suggest happier days are on the horizon. Heck, even in the present, Brantley’s posted a 134 wRC+ in his 73 plate appearances against RHPs. With Archer and his 100% strand rate due for some serious regression, I like sticking Brantley in a few lineups this evening.
Juan Yepez, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Baltimore Orioles, $3,000 - How often can you get a clean-up hitter for $3K or less? Even better, how often is that clean-up hitter playing for a team with the highest implied total on the slate? Yepez is 9-for-19 to begin his MLB career, and though the advanced numbers haven’t been quite as optimistic, the rookie certainly has some pop in his bat. With Watkins allowing opposing RHBs to compile a .450 wOBA, this is an opportunity to save salary that you don’t want to pass up.
TEAMS TO STACK
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Baltimore Orioles - Tonight’s the night Watkins implodes. Even putting aside the RHP’s 1.00 K/BB ratio, Watkins’ struggles with RHBs would appear to be a death sentence going up against a Cardinals lineup that’s taken the third-most right-on-right plate appearances of any team in MLB. Also, the huge price tags for Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado ($6,000) are offset by the presence of Yepez, Tyler O’Neill ($4,100) and Dylan Carlson ($3,200).
New York Mets at Washington Nationals - Aaron Sanchez is washed, even at just 29-years-old. The former first-round pick comes into tonight’s start with an 8.56 ERA and his 59% hard hit rate ranks in the first percentile among pitchers who have induced at least 25 batted ball events in 2022. Needless to say, that’s bad. Alonso, Nimmo, Francisco Lindor ($5,200) and Starling Marte ($4,900) are all candidates for a huge performance.
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