With a whole mess of afternoon baseball on Wednesday, we’re left with just a seven-game featured slate this evening on DraftKings. Fortunately, with no weather concerns, it won’t get smaller than that. Unless something insane happens, that is. Remember that time a game got delayed by bees? Big day for Arrested Development fans everywhere.
Anyway, let’s break down some studs and values.
Kyle Wright, Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies, $9,500 - This is a shockingly stacked pitching slate for its size, yet I still think a majority of people will flood to Shohei Ohtani ($9,100) as their No. 1 option on the mound. I don’t really have an issue with that, but I do like Wright as a bit of a variance play. The right-hander has struggled in his past three outings, giving up 12 earned runs in 17.1 innings. However, for the season as a whole, Wright owns a 2.90 FIP and a 26.6% strikeout rate. You don’t have to search too long to find his massive upside. With the Phillies down Bryce Harper (thumb) and slashing just .220/.298/.352 across the past two weeks, look for a bounce-back performance from Wright.
Michael Kopech, Chicago White Sox at Los Angeles Angels, $7,600 - This is the first time since mid-April that Kopech’s price point has fallen below $8K. Need I say more? Yes, the right-hander has struggled in June and he’s also had most of his issues in 2022 on the road, but we’re still talking about someone with a 2.59 ERA and a career strikeout rate of 29.1%. The cheaper an asset gets, the more I’m willing to overlook a couple of flaws. Plus, it’s not like the Angels have been all that amazing as of late. Going back to June 1, Los Angeles has produced a paltry .281 wOBA — a figure better than only Oakland and Detroit over that span of time.
Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies, $5,700 - Hitters as consistent as Freeman don’t come along often. While the veteran probably hasn’t hit as many home runs in a Dodgers uniform as he’d like, Freeman comes into Wednesday hitting .306 with a .414 xwOBA — numbers pretty much exactly in line with his career totals. He should get the opportunity to add to those figures in a matchup with German Marquez ($5,500), who has allowed opponents to compile a .404 wOBA in his starts at Coors Field so far in 2022.
Brandon Drury, Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs, $5,000 - When did we get here? To a place where I’m promoting paying $5K to use Brandon Drury? It’s a strange timeline, but the stats say what the stats say: This is a fantastic spot for the veteran. Drury has crushed left-handed pitching in 2022, slashing .318/.338/.712 with a 183 wRC+ in his 68 plate appearances within the split. As for Justin Steele ($6,500), he surrendered seven earned runs the last time he saw the Reds. Yikes.
Kyle Farmer, Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs, $3,800 - We’re out here stacking Reds! Farmer has enjoyed an awesome month of June, hitting .325 with a 126 wRC+ since the calendar flipped from May. He’s also had his way with LHPs this season, slashing .387/.443/.742 with a .355 ISO. In fact, Farmer hit a home run off of Steele in that aforementioned terrible outing from the Cubs’ lefty. That’s a pretty good omen, right?
Jorge Polanco, Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Guardians, $3,700 - After a slow start to the season, Polanco been on fire dating back to June 1. In his 51 plate appearances in the month, Polanco is hitting .341 with a 1.022 OPS. For 2022 as a whole, the infielder has also been at his best when facing a right-handed pitcher, as Polanco’s posted a 134 wRC+ as a left-handed batter. With Cal Quantrill ($7,300) in possession of a 5.57 FIP over his last four appearances, the Twins should have little issue scoring some runs this evening. Expect Polanco to be in the middle of the action.
Editor’s Note: Twins OF Byron Buxton is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Guardians.
Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Guardians, $5,600 - There’s a couple things to consider when using Buxton on tonight’s slate. First and foremost, he’s had a great month, with a 1.136 OPS and a 215 wRC+ so far in June. Second, Buxton’s biggest issue is his strikeout rate, but that shouldn’t be an issue against Quantrill. The Canadian ranks in the bottom two percent of qualified pitchers in whiff rate and his 15.1% strikeout rate is underwhelming at best. That’s going to be an issue, because Buxton possesses an eye-popping .518 xwOBA on his batted ball events.
Kris Bryant, Colorado Rockies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, $4,100 - Bryant’s only appeared in a couple games since coming back from a lengthy IL stint, but he’s in a good spot on Wednesday against Julio Urias ($8,400). Well, he’s at least in his preferred handedness matchup and the game’s being played at Coors Field. In 2021, Bryant posted a .910 OPS and a 138 wRC+ in his 156 plate appearances versus LHPs. Tonight would also be a great time for his first home run in a Rockies uniform.
Christopher Morel, Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds, $3,600 - With Hunter Greene ($8,100) on the mound for the Reds, it would be almost irresponsible to not take a flier on a couple right-handed bats in the Cubs’ lineup. Why is that? Well, across his 14 starts in 2022, Greene’s surrendered a whopping 3.38 home runs per nine to opposing RHBs. For his part, Morel isn’t a huge power hitter, but he does have a 122 wRC+ against RHPs in his rookie campaign.
Alex Verdugo, Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays, $3,400 - I’ve mostly avoided this game because of the fantastic pitching matchup, but if you want to get a piece, Verdugo’s a great entry point. Alek Manoah ($8,700) has been a monster in 2022, yet the few issues he’s faced this season have primarily been due to LHBs. Plus, not only is Verdugo left-handed, he’s red-hot at the plate. The outfielder is slashing .333/.400/.467 with a 148 wRC+ in his 100 plate appearances since June 1. Not bad at all.
TEAMS TO STACK
Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs - There are many reasons to like this stack, but one of the biggest is affordability. Aside from Drury — and Tommy Pham ($4,600; back) if he’s active — no player on the Reds costs more than $4K. That includes reigning NL Rookie of the Year winner Jonathan India ($3,900) and future Hall of Fame first baseman Joey Votto ($3,400). I’d also pay close attention to platoon specialists Donovan Solano ($3,500) and Matt Reynolds ($2,500), with the latter having posted a 122 wRC+ in 2022 against LHPs.
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