This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
There is overpriced talent on both sides of the ball on Wednesday's seven-game evening slate, which means players can either go dirt cheap or pay a premium for leverage purposes. The slate also features a minimum of what seems like two necessary stacks, leaving us to decide how to fill in the gaps.
Justin Verlander ($10,500) draws what may be the worst possible matchup for DFS purposes, as he will face a Twins offense that has notched the third-highest wOBA in the league against right-handed pitchers while striking out just 18 percent of the time. I would never put it past the former Cy Young Award winner to perform against any lineup but with so many other options to choose from, there is a strong case to be made for a fade.
Cole Hamels ($9,800) has disguised his shrinking strikeout rate with a heavy groundball profile and pinpoint control but this issue may be exposed against the Dodgers, who fall just outside of a top-10 team in the league against left-handed pitching according to wOBA.
Walker Buehler ($9,400) has shown a marked decrease in both groundball rate and strikeout rate from his rookie season, which has contributed to a 5.40 ERA in 18.1 innings (four starts). He will face a tough task, as the Cubs have notched the fifth-highest wOBA against right-handed pitching this season.
Vince Velasquez's ($9,200) 2.55 ERA looks impressive but his inability to go deep in games makes him difficult to use at this price, as he has hit 20 DraftKings points just once in his four starts.
Many will (rightly) bristle at rostering Eduardo Rodriguez ($9,000), as his ERA sits at 7.20 through four starts. While he likely won't be anyone's favorite option, his groundball and strikeout rates remain strong and his xFIP (4.20) puts him in the realm of a solidly average pitcher. This could make him a contrarian pay-up in his matchup against the Tigers, who have logged a bottom-10 ISO against lefties.
Jordan Lyles ($7,400) will likely be the belle of the ball as long as a bruised right hand doesn't keep him out of action, as he has allowed just one run and struck out 18 batters in 17 frames so far this season. The D-Backs have been a competitive offense to this point but it will be hard to pass on those numbers at this price.
If you are like me, you keep expecting CC Sabathia ($7,200) to fall from fantasy relevance, but the day doesn't seem to want to come, as he finished last year with a solid 3.65 ERA and has yet to allow a run in two outings (10 innings) in 2019. He is worth a look against an Angels squad that possesses very little right-handed firepower outside of Mike Trout.
It's difficult to justify any White Sox hitter against the Orioles, as DK has put their prices in the stratosphere but Tim Anderson ($5,500) still makes sense against John Means, who has kept a 4.79 xFIP against right-handed hitters this season.
George Springer ($5,300) has begun the 2019 campaign doing a ton of damage against lefties but his .235 ISO against same-handed pitchers is nothing to sneeze at. He will take on a hurler in Kohl Stewart who has posted sub-par walk and strikeout rates throughout his professional career.
Trey Mancini ($5,000) continues to produce against right-handed pitching, as evidenced by the .246 ISO he has tallied in 69 at-bats. Meanwhile, we've seen no evidence that Ervin Santana is ready to once again be a positive contributor to a major league team. He has logged a 10.38 ERA in his 8.2 innings (two starts), having walked more batters than he has struck out over that span.
Tyson Ross has featured below average walk, strikeout and home run rates to begin the year, which leads me to believe he's the same pitcher he has been for the last few seasons. This makes Andrew Benintendi ($4,600) and his .196 ISO against right-handed pitching well worth a look.
Rhys Hoskins ($4,700) has torn the cover off the ball in his 18 at-bats against left-handed pitching, notching a .278 ISO with a .430 wOBA. Small sample caveats clearly apply but it's easy to see damage being done against Jason Vargas, who has been tattooed for 11 runs in 10.1 innings after posting a 5.77 ERA in 92 frames last year.
Brett Gardner ($4,300) has largely exchanged his speed for power in recent years but that is in no way a problem against Felix Pena, who has given up three homers and allowed five walks to lefties in 9.1 innings this year.
Cole Tucker ($3,800) largely underwhelmed in the minors but is putting together a strong profile between Triple-A Indianapolis and the major leagues to begin the year. He is worth a shot as a low-cost option to attempt to exploit Merrill Kelly's early struggles against lefty hitters.
All three of our options here are capable of leaving a ballpark with regularity, and Vargas hasn't looked comfortable on a pitcher's mound since 2017. His penchant for giving up homers combined with his low strikeout rate makes this a matchup to key in on.
Santana is our second stackable option who may not be in a rotation for much longer. It may be difficult for some to pay up for O's hitters but two of our three selections have tallied an ISO exceeding .200 against right-handed pitchers, while Villar has logged a .421 wOBA in 65 at-bats.
Springer is his usual expensive self but this stack is actually quite reasonable overall when considering the opponent. Reddick has been on an absolute tear to begin the year, while Chirinos has logged a .256 ISO in 39 at-bats against righty pitchers.