This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
A lot of early start times Wednesday leave just seven games for the evening DraftKings slate. What stands out when looking through the options is an underwhelming group of starting pitchers. With that in mind, here are some players to consider for your entries.
One of the pitchers who jumps off the page for this slate is Tyler Mahle ($9,500). The Reds right-hander saw a significant increase in his strikeout rate last season, finishing at 29.9 percent. He's been even better through his first three starts this season at 39.3 percent. As far as favorable matchups go, he certainly has one against the Diamondbacks, who are missing three players from their regular lineup in Ketel Marte (hamstring), Christian Walker (oblique) and Tim Locastro (finger).
After Mahle, the rest of the starting pitching options feel uncertain, at best. One who might be worth taking a chance on is Ian Anderson ($8,400), who will take the mound against the Yankees. The Yankees might seem like a tough matchup, but they entered play Tuesday tied for the worst OPS in baseball and followed that up by scoring only three runs in the series opener. They also have plenty of strikeout-prone hitters, which is noteworthy given Anderson's career 29.3 percent strikeout rate. Still, the Yankees can explode any given night, which makes Anderson a somewhat risky option.
If you're looking for a player with a cheap salary for tournament play, there aren't many appealing options. Michael Wacha ($7,200) could be someone to consider for his matchup with the Royals. He's had to face three daunting lineups out of the gate, taking the hill against the Red Sox and the Yankees (twice). He registered two bad performances, but rebounded to shut out the Yankees across six innings in his last outing. What's even more encouraging is that he has 20 strikeouts across 15 innings.
The Yankees took a chance on Corey Kluber ($9,300), adding him to their rotation despite him logging a total of 36.2 innings the last two seasons. He's been underwhelming, to say the least, allowing 10 runs (seven earned) over 10.1 innings. He's also given up 16 hits while issuing seven walks, which could be a recipe for disaster against the on-base machine that is Freddie Freeman ($5,900).
Is Kris Bryant ($4,500) back? He's off to an encouraging start, entering Tuesday with a .423 wOBA. His strikeout rate is down to 22.4 percent, which is more in line with his career mark, rather than the 27.2 percent strikeout rate that he recorded during his disastrous 2020 campaign. He has a gaudy .415 wOBA for his career against left-handed pitchers, making him someone to strongly consider deploying in DFS for his matchup with David Peterson ($7,100).
The Pirates don't have a lot of imposing hitters, which makes them a tough team to stack. However, if you're looking to deploy a hitter who has some upside at a reduced salary, then Colin Moran ($3,800) should be on your radar. He's off to an excellent start, especially in the power department given his .281 ISO. This comes on the heels of him recording a career-high .225 ISO in 2020. Opposing him will be Spencer Turnbull ($6,800), who has a career 1.40 WHIP and will be on a limited pitch count in his season debut.
Austin Riley ($3,000) may have only hit .239 last season, but it was encouraging to see him lower his strikeout rate to 23.8 percent, compared to his 36.4 percent strikeout rate in 2019. Add in his power upside and he could provide value against the struggling Kluber.
Stacks to Consider
Davies finished with a career-best 2.73 ERA last season, although his FIP wasn't as impressive at 3.88. His 22.8 percent strikeout rate was over five percentage points higher than his career mark, which may have contributed to his success. However, he has only eight strikeouts across 11.1 innings this season. Even more discouraging is that he's issued nine walks on his way to a 2.21 WHIP. If he can't right the ship, things could get ugly against the potent Mets lineup quickly.
The Blue Jays don't have many starting pitching options left. Thornton is expected to serve as the opener while Anthony Kay ($6,000) is expected to follow and pitch the bulk of the innings. Kay didn't fare well in his last start, giving up five runs (four earned) across three innings against the Royals. Facing a potent Red Sox's lineup will be an even taller order. Martinez is a key player to build a Red Sox stack around. He's doing his best to prove that last year's down numbers were a fluke, entering Tuesday with a .520 wOBA and a .417 ISO.
Keller hasn't been able to live up to the hype yet that followed him throughout the minor leagues. He was crushed in his last outing against the Padres, allowing seven runs over 3.1 innings. His problem has been an inability to keep runners off base, leaving him with a career 1.72 WHIP. The Tigers might not have a ton of dangerous hitters, but this could still be a sneaky stack to pursue. Candelario is coming off of a career-best .373 wOBA and he's continued to lower his strikeout rate, entering Tuesday at just 18.8 percent.