This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
There are a few early start times across baseball Wednesday, but we still have 12 games to choose from for the main evening slate on DraftKings. There are several big-name starting pitchers set to take the mound and a few teams who could be lined up for big scoring nights, which makes for an interesting mix. Let's discuss some of the top options to consider.
Jack Flaherty's ($9,700) career-high for wins in a season is 11. With seven already this season, he looks primed to blow past that mark. He's eliminated the walk issues that plagued him last season, which has helped him generate a 0.95 WHIP. His ERA is back down to 2.47 and it's been supported by a 2.94 FIP, so his struggles last season may have been more of a fluke than anything else. Look for him to continue to thrive against a Pirates team that has the second-worst OPS in baseball.
Another pitcher who has shown improvement after a disappointing 2020 campaign is John Means ($9,400). His 4.53 ERA last season could have been even worse given his 5.60 FIP. He allowed a whopping 2.5 HR/9, although he did at least have a 0.98 WHIP. He's been even better at keeping hitters off base with a 0.71 WHIP this season and his ERA has also improved to 1.21 with him allowing just five home runs over 52 innings. Add in his 28.0 percent strikeout rate and he could provide value against a Rays team that has struck out the most times in baseball.
With reinforcements needed for their starting rotation, the Mariners called up one of their top prospects in Logan Gilbert ($4,700) to face Cleveland last week. It wasn't a great debut with him allowing four runs and two home runs over four innings. On the bright side, he had five strikeouts and didn't issue a single walk. He could rebound against a Tigers team that is sporting the third-worst OPS in baseball.
Few teams have dealt with the amount of injuries that the Mets have this season. It's been in just about every facet of their roster, including their starting rotation. One of the few healthy options that they have left is David Peterson ($7,300), who will take the mound against the Braves. He's not off to the best of starts, posting a 4.36 FIP and allowing 1.6 HR/9. That means that Ronald Acuna Jr. ($6,200) is one of the top players to consider.
Tarik Skubal ($6,200) is at the other end of the spectrum as Flaherty. Through eight appearances, he's already racked up six losses. It hasn't exactly been because of a lack of run support, either, given his 5.73 ERA and 7.31 FIP. He's also allowed 11 home runs across 33 innings. Enter Mitch Haniger ($4,500), who has already raced out to 12 home runs.
With how poorly Skubal has pitched, Haniger isn't the only player on the Mariners who is worth considering. Working our way further down the salary scale, Kyle Lewis ($3,200) is also an intriguing option. He's lowered his strikeout rate to 24.5 percent this season and has shown power during his time in the majors, posting a career .193 ISO.
It's difficult to get excited about Corey Kluber's ($7,800) 3.48 ERA when you look more closely at his numbers. His FIP stands at 4.00 and his bloated 10.7 percent walk rate has contributed to a 1.40 WHIP. While the Rangers don't have the most potent of lineups, two of their better hitters in Nate Lowe ($3,900) and Adolis Garcia ($3,800) could provide value at cheaper salaries.
Stacks to Consider
Stripling has done a horrendous job of keeping hitters off base, entering this matchup with a 1.69 WHIP. He's allowed at least one home run in four of his five starts and failed to log more than five innings in any of his five outings. A big night could be in store for the Red Sox's lineup with Martinez and Devers leading the charge. Devers has seen his walk rate spike to 10.1 percent this season, helping him generate a .385 wOBA. He's also sporting a .297 ISO, so he could take advantage of Stripling's propensity for allowing home runs.
The Red Sox might not be the only team to score plenty of runs in this game. He hasn't been as bad as Stripling, but Richards hasn't exactly pitched well given his 1.44 WHIP. Guerrero has been a monster out of the gate, hitting for power and drawing more walks than strikeouts. Bichette has hit for plenty of power, as well, posting nine home runs and a .222 ISO.
The Rangers are expected to use Hyeon-Jong Yang ($4,600) to pitch the bulk of the innings in this game, but it's not clear if he will start or follow an opener. Either way, he could be in trouble against the power-laden Yankees given that he's allowed three home runs across his first 16 innings and he only has a 19.7 percent strikeout rate. Urshela has become an important part of the Yankees' lineup with his 120 wRC+ and ability to play both third base and shortstop.