This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
After a short Friday slate, we're back to a more traditional Saturday main course which features 12 games. There are two big-picture observations that stand out. Lineups will lock at 2:10 p.m. EDT and feature only the afternoon games. Next, it's a pitching-heavy slate because most clubs will be using their second starting pitchers and we'll likely get very high roster rates around the more obvious stacking and value considerations.
Of the many elite options taking the hill Saturday afternoon, Spencer Strider ($9,700) stands out thanks to his combination of strikeout upside (38.3 K% in 2022) and his matchup against a Nationals lineup that is arguably the worst in the league. As only the third-most expensive pitcher, Strider will be a pretty obvious play, but may post a score that's necessary to roster to be near the cash line.
Dipping down into the mid-tiers, Sonny Gray ($8,300) is the choice thanks to his matchup against the Royals. Zach Eflin ($7,500) is also a reasonable consideration facing the Tigers, but Gray offers the ability to generate more swings and misses and has historically been better at limiting home runs. I prefer Gray, but both represent solid SP2s.
There are a few value options who should free up salary for premium stacks for those playing tournament contests. Chris Sale ($6,700) was a risky pick in redraft leagues due to his checkered health history, but he's ready to take the mound Saturday and seems significantly misvalued. The Orioles boast a solid lineup and were aggressive on the basepaths on Opening Day, so it's not the easiest matchup. On the other hand, Sale's salary point mitigates some of that risk. Justin Steele ($6,000) is another option who is incorrectly valued as he heads into a matchup against the Brewers. His walk rate of 9.8 percent in 2022 was higher than desired, but he also produced the ninth-highest strikeout rate among the available pitchers last season and was excellent at limiting homers. Steele's 3.81 SIERA was plenty respectable, so it's unclear why he's the third-lowest pitcher on the board. Finally, Shintaro Fujinami ($5,500) is worth a flyer at his low salary. It's unclear how his game will translate from Japan, but he'll get a start in the spacious O.Co Coliseum and should benefit from being a relative unknown to the Angels.
Matt Olson ($4,700) is a relative bargain compared to the top options at first base, but arguably none are in a better position to produce Saturday. Josiah Gray served up 2.3 HR/9 in 2022 and that number jumped to 3.4 against lefties, making Olson a bat to build around.
Eloy Jimenez ($4,600) is healthy and has flashed power early this season with two extra-base hits in as many games. Jose Urquidy may not stand out as a pitcher to target, but he's a flyball-heavy pitcher (45 percent in 2022 and career) and carries a pedestrian strikeout rate (career 20 percent). He's had a home run problem as a result, and Jimenez boasts the pop to take advantage.
LaMonte Wade ($3,400) led off for the Giants on Opening Day with right-hander Gerrit Cole on the mound. Clarke Schmidt will take the mound Saturday in a far less daunting matchup, but Wade should remain atop the order. He has the short porch at Yankee Stadium to work with and should get a decent number of opportunities to go yard or at least rack up DK points.
The Brewers list a pair of prospects who are likely to figure prominently in their lineup for the foreseeable future after the injury to Luis Urias on Opening Day. Brice Turang ($2,300) hit ninth Thursday, and becomes less desirable if he sticks in that spot. The more intriguing selection is Joey Wiemer ($2,000), who should join the team in time to face Steele and make his big-league debut. He offers 70-grade raw power and crushed 48 home runs across 236 career minor-league games.
Stacks to Consider
Red Sox vs. Orioles (Dean Kremer): Alex Verdugo ($4,200), Rafael Devers ($5,800), Justin Turner ($3,800)
The Red Sox had an ugly Opening Day performance, but that was due to their pitching and defense rather than their bats. The lineup isn't full of power, but they also don't waste at-bats with strikeouts and that makes for a favorable profile of bats to stack. The matchup against Kremer further helps that cause as he only produced a 17 percent strikeout last season. He hasn't given up a lot of homers or walks, but Boston should be able to get to him by making consistent contact.
Giants at Yankees (Clarke Schmidt): LaMonte Wade ($3,400), Michael Conforto ($3,300), Joc Pederson ($4,200)
The Giants won't necessarily stand out in projections or optimizers, but there are good reasons to consider them. First, stacking the projected top of the order saves significant salary, which gives access to what should be the top projected stacks in the Braves, Phillies and White Sox as well as your choice of the elite pitchers. San Francisco could be sneaky on its own merits. Schmidt was used primarily as a reliever last season and still didn't record a standout K-BB% (14%) while posting a nearly 10 percent walk rate. That's all without mentioning the positive park factor for left-handed hitters in Yankee Stadium, and the entire trio above hits from that side of the plate.