This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
We have a split schedule Wednesday resulting in the first small main slate of the week. Nevertheless, there are a lot of strong options to work with – particularly among starting pitchers. That leaves little to choose from among hitters, so the hunt for value will be particularly key.
Max Scherzer ($10,600), Kevin Gausman ($10,100) and Gerrit Cole ($9,900) highlight what is one of the best collections of top-tier pitchers to take the mound on a single night of late. There's not much to differentiate the trio, but I'd lean Scherzer and Cole thanks to their matchups against St. Louis and Baltimore, respectively. Both games will also take place in pitcher-friendly parks, so the duo seems about as safe as possible.
Lucas Giolito ($8,300) is listed as the probable pitcher after not being activated from the COVID-19 injured list Tuesday. If he in fact takes the mound Wednesday, Giolito will start against a punchless Royals offense. He may be limited a bit in length due to his stint on the injured list, but he is priced down significantly, in turn mitigating some risk.
The two most intriguing options to pay down at the position square off against each other. Drew Smyly ($7,100) has only a 16.7 percent strikeout rate, which would typically be enough to immediately eliminate him from consideration. However, Smyly is taking on a Pirates offense that has scored one run combined across their last three games. Roansy Contreras ($4,000) was built up to 4.1 innings with Triple-A Indianapolis prior to being recalled to the majors, so he should get a relatively traditional workload and is priced at a ridiculously low mark.
Teoscar Hernandez ($4,900) has an impressive .457 wOBA across 157 plate appearances against lefties across the last two seasons. Marco Gonzales has strong surface stats, but he has almost exactly a 1.5 run gap between ERA and SIERA. Regression is coming.
There aren't many pitchers to pick on Wednesday, but Jordan Hicks has struggled with his control in his mutli-inning/starting role with St. Louis this season. I'd rather stack than single out an individual Mets hitter as a result, but Brandon Nimmo ($4,300) is a natural fit given his patience at the plate, and that he typically serves as the Mets' leadoff hitter. Nimmo isn't expected to miss additional time after exiting Tuesday's game, but confirm he is in Wednesday's lineup.
Luis Robert ($4,700) and the White Sox will take on Zack Greinke on Wednesday. Greinke has a very respectable 3.52 ERA, but he has a minuscule 8.9 percent strikeout rate. Given the way offense has increased in recent days, I expect Chicago hitters will be able to do some damage.
Mike Ford ($2,100) has shown strong skills throughout his career in limited samples, but he has never earned consistent run. After joining the Mariners last week, he appears to have a significant role with the club and could finally have the chance to showcase his legitimate power. A matchup against Gausman is admittedly far from ideal.
Eduardo Escobar ($3,300) has had a rough start to the 2022 season, though he has shown signs of picking things up of late by scoring 14, 8 and 14 DK points in his last three games respectively. Lineup spot will matter in this case, with the ideal situation being that he hits fifth against Jordan Hicks.
Frank Schwindel ($2,700) spent a day in the minor leagues last week, but he has hit well in his return to the big leagues by tallying at least one hit in five of his last six games. The Cubs have racked up runs against Pittsburgh in their series, and Contreras isn't likely to pitch deep into the game so I'll disregard a tough starting pitcher matchup for Schwindel.
Stacks to Consider
This is simultaneously the most obvious and most difficult stack to play Wednesday. Gonzales has gotten away with poor skills this season but is a prime regression candidate and Toronto's talented lineup can take advantage. This will likely require a pitching combo of Giolito and Contreras to successfully manage the budget. On the positive side, that could drive down roster rate.
We highlighted Greinke's inability to generate strikeouts this season, which is the perfect scenario for a stack. Abreu and Moncada are priced reasonably, so this won't cause the same budget limitations as the Jays.
Hicks is my favorite pitcher to target on the slate because I don't expect the Mets to be a highly-rostered team. He's a talented pitcher but has struggled to transition to a starting role, particularly in finding the strike zone consistently. This group of hitters offers a nice blend of on-base ability and power, which is a good fit as compared to the areas Hicks struggles.