This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Wednesday is a tricky slate. Even without many aces on the mound, there are very few clear spots to target with hitters either because of the opposing pitcher or a park that suppresses offense. Landing on the right side of that balance will likely be the difference between winning and losing lineups.
Everything seemingly comes together for Shohei Ohtani ($8,600) on Wednesday. He's one of two pitchers on the slate to maintain a strikeout above 30 percent, he owns the lowest SIERA (2.84) and draws a matchup against a Royals lineup that is among the least threatening in the league. Somehow, he's priced below six other pitchers.
Jordan Montgomery ($7,600) has been incredibly steady this season and has reached at least 16.7 DK points in each of his last five starts. He doesn't have an overpowering strikeout rate (19.4 percent) but keeps the ball on the ground and doesn't give up free passes. A don't beat yourself approach should be enough to tame a subpar Rays' lineup.
I'm willing to explore a trio of pitchers in the lower tier: Michael Wacha ($6,800), George Kirby ($6,600) and Tyler Wells ($6,000). Of the group, Wacha is my least favorite, and the only reason he makes the cut is the combination of price and a matchup against the strikeout-prone and powerless Detroit lineup. Kirby has the best skills of the group (3.33 SIERA) and is another egregiously mispriced player along with Ohtani. Kirby also takes on Oakland, the only lineup with the potential to be worse than Detroit. Wells is a matchup play and benefits from his home park. He is the punt option of the day while squaring off against the Nationals. It is worth noting the Nationals strikeout out at only a 19.5 percent clip on the season, over four percentage points less than both the Athletics and Tigers.
Eric Lauer may not be the first pitcher you think would think to target Wednesday, but he has served up three home runs on consecutive starts. He's bound to cool down, but Paul Goldschmidt ($5,400) has posted a ridiculous .555 wOBA against southpaws this season. Make sure Goldschmidt is in the lineup, as he was held out for precautionary reasons Tuesday with back tightness.
Ian Happ ($3,500) falls into the strange range of neither a value nor a top-priced hitter, but regardless he's in a good spot to produce. He and the Cubs will take on Jerad Eickhoff, who is pitching in the majors for the first time in 2022 after having surrendered 1.5 HR/9 while posting a 4.84 ERA with Triple-A Indianapolis.
Triston McKenzie has pitched well this year and particularly of late. However, when he gives up runs, it's regularly via the longball. He's also benefitted from a .197 BABIP, which could begin to regress given the positive hitting environment at Target Field. Byron Buxton ($6,100) is among the most dynamic hitters in the game and always has multiple paths to being productive.
Tyler Nevin ($2,300) isn't exactly a household name, but he's a name to keep in mind with lefties on the mound as he's maintained a .308 ISO and .443 wOBA with the handedness advantage across his career. That's come in a very small 47-plate appearance sample, but his price combined with a matchup against Patrick Corbin — who has coughed up multiple home runs in four of his last seven starts — minimizes the risk.
Robbie Grossman ($2,300) has started to show his form from the 2021 season and has shifted back up into the top three of the Tigers order. Wacha is a pitcher to consider based on his price and matchup, but his skills are still worth attacking.
There aren't a lot of games at home parks that enhance offense early this week, but Truist Park in Atlanta is one. Luis Gonzalez ($2,900) has led off for the Giants against right-handed pitching and checks in at a reasonable price.
Stacks to Consider
Based on his form to begin the season, it would look crazy to stack against Lauer. However, in addition to his home run problem discussed above, Lauer has walked three or more batters in three of his last five starts. Perhaps not coincidentally, his fastball velocity has dipped down to 92.6 mph across three June starts. I suspect that Yepez will be in the Cardinals' lineup against a lefty, but confirm that before locking him into lineups.
As mentioned in the intro, this is a tough slate to pick spots with hitting. There are positive matchups in really bad parks for hitters (Corbin/Wells), and there are decent pitchers in positive hitting environments. The Giants fall into the latter, which admittedly creates the risk that Morton has his stuff working Wednesday and shuts them down. However, he's been tagged for four earned runs or more in seven of his 13 starts, and we saw the ball jumping out of Truist Park on Tuesday night.
We flip to the opposite side of the dynamic in this stack, targeting a poor pitcher in the most run-suppressing park in the league this season. Due to the environment, this stack does have a degree of risk, but Wells has the highest SIERA (4.72) on the slate and the lowest strikeout rate. That combination is too good to pass up.