This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
We have 18 teams to work with on Wednesday's main slate. Unlike the past couple nights, it's not a particularly strong pitcher pool, so roster rate is likely to condense around four or five arms. The good news is that should make roster builds pretty easy to figure out. In cash games, ride the chalk. In large-field tournaments, it should be relatively easy to find ways to pivot to contrarian plays.
Max Scherzer ($11,100) and Carlos Rodon ($10,800) are the top-priced pitchers on the slate and there's not much to differentiate them. Their strikeout rates are nearly identical, and the price reflects the edge in skill that Scherzer possesses in other areas – primarily walk rate. The matchup is a major differentiator and tips heavily in favor of Rodon, who takes on Arizona as compared to a matchup against Atlanta for Scherzer.
Framber Valdez ($10,300) comes at a steep price tag, but he's at least worth mentioning because it's not a particularly deep night for pitchers. The White Sox aren't generally a strong lineup, though they do have a .331 wOBA paired with only a 21.5 percent strikeout rate against lefties this season. I wouldn't trust Valdez in cash.
Jordan Montgomery's ($6,900) price point makes very little sense. Pretty much every other pitcher in the mid-tier can be ignored for cash game purposes. He's likely to be very popular, so from a large-field tournament perspective, it's worth pivoting or even stacking Rockies hitters against him.
Cal Quantrill ($7,000) is one pivot option, and he wouldn't force any significant alterations to the rest of the roster build due to his extremely similar price point as compared to Montgomery. The Tigers are the worst lineup in the league regardless of time frame – last 30 days or full season.
Domingo German ($6,500) is a punt play, as he's settled in a bit after a sluggish return from injury. He should be a decent bet for 13-15 DK points, which is okay given his cost.
Amed Rosario ($4,600) has smashed southpaws to the tune of a .525 slugging percentage, .375 wOBA and .222 ISO this season. He's not cheap but also doesn't come at a prohibitive cost and Daniel Norris is not a matchup to avoid.
Joc Pederson ($4,300) is back in the lineup after missing a few games due to a hand injury. He'll land in a good spot Wednesday, as Zach Davies has only a 17.8 K% (fifth-lowest among the pitcher pool) and has allowed at least one home run in three of his last five starts and a pair of long balls on two occasions.
The Rangers have rolled out some disastrous pitchers in their series against Oakland and that could continue Wednesday. Cole Ragans has only a small and poor sample in the majors, though his minor-league track record is quite strong. Even so, I'm willing to make a minimal investment to see if Ragans' struggles continue and recently promoted top prospect Shea Langeliers ($2,000) fits the bill.
Rich Hill has been dreadful since returning from the injured list, allowing eight earned runs across seven innings of work. The Pirates certainly aren't a team I want to invest in heavily, but Kevin Newman ($3,200) typically leads off against lefties and has also had success with the handedness advantage this season (.371 wOBA).
Vaughn Grissom ($2,000) will draw one of the toughest – if not the toughest – matchup of the day against Max Scherzer. However, Grissom has been extremely impressive in his initial big-league sample and is still priced at the bare minimum.
Stacks to Consider
This is among the most obvious stacks from a matchup perspective, as Oller has a 1.7 K-BB% while serving up 1.9 HR/9. The Rangers aren't a great offensive team, but the top of the order is still dangerous and capable of taking advantage of a weak opposing pitcher. The Rangers are likely to be a popular option, particularly because the price of the stack is not prohibitive.
The Giants are a nice option for those who would prefer to build through the elite pitchers. There's value up and down the lineup so it should be relatively easy to fit any stack to the constraints of the rest of your roster. For the same reason, they are a nice secondary stack to the Rangers or another pricier lineup. The matchup against Zach Davies has already been covered, but it's desirable due to the amount of contact he surrenders.
Contreras makes his long-awaited return to the majors Wednesday, but his skills weren't impressive in his previous stint in Pittsburgh this season. Unlike most of the pitchers targeted in this article, Contreras does get strikeouts. However, he also has a 10.1 percent walk rate and has allowed 1.6 HR/9. That's a combination that can lead to struggles. Even if pitches well, Contreras is likely to be pulled early in the game and the Pirates bullpen is an absolute disaster.