This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Wednesday's evening MLB slate beginning at 7:05 PM Eastern time features 18 teams, excluding the six games that take place during the afternoon. Despite the limited scope of teams to choose from, the abundance of underwhelming pitchers scheduled to take the mound allows for plenty of strong lineup possibilities. These players in particular are positioned to play well relative to price, making them the night's top value plays.
Jose Berrios, MIN vs. CWS ($10,100): The sky's the limit for Berrios in this home matchup with the lowly White Sox. He has a sparkling 2.87 ERA over 53.1 innings in eight starts at Target Field and has no trouble missing bats with a lofty 22.4 percent strikeout rate. Those numbers should translate well against a Chicago team that's averaging the eighth fewest runs (4.33) and 12th-most strikeouts (8.43) in MLB, while a win is the most likely outcome considering the White Sox own the worst record in the American League.
Jason Vargas, KC vs. TB ($6,900): Vargas has come crashing back down to earth after a blistering start to the season, but his overall numbers are still tremendous relative to his price. It's not often you find a pitcher with 14 wins and a 3.72 ERA available for under $7,000, especially in such a favorable matchup. Tampa Bay ranks 27th with a .696 OPS against left-handed pitching and strikes out the second-most in the league at 9.56 per game. Vargas is also well positioned for a win given opposing starter Jake Odorizzi's recent struggles.
Salvador Perez, KC vs. TB ($3,000): Kansas City's offense hasn't exactly been clicking of late, but Salvador and the Royals couldn't ask for a better opportunity to turn things around than this home bout against Odorizzi. The right-hander has been terrible in four starts since coming off the DL, allowing 13 earned runs with a 12:14 K:BB in 17.1 innings. Perez has excelled with a .343 wOBA in righty-on-righty matchups compared to just .305 otherwise while Odorizzi has also been more vulnerable to right-handed batters with a .019 higher wOBA allowed.
Dominic Smith, NYM at CIN ($3,300): Reds righty Homer Bailey is a terrific option to stack against here, as he's battling a shoulder injury and has failed to impress while healthy with a 7.99 ERA through 12 starts. Bailey's .375 wOBA allowed to left-handed hitters provides an opportunity for the struggling Smith to get going after a slow start to his major-league career. The 22-year-old rookie hit .330/.386/.519 in 114 games with Triple-A Las Vegas, so it's likely just a matter of time until he finds his groove and sees his price start to skyrocket. This is as good an opportunity as any for Smith to flip that switch, especially since Great American Ball Park has a .14 greater park factor than his home venue Citi Field.
Scooter Gennett, CIN vs. NYM ($4,200): Gennett owns a .387 wOBA against righties, and should continue to build up that robust mark in what promises to be a slugfest in Cincinnati. Mets starter Rafael Montero comes in with a 5.64 ERA and 1.76 WHIP this year, and has been even worse of late with a 6.10 ERA and 1.77 WHIP over 31 innings in seven appearances (six starts) since July 28.
David Freese, PIT at CHC ($2,900): Freese has easily outplayed his modest price against lefties with a .368 wOBA. Expect that success to continue against the scuffling Jose Quintana, who has a 6.00 ERA and 1.52 WHIP over 27 innings in five August starts. Wrigley Field's ninth-ranked 1.09 park factor also works in Freese's favor here.
Ketel Marte, ARI vs. LAD ($2,800): Marte has the shortstop job all to himself now with Chris Owings and Nick Ahmed both sidelined long term, and is likely to take advantage right away in this home date with Dodgers lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu. The switch-hitting shortstop greatly prefers batting right-handed with a .030 higher wOBA compared to the left side and will benefit from Chase Field's third-ranked 1.17 park factor. Just make sure he's in the lineup after tweaking his hamstring over the weekend.
Brandon Nimmo, NYM at CIN ($3,500): Nimmo's another left-handed Mets slugger primed to pummel Bailey. He's playing an everyday role following the team's recent outfield purge via trade and injury, and has fit right in at the plate with a .379 wOBA through 62 plate appearances against righties. While the sample size is admittedly small, this level of effectiveness is tough to find in this price range even before considering the nearly ideal matchup.
Byron Buxton, MIN vs. CWS ($5,500): Buxton took White Sox starter Derek Holland deep when the pair faced off last week, and is likely to deliver similar results in this home rematch given the southpaw's struggles. Holland has been brutal against right-handed hitters, allowing a .404 wOBA over a 470-batter sample. Meanwhile, Buxton has flashed the skills that made him the second overall pick in the 2012 draft with a .379 wOBA against lefties that climbs to .411 at the hitter-friendly Target Field (1.13 park factor). Buxton's also offered a tremendous combination of speed and power of late with eight home runs and five steals since Aug. 12.
Hunter Pence, SF at SD ($3,800): With Buster Posey (thumb) sidelined, Pence is the most threatening right-handed hitter remaining in San Francisco's lineup. That distinction makes him a strong choice against Padres lefty Travis Wood, who has surrendered a hefty .364 wOBA to batters from the right side. While he's not having his finest season, Pence still strikes fear into southpaws' hearts with a .358 career wOBA in that split.