This article is part of our DFS NPB series.
We were shorted two games Tuesday due to rainouts, but there was still some entertaining NPB action over the remaining four contests. That included the Buffaloes coming through as our one stack recommendation of the night, with Orix's lineup continuing to break out of its early-season doldrums with particularly productive nights from Masataka Yoshida and Adam Jones, two of our suggested hitters. Meanwhile, the Marines and Lions both had their bats cooking, with Chiba Lotte escaping by an 8-6 margin thanks to big fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
Wednesday shapes up as a potentially even better night for offense, as several questionable arms are on the mound. Not only will we revisit some of the bats that sat out due to the postponements Tuesday, but also touch on several other candidates in good spots across the ledger. The fantasy appeal of the slate extends to the stacks, where we have no fewer than three highlighted for your GPP lineups.
Koyo Aoyagi ($11,800) admittedly doesn't have a favorable matchup in the form of the powerful Giants, but he's a capable arm that may be lower-owned than merited in tournaments due to the opposing lineup. Aoyagi is averaging 18.2 DK points over his first two turns, as he's generated a pair of quality starts against the Swallows and Dragons. Both Aoyagi's ERA (0.75) and WHIP (0.67) speak to his dominance thus far, nothing new for a pitcher that's epitomized tough luck frequently during his four-plus NPB seasons. Aoyagi has never finished above .500 despite posting ERAs of 3.32 or lower in each of his four campaigns. He has proven capable of being a rewarding fantasy asset even when he doesn't get the victory, but Aoyagi has a decent shot at a win Wednesday with the inconsistent C.C. Mercedes on the mound for Yomiuri.
Haruhiro Hamaguchi ($10,500) started his season with 8.1 scoreless innings against the Marines, an outing that netted 29.5 DK points and provided a glimpse at his upside. The left-hander boasts plenty of swing-and-miss stuff (325 strikeouts over 314.1 career innings) and is doing an excellent job keeping the ball in the park thus far in 2020 by yielding just a single homer across his first 13.2 frames. Wednesday's matchup against the Carp isn't prohibitive by any stretch, either, and considering the vulnerability of opposing starter Kris Johnson, conditions are favorable for Hamaguchi to pick up the win.
Takumi Yamamoto ($8,700) appears to have multiple factors in his favor Wednesday, beginning with an inconsistent Swallows opponent that does have plenty of power (17 team homers) but is also hitting a pedestrian .246 as a team. Yamamoto has been serviceable thus far, including a quality outing versus the Tigers his last time out. The young right-hander carries a very affordable price tag and demonstrated plenty of upside last season while posting a 2.98 ERA across nine appearances.
Hideto Asamura ($9,000) may admittedly be somewhat of a no-brainer choice provided you can afford him, but the quality of his matchup and his red-hot bat still make him worthy of highlighting. The Golden Eagles' basher has been on a tear, already launching eight homers, driving in 23 runs and averaging 14.3 DK points. Opposing starter Shunsuke Kasaya, who will step in for Matt Moore (leg) is normally a reliever and has generated ERAs over 7.00 in his modestly-sized body of work over the last two seasons.
Seiya Suzuki ($7,700) was already highlighted yesterday and then saw his game rained out, and he remains an excellent option a day later. The veteran is showing no signs of slowing down 13 games into the 2020 campaign, as he's now slashing .400/.474/.800 following yet another multi-hit outing Sunday. Suzuki is averaging a whopping 13.6 DK points per game while offering an encore of the caliber of numbers he's made the norm over the majority of his career. Suzuki came into the season having hit at least .300 and 26 home runs in four straight seasons, and he's already hitting .455 (5-for-11) and averaging 17.3 DK points across three games against BayStars pitching in the current campaign..
Brandon Laird ($6,300) still hasn't fully hit his stride at the plate and has seen a notable price drop in recent days, but he draws the type of matchup Wednesday that could certainly elicit a breakout. Lions starter Tatsuya Imai has put plenty of pitches over the plate over his two-plus seasons, allowing 30 homers over his first 40 career appearances, including three over his first 11 innings this season. There's also the matter of Laird being a completely different hitter on his home field, where he'll find himself Wednesday. While his average on the road sits at an unsightly .138, Laird owns a stellar .370/.393/.852 line across seven home contests, leading to an average of 13.1 DK points.
Takayuki Kajitani ($4,100) was a Tuesday bargain bat that was also victimized by rainout, and although he's seen a modest $100 price bump overnight, he remains firmly in play Wednesday. Kajitani is slashing .356/.449/.525 with a pair of homers and five RBI across his first 15 games. He's averaged an impressive 10.8 DK points across his first six road contests as well, and his leadoff role could well facilitate his paying off an extremely modest salary very comfortably, especially in a favorable matchup against Carp starter Kris Johnson, who's pitched to a 6.30 ERA and 1.70 WHIP across his first two starts of the campaign.
Jerry Sands ($4,000) displayed some prodigious power in a couple of minor-league stops stateside early last decade, and even though he's gotten off to a highly sluggish start to his NPB career, he represents low-owned access to some power upside in tournaments. Sands may be hinting at a bit of an ascension as well after hitting in three straight games, with his most recent contest Sunday against the Carp featuring his second homer of the season. The veteran has also encouragingly struck out only once over his last four contests after whiffing on four occasions across his first two games, another sign he may be starting to find his groove at the plate. Sands' matchup Wednesday could also work in his favor, considering Giants starter C.C. Mercedes has opened the season with a 5.19 ERA and unwieldy 3.3 HR/9 across his first two starts.
Takahiro Okada ($3,500) is a proverbial free square Wednesday, and he checks in with an impressive .286/.391/.554 line over his first 16 games. The veteran is displaying an encouraging resurgence on the power front thus far with four homers across his first 69 plate appearances, a boost from the sole round tripper he slugged in 56 trips to the batter's box in 2019. Okada is a two-time 30-homer player that could certainly pay off his price with one swing, and both his leadoff role and matchup against Fighters starter Nick Martinez, who's opened 2020 with a 5.73 ERA, 1.64 WHIP and 1.64 HR/9 across his first pair of turns, make him an appealing punt play.
Stacks to Consider
As alluded to earlier in Kajitani's entry, Johnson has gotten the season off to a shaky start, making the savvy leadoff hitter a great cost-savings option.
Meanwhile, No. 2 hitter Soto is now hitting .362 and averaging 10.6 DK points per game after going 7-for-13 over his last three contests with three home runs and eight RBI. He's still arguably underpriced as well when considering that level of production.
Austin is off to an impressive start in his own right with a .341/.431/.614 line across his first 14 NPB games, and it's worth noting he posted a .340 wOBA, .239 ISO and 43.9 percent hard-contact rate against southpaws during his four MLB seasons.
Finally, Sano makes for a great bookend value on the opposite end of the stack from Kajitani, as he's hitting .350 and owns a .403 on-base percentage across his first 15 games, and he also checks in with three consecutive two-hit efforts.
Suzuki makes for an excellent way to start off a stack versus Kasaya, who may not be long for the game considering he's used to a reliever's workload. Suzuki has opened the season with a 16-game hitting streak and is averaging an impressive 10.7 DK points over his last 10 games.
I suggest skipping over Jabari Blash at the No. 3 hole and jumping from Suzuki to Asamura, whose numerous appealing traits were outlined earlier in the article. Shimauchi follows Asamura at No. 5 in the order and has been excellent in the early going with a .333/.368/.444 line in 16 games. He's also a superior contact hitter who's struck out just six times over 67 plate appearances.
Finally, Romero may come in a tad under-owned on the full six-game slate after going just 2-for-10 over his last three games, but he's still carrying a .352/.444/.722 line over his first 16 games and has plenty more pop than he's shown with a modest four homers thus far.