This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Wednesday's seven-game slate will force potential owners to take a careful look at the mid-range, as there is only one pitcher on the board that costs more than $9,000. With this in mind, players may want to forgo paying for the most expensive arms in order to build a powerful offense.
Cole Hamels ($9,400) is the top name on a slate full of non-elite pitchers. The fact that he seems to have carried his homer issues against righties into 2019 is somewhat troubling, but he still projects as a safe cash play in a matchup against the Marlins on the road.
Kevin Gausman ($8,600) has had one strong start and one disappointment to open 2019 but it seems likely that DFS players will head back to a familiar face on an uncertain slate. While he has largely kept the ball in the yard in his first two outings, Gausman has dealt with home run issues throughout his career, which could make him a fade against an Arizona lineup that has logged a .193 ISO in its first 415 plate appearances against righty pitchers this year.
Jake Odorizzi ($7,700) has been hit hard after two strong starts to open the year but there may be a reason for optimism as he heads into a home start against the Blue Jays. Odorizzi's swinging strike rate currently stands at 15 percent, and he has allowed just one home run in 11.1 innings. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays hold a bottom-10 ISO and a 29 percent strikeout rate against right-handed pitchers. Walks have been a major issue for the 29-year-old, making this a GPP-only play but the selection could pay dividends as a scarcity pick, as he is more likely to be looked at as a stack target than a rosterable arm.
It's early days yet but Lance Lynn ($7,500) is currently telling us that he's finally done something about his career-hampering walk rate, as he has allowed just three free passes in his first three starts. This makes him an interesting GPP option, as his strong strikeout rate and propensity to throw grounders could play well against the Angels.
Jeremy Hellickson ($7,100) seems mispriced against the Giants, which will almost certainly lead to the former Rookie of the Year being one of the most popular pitchers on the slate. Walks have been a bit of an issue for Hellickson so far in 2019 but he seems to be continuing some of the promising developments he showed last year, such as a strong groundball rate and an ability to limit homers.
Joey Gallo ($5,300) has had his price shoot to the moon after scoring 49 DraftKings points in his last two games. It's tough to see how Matt Harvey survives in Arlington, as he has allowed four homers in his first three starts after finishing last year with an ERA approaching 5.00 in 155 innings.
Ronald Acuna ($5,200) has put up double-digit DK points in seven straight games. He has tallied over 20 points in three of those games. He will face a pitcher in Zack Godley who is once again being stung by his unmanageable walk rate (10 percent) as well as by the four homers he has allowed through 17 frames this year.
Austin Meadows ($4,900) seems to finally be living up to the hype as a former top prospect, as he has come out of the gate sporting a .350 ISO in 60 at-bats after a solid season in 2018. Meanwhile, David Hess appears to have come back to earth after a fantastic first start of the year, as he is sporting the high HR/9 rate (1.9) and low strikeout percentage that characterized his 2018 campaign.
David Peralta ($4,600) is picking up right where he left off in 2018, as evidenced by the .262 ISO he has tallied in his first 42 at-bats against righty hurlers this year. We can attribute some of this success to his elite hard contact rate, which currently stands at 46 percent.
Jorge Polanco ($4,500) will get his share of attention due to the downright silly .395 ISO and .516 wOBA he has tallied against right-handed pitchers in 43 at-bats. Trent Thornton has shown that he is capable of big strikeout rates but pitched to ERAs above 4.40 in each of his last two minor league seasons.
Ben Zobrist ($3,600) will bat near the top of the order against Sandy Alcantara, who has walked more left-handed batters than he has struck out in 31 career innings, contributing to an xFIP of 5.45 over that span.
The state of the Rangers offense will force us to pay up for certain players who may not seem worth the price but Harvey should be considered one of the most stackable targets on the slate, having struck out less than 16 percent of the batters he has faced thus far despite the ability to touch 96 miles per hour on the radar gun.
The Minnesota offense seems like a perfect stack against a pitcher like Thornton, as they hold a bottom-5 strikeout rate against right-handed pitchers. All three in our group have shown considerable power to start the season, which should play well against Thornton, as he has shown signs that his home run prevention may be lacking at the highest level.
This is another stack that plays specifically to the opposing starter, as all three of our selections feature strong walk rates. The combination of patience and power shown here should be enough to give Godley fits on most nights.