MLB DFS: DraftKings & FanDuel Slate Notes – Wednesday Main Slate 4/24/24

The Wednesday main slate comes at gamers with a solid offering of hitting and pitching, including a game at Coors Field featuring a knuckleballer against an opener-follower combination. The Coors game has a run total of 11.5, a full 2.5 runs higher than any other game on the slate, there are Coors games and there are extreme Coors games, this could be the latter. The Yankees are an interesting option for stacking. Oakland starter Joe Boyle has a history of limiting home runs in his professional career, but everything else is shaky and New York has an implied total of 5.14 runs against him. The Braves are also drawing an extremely healthy total at 5.45, putting them ahead of every team but the Padres. On the mound, primary targets include Joe Ryan against the White Sox, Clarke Schmidt facing the Athletics, Reynaldo Lopez against the Marlins, and Garrett Crochet on the other side of the Ryan start. Options like Bryce Miller in a tough matchup or Yariel Rodriguez with depth questions and a mid-level matchup are also available for mix-and-match play. The slate is somewhat lacking for a true bargain-bin SP2 on DraftKings, this could be a day to spend money on the mound.

Don’t miss our Hitter Projections, including custom Home Run ratings for each player, and Pitcher Projections for more on the top opportunities today.

Note: All analysis is written utilizing available projected lineups as of the early morning, pay close attention to confirmed lineups and adjust accordingly. This article is posted and updated as it is written, so if a game has not been filled in, check back in a few minutes. Update notes are provided as lineups are confirmed to the best of our ability. Still, lineup changes are not typically updated as lock approaches, so stay tuned to official news for any late changes.

MLB DFS: Game by Game Main Slate Notes – 4/24/24

Oakland Athletics (+196/3.47) @ New York Yankees (-216/5.14)

  • Oakland will be facing righty Clarke Schmidt in the Bronx tonight, with the Yankees heavily favored and Schmidt relegating them to just a 3.47-run implied total. The second-year starter has been good at the beginning of 2024, working 20.0 innings in four starts. Schmidt has a 26.7% strikeout rate with a 3.15 ERA and a 3.38 xFIP. He has allowed a few too many opportunities with a 1.55 WHIP resulting partially from a too-high 9.3% walk rate, but his stuff has been top-notch and has generated a 12.8% swinging-strike rate with a 32.3% CSW%. Schmidt projects well for the $8,900 salary on both sites, he is a worthwhile investment against a lousy Athletics squad.
  • Oakland is not an appealing stack on most nights, the team has a bit of power through the lineup but they are not good at sequencing or getting on base with regularity, limiting their DFS appeal. Esteury Ruiz is projected to leadoff tonight, over 25 plate appearances he has a .350/.440/.800 triple-slash with two home runs and two stolen bases. Ruiz has nearly unrivaled speed on the basepaths, he has been flashing power both at the Major League level and in AAA this season making him a compelling option for $3,200/$4,800. Ryan Noda has a knack for getting on base that was on display last year but has abandoned him to this point this season, he has a .167/.268/.258 triple-slash with a 72 WRC+ over his first 78 opportunities. Brent Rooker has blasted four home runs but sits well below the Mendoza Line at .178/.245/.467. Rooker has a .289 ISO with a 108 WRC+ and has made terrific contact when he is not swinging and missing, his 17.4% barrel rate and 52.2% hard-hit rates are excellent for power upside. Seth Brown is a quality lefty with power in a lefty-friendly ballpark, he comes cheap at $2,200/$3,100. Abraham Toro has a pair of home runs and a stolen base while creating runs one percent ahead of the league average over 75 chances. Zack Gelof is off to a slow start in his triple-slash and run-creation marks but has generated counting stats early in the season with three homers and four stolen bases. Lawrence Butler hit a cheap lefty Yankee Stadium home run last night and could be aligned for another crack at one today, Shea Langeliers is also a sneaky source of late-lineup power, while Nick Allen does not offer much at the plate.
  • Righty Joe Boyle has faced 1,168 hitters in his professional career from the developmental league up to the Major League level, he has allowed 17 total home runs, a 1.45% rate. Against MLB hitters, Boyle has allowed just two homers against 146 hitters (1.37%). The good news for Athletics fans stops there. Boyle has a 22.6% strikeout rate with an 11.6% walk rate over 34.2 innings in the Show, pitching to a 4.67 ERA and 4.62 xFIP over three starts last year and four so far this season. Over this year’s outings, Boyle has a 20.9% strikeout rate and an unsustainable 14% walk rate with a 7.23 ERA and 4.65 xFIP, he is more targetable to walk Yankees hitters and allow sequencing and run creation, but the Yankees are certainly not off the board to add some home runs to his career total as well. Boyle is in the bargain bin on DraftKings at $6,200 but is extremely risky and does not project like an effective option.
  • New York hitters are not flashing their typical upside for power in the home run model given Boyle’s sustained success at limiting power. Still, the Yankees are typically excellent at extending plate appearances and drawing walks, which should lead to scoring against a pitcher of this nature. New York ranks as one of the better stacks on our DFS board and Vegas has them as one of four teams with a run total above 5.0 tonight. Anthony Volpe has backslid into some of his previous bad habits after a hot start to the season. The second-year shortstop is down to .287/.367/.402, which is still a fine triple-slash and a major improvement over last year’s numbers. Volpe has hit two homers and stolen six bases on the season, creating runs 32% better than average. Juan Soto has a 14.4% strikeout rate and a 17.1% walk rate on the season, even if he does not get Boyle for power he seems likely to get on base multiple times in this game, provided he is not called out on balls again tonight. Aaron Judge has a 5.38 in the home run model, he is the only Yankees hitter to crack halfway to the “magic number” for home run power in this matchup. Judge is off to a cold start to 2024, easily the worst April of his career with a .180/.315/.348 and just three home runs over 108 plate appearances. Giancarlo Stanton has five home runs with a .260 ISO and a 128 WRC+. Stanton destroys pitches when he makes contact, he has an 18% barrel rate and 50% hard-hit rate early in 2024 and he comes cheap at $3,000/$4,600. Anthony Rizzo got on the home run board with his second of the year last night but still faces some questions about his timing after last year’s concussions, a surge from Rizzo would be very encouraging and the first baseman is cheap for his history at the plate at just $2,700/$3,700. Gleyber Torres is another Yankees hitter off to a slow start, his 58 WRC+ and zero home runs have not been kind to gamers who have included the second baseman in stacks but we are eagerly anticipating the turn for the talented and now discounted second baseman. Alex VerdugoOswaldo Cabrera, and Austin Wells round out the projected lineup. Verdugo has been productive with a 123 WRC+, Cabrera has kept the Yankees afloat in some early games with a 124 WRC+ and three home runs but he is not truly as good a hitter as he has been this April, and Wells has been slow to find his footing but has pedigree as a left-handed catcher with some power.

Play: Yankees bats/stacks, Clarke Schmidt

Miami Marlins (+196/3.67) @ Atlanta Braves (-217/5.45)

  • Reynaldo Lopez is three-for-three in quality starts this season. Lopez has worked 6.0 innings in each game, facing 23 White Sox, 22 Mets, and 23 Astros while allowing just one earned run for the season. The righty has a sparkling 0.50 ERA with a 3.84 xFIP that is most certainly the honest number. Lopez has been good with a 26.5% strikeout rate and a bumpy 8.8% walk rate but just a 0.94 WHIP. The hurler has yet to allow a home run, giving up just a 2.3% barrel rate with 36.4% hard hits. There is reason to believe that the success will continue against a mediocre Marlins team tonight, Lopez projects as one of the better pitching options but his $10,400 price tag on the blue site is difficult to swallow, he is a more user-friendly $9,200 option across town on DraftKings where he has more overall appeal. The hope on FanDuel would be that the price tag forces Lopez to lower public ownership than he warrants in this spot.
  • The projected Marlins lineup does not feature a hitter with a WRC+ above league average, Luis Arraez and Bryan De La Cruz lead the way at 99 and Jazz Chisholm Jr., the team’s best player, is at 97. Arraez is slashing .284/.342/.353 with zero home runs or stolen bases, he is a strong correlated scoring option but lacks support. De La Cruz has five home runs and a stolen base, Chisholm has hit two home runs and swiped four bags, and cleanup hitter Josh Bell provides the memory of quality from either side of the plate. Bell has three homers this season but just a .187/.288/.319 triple-slash with a 76 WRC+. Jesus Sanchez has a home run to start the season, his 6.86 ranks third on the team for home run potential tonight and he is inexpensive, which is true for this entire team. Tim AndersonNick GordonEmmanuel Rivera, and Nick Fortes do not impress from the bottom of the lineup, though Gordon has three home runs and a .220 ISO over 54 plate appearances. The group has a collective WRC+ of 51 with a .200 average and a .257 on-base percentage.
  • The Braves will face Sixto Sanchez in his first start of the season. Sanchez has worked 7.1 innings in relief this year, striking out 8.8% and walking 8.8% in the tiny sample. The righty has a 6.14 ERA and 6.04 xFIP. The 4.5% swinging-strike rate that Sanchez has induced is not impressive. With only one appearance this season beyond an inning, it is difficult to forecast how many pitches the righty will be allotted but it is easy to expect that the Braves will chase him and make it a moot point. Sanchez is not on the board at $6,300/$7,000 tonight.
  • Atlanta bats are a high-priority option on this slate. The Braves are drawing the second-highest implied team total of the night and they are an elite bunch for run creation and power. Ronald Acuna Jr. has only hit one home run but he has stolen 10 bases while slashing .293/.408/.384 with a 129 WRC+ over his first 103 plate appearances. Acuna is still very expensive but there is no question about his quality, he leads the team with a 12.08 in our home run model tonight. Michael Harris II slides up to the second spot in the lineup, he has three home runs and five stolen bases while creating runs 30% better than average. Harris is playable from anywhere in the batting order but he looks excellent hitting second among the team’s stars and his $3,200/$4,600 helps to average down costs. Austin Riley and Matt Olson are the league’s best power duo on the corners. Riley has two home runs and a .176 ISO in a slow start but has still created runs 11% better than average this season. Olson has three home runs with a .212 ISO and has created runs five percent ahead of the curve. Marcell Ozuna has blasted nine home runs and has a .349 ISO on the back of an 18.6% barrel rate and 52.9% hard-hit rate this year. Ozuna’s price has gone up on both sites, he is now a $4,400 star on FanDuel but DraftKings has him at a still-affordable $5,500. Orlando Arcia has a 123 WRC+ with one home run, the underrated shortstop hit 17 homers last season. Travis d’Arnaud has five home runs after a power surge late last week, he is a cheap catcher who has always had the knack for hitting under-owned DFS home runs. d’Arnaud lands at a 5.97 in our home run model tonight for $3,100/$4,400, he is playable in Braves stacks on both sites. Jarred Kelenic is slashing .319/.396/.383 with a 123 WRC+ but has yet to homer, and Luis Guillorme is an odd duck on this team with a defense-first approach.

Play: Braves bats/stacks, Reynaldo Lopez

Houston Astros (+101/3.99) @ Chicago Cubs (-109/4.10)

  • The Astros are drawing just a 3.99-run implied team total against righty Jameson Taillon in his second start of the season. The veteran allowed one earned run on three hits to 18 Marlins over 5.0 innings in his debut last week, striking out four and walking zero. Taillon made 29 starts last year, working to a 4.84 ERA and 4.49 xFIP with a 21.4% strikeout rate and 6.4% walk rate over 154.1 innings. The concerns with this starter are typically related to both depth of start and the premium contact and related home runs he allows. Last season Taillon coughed up a 4.12% home run rate on 10.7% barrels and a 38.4% hard-hit rate. He allowed a home run in his first start of the year and he seems unlikely to see the sixth inning even if things are going well in this one. Taillon projects in the lower portion of the board for $8,000/$7,500, he is marginally playable tonight against an underperforming Astros team with excellent hitters.
  • Jose Altuve is our home run pick of the day with a 9.47 in the model. The star second baseman has five homers on the season while slashing .357/.422/.592 and creating runs 98% better than average over 109 chances at the plate. Yordan Alvarez has also hit five home runs so far, and so has Kyle Tucker. Alvarez has created runs 42% better than average and Tucker sits 70% ahead of the curve and adds speed with four stolen bases. The group of three stars atop the lineup is a highly-playable unit for stacking purposes, they are arguably a few hundred dollars too cheap on both sites. The rest of the lineup has been shaky in holding up their end of the bargain. Veteran Alex Bregman is mired in a slump and sits at .203/.289/.266 with a  68 WRC+ and zero home runs. Catcher Yainer Diaz has hit three home runs and is slashing an effective .287/.330/.437 with a 124 WRC+ as one of the team’s good mid-lineup options. Diaz is cheap where catchers are required, he is an interesting one-off option at $4,200 on DraftKings and he is playable on FanDuel for $2,900, particularly given the team’s lack of a quality first baseman. Jeremy Pena is also off to a good start, he has two home runs and four stolen bases and has created runs 37% better than average while getting on base at a .357 clip. Chas McCormick has two stolen bases but zero homers and just a 91 WRC+, Jose Abreu has a -36 WRC+ with zero home runs and a terrible .065/.132/.081 triple-slash and Mauricio Dubon offers cheap multi-positional value as a wraparound play from the ninth spot. The Astros are stackable against Taillon, the spot could be better than it may appear in the implied runs column.
  • Astros starter Spencer Arrighetti has made two starts, pitching a total of 7.0 innings and working to an 11.57 ERA with a 5.21 xFIP, a 21.1% strikeout rate, and a 13.2% walk rate. The righty lasted 3.0 innings against the Royals, allowing seven earned runs on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts. The next start was better, he worked 4.0 innings while striking out five, walking two, and allowing a pair of earned runs on four hits. Arrighetti looks like a weak option with low-end projection against a quality Cubs squad with a 4.10-run implied total but he is in the value bin for the desperate at $6,500 on DraftKings.
  • Nico Hoerner stole his first base of 2024 after the lack of steals was a topic of discussion on yesterday’s show. Hoerner is getting on base at a .368 clip, if he continues to lead off we should see additional attempts and some quality from a player who lacks the power at the plate to provide DFS value otherwise Hoerner is good for correlated scoring ahead of the core of quality hitters that follow. Ian Happ has a healthy 6.66 in the home run model but just one on the season. Happ has gotten on at a .359 clip, creating runs 12% better than the league average. Cody Bellinger has five home runs and a .214 ISO and is now up to 103 WRC+ after a slow start. Bellinger looks like he has found his footing for this season, he is a key bat in the heart of Cubs stacks. Michael Busch brings more left-handed thunder to the middle of the batting order. The rookie has six home runs in just 82 plate appearances, mashing his way to a .292 ISO on the back of a small-sample barrel rate of 18.8% and a 45.8% hard-hit rate. Christopher Morel costs $3,000/$4,300 with eligibility at third base or in the outfield on FanDuel but only at third on DraftKings. Morel has an 8.33 to lead the team in tonight’s home run model. Dansby Swanson has two homers and a 95 WRC+ but the turn is coming for the talented DFS shortstop. Mike Tauchman can deliver a bit of power and is a regular for getting on base and creating correlated scoring opportunities at low ownership and cheap salaries. Matt Mervis is a power prospect who struggled in the Show last year but has demolished minor-league talent. Mervis hit three home runs but had a .122 ISO and a .167/.242/.289 triple-slash over 99 rookie plate appearances last year. Yan Gomes is a mix-and-match catcher at best.

Play: Astros bats/stacks, Cubs bats/stacks

Chicago White Sox (+175/2.75) @ Minnesota Twins (-192/3.83)

  • The best pitching matchup of the day sees excellent righty Joe Ryan facing the worst lineup in baseball. While teammate Pablo Lopez ran into a bit of trouble and did not come out to pitch the fifth inning against this same team last night that is no reason to ignore the excellent option in tonight’s game. Lopez still managed to strike out six in just 4.0 innings and he was not awful in allowing only three runs with a home run and four total hits as well as two walks. The righty saw a significant dip in velocity which led to the early hook, Ryan should not have that problem tonight, he projects as easily the top pitching option on the board. The righty has a 32.3% strikeout rate over 22.2 innings in four starts this season, pitching to a 3.57 ERA and 2.56 xFIP. Ryan’s 13.3% swinging-strike rate and 30.8% CSW are both high-end marks and he has walked a mere 3.2%. Last season Ryan worked to a 4.51 ERA but a 3.76 xFIP with a 29.3% strikeout rate and 5.1% walk rate, he is a high-end strikeout option who can occasionally get tagged for power, as was evident in a 4.76% home run rate over 29 starts last season. For $10,600/$10,400 this is the top option on the pitching slate on both sites.
  • The White Sox are an extremely limited bunch of hitters. The projected lineup has nine total home runs with Gavin Sheets and Paul DeJong each hitting three in their 74 and 54 respective plate appearances. Eloy Jimenez hit his second of the year last night, the oft-injured outfielder has made 41 plate appearances and has a 97 WRC+ on the year. Nicky Lopez and Danny Mendick are non-threatening hitters off the top of the lineup, while the bottom includes Andrew VaughnAndrew BenintendiDominic Fletcher, and Korey Lee. While they will infrequently break through for low-owned inexpensive production, this does not look like the spot to roster the White Sox.
  • Lefty Garrett Crochet has a 5.61 ERA on the surface but a 2.83 xFIP under the covers which reveals his true quality. Crotchet has been excellent on the mound to start the 2024 season, the converted reliever has a 32.7% strikeout rate with a 5.8% walk rate over 25.2 innings in five starts. The southpaw has induced a terrific 15.3% swinging-strike rate and amassed a 31.1% CSW. While he has given up a few long balls, his 4.8% barrel rate is strong and he has major potential against a Twins lineup that has a 25.2% collective strikeout rate in the projected form. Crochet is only limited by the supporting offense, the White Sox are unlikely to float him to a win bonus but the quality start and a pile of strikeouts are in play for the talented starter for $9,200/$8,600.
  • Minnesota has Ryan Jeffers at a 140 WRC+ over 71 plate appearances and Edouard Julien at a 112 after 84 opportunities, everyone else has been below average for run creation this season. Projected leadoff hitter Manuel Margot slides into that role against southpaws, he has a .171/.277/.244 triple-slash with a 61 WRC+ and one home run in 47 opportunities this year. Jeffers has three home runs out of the second spot in the lineup, he is followed by Byron Buxton who has hit just one and has a 96 WRC+ over 77 chances at the plate. Buxton is pulling himself together slowly and is now at .247/.273/.411. Kyle Farmer climbs the lineup against the southpaw, his cheap mid-level power could be interesting with $2,100 triple-position eligibility on FanDuel and for $2,300 at second or third base on DraftKings but he is off to a terrible start at .073/.223/.098 with a .024 ISO and zero home runs. Farmer has a WRC+ that sits 96% below the league average after 49 plate appearances. Jose Miranda has a 73 WRC+ after 35 chances, Max Kepler is limited in this lefty-lefty matchup and has struggled out of the gate this season, and Carlos Santana has seen his best days come and go. The bottom of the lineup features Christian Vazquez who is also well past his expiration date and Julien who drops to the bottom against lefties. The Twins do not look like a compelling option against Crochet.

Play: Joe Ryan, Garrett Crochet

Toronto Blue Jays (-122/4.48) @ Kansas City Royals (+112/4.12)

  • The Blue Jays are a strange team so far this season, two of their stars are struggling and they have not been overly productive while getting out to a 13-11 start, but only two of their projected starters are below league average for run creation to this point. The team has another good matchup that could be exploitable with Alec Marsh on the mound for Kansas City tonight. Marsh has a 3.22 ERA but a 4.07 xFIP over 22.1 innings in four starts this season. The righty worked to a 5.69 ERA and 4.84 xFIP with a 24.9% strikeout rate over 74.1 innings in eight starts last year while giving up a 4.68% home run rate. Marsh has struck out just 17.8% in the tiny sample in 2024, inducing an 8.8% swinging-strike rate with a 25.7% CSW. While he is not awful on the mound there should be plenty of contact available for the Blue Jays tonight, allowing the team to do what they do well.
  • Toronto’s lineup opens with George Springer, who is one of the team’s two underperformers at just 91 WRC+ over 104 plate appearances. Springer has two home runs and three stolen bases while slashing .220/.317/.308 with limited premium contact. The outfielder has still been excellent in avoiding strikeouts and drawing walks at 11.5% and 12.5% however, so the turn should be coming shortly. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has gotten things in gear, he has three home runs and a 108 WRC+ but just a .130 ISO and a weak triple-slash. Guerrero has struck out 19.4% of the time while walking at a 13.9% clip so far this season. Bo Bichette has also underperformed, he has a 94 WRC+ with one homer and three stolen bases in 96 chances at the plate. Justin Turner has been excellent to start the season, the veteran cleanup hitter has carried the team for stretches, creating runs 65% better than average with a .310/.407/.493 triple-slash and a pair of home runs. Those four hitters, all former All-Stars, cost an average of just $4,300 on DraftKings and $3,000 on FanDuel, the Blue Jays are extremely discounted for their talent. At $3,100/$3,500, Daulton Varsho is a solid next man for that stack. Varsho has gotten things going over the last week or so, he now has six home runs and a .319 ISO with a 158 WRC+ from the left side of the plate. The cheap power potential is appealing in five-man stacks. Davis Schneider has three home runs and a 110 WRC+ as a capable mix-in option, Danny Jansen has made just 15 plate appearances since his return to action but he has respectable catcher power from late in the lineup. Isiah Kiner-Falefa is a multi-position option with limited upside. Cavan Biggio is an interesting option from the ninth spot or anywhere higher in the lineup, he has a home run and a stolen base and has created runs 27% better than average over 66 chances early in the season. The Blue Jays look like a quality option for value stacking with talent against a hittable pitcher tonight.
  • Righty Yariel Rodriguez has been terrific in his first two MLB outings. The veteran of the Cuban National Team and Japan’s NPB worked 3.2 innings and struck out six of 16 Rockies hitters in his first start, allowing a solo home run and four total hits while walking two. Rodriguez also allowed a solo homer while striking out seven of 16 Padres and allowing three total hits and a walk in 4.0 innings against the Padres in his second performance. With the potential to reach 5.0 innings and book the win, Rodriguez is a compelling option for $8,000 on DraftKings, he has value at $7,800 on FanDuel but he seems unlikely to come away with the quality start until he is fully stretched out on the mound.
  • The Royals have been a quality option for DFS and a fun team on the field to start the season, they have interesting power and speed up and down the lineup. Maikel Garcia has been an odd fit in the leadoff spot, he has four home runs and four stolen bases but is slashing just .194/.245/.376 with a 72 WRC+, he may be better suited to a different spot in the batting order. Bobby Witt Jr. has four homers and five stolen bases with a .265 ISO and has created runs 68% better than the league average over 105 plate appearances. Witt is slashing .316/.362/.582, he is a star for $3,700/$6,300 at shortstop and his price is a few bucks cheap on FanDuel. Vinnie Pasquantino has four home runs with a .215 ISO and has generated a 42.9% hard-hit rate with his aggressive bat-on-ball approach. Pasquantino has struck out at just a 10.8% rate this season while drawing walks 14% of the time, he is an excellent left-handed hitter for just $3,100/$4,800 at first base. Salvador Perez is looking like the masher of old over his first 94 chances this year, he has six home runs with a .256 ISO while slashing .337/.394/.593 and creating runs 81% better than average. MJ Melendez and Nelson Velazquez have provided pop from the heart of the batting order early in the year for cheap DFS prices. Melendez has four homers and a .233 ISO while Velazquez has hit two long balls and has created runs nine percent ahead of the curve. Michael Massey is cheap at second base, he has a left-handed bat that is projectable for mid-range power quality that led to 15 home runs in 461 otherwise mediocre plate appearances last season. Hunter Renfroe has two home runs and has not done anything else well this season, and Kyle Isbel is an afterthought in the ninth spot in the projected batting order.

Play: Blue Jays bats/stacks, Yariel Rodriguez on DraftKings, Royals bats/stacks

Seattle Mariners (+107/4.17) @ Texas Rangers (-116/4.42)

  • Veteran hurler Jon Gray is on the mound for $7,500/$8,300 against a scuffling high-strikeout Mariners squad. Gray is facing a projected lineup that has amassed a 26.8% strikeout rate for the season with five of nine hitters sitting well below average for run creation coming into Wednesday evening. Gray has a 3.15 ERA and 3.67 xFIP over 20.0 innings in his four starts. The righty has struck out 28.4% while walking 11.4% with surprising quality. Gray was limited in his first two starts with two strikeouts and three walks coming in 3.2 innings against the Cubs then another three strikeouts and three walks in 3.2 against Houston. His next outing lasted 5.0 innings against Oakland, he struck out nine and walked one while allowing a solo home run and three total hits. Over 6.0 against Detroit, Gray gave up one earned run while striking out seven, walking three, and allowing three hits and then turned in a surprise appearance from the bullpen against Atlanta on the 20th, working 1.2 innings and striking out four of five Braves hitters. Gray is expected to make a full start tonight, but that bullpen action four days ago combined with his typical short start nature have us somewhat concerned about depth, particularly the quality start potential on FanDuel. The overall strikeout rate is also a bit deceptive, given the nature of how the total has come together. Overall, Gray is a capable veteran pitcher in a bit of a weird spot this evening, he looks playable and projects OK in an otherwise good matchup for the money.
  • Mariners hitters have been rocky to start 2024. Leadoff man JP Crawford has created runs 15% below the curve over 98 plate appearances, getting on base at an anemic .296 clip. Crawford has two home runs but if he is not providing correlated scoring via his ability to get on base, he does not belong in the leadoff spot. Julio Rodriguez got off on the wrong foot this season but is up to 102 WRC+ with six stolen bases and a .278/.323/.344 triple-slash, he seems to have righted the ship already and should be fine going forward. Rodriguez has a 9.95 to lead the team in the home run model tonight and he is cheap on both sites at $3,200/$5,000. Cal Raleigh has six home runs with a .257 ISO on the season, the catcher is a $2,800/$4,000 option in a great spot in the lineup, he has appeal in stacks and as a one-off catcher. Mitch Haniger has three home runs and a 121 WRC+ over 86 chances, Jorge Polanco has also hit three homers but his run creation mark sits seven percent below the curve, and Ty France is at just a 91 WRC+ over 79 plate appearances while generally lacking power at the plate. Mitch Garver and Luke Raley have late lineup power at cheap prices but neither has found his form at the plate yet this year, while Josh Rojas is a mix-and-match infielder off to a good but light start at the plate, he has one home run and one stolen base while creating runs 46% better than average over just 55 chances.
  • Perhaps the most challenging spot on the slate is Bryce Miller against the Rangers lineup. Miller is a high-end starter who costs $10,200/$9,400, the lower price has more appeal on DraftKings but he is easily talented enough to justify the FanDuel salary as well. Miller has a 26.1% strikeout rate with a 7.6% walk rate and a 1.85 ERA with a 3.52 xFIP over 24.1 innings in four starts this season. The righty has worked deep into games, booking quality starts in three straight outings. He went 7.0 shutout innings against Milwaukee while striking out seven, walking one, and allowing three hits, then he came out and allowed just an unearned run on three hits while striking out four and walking three over 6.1 against the Cubs in his next start. In his most recent effort, Miller faced the Reds for 6.0, striking out seven of 20 hitters while walking one and allowing only a solo home run. Miller will be tested by Texas, he does not project as highly as he may otherwise, but it would not be surprising to see him find success. The pitcher warrants shares on both sites and if the public is undervaluing him it would make sense to push exposure to the play.
  • Marcus Semien has created runs 24% better than average while hitting four home runs and stealing a base in his first 110 plate appearances of the season. His double-play partner has been eight percent worse than average for run creation over 94 chances but we will give Corey Seager a major pass while expecting far more production over the next several hundred plate appearances. The duo is a terrific way to start stacks of Rangers hitters on most slates and Seager comes at a discount on both sites. Semien is notably cheap on DraftKings and the prime Rangers hitters can be rostered as a three-man stack for $5,400 each when we include Adolis Garcia. The outfielder is projected to hit fourth behind second-year lefty Evan Carter who was terrific in a cup of coffee last year and has a 102 WRC+ over 88 chances this season. Carter’s .200/.320/.387 triple-slash is underwhelming but he has hit three home runs and stolen a base for DFS gamers. Garcia has six homers and four stolen bases and has created runs 72% better than average, he is a star in the outfield at any price. Nathaniel Lowe has made 12 plate appearances, he is a quality left-handed hitter with moderate power and good bat-on-ball skills. Josh H. Smith has a 131 WRC+ over 76 surprisingly good plate appearances, Wyatt Langford has been the victim of some questionable calls early in his career, he is yet to homer n the Show and has a 74 WRC+ over 96 plate appearances but there is a clear upside given his talent. Jonah Heim has three home runs with a track record for power as a late lineup catcher, he can be rostered from anywhere in the batting order while Leody Taveras is down to just 65 WRC+ from the ninth spot.

Play: Bryce Miller, Rangers bats/stacks, Jon Gray value but probably best on DraftKings with depth questions, Mariners bats in limited doses

San Diego Padres (-155/6.44) @ Colorado Rockies (+130/5.33)

  • Lefty Ty Blach is expected to open this game with the most likely candidate for bulk relief work looking like right-handed Anthony Molina. Neither option is remotely playable, the Padres have a 6.44-run implied total and track to absurd home run model numbers against Molina’s numbers after they dismiss Blach in short order.
  • The Padres are a prime stack tonight, the team has an unrivaled total on the board in Vegas and they are loaded with quality. Xander Bogaerts has two home runs and two stolen bases with just a 66 WRC+ from the leadoff spot, at $3,600/$5,000 this would be a terrific time for the infielder to flip the switch for 2024. Fernando Tatis Jr. has six homers, three stolen bases, a .220 ISO, and just a 16.5% strikeout rate this season, he is a top-of-board option at Coors Field. Tatis has a team-leading 11.78 in the home run model tonight. Jake Cronenworth has three home runs with a 125 WRC+ in a high-end start to his season, the lefty is inexpensive in the third spot in the lineup. Jurickson Profar has a 136 WRC+ with a quality triple-slash and two home runs over 97 plate appearances. Profar is unlikely to sustain this success for long, he has already shown cracks in the foundation, but as long as he remains in this spot in the lineup he can be played in stacks, doubly so at Coors Field. Ha-Seong Kim has created runs eight percent better than the league average with three homers and seven stolen bases in 110 chances at the plate. Kim has triple-position eligibility on FanDuel and slots in as an affordable $4,500 shortstop on DraftKings. Luis Campusano is slashing .288/.321/.413 with a 110 WRC+ in 84 plate appearances, Eguy Rosario has two home runs in 36 opportunities, Jackson Merrill is slashing .329/.394/.424 with a 135 WRC+ over 94 plate appearances, and Jose Azocar closes out the projected lineup. The Padres are a go-to option despite what will be aggressive popularity on this slate.
  • Matt Waldron is a knuckleballer with a 4.74 ERA and 4.53 xFIP and a 20.5% strikeout rate over 19.0 innings in four starts. Waldron has allowed an 11.1% barrel rate but just a 2.27% home run rate and 30.2% hard hits in the tiny sample. Knuckleballs are notoriously difficult to square up for power, they dance in the zone and they come in at very low velocities, typically in the upper 70s, but the impact of Coors Field on the pitch is expected to be extreme. There is not a good sample of knuckleballers working in this ballpark over the years, RA Dickey never pitched at Coors but worked bullpen sessions there and pitched in the minors at Colorado Springs, his impression was that Coors would devastate the quality of a knuckleball with the pitch laying flat in the heart of the plate without dense air to work against. Waldron seems entirely skippable for $7,600/$6,800.
  • The Rockies are a low-end squad but the team could benefit greatly if Waldron struggles. Colorado is one of the four teams above a 5.0-run implied total on this slate and they could end up under-owned for the opportunity. Charlie Blackmon has a 7.03 in the home run model, he has one on the board with a stolen base this season but his 79 WRC+ and .305 on-base percentage are not where they need to be. Ezequiel Tovar has created runs 17% better than average while slashing .312/.356/.473 with three homers and two stolen bases in a strong start. Tovar is a high-end prospect who bounced along in his rookie season but ended with quality counting stats, if he has truly put things together at the plate he will have an interesting season given a quality mix of power and speed. Ryan McMahon has two home runs and a 116 WRC+ with a quality early triple-slash, he costs just $3,400/$5,200 across sites. Elias Diaz is in a prime spot in the lineup for a cheap catcher one-off and he is easy to play in stacks. The backstop has a .301/.350/.384 triple-slash but just a 93 WRC+ over 80 plate appearances. Elehuris Montero has not homered and has a 45 WRC+ over 73 chances, he is expected to hit for power but the clock is ticking. Nolan Jones was excellent last year but has struggled greatly to start this season, he has a 16 WRC+ with a .148/.219/.250 triple-slash and one home run. Jones left last night’s game, he is a key hitter in this lineup if he plays but his status is questionable for tonight. Brenton Doyle has been productive with three homers and two stolen bases, his 130 WRC+ is appealing late in the lineup for cheap prices. Brendan Rogers has not been good over 74 chances this year, Sean Bouchard offers more upside from the ninth spot in the lineup, he or Doyle could climb up the batting order by a spot or two if Jones does not play.

Play: bats bats bats

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