This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Wednesday's 10-game main slate is very manageable from a pitching perspective, as we have a few names in the mid-range and one punt option that could pay dividends. On the offensive side, we see multiple struggling pitchers from the bottom-half of rotations who can be stacked against.
My general rule is to never pay more than $12,000 for a pitcher on a big slate, but Gerrit Cole ($12,800) is a very clear exception thanks to the unbelievable 40 percent strikeout rate he has kept in 30 starts this year. He has fanned at least 10 batters in eight of his last 10 outings. That trend could continue in a matchup against the Rangers, as they have kept the fifth-highest strikeout rate against righty pitchers this season.
Jake Odorizzi ($10,600) has logged a nice strikeout rate of his own in 2019 (26 percent) to go along with a HR/9 rate of less than 1.0 in 147.1 frames. The White Sox are a bottom-5 team according to wOBA and carry a 26 percent strikeout rate against righty hurlers, making Odorizzi a fairly safe play, even at this elevated price.
Aaron Civale's ($9,100) 1.93 ERA in 46.2 frames seems strong, but a 4.56 xFIP over that span should make owners a bit wary. The main issue here is that Civale doesn't strike out many batters (21 percent strikeout rate), which has contributed to him reaching 20 DraftKings points just three times in his last 10 starts. The Tigers are notorious whipping boys in the DFS community, but this price seems a bit cost-prohibitive based on Civale's pitch-to-contact skill set.
Julio Teheran ($8,500) takes the ball at home Wednesday, which should immediately draw our eyes to the 2.89 ERA he has logged in 81 innings at SunTrust Park. On the flip side, the Phillies have kept a bottom-10 wOBA on the road this year.
It's been a bit tough to use Tommy Milone ($7,400) lately due to his work behind an opener, but he will get a favorable draw against the Pirates, who hold the second-lowest wOBA in the league against southpaws. Milone has struggled on the mound for the better part of three months but could be worth a look based purely on matchup.
It's easy to overlook Adrian Houser ($5,300), but he has a nice skill set to use against the Padres, including a 25 percent strikeout rate and the ability to throw grounders at a 53 percent clip. While he has had trouble with the free pass at times, the Padres have walked less than eight percent of the time against righty pitching in 2019, while striking out at a 26 percent rate.
If I wasn't a fantasy sports writer, there is no way I would know that Max Kepler ($4,700) has hit 36 home runs this season. He has done most of this damage while facing right-handed pitchers, against whom he has logged a .281 ISO in 377 at-bats. Meanwhile, the White Sox will likely have something of a bullpen game after Dylan Covey was ruled out due to shoulder soreness.
Dylan Bundy simply hasn't looked the same since a dominant month of May and has logged a 5.00 ERA with a 1.7 HR/9 rate in 149.2 frames overall. Cavan Biggio ($4,500) has shown power against his opposite hand this season (.209 ISO) and appears to be closing the year strong, as he currently holds a .390 wOBA in 34 at-bats this month.
David Freese ($4,500) may not be a big name in the fantasy community any longer, but the veteran has done a tremendous amount of damage against left-handed pitching this season, logging a .242 ISO in 91 at-bats. Brendan McKay is a highly-touted prospect in the Rays' system, but he hasn't been able to find his footing at this level, allowing a .567 slugging percentage to righty hitters in 31.2 frames.
Omar Narvaez ($4,200) is having his most powerful month of the season in September, as evidenced by the .258 ISO he has logged in 31 at-bats. Dario Agrazal has done nothing to show us that he belongs at this level, having notched an xFIP over 6.00 against both sides of the platoon in 62.1 innings.
Ben Zobrist's ($3,700) 2019 season was essentially lost as he took time off to address a personal issue, but the 38-year-old is making up for lost time in the month of September, having logged a .417 wOBA in 34 at-bats. Tyler Mahle has struggled mightily against lefty hitters this season, allowing a .551 slugging percentage in 51 innings.
Twins against bullpen (White Sox)
Wednesday's bullpen game will be kicked off by Ivan Nova, who has allowed a .507 slugging percentage to lefty hitters. From there, the powerful Twins lineup will likely feast on a relief unit that has kept a 4.48 ERA this season.
Orioles against Clay Buchholz (Blue Jays)
It's not often that I recommend an Orioles stack, but Buchholz has been absolutely hammered in 25.2 innings on the road this year (6.31 ERA, .545 slugging percentage against), and Baltimore has a few sneaky powerful bats we can fit in for leverage.