This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Wednesday's nine-game main slate features quality starting pitchers strewn throughout the top and mid-tier, which could make this a day to focus on arms and find value where appropriate. I aim to do exactly that below, including an off-the-radar stack against a mediocre hurler that could bring back big points.
Gerrit Cole, NYY at BAL ($11,400) Cole will likely be one of the top options more often than not when his turn comes up in the rotation, thanks to the 2.50 ERA and incredible 40 percent strikeout rate the 29-year-old posted in 212.1 innings last season. This is doubly true when he draws an opponent like the Orioles, who registered as a bottom-10 team against right-handed pitchers in 2019 according to wOBA. Baltimore also ranked as a bottom-10 team against the slider, while Cole finished the year with the ninth-best slide piece in the league according to RAA.
Chris Paddack, SD at SF ($8,400) Paddack got to show his stuff for the first time at the major-league level in 2019 and didn't disappoint, logging a 3.33 ERA and 27 percent strikeout rate in 140.2 frames. The Giants finished the year with the third-lowest wOBA against right-handed pitching, and while it can be argued that they have a very different looking offense this year, 2020 seems to be promising more of the same if their .239 wOBA against righties is any indication.
Joe Musgrove, PIT vs. MIL ($5,300) Those who are looking to spend down on a pitcher on Wednesday's slate will find an opportunity in Musgrove. The 27-year-old didn't fare well in his first start of the 2020 season, but he showed off an above-average slider (10.6 RAA) as well as a solid groundball rate in 2019. It's the latter stat that I am focused on in this matchup, as the Brewers were a top-10 team when it came to groundball rate last year. This should allow Musgrove to limit damage, which is a big checkmark in his favor at this price.
Aaron Judge, NYY at BAL ($5,500) As I said at the top, it's a bit of an odd day for hitters priced in the stratosphere, as many of them are going up against good pitching, but Judge is a player we can safely use against Asher Wojciechowski. Wojciechowski was hit much harder by left-handed bats in 2019, but peripherals tell us he should regress a bit against righties due to the 5.35 xFIP he logged against same-handed opposition. Judge did his best work against southpaws last year but still carried tremendous power (.251 ISO) against same-handed pitchers.
Jeff McNeil, NYM vs. BOS ($4,800) McNeil hasn't had the greatest start to his 2020 season, but the 28-year-old lit up right-handed pitching last year, as evidenced by the .244 ISO and .395 wOBA he tallied in 369 at-bats. Meanwhile, Nathan Eovaldi was hit incredibly hard by lefty batters in his first season with the Red Sox, allowing a .597 slugging percentage.
Carlos Correa, HOU vs. LAD ($4,200) No one will ever accuse Dustin May of being an easy out, but it's hard not to recommend Correa at this price after a 2019 season that saw him post a .307 ISO against right-handed pitching in 215 at-bats. While it's tough to highlight any major deficiencies in May's profile, he did allow a 36 percent hard contact rate in his 34.2 frames last year.
Max Kepler, MIN vs. STL ($4,100) Kepler's .236 batting average against right-handed pitching in 2019 won't turn many heads, but I'm interested in the immense power he showed against lefties (.281 ISO) in 377 at-bats. The 4.72 xFIP Daniel Ponce de Leon logged last year may suggest a correction is coming after a solid sophomore season. It should also be noted that de Leon logged a 13 percent walk rate in 2019, while Kepler drew walks against righties at an 11 percent clip.
Jurickson Profar, SD at SF ($3,800) Cueto threw the ball reasonably well in his first start in 2020, but I can't resist the urge to pick on him once again, as he hasn't put up an xFIP below 4.45 since 2016. Profar didn't have the best season at the dish in 2019 but was able to show some power against right-handed pitchers (.203 ISO) to go along with a 38 percent hard contact rate.
Stacks to Consider
I mentioned Eovaldi's struggles against left-handed hitting above, but the amount of damage done against him was so pronounced that I felt compelled to bring him back as part of a stack play. I'm a bit surprised to see Cano priced so far down, as he still tallied a .208 ISO and 42 percent hard contact rate against righty pitchers last year.
The prices at the back end of this stack don't make a ton of sense to me, which is why I felt the Tigers were perfect to include as a value stack against Duffy. Both Schoop and Cron destroyed left-handed pitching last year (.286 ISO and .303 ISO, respectively) while Goodrum posted a .388 wOBA against southpaws in 97 at-bats. Duffy didn't strike out enough batters, walked too many, and gave up too many homers in 2019. That sounds like a recipe for disaster against three dangerous hitters.