This article is part of our DFS NPB series.
We head into a six-game slate Wednesday that features another array of vulnerable arms interspersed with some strong pitchers. Half of the six contests do have projected run totals of eight runs or more, and the one with the highest, the Lions-Golden Eagles matchup, is once again under the threat of a rainout after being washed away Tuesday.
As customary, I'll look to suggest pitchers and hitters and three fairly different price points across the price scale, along with some alternative considerations. I'll also break down two stacks that could pay off to round out the article, along with a third one to consider.
Shosei Togoh ($12,500) comes in averaging a slate-high 21.7 DK points per game and boasts a 2-0 record, 2.77 ERA and 1.00 WHIP across his first 13 innings of the season. The right-hander stymied the Carp and BayStars to the tune of 25.4 and 18.1 DK points, respectively, in those contests. Togoh has allowed just one home run during that span as well, and the right-hander owns an impressive 0.85 HR/9 over the first 21.2 frames of his career. The opposing Carp whiffed on seven occasions versus Togoh in that first encounter of the season back on June 23, and even with the risk sometimes associated with a team seeing a pitcher a second time around, Togoh stands to get some run support from his team's powerful offense – they have hit a Central League-high 23 home runs – in a matchup in Kris Johnson, who has pitched to plenty of contact thus far this season.
Haruhiro Hamaguchi ($10,900) saw his control completely abandon him in his last start, as he issued an absurd nine walks over 5.1 innings to the Carp on Wednesday. However, Hamaguchi somehow still allowed just two earned runs, and he yielded the same amount across the 13.2 innings encompassing his first two turns of the campaign. Hamaguchi has also displayed significant improvement thus far this season in terms of keeping the ball in the park, allowing just a single homer over his first 19 innings of 2020. The opposing Tigers are also an appealing aspect of Hamaguchi's prospectus Wednesday, as they've mustered a pedestrian .257 team average and have hit an NPB-low 13 home runs through 22 contests.
Nick Martinez ($8,400) comes at a bargain price for a player averaging 16.0 DK points per game, as he's posted quality starts in his last two trips to the mound and has recorded no fewer than five strikeouts in any of his first three starts. Martinez has allowed just one home run across his last 12 innings after giving up a pair of dingers in his first start of the season, a favorable sign, albeit over a small sample, after Martinez frequently had trouble keeping the ball in the park in the hitter-friendly environment of Globe Life Park during his four seasons with the Rangers stateside. The opposing Marines have been hot and cold as an offense this season, as even though they've slugged 19 home runs, they're also hitting an anemic .235 as a team, the second-lowest figure in NPB.
ALSO CONSIDER: Onelki Garcia ($9,800)
Neftali Soto ($8,600) has single-digit fantasy-point tallies in seven of his last 10 games, but it's his output over the other three contests that underscore how high his upside is. Soto has compiled between 23 and 40 DK points in those contests, and he's slashing an excellent .346/.446/.590 across 21 games overall. Soto is also averaging a solid 11.1 DK points in 12 away contests, and opposing starter Takahiro Matsuba could help him build on that impressive figure. The southpaw has often pitched to contact during his six-plus seasons, and he yielded five hits and three walks over 2.2 innings in his only previous appearance this season.
Kazuma Okamoto ($7,800) continued his red-hot start to the season Tuesday, posting 18 DK points on the strength of a home run and three RBI. The tally was Okamoto's fifth double-digit haul in the last 10 games and pushed his season line to a stellar .360/.407/.667 over 19 games. Okamoto has also been at his best on the road (.391/.417/.826 slash in five games) and draws a strong matchup against southpaw Kris Johnson on Wednesday. The left-hander has struggled some this season, pitching to a 4.76 ERA and yielding 19 hits across 17 innings. Meanwhile, Okamoto blasted a combined 64 home runs over the previous two seasons heading into 2020, and he's already averaging a round tripper just over every three games in the early going this year.
Yusuke Ohyama ($6,000) is still slashing an eye-popping .400/.462/.771 after an 0-for-4 night Tuesday, a testament to how scalding hot his bat has been to start the campaign. The fourth-year pro's season-opening surge isn't completely out of the blue, as he came into his own in 2019 with an impressive 48 extra-base hits (33 doubles, one triple, 14 home runs) and 76 RBI across 143 games. Ohyama saw a $500 price drop overnight and is averaging 9.6 DK points per five home games thus far, while opposing starter Gabriel Ynoa comes into Wednesday's game having surrendered 13 earned runs over the 11 innings covering his first three starts of the season, including four runs across five innings to this same Tigers squad in his first outing of 2020.
Jose Lopez ($4,700) is one of those tournament-only contrarian specials that has the upside to deliver handsomely on his salary, but that's sporting a very affordable cost precisely because he's struggled in the early portion of the season. The veteran slugger checks in seriously underperforming thus far in 2020, recording only four extra-base hits (two doubles, two home runs) and a .224/.254/.343 slash across his first 71 plate appearances. For perspective, consider Lopez had posted either at least 30 doubles and/or at least 30 homers in three of the prior four seasons coming into this year, and that he hasn't hit fewer than 22 round trippers in any season since his 2013 rookie NPB campaign. Additionally, prior to slumping to a .241 average last season, Lopez had hit between .263 and .303 in five of the other six seasons of his career, so he's certainly due for an ascension to what have been his career norms. The matchup Wednesday could help him extend his modest three-game hit streak, considering opposing pitcher Takahiro Matsuba's propensity for allowing plenty of contact as detailed in Soto's entry earlier.
Ryutaro Umeno ($4,300) has been offering outstanding fantasy production for a catcher early this season, as he'll come into Wednesday's game with a .346/.393/.577 slash in 17 games. Eight of Umeno's 18 hits have impressively gone for extra bases in the form of six doubles and two home runs, and a large part of his success has come versus the Swallows, a team he's touched up for a .364 average with a pair of doubles and a homer in three games. Opposing pitcher Gabriel Ynoa is also an appealing target, as detailed in Ohyama's entry.
ALSO CONSIDER: Hiroyuki Nakajima ($3,800)
Stacks to Consider
As alluded to previously, Johnson has been more hittable than usual this season, and the powerful Giants offense is just the type of team that could give him trouble.
Sakamoto is a slugger with a prolific track record that hasn't quite found his groove this season, but who exploded for a career-high 40 homers last season that he complemented with a .312/.396/.575 slash line. Sakamoto does have a trio of round trippers this season, but his .227 average over the first 18 games is a far cry from his career .292 figure. Given he's a much more talented hitter than he's shown and Johnson's vulnerability at times this season, I like the idea of starting off the stack with Sakamoto in a tournament setting.
The case for Okamoto was already made earlier, while Nakajima saves you a ton of salary and brings some upside in the form of a .286/.412/.500 slash that includes six XBH (three doubles, three homers). Nakajima has back-to-back two-hit efforts, along with 17- and 18-DK-point tallies in his last five games.
Finally, consider jumping over to Parra to round out the Giants onslaught Wednesday. The former MLBer has started to settle in nicely in NPB, as he's now slashing .302/.362/.476 after extending his hitting streak to three games Tuesday. Parra has admittedly been a better home hitter, but it should be noted same-handed matchups aren't a deal-breaker for the veteran outfielder – he's hit .264 over his last 278 plate appearances against southpaws stateside between the 2017 and 2019 seasons.
The BayStars have been one of NPB's best hitting teams, as they carry a .285 batting average and have hit 20 homers over their first 21 games. The matchup against Matsuba, whose vulnerabilities were highlighted earlier in the entries for Soto and Lopez, make them a stack to seriously consider Wednesday.
Kajitani presents as a nice bargain at his price, as his .350/.453/.538 line over 21 games is partly comprised of nine XBH (six doubles, three home runs) and 14 walks. The leadoff hitter is an excellent position to set the table against Matsuba, but he also has enough power to go deep himself.
Soto's and Lopez's positive attributes were already covered earlier, while Sano is another mispriced player that could pay off nicely Wednesday. The four-year veteran has yet to go deep this season, but he's quickly compiled 28 hits, including seven doubles, and has driven in nine runs.
ALSO CONSIDER: Tigers vs. Gabriel Ynoa