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OwnersBox – Early slate (6 games) – starts at 1:04 p.m. EDT / Main slate (8 games) – starts at 6:34 p.m. EDT
DK/FD – Early slate (5 games) – starts 1:05 p.m. EDT / Main slate (8 games) – starts at 6:35 p.m. EDT
Some moderate rain concerns in the Northeast for BOS@BAL, SEA@PHI and WAS@NYM, however I’d still bank on those games getting played. Cold weather at Wrigley for SD@CHC should favor the pitchers.
Pitching (Early Slate)
We’ll start off today’s DFS plays with somewhat of a post-hype sleeper guy who everyone was on last year but has seemingly fallen off the radar a bit. Tanner Houck was all the rage last year with his frisbee slider and lively fastball, helping to bolster a thin Boston rotation.
Well, this year the Red Sox came into Spring Training with a plethora of potential starting options and Houck’s name kinda flew under the radar. And yet, here we are with Houck sitting at 3-0 with a 4.29 ERA, coming off easily his best start of the season when he went 7 innings against an annoying Twins lineup, giving up 3 ERs.
The 1 walk and 7 strikeouts were encouraging and Houck’s slider is returning a robust 36.8 CSW% with 32.1% usage. That is actually down from last year, so if he increase that usage just a little bit we could see even better results from the young righty.
Today he gets a Baltimore that has been hot in the win column (winners of 8 of their last 10), but not so much on offense (77 wRC+ over the last week). I think people will be scared to play Houck given the public perception of the Orioles’ lineup, however I think there is some value here and I could see Houck doing a good job of limiting the young Baltimore bats.
We move on to another starting pitcher who wasn’t guaranteed a roster spot at the beginning of the year in Yusei Kikuchi, who I know people will be scared to play against the White Sox. However, this White Sox lineup just isn’t as terrifying as its past iterations.
The team is hitting a paltry 45 wRC+ over the last week and has failed to score more than 3 runs in 6 of their last 7. Chicago just doesn’t have the same firepower that they used to, especially against LHP where they have posted a lowly 92 wRC+ this season compared to a 119 wRC+ in 2022.
Kikuchi has allowed just 1 ER over 6 innings in each of his last two starts, which came against the high-powered Yankees and Rays. Another potentially low-owned pitcher on a roll going against a scuffling lineup? Sign me up.
With that said, we are going to pivot here with the last pitcher and go after someone who has struggled a bit of late. Freddy Peralta started off the year looking like another Brewers ace, but in his last two starts he’s been knocked around for 9 ERs in 10 innings.
In steps the Detroit Tigers with their MLB-low 71 wRC+ and 3rd-worst 25.6 K%. The Tigers were able to claw their way to back-to-back victories against Milwaukee to start this series and the Brew Crew cannot be happy with those results as they fight for 1st place in the NL Central.
This just feels like a bounce-back blowout for Milwaukee and it starts with a bounce-back outing for Peralta. I am not too worried about his recent performances, and the Tigers’ woeful offense should cure whatever has been ailing Freddy.
Hitting (Early Slate)
Tyler Wells has done a good job in his early career of being better than the sum of his parts and finding ways to limit opposing lineups despite his lack of strikeout-worthy stuff. Unfortunately for him, the Boston Red Sox already don’t strikeout very much and their pesky lineup will be tough for him to keep off balance on Wednesday.
Masataka Yoshida and Jarren Duran have been especially hot over the last week and let’s not forget about lefties Alex Verdugo and Rafael Devers at the top of the lineup. Boston annihilated Kyle Bradish for 8 runs in 2.1 innings last night and while it might not be that easy against Wells, I think the Red Sox hitters are very much in play this afternoon.
Often in DFS, it pays to play contrarian and that is exactly what you should do with the Minnesota Twins lineup against Domingo Germán. When he faced the Twins back on April 15th, German absolutely dominated by striking out 11 batters in 6.1 innings with just 1 ER.
Outside of that start, German has been just bleh while the Twins have enjoyed having the Yankees in town, scoring 6 runs in each of the first two games of the series. Over the past week, Jorge Polanco, Joey Gallo, Trevor Larnach and Byron Buxton have hit their way into the top 50 in wRC+ and you can bet they will be seeking revenge against German. And revenge they shall have.
Other bats worth mentioning:
- Michael Kopech just has not been able to figure it out this season and now he gets a Toronto offense on the rise and looking for a sweep. Any of the Blue Jays big four RHH of George Springer, Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., and Matt Chapman are in play for me today.
- We talked already about Milwaukee’s bounceback opportunity and that extends to their bats against Michael Lorenzen. In particular, I’m interested in the lefty duo of Rowdy Tellez and Jesse Winker, who could put up some big numbers against Lorenzen and his 4.57 career xFIP against LHH.
Hitter Pricing 4-26-23
The temperatures are going to be in the 40s and the wind will be blowing in a bit in Chicago on Wednesday so the pitchers should be in a good spot. Now the question is, which pitcher to choose?
Remember what I said about being contrarian? Drew Smyly is coming off perhaps the best outing of his career, a near no-no against the Dodgers, and that is exactly the reason why I am going with Michael Wacha in this one. The letdown is very real and I just don’t see Smyly even coming close to that type of performance, especially against an offense like San Diego’s.
Wacha on the other hand has been a bit of an enigma this season, striking out 10 in 6 scoreless at Atlanta in one start and then giving up 12 total ERs in 8.1 innings in his next two. I think we’ll get something in between here, against an overperforming Cubs lineup that will cool down at some point.
For starting pitcher #2 in the main slate, I am looking at Steven Matz against San Francisco. Yes that’s right, Steven Matz. While you might look at his 6.55 ERA in disgust, I see his 3.66 xFIP as an opportunity to buy low and someone who is not as bad as his results would indicate.
His first two starts of the season were against Atlanta and in Coors and then the pesky Pirates were able to work 5 walks in 5.1 innings. Matz still only gave up 2 ERs and he looked improved against Seattle in his last start, striking out 7 with just 2 walks in 5.1 innings. Today he faces a Giants team that is dead last in baseball against LHP with a 63 wRC+ and 31.0 K%. Today is the day Matz turns it around I can feel it, and you can have him for a low price and probably low ownership as well.
Speaking of pitchers who are going to turn it around eventually, what is going on with Sandy Alcantara? First Philly blows him up for 9 ERs in 4 innings then he labors through 6 innings against Arizona, giving up 5 runs (3 earned). But as long as his name is still Sandy Alcantara and he still has his dominant stuff, I am going to keep playing him.
Atlanta is a bit of a scary situation, but their offense has been just ehhh over the last week and that includes a 28.4 K%. Also if you’ll remember, around this time last year Sandy faced twice in the span of a week, totaling 17 IP, 1 ER and 21 Ks. Don’t think, just play Sandy.
Oakland righty Luis Medina makes his major league debut on Wednesday and the young righty has an electric fastball/curveball combo. Unfortunately, it is widely believed his future is in the bullpen as he has never been able to control his arsenal, including this year in AAA where he posted a 20.0 BB%. Against a potent Angels lineup, that is just not going to fly. Look to try and get Taylor Ward, Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Anthony Rendon, and Hunter Renfroe in your lineup as they could pile up the runs quickly.
However, things might not be any easier for Medina’s mound opponent Patrick Sandoval. The Irish Panda was roughed up by the Yankees in his last start and he himself has now walked 9 batters in his last two outings. While the A’s aren’t a particularly daunting foe, they are in the top 5 in baseball against LHP this season with a 123 wRC+.
Remember when they hit 5 HRs off José Suarez on Monday? Brent Rooker and Jesús Aguilar are definitely plays against Sandoval and I have been very impressed with Shea Langeliers at the plate so far this season. Also, it never hurts to have speed on the basepaths and out of the leadoff spot, so look to Esteury Ruiz to provide you with some great value here. Stack this game and stay up late to watch your lineup soar up the leaderboards.
The Rays finally showed they are mortal on Tuesday, losing their first home game of the season to the Astros and they could be in trouble again on Wednesday. Calvin Faucher has struggled this season and Houston’s bats have heated up, scoring 5 or more runs in 7 of their last 10.
Alex Bregman and Jeremy Peña are starting to come around and you can never go wrong with Kyle Tucker or Yordan Alvarez in your lineup. You knew Tampa had to come down to Earth at some point and I think that continues today.