Wednesday’s eight-game Tiers slate brings plenty of big names who are in favorable spots to be productive, which could make narrowing down the choices a little more difficult. Can you really fade the Astros with how hot they have been? What about the Rangers against the struggling Jorge Lopez? Let’s dive in to answer those questions and more.
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SS OF Christian Yelich, MIL at PHI
OF George Springer, HOU at DET
OF Austin Meadows, TB at MIA
OF Charlie Blackmon, COL at BOS
Let’s start off by ruling out Blackmon. He’s not as productive on the road and he’ll face Eduardo Rodriguez, who held left-handed hitters to a .304 wOBA last year. There’s just too much risk involved with making him your choice here.
It’s not hard to make a case for any of the three remaining options. Meadows hasn’t skipped a beat since returning from the IL, hitting 5-for-12 with two home runs and a double. He’ll face Jose Urena, who has a bloated 1.48 WHIP. Yelich has one of the highest upsides of any player in the league and will be facing Jake Arrieta and his underwhelming 21.9% career strikeout rate.
However, the best player to choose here might be Springer. The Astros have steamrolled the Tigers in the first two games of their series, scoring 19 runs along the way. The Tigers are starting another left-handed pitcher in Gregory Soto, who hadn’t even pitched above Double-A before he made his major league debut Saturday. Yes, that means he also is pitching on short rest. Not only is this a great matchup, but Springer is a staggering 21-for-43 (.488) with seven home runs over his past 11 games.
SS Trevor Story, COL at BOS
1B Rhys Hoskins, PHI vs. MIL
SS Elvis Andrus, TEX at KC
3B Alex Bregman, HOU at DET
C Willson Contreras, CHC at CIN
OF Hunter Pence, TEX at KC
Again, let’s try to narrow down the choices first. Andrus was removed from Tuesday’s game due to hamstring tightness, so he might not even play. Contreras has a tough matchup against Sonny Gray, who has been excellent for the Reds with a 3.55 xFIP and a 1.21 WHIP. Story might also be someone to avoid based on his career .322 wOBA on the road.
After a four-hit performance last week against the Cardinals, Hoskins is 3-for-21 (.143) with no extra-base hits across his past six games. However, a matchup against Gio Gonzalez might be just what he needs to get back on track considering he has a 155 wRC+ against lefties this season. He likely won’t be the most popular option in this tier based on his recent struggles, so he’s someone to think about if you’re looking for a contrarian option in tournament play.
Another player who might not have that high of an ownership percentage, but is worth considering, is Pence. After remaking his swing during the offseason, he’s stormed out of the gate with a .408 wOBA. His strikeout rate is right on par with his career numbers, but he has a career-high 10.5% walk rate to go along with a 52.2% hard-hit rate. He has a favorable matchup against Jorge Lopez, who has a 1.54 WHIP for his career.
With all of that being said, it’s hard to pass on Bregman. He’s on an incredible run in the power department that has seen him hit nine home runs over his past 14 games. Add in his career 148 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers and he’s the top option in this tier, especially if you choose to go with an Astros stack.
3B Anthony Rendon, WAS vs. NYM
2B/OF Whit Merrifield, KC vs. TEX
SS Carlos Correa, HOU at DET
OF Mookie Betts, BOS vs. COL
OF Avisail Garcia, TB at MIA
1B Mitch Moreland, BOS vs. COL
OF Ronald Acuña Jr., ATL vs. STL
OF Shin-soo Choo, TEX at KC
Let’s rule out Betts and Moreland due to their matchup against German Marquez, who has huge strikeout upside and allowed a .265 wOBA on the road last year. He’s been even better this season with a .180 wOBA on the road. Choo has a great matchup against Lopez and is a viable option if you are going with a Rangers stack, but he doesn’t carry the same type of upside some of the others do in this tier. Garcia carries some risk since his hot start has been aided by an abnormally high .363 BABIP. He also only has a career .315 wOBA against right-handed pitchers. Rendon is just 5-for-25 (.200) with no home runs across seven games since returning from the IL, so it might be best to also avoid him until he shows signs of breaking out.
That leaves us with Merrifield, Acuña and Correa. Merrifield has the toughest matchup of this trio having to face Mike Minor, so he might be the first one to cross off the list. Acuña probably won’t have as high of an ownership percentage as Correa will, so he might be the best contrarian play to consider. He’ll face Michael Wacha, who has struggled to keep runners off base with his 1.65 WHIP.
I keep circling back to the Astros and will do so again with Correa. This matchup is just too good to pass up. Correa has been just as hot as Springer and Bregman, hitting 30-for-96 (.313) with eight home runs and seven doubles over his past 24 games. He also has a career .372 wOBA versus lefties.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mbarner51) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.