This is a smaller mid-week main slate at seven games, but it isn't lacking some high-end hurlers, led by a certain Los Angeles Angels superstar. Heck, we even have an implied total hovering around five runs to consider for stacks tonight!
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Let's check out the top options on today's main slate.
Shohei Ohtani ($10,800): Ohtani continues to shine as a dual-threat, and it's his pitching doing much of the talking. The Japanese import owns a shiny 1.82 SIERA, 38.0% strikeout rate, and 17.5% swinging-strike rate over five starts, and his upside has been on full display, with not one but two 64-point FanDuel performances.
Control used to be an issue for Ohtani, but he made significant strides late last season and boasts a 4.6% walk rate in 2022. With his pitch count getting up to 99 pitches the last time out, he figures to be a menace on the mound for the foreseeable future.
The Rays were victims to a better-to-be-lucky-than-good no-hitter at the hands of Reid Detmers last night (he only logged two strikeouts), and it can't feel great to go from that to facing an ace. The punchouts should be flowing this time around against the more formidable Ohtani, as this lineup is filled with high-strikeout bats.
While Tampa Bay has been one of the more productive teams at the plate thus far, they have a slate-low 3.34 implied total against the reigning AL MVP tonight.
Shane McClanahan ($10,300): If you're pivoting off Ohtani, it's hard to argue against Tylor Megill, who's looking like a breakout player following a promising 2021 campaign. He doesn't have a great matchup for strikeouts against the Nationals, but he should have a plus outing against a modest lineup with a 3.54 implied total.
But if you're shooting for the moon in a GPP, McClanahan is your guy.
The Tampa Bay lefty has taken things to the next level, producing an outstanding 1.98 SIERA, 36.7% strikeout rate, 7.0% walk rate, and 59.2% ground-ball rate across six starts. There's no question that he's been one of the league's very best pitchers in 2022.
The only thing that's prevented him from true DFS greatness is his pitch count. As the Rays often do, they aren't afraid to pull the plug early on their starters, and even with McClanahan dealing, he's reached 90 pitches only once this year.
Making matters even more difficult, he's facing a potent Angels offense led by Mike Trout and Ohtani that's been one of the most lethal lineups this year. And yet, there's a path to a high ceiling, as the Angels' active roster also carries a 24.7% strikeout rate this season, and despite their strong play, they only check in with a 3.66 implied total.
There's no question that McClanahan has some hurdles to overcome tonight, but with the way he's throwing, it's only a matter of time before he busts out a slate-breaking score, regardless of the opponent.
Nathan Eovaldi ($9,000): Although it's difficult to find a value play who can hang with the aforementioned "big three" up top, Eovaldi deserves some thought, and he gives you a good chunk of cap space back compared to Ohtani.
No, the matchup isn't great versus the Braves, but much like the Angels, this is an active roster that whiffs a fair bit, coming in with a 25.9% strikeout rate. And in spite of Boston's woes this season, Eovaldi has been excellent, putting together a 2.90 SIERA, 26.3% strikeout rate, and 4.4% walk rate. Really, those marks aren't all that different from Megill, who's up at $10,000.
Workload also isn't an issue for Eovaldi. He's hit 95 pitches in four of his last five appearances, and he's reached 101 twice. Atlanta's 4.15 implied total is on the higher side for this slate, but it isn't one to shy away from, either.
St. Louis Cardinals
Speaking of implied totals, there's one that stands out tonight, and it belongs to the St. Louis Cardinals (4.99).
That's because they're facing Spenser Watkins, who has about as flukey a 3.22 ERA as you'll ever find. Sure, he's got a 50.7% ground-ball rate, but that's hardly enough to balance out a 10.3% strikeout rate and 10.3% walk rate. That's a K-BB% of... zero.
A 5.28 SIERA reflects what his ERA probably should look like, and he now owns a career 5.41 SIERA over 77 career innings. While the right-hander has lackluster metrics against both lefties and righties, his career marks in same-sided matchups are actually worse with a 6.32 xFIP.
That sets things up for the Cardinals' top bats in righties Nolan Arenado ($4,200), Paul Goldschmidt ($3,900), and Tyler O'Neill ($3,300). We're still waiting on O'Neill's trademark power to show up (.225 career ISO), but a 12.9% barrel rate is an encouraging sign.
Juan Yepez ($2,800) is batting in the heart of the order, too, and while he's only five games into his first taste of the Majors, he showed promising power in Triple-A.
New York Mets
Sanchez actually has a solid 4.02 SIERA over three starts, and his strength has been a 52.3% ground-ball rate. But a low strikeout rate has gotten him into trouble more often than not in recent campaigns, and a 15.3% clip isn't going to do him any favors. A 5.5% swinging-strike rate backs up the modest punchouts, and he only managed a 16.7% strikeout rate over 35 1/3 innings last season.
Pete Alonso ($3,900) is a no-brainer against a pitcher who doesn't get whiffs, and given that Sanchez has performed worse versus lefties over the years, that's an added boost to Francisco Lindor ($3,500),Brandon Nimmo ($2,900), and Eduardo Escobar ($2,900).
Jeff McNeil ($2,700) is a meh choice for power, but an 11.8% strikeout rate and 9.1% walk rate get him on base at a high rate. He's another lefty to consider, particularly if he bats third.
Houston is the favored side against Chris Archer, and while Archer has had home run issues in the latter stages of his career, he's actually put up a 4.02 SIERA and 24.1% strikeout rate so far, so this isn't necessarily a total cupcake matchup. Still, a 10.8% walk rate and 37.0% ground-ball rate are reasons to like this spot, and Archer has already given up five homers in just 19 1/3 innings.
But let's touch on Minnesota, who could very well have an even better matchup versus Jose Urquidy.
Urquidy has been productive over his young career, but his numbers have been pretty underwhelming in 2022. His strikeout rate has dropped to just 14.7%, and as a guy who rarely induces grounders, he's allowing a 48.3% fly-ball rate, making him susceptible to dingers.
Curiously, right-handed batters have consistently performed better against him, and he's allowed 1.87 home runs per nine innings in same-sided matchups over his career.
Of course, the appeal of this stack largely revolves around whether Byron Buxton ($4,500) is back, but he should be at the top of any wish list as both a one-off or stacking piece.
A low-strikeout pitcher makes Gary Sanchez ($2,600) more appealing, and he's moved up to third or fourth in the lineup lately.Jose Miranda ($2,200) is another righty to consider if he's batting high in the order at a near-minimum salary.
Urquidy is still pretty average versus lefties, so we shouldn't hesitate to roster Max Kepler ($2,900) and Jorge Polanco ($3,100) as well. Kepler has arguably been Minnesota's best hitter after Buxton this season with a .406 xwOBA.