Wednesday’s mid-week main slate features nine games and locks at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Four pitchers top the $9,000 price tag on FanDuel:
- Yu Darvish (R) $11,500, CHC vs CIN
- Clayton Kershaw (L) $11,000, LAD @ ARI
- Trevor Bauer (R) $10,800, CIN @ CHC
- Zach Davis (R) $9,000, SD vs COL
Today is the first day of the season in which I disagree with the Bales Model more than agree.
I am a Yu Darvish fan so seeing his success in 2020 is good for business. Darvish has an Expected Fielder Independent Pitching Minus (xFIP-) of 57. This means he is pitching 43% better than league average in 2020. Darvish has a win and quality start in all seven outings and has fewer than seven strikeouts once.
He faces the Cincinnati Reds in Chicago on Wednesday. The Reds are one of the worst road offenses in baseball, especially against right-handed pitching.
The Bales Model ranks Darvish fifth among pitching options today despite the excellent season, and a slate-high six Pro Trends working in his favor. Darvish is an expensive option today, but I would try to construct a lineup around him.
A healthy Clayton Kershaw is good for baseball, and the future Hall of Famer gets an excellent matchup against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is the highest rated pitcher on the Bales Model for Wednesday and has scored 41 and 52 FanDuel points in two outings against Arizona. Kershaw will be highly owned despite his price tag.
Trevor Bauer has been great but faces a formidable Chicago Cubs lineup. Bauer could produce a quality start and high strikeout total without logging a win and have value. The Cubs strike out 26.1% of the time at home, the fourth highest in baseball. Bauer has also pitched well like his opponent Darvish, producing an xFIP- of 69.
The issue is his price tag. There are few scenarios where Bauer would outproduce Darvish and Kershaw in their matchups, but FanDuel priced Bauer in the correct tier — above $10,000, but below $11,000.
Bauer and Darvish could benefit from the weather in tonight’s game. The wind is expected to be blowing in around 10 mph and rain has been on and off around Chicago.
Zach Davies is not a favorite of the Bales Model, but I love him today. The FantasyLabs Vegas Model shows the Padres to outscore the Colorado Rockies, 5.2-3.9, in a game that takes place in San Diego. Davies has pitched seven or more innings three times during the shortened season and has accrued 30-plus FanDuel points in seven of eight starts.
I think one issue that the Bales Model has with Davis is his increasing price tag. It has risen $1,400 over the past month and he does not offer similar upside as Darvish or Kershaw, but still offers 7.82 strikeouts per 9 innings — an increase of 1.36 from his time with the Milwaukee Brewers. Davies has a larger range of outcomes, but outside of the Kershaw has the best offensive support to help him log a win.
Dane Dunning ranks seventh on the Bales Model, below his opponent who I will address later. I disagree with our models again despite the egg the White Sox laid against the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates last night. Dunning is striking out 11.57 batters per 9, has an xFIP- of 62 and has an Expected ERA (xERA) of 3.07, 0.79 below his 3.86 ERA. The Pirates have the second-worst Offensive WAR and are top 10 in strikeout percentage.
Using Rick Porcello is a risky proposition, but to save salary at pitcher he is an option. Porcello has logged three quality starts in 2020 and has two consecutive starts of allowing two earned runs or fewer. The Mets have put together one of baseball’s best offenses (121 Weighted Runs Created Plus, second in baseball) and continue a homestand against the Baltimore Orioles. Baltimore also has a top 10 wRC+, but starter Jorge Lopez has completed only five innings once since joining the rotation.
The Bales Model has JT Brubaker as the fourth-best option this evening against the Chicago White Sox. Trust a Pirates pitcher against a top-four offense? In this economy?
Brubaker has pitched into the fifth inning once, and if he manages to stifle the Sox offense the bullpen will be hard-pressed to slow it down. There is little upside for a quality start or win with Brubaker, both necessities for high-scoring pitcher outings on FanDuel.
The Dodgers remain the highest-projected stack on FanDuel:
- Max Muncy (L)
- Corey Seager (L)
- Mookie Betts (R)
- Cody Belinger (L)
Total Salary: $16,200
Taylor Clarke may be making his final start in the Arizona rotation because the team acquired Caleb Smith at the trade deadline. Driving down Narrative Street is frowned upon, but Clarke is pitching for his job. Clarke’s worst outing was his last in which he gave up three earned runs in three innings. The price tag of the Dodgers brings me to the second-rated stack that is $2,000 cheaper:
- Anthony Rendon (R)
- Mike Trout (R)
- Justin Upton (R)
- Shohei Otani (L)
Total Salary: $14,200
The Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers are going to score runs today. The over/under is 9.5 with the Angels set at five runs. The Rangers will open the game with Kyle Cody in a bullpen game (4.89 bullpen ERA), and Angels starter Julio Teheran has a 7.94 ERA. Justin Upton has a hand contusion and may not play. An Angels sub if you want to stick with a four-player stack is Andrelton Simmons ($2,600).
I like two Rangers to form a game stack with the Angels hitting stack. Leodys Tavares and Isiah Kiner-Falefa are both $2,600 and top 10 hitters on the Bales Model. Removing one of the Angels hitters and adding these two saves salary for the high-priced aces. Kiner-Falefa is at third base for today’s slate.
Start your San Diego Padres, including top-rated player Trent Grisham. He is batting leadoff and has six stolen bases. Grisham has three multi-hit games during his five-game hitting streak.
Tommy La Stella has been great since joining the Oakland Athletics. In 27 at-bats, La Stella has two extra base hits and only one strikeout. He is enjoying a four-game hitting streak heading into tonight’s game. The A’s project to score 5.2 runs.