This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
We're down to one week left in the season, which leads to some weaker slates. That's particularly true on the pitching side and is especially true for today. Freddy Peralta may be the one pitcher who I'd want to pay up for. Otherwise, I want to attack top hitting and pick my spots lower down the pitching value points.
John Means ($8,200) draws a matchup against the Rangers, who rank last this season among all major-league teams with a 78 wRC+ when facing a lefty. He's been largely mediocre of late from a DraftKings points perspective, scoring between 13.2 and 17.6 in five of his last six starts. Means displayed some ceiling in his last outing when he posted 28 DraftKings points, and the favorable matchup could once again help him push toward that ceiling.
Shane Baz ($7,500) delivered on the hype surrounding his MLB debut. While expectations remain high, the value of playing him today isn't prohibitive. Add in that the Marlins register the worst wRC+ among teams over the last 30 days and have also struck out at the third-highest rate during that span and Baz will offer a solid chance to pay off among the mid-tier options.
Jake Woodford ($6,200) isn't necessarily a safe option on the slate, but could be a value second pitcher or tournament play. He hasn't pitched deep into games, but has completed at least five innings in four of seven outings which is enough to qualify for a win. Woodford has also done a decent job of preventing runs by allowing two earned or fewer in four consecutive outings. Add in a matchup against the Cubs – who have posted a 29.1 percent strikeout rate the last month - and suddenly there's some upside that is otherwise lacking built into Woodford's profile.
Given the relatively inexpensive pitchers on today's slate, it should be easy to roster some of the top hitters. Vladimir Guerrero ($5,800) stands out as one potential option, as he's returned to his tremendous form of late by posting a 187 wRC+ and .313 ISO over the last 30 days. He also draws a matchup against Griffin Jax, who has allowed at least one homer in each of his last nine starts and multiple long balls in four of those outings.
Wander Franco ($5,700) has increased his production against right-handed pitching as he's gotten more experience at the big-league level, but he's consistently crushed lefties since getting the call. He'll enter Sunday against Jesus Luzardo with a 182 wRC+ and .261 ISO against southpaws this season, while Luzardo continues to struggle with both homers (1.4 HR/9) and walks (11.6 BB%).
The Rangers are set to deploy an opener and bulk innings reliever today, with Dane Dunning operating as the former and Kolby Allard the latter. Allard in particular has struggled with the long ball this season (2.1 HR/9). Meanwhile, Austin Hays ($3,300) could take advantage of the home matchup against Allard, as he's delivered a 140 wRC+ and .253 ISO against southpaws in 2021.
Paul Goldschmidt ($3,800) has among the more puzzling salaries on the slate, as he's delivered a 203 wRC+ from the last 30 days. He'll also have a few different avenues to score in a matchup against Keegan Thompson, who carries a 13.1 percent walk rate on the campaign. That makes the Cardinals a prime team to stack (more on that soon), with Goldschmidt a headliner among the potential options.
Stacks to Consider
The Cardinals are appealing on this slate for a number of different reasons. The first is the team's matchup against Thompson, who has struggled with both walks and home runs this season (1.4 HR/9; 13.1 BB%). That should give players up and down the lineup a chance to get on base and produce, even if they don't deliver a homer. Next and relatedly, the Cardinals offer a number of different types of hitters, with power options and hitters boasting strong on-base skills. Nearly everyone in the lineup is playable, with Harrison Bader ($2,800), Paul DeJong ($2,700) and Dylan Carlson ($2,600) all strong values.
Kranick is another pitcher who doesn't miss may bats (17.6 K%) and also walks a fair number of opposing hitters (9.9 BB%). Like the Cardinals, the Phillies have a number of attractive bats who offer one or both of power and on-base ability. Other potential additions to the stack not listed above include Jean Segura ($4,800), Didi Gregorius ($3,800) and Matt Vierling ($2,800). The value for the majority of the stack comes in the aforementioned Cardinals' hitters, though the ballpark should play more favorably to bats in Philly.