Daily fantasy baseball: Jake Arrieta, Carlos Gonzalez atop our lineup
There’s one day game on Wednesday’s full slate, and that’s out west between the Padres and Giants. Still, you have until 3:45 ET before first pitch in that one, so there’s plenty of time to get a DFS lineup built with all 15 games at your disposal. Beware of potential weather situations in Chicago and Minnesota, especially the former, where Jake Arrieta takes the mound for the first time since his no-hitter against the Reds last week.
Starting pitcher: Jake Arrieta ($13,800) vs. Milwaukee and Jose Berrios ($6,900) vs. Cleveland
On one mound, we have the defending NL Cy Young Award winner, one of the best—if not the very best—pitchers in baseball, who’s coming off a no-hitter. On the other we have an elite prospect making his major league debut. The Cubs are -330 to win Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee. That’s a betting line you just don’t see attached to a baseball game, which tells you both how good Arrieta and the Cubs are going, and how bad the Brewers are this season. Arrieta is looking at a floor of 30 fantasy points on Wednesday.
Berrios forced his way to the majors after three strong outings with Triple-A Rochester. He allowed just two earned runs on eight hits and struck out 20 batters in 17 innings. The 21-year-old features a fastball-curveball combo that could turn into one of the game’s best, and mixes in a changeup that should be, at the worst, league-average. He may go just five or six innings on a strict pitch count, but even with Michael Brantley back, Cleveland’s lineup is one Berrios can exploit.
Catcher: J.T. Realmuto ($3,300) @ Los Angeles Dodgers, Scott Kazmir
What’s the Holy Grail at catcher, especially after spending $13,800 on one pitcher? That’s right, a cheap guy with some upside. That describes Realmuto, who has six hits, including a homer, in his last two games. He hit .281/.319/.472 against lefties last season, and is 3-for-7 with a homer against them in the early going this year. Wednesday’s more expensive options behind the dish simply aren’t worth the price.
First base: Miguel Cabrera ($3,800) vs. Oakland, Sonny Gray
There’s a lot working against Cabrera on Wednesday. After a 4-for-4 day with two homers Monday, a potential sign that he was shaking out of his early-season funk he went 1-for-4 with three strikeouts Tuesday. He’s hitting .254/.329/.437 on the season and has a tough matchup with Gray. Still, this is Miguel Cabrera we’re talking about here. We don’t have too many DFS rules, but one of them is if Cabrera is cheaper than Mark Reynolds and Tyler White, you have no choice but to use him.
Second base: Jean Segura ($3,800) vs. St. Louis, Adam Wainwright
Something is off with Wainwright this season, which has been plain to anyone who has watched him. More troubling than the 7.25 ERA or 8.7% strikeout rate might be the 9.7% walk rate, a sharp departure from the pitcher he was, even as he approached his mid-30s. Segura and the Diamondbacks should take advantage of him on Wednesday. For his part, Segura leads the majors in hits with 33 and has been one of the few true five-category players in the league over the first three-plus weeks of the season.
Third base: Mike Moustakas ($3,900) @ Los Angeles Angels, Nick Tropeano
Moustakas left the yard on Tuesday for the seventh time this season, raising his slash line to .267/.337/.613. Nolan Arenado is the top choice at the position on Wednesday, but it’s hard to squeeze his $5,200 price tag into a lineup alongside Jake Arrieta. Even Josh Donaldson’s $4,800 was too hard to get in while remaining competitive at every position. Moustakas is a great pivot, especially since there are red flags around Kris Bryant (weather) and Manny Machado (bad reverse splits).
Shortstop: Ketel Marte ($3,200) vs. Houston, Collin McHugh
Marte got off to a dreadful start this season, but he has started to pick things up over the last week. In his last five games, the 22-year-old shortstop is 9-for-20 with three doubles, six runs, two RBI and a steal. His price is still way down at $3,200, which is good for our purposes since we still need to find some savings. McHugh has pitched to some bad luck this season, but that can’t explain away a 7.56 ERA, 2.10 WHIP and 4.71 xFIP.
Outfield: Carlos Gonzalez ($4,200) vs. Pittsburgh, Jon Niese; David Peralta ($3,800) vs. St. Louis, Adam Wainwright; Angel Pagan ($3,200) vs. San Diego, Andrew Cashner
It’s hard to entirely ignore a game at Coors Field, so we tabbed Gonzalez for one of our three outfield spots. His bat has quieted down a bit in the last week or so, but he still has at least one hit in all but four games this season and remains a significant threat, even with a lefty on the mound. Peralta mashes right-handed pitching, posting a .351 wOBA with the platoon advantage thus far this season, and a .392 wOBA against righties last year. Pagan has made the most of hitting at the bottom of San Francisco’s order, slashing .342/.393/.474 in 84 plate appearances. His wildly affordable price, however, is what put him over the top for our lineup Wednesday.