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MLB DFS: Best/worst plays for Wednesday, July 7th

High-priced pitching appears to be the way to go on Wednesday’s nine-game main slate on DraftKings.

Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

My decisions to use Brandon Woodruff, Joe Musgrove, and Max Fried backfired on Monday, with Fried and Musgrove each scoring under five points on DraftKings. Paying up for pitching has been hit-or-miss this season, but we have to push forward to a new day. Baseball is a high variance sport, so things are going to change constantly as the season progresses. It’s up to us to adjust to the ongoing fluctuations we see from players. On Wednesday, we will have a couple of top-tier pitchers to use, with a possible weather issue arising in the game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago Cubs.

Pitching

Favorite pitcher: Zack Wheeler ($10,300) @ Chicago Cubs

For the second consecutive season, Zack Wheeler is pitching lights out for the Philadelphia Phillies. Up to this point in the season, Wheeler is registering 0.55 HR/9 and a 2.73 xFIP. He’s also notching career-best marks in strikeout rate (31.3%) and WHIP (0.94). On top of those numbers, Wheeler is limiting hard contact to the tune of a low 22.8% hard-contact rate and a 29.6% fly ball rate to match. The experienced righty faces a Chicago Cubs squad that has sputtered against RHP for the majority of the season. Over the past month of action, the Cubs own the league-lows in AVG and OBP to RHP. In addition, Chicago has the highest strikeout rate (30.3%) and the second-worst wRC+ to RHP in the past 30 days, setting up Wheeler for a high-scoring performance on Wednesday.

Second-favorite pitcher: Corbin Burnes ($10,500) @ New York Mets

I feel a bit lazy listing the two highest-priced pitchers as my favorites on Wednesday’s slate, but both of them are by far the best options available. Corbin Burnes exited his last start versus the Pittsburgh Pirates with soreness in his knee. However, he appears to be fine and will make his return to the mound on Wednesday. It will be worth monitoring whether or not he will have a pitch count for the Milwaukee Brewers. If he’s given the green light, Burnes sports a spectacular 0.33 HR/9 and a 2.19 xFIP so far this season. Burnes is also producing a career-best 37.3% strikeout rate and a microscopic 3.3% barrel rate. Upon his next start in the rotation, Burnes will face the New York Mets, who make for a good matchup versus RHP. The Mets have been quiet versus RHP in the past month, notching the fourth-highest strikeout rate, the seventh-worst ISO, and the third-lowest OBP against righties.

Least-favorite pitcher: Patrick Corbin ($8,000) @ San Diego Padres

On Tuesday, I listed Patrick Corbin as my least-favorite pitcher on the main slate, only for his start to get pushed to Wednesday. Nothing has changed between then and now that makes me feel any different about Corbin. The left-handed hurler for the Washington Nationals has been erratic on the mound thus far. Corbin currently sports a career-worst 1.73 HR/9 and a career-worst 18.6% strikeout rate. Those numbers don’t bode well for him as he squares off with the San Diego Padres on the road. San Diego has been seeing the ball well against southpaws in the past 30 days, producing the second-best ISO and the sixth-best wRC+ to LHP in that time span. I can confidently say that I won’t have any shares of Corbin in the lineups that I conjure up on Wednesday.

Hitting

Favorite team to stack: Toronto Blue Jays @ RHP Matt Harvey

What needs to be said on why the Toronto Blue Jays are the best team to stack on Wednesday? I shouldn’t need to explain why I’m siding with the Blue Jays, but I’ll go ahead and illustrate for everyone. Toronto presently has the second-highest ISO, the third-best BABIP, the second-highest HR/FB rate, and the best SLG percentage to RHP in 2021. Besides how well they’ve hit RHP, the Blue Jays face an abysmal one in Matt Harvey. Harvey has surrendered seven earned runs in 9.3 innings versus Toronto this season. The former All-Star pitcher is recording a 2.27 HR/9 and a 5.04 xFIP at Camden Yards. He also has a 1.94 WHIP versus RHB at home, and the Blue Jays have plenty of right-handed hitters to take advantage of his dismal metrics. I would try to get Marcus Semien, Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., George Springer, and Teoscar Hernandez in as many lineups as possible. With how bad Harvey has been, make sure to get shares of Cavan Biggio, Randal Grichuk, Reese McGuire, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. as well.

Second-favorite team to stack: San Francisco Giants vs. RHP Johan Oviedo

The San Francisco Giants are also a team that has excelled versus RHP this season. San Francisco is the lone team in the MLB to have a higher ISO than Toronto, along with the fourth-highest wRC+ to RHP. Plus, the Giants have the highest HR/FB rate in the league. While San Francisco strikes out at the fifth-highest rate to RHP, they face Johan Oviedo on Wednesday, who has a low 16.5% strikeout rate. Aside from his minuscule strikeout statistics, Oviedo has a 5.19 xFIP and struggles with walking batters with 4.78 BB/9. When using the Giants, Lamonte Wade Jr., Mike Yastrzemski, Alex Dickerson, Brandon Crawford, and Buster Posey (if he plays) are the main guys to insert into lineups. But don’t hesitate to use Wilmer Flores, Steven Duggar, and Austin Slater too, if they are confirmed in the starting lineup on Wednesday.

Favorite one-off: Austin Hays ($2,800) vs. LHP Hyun Jin Ryu

Hyun Jin Ryu isn’t a pitcher that I’m rushing to stack against, but I’m not going to shy away from using one-offs against him. While Cedric Mullins has performed well against southpaws as a lefty himself, Austin Hays has also hit LHP well this season. Ryu is likely to be hit more by right-handed hitters and Hays is one of the best options in Baltimore’s lineup. Hays is currently slashing .358/.386/.612 in 72 plate appearances against LHP in 2021. The 26-year-old batter for the Orioles also has a .254 ISO and a 172 wRC+ versus LHP. With high-priced pitching being a popular choice on Wednesday, Hays brings some much-needed value as an outfielder on DraftKings at only $2,800.