MLB

FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Wednesday 5/5/21

We have some strong pitching on the board tonight, but Shane Bieber should still top our wish list. Who else should we target?

We may have missed out on Jacob deGrom yesterday after he was a late scratch, but there's no shortage of intriguing pitching on Wednesday's main slate. On the stacking side of things, the Boston Red Sox are once again boasting one of the highest implied totals, with the Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees in the same vicinity.

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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.

Pitchers

Shane Bieber ($12,200): Shane Bieber continues to prove that last year was no fluke, sporting a 2.53 SIERA, 39.5% strikeout rate, and 8.1% walk rate that mirrors his 2020 marks. He leads all qualified starters in called-strike-plus-whiff rate (36.9%) and has yet to drop below 9 punchouts in any start. While the Royals haven't been too bad at the plate this year, their active roster still only carries a 92 wRC+ versus righties since the start of 2020.

Yu Darvish ($11,800): We're seeing just a $400 salary drop from Bieber to Yu Darvish, and Darvish "only" has a 32.9% strikeout rate, so it's hard to argue against sticking with Bieber in most cases. But you'll still want plenty of exposure to Darvish in tournaments because he's up against the Pirates, one of the worst offenses in baseball. Pittsburgh has a 75 wRC+ against right-handed pitching from 2020-21, and it's no surprise they have a tiny 2.61 implied total.

Walker Buehler ($10,000): It looks like Walker Buehler could be back on the rise after posting 19 strikeouts across his last two starts, but his 25.4% season strikeout rate trails the prior two hurlers by a fair amount. Buehler's velocity is still lower than past seasons, too, so it's possible he isn't truly "back" yet. Regardless, his overall numbers remain strong -- including a nonexistent 1.6% walk rate -- and the Cubs are the right matchup to boost those whiffs, as they own a 25.9% strikeout rate in the split dating back to last year.

Others to Consider: Freddy Peralta ($9,000)

Stacks

Boston Red Sox: Any concerns I had about the Red Sox handling an improved Michael Fulmer early were quickly alleviated when they knocked him out in the first inning, and then they predictably hammered Detroit's bullpen for the rest of the evening.

We could see a similar scenario play out for Boston versus Casey Mize, who has decidedly not seen much early-season success. In fact, he hasn't seen much of any success at all in his young career, owning a 4.88 SIERA, 18.5% strikeout rate, and 9.3% walk rate across 12 starts going back to 2020.

Mize is inducing grounders at a high rate versus right-handed batters this season (64.4%), but that's about the only positive one can find in his splits. Meanwhile, lefty sticks are crushing him for a 5.16 xFIP, and he was similarly roasted by them last year (6.61 xFIP).

The left-handed bats of Rafael Devers ($3,700) and Alex Verdugo ($3,100) are clear top choices, and when factoring in the Tigers' bullpen, you can comfortably fill in the rest of your stack with the usual right-handed Sox sluggers.

Minnesota Twins: The Twins have an appealing 4.65 implied total and are facing Hyeon-jong Yang, a lefty who's produced a middling 15.2% strikeout rate through 8.2 innings. Yang only managed a 4.22 xFIP and 20.0% strikeout rate as a starter in the KBO last season, and it's fair to wonder he has the talent to compete with Major League hitting.

This is a prime matchup to stack up Minnesota's top righty sticks, so give me the ageless Nelson Cruz ($4,000) and rising Byron Buxton ($4,400), and Josh Donaldson ($3,100) and Mitch Garver ($2,700) offer up some values, too. Switch-hitter Jorge Polanco ($3,000) is less exciting from a power perspective, but his salary and usual spot in the order also make him a solid play.

Oakland Athletics: With a middle-of-the-road 4.10 implied total, the Athletics might not be getting enough credit against Robbie Ray. Although the Toronto left-hander has a 2.78 ERA through four starts, it looks awfully suspect when we see it alongside a 4.50 SIERA and .237 BABIP. Additionally, Ray's strikeout rate is also way down (21.7%), and he's still struggling with walks at times (9.8%).

But perhaps most importantly, he's displaying lackluster peripheral numbers against right-handed batters and has already given up four dingers in the split -- something that's troubled him across his entire career.

This Oakland lineup is loaded with right-handed bats, so they're perfectly equipped to take advantage. Matt Chapman ($3,000), Mark Canha ($3,400), and Ramon Laureano ($3,500) are among the top plays, and Sean Murphy ($2,900) is seeing a boost in value as long as he keeps hitting higher in the order.

Others to Consider: New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves