This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Saturday's schedule features nine afternoon games – as opposed to only four in the typical time for the main slate – so we'll pivot to taking a deeper look at the player pool for contests at 4:05 p.m EDT.
Dylan Cease ($9,900) is the only pitcher with a strikeout rate above 30 percent and stands out among those scheduled for that reason. He takes on the Rays, who have been a below-average offense with a better-than-average strikeout rate (from a pitcher's perspective). That combination makes Cease my favorite ace to target.
MacKenzie Gore ($9,700) and Aaron Ashby ($7,700) square off in an intriguing matchup of young pitchers. The salary discrepancy is the key differentiator, with the duo exhibiting similar skills otherwise. Ashby hasn't completely solved his walk issues (12.7 BB%), which is the primary concern. However, the pair enter with identical SIERAs, so I'll pay down and also take the pitcher starting in his home park.
A number of other hurlers in the mid-tier are also worth mentioning. Logan Webb ($8,500), Triston McKenzie ($8,300) and Nick Pivetta ($7,900) all have favorable matchups and check in at similar salaries. McKenzie boasts the best skills of that trio from a K-BB% perspective, and Baltimore strikes out at a 23.9 percent clip – the eighth-highest in the league. Oakland is the dream team to square off against for pitchers, and Pivetta appears to be fully trustworthy from a numbers perspective. However, season-long players know this is a perfect spot for him to blow up.
Roansy Contreras ($6,800) represents a good bargain play. He's limited opposing hitters to a .188 batting average against and should be able to pick up some strikeouts with Arizona entering Saturday whiffing at the second-highest rate in the league.
Kris Bubic has logged 193 innings in the big leagues and has surrendered 1.6 HR/9. That makes Houston hitters fairly obvious selections. Alex Bregman ($4,700) is the "value" among their stud hitters and provides a reasonable base to build around. He might be best used in the context of an Astros stack given his approach of plate discipline over power. Yordan Alvarez ($5,200) is the option to take as a one-off selection.
The Rangers will be another team that I look to target heavily on the slate with Marco Gonzales having only managed a 13 percent strikeout on the season. He does limit hard contact somewhat competently, which takes away some of the intrigue of going against him. However, the Rangers have two quality hitters capable of doing damage in Corey Seager ($4,800) and Adolis Garcia ($4,100).
Julio Rodriguez's ($4,500) value has risen substantially (finally), but he's in a favorable spot to produce Saturday. Glenn Otto has allowed two earned runs or fewer in all but one of his outings this season, but he gives up a lot of hard contact and enters Saturday with the third-highest SIERA among the pitchers in the pool.
The Nationals-Reds matchup features a 9.5 run total, the highest on the slate. That's a game to heavily use hitters and there are a number of cheaper options on the Washington side. Keibert Ruiz ($3,900) isn't at the typical salary point of a value play, but he is notable as a catcher who regularly hits second. The Nationals' outfield will be a source of true value, as Yadiel Hernandez ($3,300) has batted immediately after the likes of Nelson Cruz, Josh Bell and Juan Soto for much of the year. If he's out of the lineup, both Maikel Franco ($2,800) and Lane Thomas ($2,800) also fit the mold.
On the Reds' side, Joey Votto ($3,100) has shown signs of life at the plate averaging 10.9 DK points across his last 10 games while his salary has dipped around $600.
Stacks to Consider
Astros vs. Kris Bubic: Jose Altuve ($5,100), Michael Brantley ($4,000), Yuli Gurriel ($2,800), Alex Bregman ($4,700), Yordan Alvarez ($5,200)
Bubic's propensity to serve up gopher balls has been discussed, but he's also walking batters at a 16.7 percent clip to begin 2022. The Astros lineup is a nice combination of power and patience, making them an ideal team to stack. Even better is the fact Gurriel and Brantley are both reasonably valued, which makes them an easier team to build around.
Rangers vs. Marco Gonzales: Josh Smith ($2,100), Marcus Semien ($5,000), Corey Seager ($4,800), Mitch Garver ($4,800)
The reasons for targeting Gonzales have already been discussed and the Rangers have a lot of power bats to take advantage. Josh Smith – check to make sure he's in the lineup – represents a premium value after operating as the Rangers' leadoff hitter the last two games. This stack has the potential to be a boom-bust option as Gonzales surrenders a lot of contact but is at least somewhat competent at limiting hard hit and barrel rates.
Pirates vs. Zach Davies: Ke'Bryan Hayes ($4,600), Bryan Reynolds ($3,900), Daniel Vogelbach ($4,200), Michael Chavis ($3,800)
The Pirates typically aren't an offense to look for in stacks, but they offer some intriguing paths to different lineup builds. There are a number of pitchers worth paying up for on the slate, and the Pirates offer a mediocre top-of-the-order that comes in at a decent value. The real draw is a matchup against Davies, who checks all the boxes we like in stacks highlighted by a low strikeout rate and inflated walk and homer rates. Needless to say, this is a contrarian play.