This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
We had a thrilling Game 1 of the World Series and a bit of a surprising outcome with the Phillies immediately stealing home-field advantage. Philadelphia will send out Zack Wheeler on Saturday with a legitimate chance to head home with a 2-0 lead.
For those unfamiliar, there are a few key changes in showdown formats as compared to the traditional style of contest. First is the choice of a captain. This player gets a 1.5X multiplier to their points, but comes at an increased salary. The other major change is that there are no position requirements. You can choose to roster both starting pitchers – this would be difficult due to price – all hitters, etc.
Zack Wheeler ($15,900)
If I have confidence in a starting pitcher, I'll typically want to roster them in the showdown format simply because hitters are going to fail to score points at such a high rate. Wheeler becomes even more attractive because his roster rate – particularly at captain – is likely to remain low due to matchup and because of a high-scoring Game 1. When comparing Wheeler vs. Framber Valdez, the choice is once again fairly straightforward for me. Wheeler lists a 3.4 percentage point advantage in strikeout rate and a 2.5 percentage point advantage in walk rate. Curiously, Wheeler is also cheaper.
Alec Bohm ($6,600)
Bohm is a strong value play. He finished second on the team in the regular season with a .398 wOBA and 158 wRC+ when facing left-handed pitching. He hit sixth in the opener, which isn't an ideal spot. However, Bohm's combination of salary and track record with the handedness advantage keep him as a strong play. He's likely to be very popular for the same reasons.
Matt Vierling ($4,000)
We'll get another value option out of the way early to free up savings and move back to some higher-profile targets. After sitting out Game 1, Vierling should take over in center field for Brandon Marsh with a lefty on the mound. His numbers with the handedness advantage aren't as impressive as Bohm, but he was still an above-average hitter (110 wRC+) and is likely to be the cheapest option from either starting lineup.
Jose Altuve ($8,400)
Altuve's had a brutal postseason, though he did manage a hit and stolen base on Friday. DraftKings has taken note, as he enters with the fourth-highest salary on the team despite remaining locked into the leadoff spot. As for Altuve's actual performance, he's gone just 4-for-39, but had a .143 BABIP entering the World Series. He also carries an inflated 30 percent strikeout rate, so he has to get the ball in play more often. If Altuve does so, hits should start falling more often.
Rhys Hoskins ($8,800)
It'll make our last selection a bit tight, but Hoskins is a must-play in this spot. He produced a .404 wOBA and 162 wRC+ against southpaws during the regular season. Rostering Hoskins comes at a cost, but he's my highest priority hitter in Game 2 and would be a pivot at Captain that I would be comfortable with.
Yuli Gurriel ($6,200)
There's no specific reason to roster Gurriel other than he fits and is a lock to be in the Houston lineup. He's been shifted down the Houston order, but still appears immediately after Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker. Gurriel should hit with runners on base, and that's always a good thing.