MLB DFS Picks, Spotlight Pitchers & Top Stacks: Astros + Rangers = Texas Two-Stack (May 1)

Wednesday is a travel day, with a variety of MLB start times. The seven-game featured slate is locking at 6:35 p.m. ET on DraftKings and FanDuel. Yahoo has elected to go with a five-game slate, with a 7:10 p.m. ET first pitch. Before we get to our MLB DFS picks, as always, we will use Stokastic’s tools to help identify today’s MLB DFS stacks, key pitchers and daily fantasy baseball lineups. Look to Justin Verlander and rookie Joey Butto as key arms, with the Texans and Astros being top stacks.

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks | May 1

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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers

Main Slate Primary Pitching Target: RHP Justin Verlander vs. Cleveland Guardians — 3.4 implied runs

First Pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $9,200 | FanDuel $10,000 | Yahoo $42

Tonight will mark the thirds start of the season for RHP Justin Verlander, who tallied 78 and 95 pitches in his two prior outings. FanDuel and DraftKings are not giving any sort of discount to the three-time Cy Young Award winner. The Yahoo salary algorithm is recognizing Verlander as a 41-year-old who is still a frontline starter, though no longer a dominant ace caliber pitcher.

The projected Guardians’ lineup has only an 18.0% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching since the start of last season, which is among the best in the league during this timeframe. Cleveland has a bottom-five power rating, but still is around league-average from a scoring efficiency perspective. Over his last 786 batters faced, Verlander has a 21.5% strikeout rate with 8.08 whiffs per nine innings. That is well below his 9.05 career rate and leaves the door open for gamers to consider RHPs Shota Imanaga in New York facing the Mets and Corbin Burnes in Baltimore, facing the Yankees.

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Main Slate Wild Card Pitching Target: RHP Jose Butto vs. Chicago Cubs — 4.0 implied runs

First Pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $8,100 | FanDuel $8,200 | Yahoo $41

The Stokastic Top Pitchers Tool currently has RHP Jose Butto as the best pitcher across the three main DFS sites. The 24-year-old rookie is the 10th best prospect for the Mets, though he is not on many industry top-100 lists. He was knocked around in his spot-start debut back in 2022, but performed relatively well in his 42.0 innings last season. Most projection systems have in as a mid-rotation starter, with around 7.8-to-8.1 strikeouts per nine innings. 

While he has been a little lucky this season on the strikeout front, the Cubs will be rolling out a lineup with at least six batters who strike out above league average. Nico Hoerner rarely strikes out and Mike Tauchman and Ian Happ are relatively disciplined as well. That trio will most likely be at the top of batting order, then things turn towards Butto’s favor.

Early Slate Primary Pitching Target: RHP Zack Wheeler at Los Angeles Angels — 3.5 implied runs

First Pitch: 8:05 p.m. ET

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $11,000 | FanDuel $11,200 | Yahoo $59

The news broke yesterday that Mike Trout will need to have arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus. That is a shame as the three-time MVP was off to a strong start, already clubbing 10 home runs and stealing six bases. Shohei Ohtani is now wearing Dodger blue and Anthony Rendon is on the injured list as well. Brandon Drury, Taylor Ward and Jo Adell will do what they can, but this lineup is no match for the likes of RHP Zack Wheeler. It makes since to build around the soon-to-be 34-year-old ace and find salary savings with a cheap outfielder, catcher and middle infielder.

MLB DFS Picks: Top Stacks

Main Slate Primary Target: Texas Rangers vs. RHP Trevor Williams — 5.2 implied runs

First Pitch: 8:05 p.m. ET

There is luck and then there is whatever is happening with RHP Trevor Williams this season. The 32-year-old is a home run facilitator, allowing 1.7 per nine innings over the last four years. Somehow he has avoided that fate thus far, allowing just five extra-base hits (all doubles) across 101 total batters faced. In this small sample size, he has a career low 6.41 strikeouts per nine innings, so there is nothing special going on – other than lucky hit sequencing.

Tonight the defending World Series champions should be able to post some crooked numbers on the score board. Marcus Semien, Corey Seager, Nate Low, Adolis Garcia and Evan Carter all have massive power numbers against right-handed pitchers. The lineup is so deep that switch-hitting catcher Jonah Heim and outfielder extraordinaire Leody Taveras will be at the bottom of the order. They provide excellent differentiation or can be included as part of a wraparound stack.

Main Slate Secondary Target: Houston Astros vs. LHP Triston McKenzie — 4.9 implied runs

First Pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET

The Stokastic Top Stacks Tool loves to see the Houston Astros against a southpaw as the current hitters n the team have averaged a 130 wRC+ over the last three seasons against lefties. RHP Triston McKenzie is always fun to watch as he has wicked strikeout stuff. He tied a Cleveland record with 10 in his first start and in 2022 he set a franchise record, striking out eight consecutive hitters. The biggest leak in his game is control and his walk issues have led to him being demoted to the minors several times. He also had a pair of injuries last year that limited him to only two starts. There is still time for the 26-year-old to turn things around, but that is not likely tonight against the ‘Stros.

Go with the usual suspects at the top of the order with Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman each having a long track record of success against lefties. Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker are two of the best in the game against same-handed hurlers and catcher Yainer Diaz looks like yet another budding star for the organization.

Early Slate Targets

There are two clear offenses to focus on for the early action. Minnesota is in Chicago, taking on RHP Chris Flexen who has now washed out with thee different franchises. Power has become a real issue for Flexen who basically is pitching to contact, intentionally or unintentionally.

Atlanta has scored just nine runs in the last four games, though that drought should come to an end soon and likely in spectacular fashion. RHP Emerson Hancock is a op prospect for the Mariners, but he lacks seasoning as he jumped from Double-A to The Show last year to make three starts. He broke camp as a starter, with RHP Bryan Woo injured. Hancock lacks strikeout upside and he is mediocre at best against above average power bats. The All-Star laden lineup he will be facing this afternoon is a boss level opponent.

Other DFS and Sports Wagering Opportunities

Tonight we can look to Teoscar Hernandez for his +430 home run prop, which is currently available on FanDuel.

OddsShopper shows this bet has +326 “true odds,” and the +430 line provides a stellar 24.5% expected ROI. We can also see how crucial it is to “shop the lines” as sportsbooks tend to vary wildly with odds and this can be seen with Pinnacle all the way down at +228, which is punitive by comparison.

Hernandez has been amazing against lefties, with a .351 wOBA and .236 ISO in his last 189 opposite-handed matchups. While he strikes out nearly one-third of the time, that is not necessarily a bad thing when looking at home run wagers. LHP Jordan Montgomery has impeccable control, though he is more about locations than strikeouts and that will be in favor of Hernandez potentially getting a mistake pitch he can send into the bleachers.

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Final Thoughts for Wednesday, May 1 — MLB DFS Picks

There are no weather concerns for today, though it is always worth a glance closer to lock. Be sure to check your favorite DFS meteorological resources closer to first pitch to see if there are any updates.

Before you finalize your MLB DFS picks, check out today’s Stokastic MLB Live Before Lock Show at 5:30 p.m. ET, brought to you by Sleeper – new users, use this link to receive a $500 first deposit match! Full details here.

Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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