When looking at “bargains” on FanDuel, we'll typically focus on hitters who are $3,200 or lower. For DraftKings, the threshold is around $3,800. In general, we'll only highlight players at the top end of that scale if they have star potential.
Please note, these player picks were organized early in the day. For MLB contests, always check lineups and weather closer to game time. Rain, wind, or unexpected managerial decisions could open up additional sources of value. Be sure to keep an eye on the MLB Headlines and Injuries desk.
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We have 10 games available to us in the evening slate. A postponement is likely in Boston. I’ll be excluding Red Sox and Tigers players from the analysis below. The Phillies-Mets game also runs a lesser risk of delay or postponement.
FANDUEL & DRAFTKINGS BARGAINS
Chirinos is on the schedule for a normal start. The righty has split his work between true starts and follower appearances this season. He looks sharp after struggling with injuries in 2018. To date, he’s pitched to a 3.26 ERA with 8.84 K/9 and 1.86 BB/9. The Rays are hosting the lowly Royals. Although they’ve posted decidedly mid-tier offensive results, they’ve benefited from facing weak AL Central competition. If there’s a downside to Chirinos, it’s that he rarely throws more than five innings.
A dogpile of injuries has forced the Yankees to dig deep for reinforcements. One beneficiary is Ford. The left-handed hitter has a long history of success in the upper minors including regularly posting more walks than strikeouts. He tried to sell out for power last season, somewhat unsuccessfully. However, the results were there early this season – he bashed five home runs in 45 plate appearances. A patient hitter with a high contact rate, league average power, and enough fly balls for it to play in games, Ford should enjoy his matchup against Triple-A quality hurler Matt Harvey.
3 – Joey Wendle – 2B – Tampa Bay Rays (FanDuel $2,200 / DraftKings $3,400)
Wendle is returning from injury. He’s expected to bat leadoff against right-handed pitchers. Although he was off to a 0-for-14 start before hitting the injured list, Wendle appeared to be picking up right where he left off last season. His peripherals, including hard hits and plate discipline, were in line with past performances. He makes frequent low-angle hard contact, leading to plenty of hits fueled by a high BABIP. Royals starter Brad Keller is a neutral matchup.
While Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty is nobody’s idea of a soft target, he has allowed 2.00 HR/9 through four starts. Shaw has, inexplicably, struggled with strikeouts this season. His current 31.3 percent strikeout rate is backed by a career worst 14 percent swinging strike rate. Shaw typically posts rates around 20 and 9 percent respectively. Curiously, his batted ball profile, contact quality, and plate discipline are completely unchanged. Facing Flaherty certainly won’t be a panacea to his contact woes, but I do think we’re looking at a small sample funk.
Tucker is the first entry in the good-not-great prospect bargain bin. Every year, daily fantasy sites underestimate a number of top prospects who didn’t receive mountains of hype. Tucker is one of these. The Pirates new leadoff hitter has a clean shot at the full-time shortstop job. He mixes sneaky pop – mostly line drives - with good plate discipline, contact rates, and speed. The Pirates are hosting Zack Godley and the Diamondbacks. Between Godley’s fading stuff and a shaky bullpen, Tucker should do some damage.
Bold-hearted bargainers can give Chris Bassitt (OAK – SP) a try opposite the Rangers. They feature a decidedly strikeout prone offense, although they also have several talented hitters to fear. In all probability, Bassitt will have a rough outing. He’s worthy of consideration because he excessively cheap, and he does have a history of making surprisingly passable starts. There’s also room for hope – in 11 minor league innings this season, he’s posted 16 strikeouts to just two walks, a hit batter, and eight hits. The strikeout rate is backed by a career-best swinging strike rate.
If Ford is a little too bargain-focused for your first base position, try Jose Abreu or Yonder Alonso (CWS – 1B). They’re both steep values on FanDuel and more competitively priced on DraftKings. The White Sox are visiting homer friendly Camden Yards for a matchup against David Hess. He’s allowed 2.10 HR/9 over his brief major league career. The weather conditions are some of the best available tonight.
Robinson Cano (NYM – 2B) has a decent matchup against Jake Arrieta. More impressively, he’s just $3,300 on DraftKings. Although his production to date leaves something to be desired, his batted ball profile hints at a power barrage just around the corner.
Stephen Piscotty (OAK – OF) will have a useful lineup role and the platoon advantage against Mike Minor. If Oakland can tap into the bad Texas bullpen early, the game could quickly turn lopsided. Teammate Ramon Laureano (OAK – OF) is a down-lineup alternative. Both outfielders are off the slow starts to the season.