Welcome to MLB DFS Bargains. We’ll split the analysis into three groups: very cheap, mid-tier, and expensive. A greater emphasis will be placed on the lower end of the price scale.
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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Today is a true Thin Thursday with only five games in the evening slate. Beware: the contest starts at 6:35pm ET.
DIRT CHEAP BARGAINS
The Angels lineup has fallen afoul of the injury gods. Players like Walsh and Thaiss have taken on expanded roles for the stretch run of the season. Yankee Stadium and Tanaka could help to provide a home run or two. Lefty hitters are slugging .285/.331/.507 versus Tanaka this season. He’s struggled with the juiced baseball this season, particularly with gripping his signature splitter.
Walsh is the likelier of the pair to send a deep fly into the night. He’s a fly ball and line drive hitter who makes an inordinate quantity of hard contact. At Triple-A, he launched 36 home runs in 454 plate appearances. While he’s managed only one homer in 65 major league plate appearances, he’s sufficiently proven his power-hitting bonafides. Strikeouts are his main weakness. As an interesting aside, Walsh is also a passable reliever.
Thaiss, a former first round draft pick, has more name recognition along with a rounded batting profile. He makes frequent pulled contact but doesn’t yet hit enough fly balls to take full advantage. He’ll need to adjust by either inching up his average launch angle or taking a more all-fields approach. The former is likelier than the latter. In Triple-A, Thaiss hit .274/.390/.477 with 14 home runs in 372 plate appearances. His carrying trait was above average plate discipline. He’s had a long look in the majors during which he’s batting a meager .192/.289/.384. His discipline has turned into passivity – he needs to be more aggressive early in counts.
Reyes has missed the last two games for a personal matter. Make sure he’s in the lineup before locking him in. If he does happen to start, he’s one of the best picks for power with upside for multiple home runs. All told, Reyes has around a one-in-three chance to go deep versus VerHagen and a terrible Tigers bullpen.
At one time, Alberto was in the race for the batting championship (awarded to the hitter with the highest batting average). While he’s fallen back in the standings, his .314 average fueled by one of the highest ball-in-play rates in the league creates interesting DFS potential. Extra base hits and run production are the keys to healthy point totals. Alberto has a strong chance to supply both outcomes while batting out of the leadoff spot. Kay may one day become a useful major league pitcher, but he’s looked overmatched in two starts. A weak bullpen lurks behind him.
MID-TIER MUST PLAYS
Judge is the rich man’s alternative to Reyes. With a one-in-three chance for a home run and multiple blasts on the table, it would surprise nobody if he contributed a contest-leading point total. Heaney, a southpaw, is a solid pitcher with a spicy strikeout rate. He’s also quite homer prone. Over his career, he has sizable platoon splits including 1.85 HR/9 allowed to right-handed hitters. That’s mostly without this extra juiced ball in the equation. Heaney is interesting in that he’s a ground ball pitcher versus fell southpaws and a fly ball guy against righties. Judge has a tendency to hit grounders, making this an ideal matchup for him.
HIGH PRICED VALUES
Mike Clevinger – SP – Cleveland Indians (vs Tigers)
How’s this for an obvious pick. As with Gerrit Cole yesterday, Clevinger is both the most expensive pitcher and the best value. The reason is simple enough – he’s an elite pitcher with 12.49 K/9 and a 2.68 ERA against a bad Triple-A quality offense. Look for upwards of seven innings and double-digit strikeouts. Of course, this is a blatantly obvious pick made all the more popular by the small slate. A contrarian might avoid him entirely.