As is typically the case on summer Wednesdays, the MLB has a split schedule for fantasy baseball players to enjoy this week. There are six games in the afternoon with nine games on the main slate under the lights. For this post, we’ll focus on the nine night games, which include five divisional matchups and two interleague games, highlighted by the Nationals and Orioles meeting in the second and final game of this version of the Beltway Series.
Even with just 18 teams, there are four pitchers who cost more than $10K, including Robbie Ray ($10,100), who was in my bargain picks for his most recent start when he only cost $7,900. Even though he isn’t as cheap as he used to be, there are some players who don’t cost a lot but still bring nice upside. Let’s take a look at my top five inexpensive plays for this Wednesday.
SP KENTA MAEDA, LAD at PHI, $8,300
Maeda managed 17.8 DKFP in his first start after the All-Star break, even though he took the loss on the road against the Red Sox. He has at least 17 DKFP in seven of his past 11 starts with 67 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings over that span.
He still doesn’t go extremely deep into games and usually is held under 90 pitches, but Maeda can give you a quality outing on the road even against a good lineup like the Phillies. The other options around $8K are extremely high risk, so Maeda is a solid way to get good innings and possibly a win if the Dodgers’ lineup can get to the struggling Nick Pivetta ($5,600).
SP FELIX PEÑA, LAA vs. HOU, $6,700
Peña has a brutal matchup but comes in with great form at an amazing price. He was in my bargains for his most recent appearance, when he finished a combined no-hitter with seven shutout innings on his way to 31.2 DKFP against the Mariners. Peña improved to 7-2 with the win and lowered his ERA to 4.32 on the season.
He has been better than that recently, going 4-1 in his past six games with a 3.94 ERA and .194 batting average against. His strikeout rate also has trended up with 32 punchouts in 29 2/3 innings. One of those wins did come against the Astros, who he held to two runs in four innings on his way to 16 DKFP. At home this season, Peña has gone 3-0 in 11 games with a 4.08 ERA. He might not be able to match his dominance from last game against a tougher lineup, but he’s still the best cheap option to plug in as your SP2.
1B/OF JAKE BAUERS, CLE vs. DET, $3,600
Bauers started slow for the Tribe after coming over in the Yandy Diaz ($4,000) and Edwin Encarnacion ($4,400) trade from Tampa Bay. He has started to turn things around lately, though, and picked things up over the past month. In his 23 most recent contests, he has gone 26-for-81 (.321) with four doubles, a triple, four home runs, 15 RBI and a .900 OPS.
The Tigers are the only opponent which Bauers has multiple home runs against this season, and he is 9-for-34 (.265) against Detroit with four extra-base hits and a .845 OPS. He has gone 2-for-6 in his career against Spencer Turnbull ($7,000), who is scheduled to start this Wednesday. Turnbull is 3-8 in the Majors this season with 46 runs allowed in 92 2/3 innings including nine home runs. If you’re going to attack Turnbull, focus on Cleveland’s left-handed bats like Bauers, since Turnbull is letting lefties hit .288 against him with an .836 OPS as opposed to just .218 with a .634 OPS for right-handed batters.
2B NICKY LOPEZ, KC vs. CWS, $3,000
Lopez had dropped to the lower third of the lineup since Adalberto Mondesi ($4,900; shoulder) returned for the injured list. However, Mondesi is scheduled for an MRI on his shoulder and likely will miss at least Wednesday’s game against the White Sox, which could let Lopez return to the second spot in the batting order, giving him a huge boost in value.
The 24-year-old rookie struggled early in the month but seems to have been rejuvenated by the All-Star break. Since then, he has gone 6-for-15 (.400) with two doubles and three RBI in the Royals’ five-game homestand. He and the Royals take on Ivan Nova ($5,000) in a great matchup and should provide some good value. Nova has gone 4-8 with a 5.60 ERA and allowed 22 home runs in his 19 games. He has been especially pounded by lefties, who have a .911 OPS against him with 12 home runs. Lopez is a great way to get into a good spot in a productive lineup if he takes over the second spot for Mondesi.
OF BRIAN GOODWIN, LAA vs. HOU, $3,000
Goodwin was activated from the injured list after a right wrist contusion just in time to fill in for the injured Mike Trout ($5,300; calf) in the outfield Tuesday. He went 2-for-4 with a double against the Astros, raising this average to a solid .280 on the season with seven home runs three steals and a .780 OPS in his 76 games.
He has hit right-handed pitchers especially well with a .800 OPS and also has thrived at Angel Stadium, where he has a .808 OPS on the season. He does face a tough task in taking on Gerrit Cole ($12,500), but Cole has had issues against lefties at times this season, giving up 12 of his 20 home runs allowed and a .684 OPS to left-handed batters like Goodwin.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.