With just three days left in July, it’s time to start another week of exciting fantasy baseball with a seven-game slate Monday. The MLB quickly is approaching the trade deadline as teams evaluate whether to go “all in” for a playoff push or trade some current assets for future prospects. It’s a little bit lighter of a week from a schedule perspective, but there are some interesting matchups on this slate, including the Braves visiting the Nationals and the Dodgers in Coors Field to face the Rockies in a pair of intriguing divisional matchups. In non-divisional games, the Tigers and Orioles continue their West Coast trips and start series against the Angels and Padres, respectively.
As you look through each of the 14 matchups on the slate, you might find yourself in need of a bargain or two to fill in your roster. Check out these five players who have nice upside even though they come at very affordable salaries.
SP JAIME BARRIA, LAA vs. DET, $7,200
Barria’s 6.63 ERA and 1.55 WHIP are ugly coming into his Monday night start against the Tigers, but a deeper look shows some reason for confidence in the 23-year-old righty. Barria has allowed two runs or fewer in four of his past five starts and posted more than 16 DKFP in each of those outings. His stats are inflated by a pounding he took in Seattle in the other start during that stretch and a bad outing in Kansas City earlier in the year.
Typically, he provides a decent strikeout rate and lasts about five innings while giving his team a chance to get a win. He’s in a great position to do that again Monday based on his matchup with the Tigers. Detroit has gone an MLB-worst 4-26 over the past 30 games and has dropped five straight coming into its series in Anaheim. In July, the Tigers have hit just .236 as a team, scoring 85 runs in 22 games with a .678 OPS and 228 strikeouts, second-highest in the Majors behind only the Rangers. Barria should be able to take advantage of the matchup and improve his overall numbers with another strong outing.
SP KENTA MAEDA, LAD at COL, $6,800
Maeda’s salary is so low because he’s pitching at Coors Field, but he could overcome that and end up being a very nice play under $7K on a slate with limited affordable pitching options. Maeda has dropped five straight decisions to fall to 7-7 on the year, but he hasn’t been pitching badly in those tough-luck defeats. He has allowed more than three runs only once in his past 14 games, posting a decent 3.34 ERA and striking out 79 batters in 70 innings, while holding them to a .167 batting average.
This season, Maeda has faced the Rockies three times, going 1-0 with a 2.76 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings. Two of those starts have come at Coors Field, where he is 5-1 in his career with a 3.12 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings. Yes, starting a pitcher at Coors Field is risky. However, his past history and current form make Maeda a usable option as he goes head-to-head with Jon Gray ($6,600).
EDITOR’S NOTE: SP Jordan Lyles has reportedly been traded to the Brewers. He was slated to start tonight for the Pirates vs. the Reds.
2B SCOOTER GENNETT, CIN vs. PIT, $3,400
After missing most of the first half of the season with a groin injury, Gennett seems to be starting to find his footing, going 5-for-15 (.333) with a double, two RBI and two runs scored over his past four games. Gennett still is looking for his first home run of the year but is only 18 games into the season.
He and the Reds will get a good matchup against Jordan Lyles ($6,200) and the Pirates if the weather holds in Cincinnati. Gennett is 3-for-7 personally against Lyles, who has allowed lefties to hit .321 against him with seven homers and a 1.006 OPS in his 17 games this season. Gennett, Joey Votto ($4,000), Jesse Winker ($4,000) and Josh VanMeter ($3,700) all will be interesting plays to try and take advantage of Lyles’ split, but Gennett comes at the most affordable salary of that whole bunch.
SS MIGUEL ROJAS, MIA vs. ARI, $3,400
The Marlins wrap up their unusual four-game series with the Diamondbacks that started over the weekend. Rojas has collected two hits in each of the first three games in the set and now hitting .301 this month. The normally light-hitting SS has homered in each of the past two games after hitting just one home run in his first 97 games of the season.
While the power surge isn’t likely to continue, Rojas has done a good job as Miami’s leadoff hitter, hitting .298 with a .751 OPS when hitting at the top of the order. He has done most of his damage at home and against righties, so the splits are in his favor against Merrill Kelly ($8,200).
3B/OF JOHAN CAMARGO, ATL at WAS, $2,600
If you need an ultra-cheap play to help you stack the big bats you want, check out Camargo, who is expected to be the Braves’ primary SS while Dansby Swanson (foot) is on the injured list. Camargo went 0-for-13 in his first three games filling in but went 1-for-4 with a home run in Sunday’s loss to Philadelphia.
In the past, Camargo has proven capable when given an expanded role and especially has hit well against lefties. The switch-hitter has a .288 career average against southpaws with 11 of his 27 career home runs and an .853 OPS. He even has had success against the specific lefty he’ll face Monday since he is 4-for-11 with two doubles and a home run in his past meetings with Patrick Corbin ($10,800).
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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.