The final day of July brings the MLB trade deadline, which should lead to some interesting moves throughout the day followed by a solid eight-game fantasy baseball slate on tap for Wednesday night. As the dust settles, the 16 teams in action give us a solid player pool and even could give us a chance to see some players with their new teams. Three of the eight games are interleague contests featuring unusual matchups as the Mets visit the White Sox, the Twins take on the Marlins and the Brew Crew rolls into Oakland. In more traditional matchups with familiar opponents, the Red Sox and Rays play at Fenway, the Cards host the Cubs and the Rangers welcome in the Mariners.
As you dig deep into those matchups and get your lineup set, take a look at the following five bargain plays, who come with nice upside at a fairly affordable salary. If you roll with one or two of these options, it will save your salary cap space to pay up for big bats or high-priced starting pitchers.
SP JOSE URQUIDY, HOU at CLE, $7,000
In his two starts since the All-Star break, Urquidy has been impressive, allowing just one run in each start and totaling 15 strikeouts in 13 innings. He earned 34.6 DKFP and his first Major League win against the Rangers in his first start after the break and followed that with another solid outing on the road in St. Louis, where he went six innings and got a no-decision to go with his 19.9 DKFP.
Urquidy will take on the Indians, who could have some reinforcements in the lineup depending on the availability of players acquired in the Trevor Bauer trade. With the high-powered Houston lineup backing him, though, Urquidy has a good shot at a win if he continues to turn in quality starts. His strikeout rate in both the minors and in his four starts in the Majors also gives him a high ceiling.
PLR WADE LEBLANC, SEA at TEX, $6,400
As a 10-year veteran, LeBlanc is a much more proven option than Urquidy, but he still doesn’t come with quite as high a ceiling due to a lower strikeout rate. LeBlanc has been pitching well lately, allowing two runs or fewer in six of his past seven appearances. He has put up more than 11 DKFP in five of those games and more than 20 DKFP in three of his past nine games.
Most of the time, LeBlanc has been following an opener, and that trend is expected to continue with Matt Wisler ($4,100) starting ahead of him in this matchup. He gets a good matchup against the Rangers, who are second in the Majors in strikeouts this season and have hit just .241 since the All-Star break. LeBlanc faced them once this season and allowed three runs on six hits over five innings while striking out five.
OF KHRIS DAVIS, OAK vs. MIL, $3,300
Was a day off all he needed? Davis was stuck in a brutal slump for most of the month, hitting just .141 over 21 games before getting the day off Monday. Khrush returned with a big game against the Brewers on Tuesday, going 3-for-4 with a clutch home run and 22 DKFP. It was just his second multi-hit game since June 22 and his first home run since June 18.
Whether the day off followed by a big day at the plate jump starts him or not remains to be seen, but he is extremely cheap with a high ceiling due to his prolific power production. He gets a great matchup against new Brewers starter Jordan Lyles ($6,100), who has allowed eight home runs in his past four starts, while posting a 15.00 ERA. The matchup with Lyles gives all the A’s upside, led by their best power hitter, who might be heating up. Davis has hit exactly .247 in each of the past four seasons and is hitting only .230 right now. He and the A’s will hope this matchup with his former team is what gets him rolling for the final two months of the playoff push.
2B ROBEL GARCIA, CHC at STL, $3,500
Manager Joe Maddon continues to tinker with his leadoff spot, trying to find a consistent spark to get things started. Garcia has led off in each of his past three games but has gone only 1-for-15 with a total of three DKFP. The 26-year-old rookie is hitting only .220 since being called up but has shown some solid power with two doubles, two triples and four home runs.
While his skill set doesn’t seem ideally suited for the top of the lineup, he had a .958 OPS with 21 home runs in 72 games in the minors. His bat likely will come around as he adjusts to Major League pitching, and he’ll be in a good spot for run production as long as the experiment with him hitting leadoff lasts.
1B/OF SAM TRAVIS, BOS vs. TB, $3,100
The Red Sox parted ways with Eduardo Núñez when they wanted to call Travis ($3,100) up earlier this month, and the 25-year-old 1B has looked solid since rejoining the team. He has gone 9-for-25 (.360) with three doubles and two home runs while playing in 12 games and getting five starts.
He usually gets most of his chances against lefties in a platoon with Mitch Moreland ($4,200), so he could get the start since lefty Ryan Yarbrough ($7,100) is expected to work the bulk of the innings for the Rays on Wednesday. Travis has averaged 11.25 DKFP in his four starts since rejoining the team and went 2-for-2 with a double after entering as a pinch-hitter Tuesday. He brings some sneaky power potential if manager Alex Cora gets him in the lineup.
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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.