There are eight games lined up for the fantasy baseball main slate this Wednesday after the Red Sox moved up the time of their contest due to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. The 16 teams remaining still provide plenty of solid options to consider, and it appears the weather will cooperate as well, leaving lots of interesting plays to consider.
As you build your roster for the contest, make sure to take a look at these five bargain plays, who should be able to out-perform their affordable salaries based on their recent form, matchup and projected opportunity. They could be difference-makers if they come through since they don’t cost much but still can bring in solid DKFP.
SP MITCH KELLER, PIT at ATL, $7,000
The Pirates called up Keller for a spot start earlier this season, but things didn’t go according to plan for the organization’s top prospect. He gave up six runs — including a grand slam — in the first inning against the Reds but showed some toughness by settling down and not allowing any more runs while striking out seven in his four innings pitched. He comes in with an ugly 13.50 ERA in the majors, but his ceiling is much higher than that would indicate.
After that rough start, Keller was sent back to Triple-A. He responded well, allowing just two runs in 11 innings with Indianapolis. He looked especially strong in his most recent start Friday, when he struck out 13 Toledo Mud Hens in five one-hit innings. His terrible first inning against Cincinnati can be chalked up to nerves in his MLB debut, but his excellent strikeout stuff makes him an intriguing option as the Pirates try to avoid a sweep in Atlanta and snap their five-game losing streak.
SP MILES MIKOLAS, STL at MIA, $7,200
Mikolas only lasted four innings against the Cubs in his most recent start due to taking a line drive off the forearm. After his early departure, he took the loss, dropping to 4-6 on the season with a 4.54 ERA. However, he had been pitching pretty well before the injury aside from a total clunker in Texas. He gave up seven runs in 1 1/2 innings to the Rangers in that nightmare outing but had posted quality starts in five straight aside from that start.
He typically doesn’t strike out a lot of batters, but he’ll have a good matchup against Miami, whose offense has cooled down a bit and scored just one or zero runs in five of its past six games. Mikolas doesn’t have the ceiling Keller offers due to his lower strikeout rate, but the five-year veteran should be in a good spot to put together strong innings with a good chance at a win at Marlins Park on Wednesday night.
2B/SS KEVIN NEWMAN, PIT at ATL, $3,600
The Pirates have been giving Newman a long look as their leadoff hitter, and the 25-year-old rookie has hit atop the lineup in 11 straight starts. In those games, he has gone 13-for-51 (.255) with eight runs scored, a home run, a stolen base and an average of 7.0 DKFP per contest.
Newman went 3-for-4 on Tuesday in the Pirates’ loss and stole his second base of the season. He did steal 28 bases in Triple-A last season, so there is some potential for that to be more of a place of production if he continues to get on base from the top of the Pittsburgh lineup. He has a tough matchup Wednesday against Mike Soroka ($10,900) but comes in having hit safely in six of his past seven games and in a good spot to get opportunities as the leadoff hitter.
1B/3B YULI GURRIEL, HOU vs. MIL, $3,400
Gurriel connected on his fifth homer of the season Tuesday as part of a big 3-for-5 night against Milwaukee that resulted in 33 DKFP. Gurriel is averaging 9.7 DKFP per contest over his past 10 games and typically finds ways to contribute. He has stolen three bases in his past 10 games while also driving in 12 runs and picking up three extra-base hits.
His salary has remained affordable much of the season despite his locked-in spot as the Astros’ cleanup hitter. He doesn’t offer prototypical power from a corner infield spot but still can be a very solid value option. He typically hits righties better than lefties and thrives at Minute Maid Park, so take advantage of his reduced salary and favorable splits in a matchup with Brandon Woodruff ($7,600) as the Astros go for the sweep of their brief two-game series with the Brew Crew.
2B/OF HAROLD CASTRO, DET at KC, $3,000
With Niko Goodrum (knee) expected to miss Wednesday’s contest after bruising his right knee Tuesday, Castro should find his way into the lineup again. The versatile utility player has played all three outfield positions, 2B and 3B in his 14 games this season. He has gone 11-for-41 (.282) with two doubles, two walks and an RBI.
He didn’t pick up a hit Tuesday against the Royals but had hit safely in five straight games before that 0-for-4 day. Castro would be in a lefty-lefty matchup against Danny Duffy ($7,400) but still could be a good cost-saving option in the OF or at 2B if he gets the start anyway for the short-handed Tigers.
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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.