The MLB starts a new month of action with a nine-game Wednesday night fantasy baseball slate, including several aces on the mound led by Max Scherzer ($10,900) and Jacob deGrom ($10,200). There are several tantalizing options with hefty salaries, and if you choose to build around those options, you also will need to pinpoint some good value plays to help balance your investments and stay under the cap.
Each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you can find my bargain MLB picks to help you hunt down the best options from the bargain bin. As we get May underway, take a look at these five bargain plays, who have a good chance at returning nice value given their affordable salaries.
SP MAX FRIED, ATL vs. SD, $7,800
The 25-year-old Fried has been a solid part of the Braves’ rotation this season and enters his start against the Padres 3-1 with a 2.30 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. The lefty has picked up 26 strikeouts in his 31 1/3 innings and walked just seven while allowing a .229 batting average. He did take a loss in his most recent outing against the Rockies but still had 15.8 DKFP as a result of his season-high eight strikeouts. He has reached double-digit DKFP in each of his five starts with more than 20 DKFP in three of those outings.
He gets a good matchup to bounce back in as he faces San Diego. The Padres’ offense has been a little bit better this year but still ranks in the bottom five in the Majors in runs scored, batting average and OBP. San Diego is hitting only .216 as a team against southpaws while striking out 45 times in 153 at-bats.
SP FELIX PEÑA, LAA vs. TOR, $7,000
Peña looked strong in his most recent outing, producing a season-high 22.9 DKFP after entering the game after an opener against the Yankees. Peña threw five innings and allowed just one earned run on four hits, striking out eight and not walking anyone. He has allowed one run or fewer in three of his five outings but doesn’t typically go very deep into games since his longest outing of the year has been just five innings.
Even though his ceiling is somewhat limited by his workload, he can be a solid source of production as an SP2 if you spend big on your top arm. Peña has been a good option, especially at home this season, where he has a 2.41 ERA and has 19 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings.
3B JUSTIN TURNER, LAD at SF, $3,500
For the past few seasons, Turner has mashed against lefties and has been productive in the heart of the Dodgers’ order. He started slow this season, both overall and against southpaws, but seems to be turning things around lately. He connected on his first home run of the season Tuesday, and it came against lefty Ty Blach. He finished the night 2-for-4 and raised his average for the season to .279 and has hit safely in four straight games, going 7-for-16 (.438).
The Dodgers and Giants continue their NL West rivalry Wednesday, and Turner and Los Angeles will go up against lefty Madison Bumgarner ($8,400). Since both have been in the West a while, Turner has a long history against Bumgarner, going 15-for-62 (.242) with three doubles, four homers, eight RBI and a .767 OPS. Since he’s heating up and in a good matchup, Turner is a nice affordable option at the hot corner.
1B/C BUSTER POSEY, SF vs. LAD, $3,500
On the other side of that late game, Posey lines up to be a good source of salary relief while offering a solid veteran bat in the middle of a lineup. Like Turner, Posey started the season a little slow but has turned things up as of late. He has hit safely in seven straight games, going 9-for-26 (.346) with five doubles and a home run. He still is hitting just .250 on the season but is trending the right direction.
Posey also gets an opposite-handed split as he takes on Dodgers lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu ($9,200). Posey is 11-for-36 with three doubles, a home run and a .847 OPS against Ryu in their previous meetings. Ryu has been good at home this season but has a 4.91 ERA in two road starts, so there’s a chance the Giants can get to him, and Posey’s productive spot in the order should keep him at the middle of any run production they can generate.
OF CURTIS GRANDERSON, MIA vs. CLE, $3,400
Whenever you’re in the market for a bargain bat, it’s always a good idea to keep a close eye out for cheap leadoff hitters. Because of their lineup position, there are more at-bats and typically more opportunities to produce runs than a hitter hitting lower in the lineup. One of the affordable leadoff options to consider Wednesday is Granderson, who has stepped into a regular role at the top of the Marlins’ lineup. Sure, the Marlins’ lineup has struggled badly and Granderson is hitting just a paltry .188 on the season, but there are some signs he could help you out on this slate.
His average sunk all the way to .137 a couple of weeks ago, so actually he is trending the right way. He has hit safely in four of his past six starts, going 6-for-24 (.250) with four doubles, four walks and a home run. There could be some nice value in the Marlins’ lineup as they take on Corey Kluber ($9,400), who has struggled to a 5.81 ERA in six starts and allowed multiple runs in each start, including 13 runs over his past three outings. Granderson has had limited exposure to Kluber, going 2-for-6 with a triple against him in the past, but the 15-year veteran does offer good upside if you need a cheap OF bat Wednesday.
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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.