A dozen teams for the MLB are scheduled to be in action this Monday night, giving us a solid six-game fantasy baseball week to get the work week started.
All six games are the start of a new series including a pair of divisional matchups, featuring the White Sox hosting the Indians and the Athletics visiting the Mariners. There are some solid starting pitchers on the mound, but there are also some great matchups to try and attack. As you fill out your roster, check out the following five players if you find yourself in need of a pick from the bargain bin. These players are affordable but also come with good upside.
SP YUSEI KIKUCHI, SEA vs. OAK, $7,500
The Mariners are limping home after a brutal 3-8 road trip that wrapped up with three straight losses to the Red Sox in which they were outscored 34-8. They’ll look to left-hander Kikuchi to help them turn things around, and so far this season, the rookie has been up to the challenge for the most part. He is 2-1 with a 3.54 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in nine starts and has gone at least seven innings with more than 22 DKFP in each of his two most recent outings.
Kikuchi went seven strong against the Indians in his first start of the trip, fanning 10 and finishing with 31.4 DKFP. He followed that with a good outing in the Bronx, allowing one run in 7 2/3 and finishing with 22.9 DKFP. He’ll face the A’s for the second time this season after starting against them in Tokyo during the Opening Series. In his MLB debut in that outing, he allowed one earned run on four hits in 4 2/3 innings, striking out three. Seattle badly needs another strong start from Kikuchi, and I think he’ll rise to the challenge in a favorable matchup at pitcher-friendly T-Mobile Park.
SP FREDDY PERALTA, MIL at PHI, $7,000
Peralta has extremely high upside based on his strikeout potential but is also risky since he has been boom-or-bust all season. The 22-year-old showed off his upside in his most recent appearance, entering after an opener to go five shutout innings and post 22.3 DKFP by striking out five against the Nationals. Peralta’s struggles have come mostly in the first inning, so an opener made sense. However, manager Craig Counsell will go back to him as a starter as the Brewers begin their series in Philly.
Peralta’s issues mostly have been at home this season, and he has 16 strikeouts in 11 1/3 road innings. He is prone to give up home runs, which is a real concern against the Phillies’ power-packed lineup. He has huge upside, though, especially compared to the other bargain options on the board. If you go with a cheap SP, he has the potential to go off and carry your team. However, he also comes with some risk since he had given up multiple home runs with less than five DKFP in three straight starts before turning things around in his most recent outing.
1B JESÚS AGUILAR, MIL at PHI, $3,500
It’s been a tough start to the season for Aguilar after his breakout 2018, but he has started to turn things around at the plate over the past two weeks. After hitting just .167 in March and .162 in April, he has started May going 8-for-26 (.308) with two doubles, five RBI, seven walks and a .842 OPS.
As the Brewers roll into Citizens Bank Park on Monday, Aguilar has a six-game hitting streak and has pulled his season average up to .198. With another solid game, he could be over .200 for the first time this season. Despite his struggles, he is still typically right in the heart of the Milwaukee lineup, which sets him up well to pick up runs and RBI if he can re-discover his All-Star form from last season.
1B/OF MARWIN GONZALEZ, MIN vs. LAA, $3,300
Another proven option who is turning things around after a slow start, Gonzalez finally seems to have found his stroke in his first season in Minnesota. He is 14-for-35 (.400) over his past 10 games with a double, homer, four RBI and a 1.014 OPS. He has multiple hits in five of those 10 games and at least seven DKFP in six of his past seven games.
Gonzalez has hit lefties better than righties this season, which continues his trend from last season and has a nice personal history against Tyler Skaggs, who he is 7-for-12 (.583) against with a double and 1.282 OPS. Gonzalez doesn’t offer the home run potential that comes with Aguilar, but his salary is a little bit cheaper and he brings added flexibility since he also can be a great salary-saver in the outfield.
SS J.P. CRAWFORD, SEA VS. OAK, $3,300
Crawford was one of the key return pieces the Mariners got in the trade that sent Jean Segura to the Phillies. Crawford was viewed as a top prospect with the Phillies a few seasons ago but never could translate his success to the majors. He started the season in Triple-A to iron out a few things in his swing and hitting approach. He hit .319 (37-for-116) in Tacoma with seven doubles, three homers, three stolen bases and a .877 OPS.
He continued to hit in his first three games with Seattle over the weekend as one of the few bright spots in a rough road trip. Crawford went 4-for-12 with a double during his three games starting at SS in Boston, hitting second in the order in the two games against right-handed starters.
Dee Gordon (wrist) was out for the three-game weekend set, and he could return soon, which could limit Crawford’s playing time. However, he’s viewed as a piece of the future of the Mariners, so they should keep him in the lineup, possibly in place of the struggling Tim Beckham. If Crawford hits second, he will be a great bargain at this price Monday and remains an intriguing player to monitor going forward.
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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.