Major League Baseball starts the last full week of April with nine games on the slate for tonight. Six of the 9 games feature divisional matchups including a rivalry series between the Cubs and Pirates as well as the Giants and Dodgers meeting for the first time this season. There are lots of ways to build your roster tonight with 18 teams in play, but many of them may require you to fill a roster spot with a cheap play. Each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I identify my favorite bargain values highlighting two starting pitchers under $8K and three hitters under $3.5K. Here are the players who don’t cost a lot, but who can still help boost your team to a strong finish this Monday night:
Amir Garrett – SP – CIN @ MIL – $6,700 – Garrett has ben quite the surprise to start the season, but the Reds’ rookie has risen to every challenge he has faced so far producing excellent results. Garrett enters tonight’s start 2-1 with a 1.83 ERA and 21 strikeouts compared to only three walks in his 19.2 innings. He took a hard-luck loss his last time out, but he was still able to produce a season-high 31 DKFP since he fanned 12 Orioles.
Tonight, Garrett takes on the Brewers in Milwaukee. It could be a tough matchup, but it’s probably his least challenging start on paper since he has already beaten both the Cardinals and Pirates on the road and shut down the O’s powerful bats in his last outing. He’s extremely affordable tonight, and he’ll be an absolute steal if he continues dealing like he has been so far this season.
Chad Kuhl – SP – PIT vs CHC – $7,000 – The other bargain pitcher to check out tonight comes from the other NL Central showdown. The Pirates swept the Cubs in Chicago last week, and they’ll host them tonight as they send Chad Kuhl to the mound to make his fourth start of the season. Kuhl didn’t face the Cubs in their last series, but he has looked good in the early going.
Kuhl comes into tonight 1-1 with a 2.60 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. He has just 14 strikeouts in his 17.1 innings, but he has held his opponent to two earned runs or fewer in each of his three starts. He walked six Braves in his first start, but he has looked much sharper with a 9:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his last two starts. He doesn’t have quite as high a ceiling as Garrett, and his matchup makes him a little riskier. However, he’s definitely the second-best play under $8K tonight for me.
David Freese – 3B – PIT vs. CHC – $3,200 – Another affordable Pirate to take a look at tonight is Freese who is one of the few value bats who hits in the middle of the lineup. Mostly batting fourth or fifth, Freese is off to a .315 start to the year with a healthy .952 OPS.
He is 5-15 with a home run this year against lefties like Cubs’ starter Brett Anderson, and last year had a solid .337 average with a .962 OPS against southpaws. Anderson was shelled by the Brewers in his last start, so the Pirates’ lineup is a good one to check for potential value tonight.
Kiké Hernández – 3B/OF – LAD @ SF – $2,600 – Hernández has made the most of his limited opportunities this season, and he may be lined up for an extended chance to play since injuries are piling up for LA. Joc Pederson was forced to leave yesterday’s game with a groin injury, Justin Turner has been playing through a hand injury, and Logan Forsythe is already on the DL.
Hernández replaced Pederson and singled in his only at-bat yesterday afternoon to raise his average to .286 (8-28) this season. Seven of those eight hits have gone for extra bases including a pair of homers, four doubles and a triple. He has been hitting leadoff at times and could be a great value tonight if he’s atop the Dodgers’ lineup against the struggling Matt Cain and the Giants.
Kevin Pillar – OF – TOR @ LAA – $3,200 – Pillar has moved into the leadoff spot for Toronto and is 15-40 (.375) when hitting in that position including 4 of his 5 doubles and all three of his homers coming from that spot in the lineup. He has a crazy 1.105 OPS when hitting leadoff.
Pillar is averaging double-digit DKFP over his last ten games and has posted 16 DKFP in each of his last two games against the Angels in this series. He and the Blue Jays can take 3 of 4 from the Halo’s if they can get to Nolasco tonight.
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.