All 30 Major League Baseball teams are scheduled to be in action on tonight’s massive 15-game slate. To help you find the perfect low-cost fillers who can still produce, check out these two bargain pitchers (under $8K) and three bargain hitters (under $3.5K) who make sense for this Friday.
Patrick Corbin – ARI vs. PHI – $7,600
The Diamondbacks offense is phenomenal at home averaging almost 6.5 runs per game while the Phillies average the third-fewest runs per game overall and the second-fewest on the road. It should be a great matchup for Corbin who will be pitching on six days of rest since beating Philadelphia in his last start. Last Friday, Corbin posted 20.5 DKFP allowing two earned runs in six innings while striking out five.
Corbin’s overall numbers are a little scary since he has a 5.19 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP, but he has been much better at home where he is 5-1 with a 3.45 ERA. He averages about a strikeout-per-inning at Chase Field and his strikeout rate has been higher lately as he has fanned 17 in 16.2 innings this month. Given a great matchup against the Phillies, he has a good shot for another win at home making him the most solid sub-$8K play on the mound tonight.
Trevor Bauer – CLE vs. MIN – $7,100
Bauer will be making his fourth start of the season against the Twins who seem to play the Indians every weekend in the AL Central. Bauer has gone 3-0 against the Twins in his first three starts against them posting a 3.26 ERA. He has held them to just 14 hits in 19.1 innings and a .206 batting average. He has a 3.26 ERA in those three starts against Minnesota and finished with 27.6 DKFP when he faced them last Sunday at Target Field.
Since he has a high strikeout rate, Bauer has a high ceiling, but his 5.55 ERA and 1.43 WHIP do make him risky. He hasn’t found the same success as Corbin at home going 3-1 with a 5.14 ERA at Progressive Field, but he has a higher ceiling since he has 46 Ks in 35 innings when pitching in Cleveland. He’ll be opposed by Adalberto Mejía who has a 6.52 ERA this month and is 0-1 this season against the Tribe.
Seth Smith – OF – BAL @ TB – $3,400
Smith and the Orioles are available at a bit of a discount tonight since they’re facing the highest-priced pitcher on the slate tonight: Chris Archer. Smith has had no issues against Archer in the past, though, going 4-10 off the Rays’ ace with three doubles, two RBI and a pair of walks. He comes into tonight’s matchup with some nice momentum after a strong homestand and usually enjoys hitting at Tropicana Field where he has an .897 OPS over the last three seasons.
While he isn’t the prototypical leadoff hitter since he doesn’t steal bases, Smith has hit leadoff most of the year for Buck Showalter and has a .353 OBP from the top spot of the order. He has put together a solid June going 14-51 (.275) with four home runs this month helping him to a .939 June OPS. Look for Smith to get things started against Archer tonight, and since he gets extra at-bats at the top of the order I think he’s the safest play of the day in the outfield for under $3.5K.
Mike Napoli – 1B – TEX @ NYY – $3,300
If you don’t mind taking some risk in your bargain bin purchase, check out Napoli who is sometimes a boom-or-bust play, but he can definitely produce big numbers when he’s in the groove. Napoli hit his third homer of the month in Thursday’s win against the Blue Jays, and he now has 14 home runs and 32 RBI on the year in 58 games. He’s hitting just .201 but has a .709 OPS.
Napoli has hit safely in three straight games as the Rangers head to the Bronx to face the Yankees this weekend. The slugger has been a Yankee-killer throughout his career hitting .300 against New York in over 250 career at-bats. He has a 1.001 career OPS against New York and a career OPS of .965 at Yankee Stadium. He also has a nice history against tonight’s starter Masahiro Tanaka who he has lit up going 7-13 (.538) with three doubles, two homers and a 1.878 OPS.
Kiké Hernández – 2B/OF – LAD vs. COL – $3,100
Getting his usual start against lefties, Hernández connected on his seventh homer of the year last night giving him 22 RBI to go with a solid .800 OPS. Hernández will likely return to the lineup tonight since the Rockies will start lefty Kyle Freeland as they open a series against their NL West rivals.
Hernández has a 1.092 OPS against lefties this season with six of his seven homers coming off southpaws against whom he is hitting .279 (compared to just .193 against righties). Hernández had been struggling a bit in June, but last night’s homer could help him get going in a very productive Dodgers’ lineup. Hernández is 0-3 with a walk in the past against Freeland, but he’s a very affordable and attractive play tonight.
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