There are 11 games this evening headlined by a Corey Kluber start. Two pitchers stand out as potentially valuable bargains. The most obvious is exciting rookie Luis Severino ($5,300). He has an easy matchup against the Braves at Turner Field. You can safely anticipate about a strikeout per inning from the 21-year-old. As with all young pitchers, there is a high degree of uncertainty surrounding his performance. He certainly has the stuff to dominate major league hitters, but that doesn’t mean he’ll execute today.
If you prefer more of a known quantity, J.A. Happ ($6,900) has a favorable pairing with the Rockies at PNC Park. He manages about 7.00 K/9 while controlling walks. The Rockies are dead last in baseball with a 66 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. They also struggle on the road (81 wRC+).
DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH
Freddie Freeman – 1B – ATL (FanDuel Price: $3,000)
Severino may be the top bargain pick among the pitchers, but that doesn’t mean he’s a lock to perform well. If things do go sideways, you can bet Freeman will be a big part of it. Since returning from the disabled list on August 18, Freeman is hitting .250/.385/.375. Obviously, we’d like to see more power, but he did pop a home run yesterday. Perhaps it’s a sign of more to come.
Jose Reyes – SS – COL (FanDuel Price: $3,000)
Like with Severino, Happ may be a valuable bargain, or he may toss an unimpressive outing. Although the Rockies have been terrible against left-handed pitching, they face plenty of elite southpaws in the NL West (i.e. Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner). Happ is decidedly ordinary. There are also enough hitters in the Colorado lineup who can hit lefties. Reyes is one of them. He bats first or second. He hit one out of PNC Park yesterday, but don’t count on a repeat. You’re looking for multiple hits, stolen bases, and a couple runs scored.
Gregory Polanco – OF – (FanDuel Price: $3,100)
When you read columns like this, there’s one matchup profile you’ll almost never see – a lefty hitter against a lefty pitcher. Polanco has shaken his earlier struggles against southpaws via an adjustment to his swing. He looks to be in the process of a breakout with even more ceiling lying just below the surface. We may be watching his emergence as a regular $4,400 outfielder. Even if you’re concerned about him facing Chris Rusin, the Rockies southpaw will probably be knocked out of the game by the sixth inning. The Colorado bullpen is a disaster. Polanco will have his chances to do damage.
Stephen Vogt – C – OAK (FanDuel Price: $2,500)
Vogt has fallen deep into the bargain bin due to a few slumps. He’s playing fine lately with a .273/.353/.455 slash over his last 15 games. The Athletics are visiting Chase Field and the Diamondbacks this evening. Thoroughly exploitable righty Jhoulys Chacin will take the mound for Arizona. He’s both homer prone and flat out bad. Vogt could easily poke one out of the hitter friendly park. A multi-hit game is also possible.
DJ LeMahieu – 2B – COL (FanDuel Price: $2,900)
LeMahieu is slightly pricey for a “punt.” However, his high floor, modest ceiling skill set fits the profile of a reliable, cheap asset. A high BABIP has driven his success this season, but it’s not entirely a fluke. He’s one of the few hitters in the league who hits the ball to the opposite field with authority. While that hurts his power numbers, a high line drive rate and tiny infield fly rate increases his expected BABIP. Long story short, he’s a high average, high OBP hitter with a solid matchup against Happ.
Chase Headley – 3B – NYY (FanDuel Price: $2,600)
Anyone hoping to catch a power renaissance from Headley has been sorely disappointed. If you set more modest expectations, you’ll find Headley has been performing well since the All Star Break. He’s slashing .316/.386/.434 in the second half with one home run, 13 doubles, 20 runs, and 23 RBI. The run production has led to decent DFS numbers. A matchup against Braves righty Matt Wisler is a plus. The rookie allows a high rate of contact and has mediocre command.
Jonathan Schoop – 2B – BAL (FanDuel Price: $2,600)
Schoop is a frequent gamble pick. The hyper-aggressive hitter has launched 10 home runs in 200 plate appearances. The Orioles are visiting hitter friendly Texas and southpaw Martin Perez. The 24-year-old has yet to allow a home run this season, but it’s only a matter of time. He’s done a good job keeping the ball on the ground, but he’s shown no propensity to strike out hitters. I expect plenty of balls in play from Schoop.
Eugenio Suarez – SS – CIN (FanDuel Price: $2,800)
Another common guest of the gambles section, Suarez offers a powerful profile for a shortstop. He’s hitting .288/.324/.465 on the season with nine home runs. Most of his production has come at his friendly home stadium, but a trip to Miller Park shouldn’t hurt expectations. Matt Garza is coming off a 4.2 inning disaster in which he gave up eight hits, a homer, and six walks.
Josh Reddick – OF – OAK (FanDuel Price: $2,600)
The gamble with Reddick is this – he’s been cold lately. A visit to Phoenix should provide all the warmth he needs. More importantly, he matches up well with Chacin. Reddick is a fly ball hitter while Chacin prefers to keep the ball on the ground. Those opposing skill sets usually favor the hitter. For further incentive, Reddick is hitting .293/.343/.479 on the season against righties.