The final day of the season is bound to be wonky, right? Sure enough, Clayton Kershaw looks like the top pitcher of the day, but he’s actually scheduled for an abbreviated outing. Other aces may be used lightly too. An exception is Cole Hamels. The Rangers need a win or an Astros loss to avoid Game 163. They used nine relievers last night. They’re hoping for at least seven frames from Hamels.
The best bargain pitcher is J.A. Happ, but he’s not super cheap at $7,300. He’s opposed by Josh Smith and the Reds at PNC Park. The Pirates need a win or a Cubs loss to ensure home field advantage in the Wild Card game. Happ has a 2.04 ERA and 2.18 FIP since joining the Pirates. He’s changed his pitch usage under pitching coach/genius Ray Searage.
Editor's Note: Play one-day fantasy baseball for cash! FanDuel is hosting an $8,000 league for Sunday's MLB games. It's just $5 to join and first place wins $800. Starts today at 3:05pm ET. Enter now!
DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH
Eric Hosmer – 1B – KAN (FanDuel Price: $3,200)
Hosmer was one of the kings of the bargain bin this season. He often sat right around $3,200 despite a highly productive .299/.364/.461 line, 97 runs, 92 RBI, 18 home runs, and seven stolen bases. He’ll have one more shot to provide DFS value. The Twins are calling upon Ricky Nolasco. The righty’s last start came on May 31. In his only appearance since returning from the disabled list, Nolasco allowed three runs in two innings. A Royals win today will ensure home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Corey Seager – SS – LAD (FanDuel Price: $3,200)
Left-handed reliever Frank Garces will make a start for the Padres today. Garces struggled out of the bullpen with a 5.00 ERA, 7.00 K/9, and 5.00 BB/9 in 36 innings. It’s not going to get any better with a start. Seager doesn’t always play against left-handed pitchers, but he was rested yesterday. I assume he’ll be in the lineup today since he has been named the playoff starter. Garces should give way to the bullpen before five innings.
Anytime Martinez is playing at a park like U.S. Cellular Field, he’s a top pick. If he also costs just $3,200, then you almost have to roster him. He has a volatile matchup with Frankie Montas. The White Sox prospect has a 98 mph fastball and 10.64 K/9 over 11 innings. However, he also has suspect command and a 5.73 ERA. A mistake to Martinez could be sent a long way.
Francisco Cervelli – C – PIT (FanDuel Price: $2,200)
After years of partial seasons, Cervelli has tallied 502 plate appearances and a .296/.371/.402 line. He doesn’t hit for much power or produce many runs, hence his cheap price. However, he’s always an option to reach base multiple times in a game. There’s a chance he won’t start after a night game yesterday. If that’s the case, Montero (listed below) only costs $100 more, and he was rested yesterday.
Derek Dietrich – 3B – MIA (FanDuel Price: $2,200)
The Marlins have another easy matchup against another terrible Phillies pitcher. Dietrich will likely hit fifth against David Buchanan. The righty has struggled mightily this season, and he’s been particularly bad against left-handed hitters (.356/.444/.624). Dietrich also has serious platoon splits. Versus righties, he’s hitting .281/.368/.520 with nine of his 10 home runs.
Seth Smith – OF – SEA (FanDuel Price: $2,200)
Smith generally bats fifth or sixth for the Mariners. While Safeco Field isn’t a great location for left-handed power, he does have a favorable matchup against Chris Bassitt. Smith doesn’t set the world on fire, but he does have a .788 OPS against righties and a .823 OPS against fly ball pitchers. Bassitt isn’t an extreme fly ball guy, but he does walk a fine line between grounders and flies. Smith could power up if Bassitt is leaving the ball up in the zone.
Chris Carter – 1B – HOU (FanDuel Price: $3,100)
When he’s hot, he’s hot. Carter added a couple doubles to his power streak yesterday. Unfortunately, he made base running mistakes that prevented him from scoring. Carter nearly played his way off the roster this season. The streaky power bat is on fire with six home runs and three doubles over his last 34 plate appearances. I consider Robbie Ray to be a neutral matchup.
Brett Lawrie – 3B – OAK (FanDuel Price: $2,900)
DFS picks often come down to splits. We’re looking for players who can outperform their cost. You already knew that (and Game 162 is hardly the time to learn it). Lawrie has a stout .298/.348/.497 slash versus southpaws. He’s hit well in the second half. M’s starter Vidal Nuno also has huge splits – righties have batted .270/.326/.500 with 13 of the 14 home runs allowed by Nuno. As with Smith, Lawrie may have trouble overcoming Safeco Field.
Michael Conforto – OF – NYM (FanDuel Price: $2,600)
Sometimes I’ll list a guy as a gamble even though he feels relatively safe (i.e. Lawrie). Other times, I’m looking at a high ceiling hitter who could do absolutely anything. Conforto’s debut was surprisingly productive. He’s hit .274/.340/.518 with nine home runs over 188 plate appearances. Power was not supposed to be a carrying tool for Conforto. The Mets have hidden him from left-handed pitching, but that won’t be an issue today. Nationals pitcher Tanner Roark has been overwhelmed by left-handed hitters (.299/.365/.521). He’s also been homer prone in general (1.46 HR/9).