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FanDuel MLB Bargains: Monday

by Brad Johnson
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

When looking at “bargains” on FanDuel, we'll typically focus on hitters who are $3,200 or lower. In general, we'll only highlight players at the top end of that scale if they have star potential.


We have nine games on this final Monday of the 2017 season. Yu Darvish, Aaron Nola, and Zack Godley headline the slate. I suppose you're here for a couple bargains to slot with them.


Please note, these player picks were organized early in the day. For MLB contests, always check lineups and weather closer to game time. Rain, wind, or unexpected managerial decisions could open up additional sources of value. Be sure to keep an eye on the MLB Headlines and Injuries desk.


On to the bargain plays...


1 – A.J. Cole – SP – Washington (FanDuel $6,600)


I fully recommend selecting a quality pitcher today. Cole is barely viable because he sometimes posts a healthy strikeout rate over six innings. Those are his best outings, and they top out around 30 points. Cole has improved some facets of his game this season, most notably his fastball velocity. It's up to 93 mph. He has a long track record of low walk rates despite 4.85 BB/9 this season. Although he has a decent 4.43 ERA, estimators don't care for his work (5.38 FIP, 5.38 xFIP).


2 – Austin Barnes – C – Los Angeles (FanDuel $2,300)


“Los Angeles” is the keyword today. The Dodgers are set to face mediocre southpaw Travis Wood. Barnes regularly starts against left-handed pitchers. He's having a superb season. His .284/.407/.471 batting line includes a little bit of everything. He's going deep at a 20 homer pace. He's also on pace for 10 steals. The mix of power, on base skills, and high contact rate makes for a high floor, high ceiling combination. He's worth well over his $2,300 price tag.


3 – Albert Pujols – 1B – Los Angeles (FanDuel $2,900)

4 – Brandon Phillips – 2B – Los Angeles (FanDuel $3,000)

5 – Luis Valbuena – 3B – Los Angeles (FanDuel $2,800)


The “other” Los Angeles has a valuable matchup tonight too. The Angels are visiting James Shields at Guaranteed Rate Park. Shields is one of the most homer prone pitchers – he's allowed 2.13 HR/9 after coughing up 1.98 HR/9 last year. Chicago's stadium is also extremely power friendly. Not only can we look for power, the White Sox catchers are terrible at gunning down runners.


Pujols is a volatile multi-homer threat. Valbuena offers a similar profile. You're looking for all or nothing from them. Valbuena has 15 home runs in 183 plate appearances since the All Star Break. He also has a .179 BABIP and a .204/.306/.541 batting line over that span. Phillips offers a completely different value proposition. He's a high average, low OBP hitter. Phillips has 11 home runs and 11 stolen bases – he could contribute in either way tonight.


6 – Enrique Hernandez – SS – Los Angeles (FanDuel $2,200)


Switching back to the National League, Hernandez has massive platoon splits. He's batting .262/.359/.579 against left-handed pitchers. Wood also has a long history of poor numbers against right-handed hitters. Of Hernandez's 38 hits against southpaws, 24 have gone for extra bases. That'll help fuel the ol' point total. Just beware of the middle and late innings. He completely disappears versus same-handed pitching.


7 – Kole Calhoun – OF – Los Angeles (FanDuel $3,100)


Calhoun has regained his spot atop the Angels lineup just in time for this juicy matchup in Chicago. Even in the favorable setting, he's a little pricey for what you get. Calhoun doesn't run, and his power is rather unimpressive. His best attribute is plate discipline - he'll make the opposing pitcher work. Since the start of August, he's hit .276/.381/.436 in 194 plate appearances. That's fairly typical production from Calhoun.


8 – Odubel Herrera – OF – Philadelphia (FanDuel $2,900)


Oh look, a player who isn't from a Los Angeles-based club. While I recommended Cole earlier, I'd much rather consider a Phillies stack. Herrera is in a 0-for-16 slump. Prior to this little rough patch, he'd been hitting .334/.381/.553 (.402 BABIP) in 315 plate appearances since the start of June. I'm looking for an instant rebound. He rested yesterday, making it likely he'll play today.


9 – Jose Martinez – OF – St. Louis (FanDuel $2,800)


Since the start of August, Jon Lester has a 6.81 ERA in eight starts (39.2 innings). His velocity is well below his career norms, and right-handed hitters have posted a robust .271/.346/.464 batting line against him this season. Martinez has his own wacky platoon splits. Check out his .414/.493/.862 line in 67 plate appearances. It's a tiny sample, but the situation is very favorable. He'll almost certainly bat cleanup.  

Brad Johnson

You can read more from Brad Johnson on NBC Sports Edge, FanGraphs, and RotoFanatic. Find him on Patreon and Twitter @BaseballATeam.