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.
As is often the case, it's a split action Saturday. Since we're working with only four early games, let's focus our attention on the 10 game main slate. The Red Sox and Rays are playing between the two time slots. Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw headline an interesting crew of pitchers. Kershaw is so underpriced at $10,600 that he should be rostered in 50 percent of GPP lineups (in actuality, it will probably be closer to 30 percent).
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.
Onto the bargain plays...
1 – Ivan Nova – SP – Pittsburgh (FanDuel $7,200)
Nova is the cheapest pitcher I can support using. He's coming off his worst outing since joining the Pirates. The only other time he pitched poorly, he rebounded with a complete game win against the Astros. Today he's opposed by the Nationals. They're a tough assignment but no tougher than Houston. Nova has taken a hyper-aggressive tact in Pittsburgh. He's walked just three hitters in 55.1 innings. As such, he's very susceptible to BABIP fluctuations. Translation: he's volatile.
2 – Cameron Rupp – C – Philadelphia (FanDuel $3,000)
Let's be honest, I prefer Yasmani Grandal ($3,000) versus Chad Bettis, but there are only so many times I can write up the exact same recommendation. Use Grandal against anything right-handed and non-elite.
If you want an alternative to Grandal, Rupp offers decent power against lefties to go with a .328/.366/.642 line. Don't fully buy in to the 1.008 OPS. His .419 BABIP is far from supported by a 10 percent line drive rate. His plate discipline is consistent against righties and lefties – a sign that he may not have any actual split given a sufficient sample size. However, he does have an impressive 40 percent hard hit rate versus southpaws. Rupp will probably bat fifth today. Sean Gilmartin is exploitable.
3 – Tommy Joseph – 1B – Philadelphia (FanDuel $2,300)
Spoiler alert: we're going to be talking about a few Phillies hitters today. While many of them are fantastic bargains, I'd do my best to avoid stacking them. Gilmartin is a mediocre, soft-tossing lefty, but he isn't stretched out. Phillies hitters are liable to only face him once or twice. Unlike Rupp, Joseph's plate discipline improves against southpaws. He has double the walk rate and a lower strikeout rate. His triple slash of .284/.347/.568 is luck neutral (.286 BABIP).
4 – Chase Utley – 2B – Los Angeles (FanDuel $2,700)
As with Grandal at catcher, I still prefer Dee Gordon ($2,700). However, there are only so many ways to say “he's fast.” Utley makes for a solid high floor, medium ceiling alternative. I'm always a little wary of leadoff hitters without multi-steal potential. If you pick Utley, you'll probably want him as part of a Dodgers stack. He's unlikely to produce a big point total without help. Bettis has pitched well lately, and he's running a stark reverse platoon split. His offspeed stuff chews through southpaws. Bettis also has his share of meltdowns.
5 – Maikel Franco – 3B – Philadelphia (FanDuel $2,800)
Franco has hit lefties better than righties, but his splits more closely resemble Rupp than Joseph. On the one hand, Franco's hard hit rate is significantly higher against southpaws. However, his plate discipline shows no difference. He's batting a luck neutral .281/.333/.504. Remember, Franco will probably only get one or two plate appearances against Gilmartin. He usually bats fourth.
6 – Adam Frazier – SS – Pittsburgh (FanDuel $2,000)
Frazier is one of my favorite new players, especially in a 50/50 or cash game scenario where it makes sense to pick high floor, low ceiling players. Frazier doesn't have much power. While he has the speed to steal 15 or 20 bases, he's not exactly Billy Hamilton out there. Instead, the lefty depends on an opposite field, line drive stroke to produce a high batting average and BABIP. Frazier is an opposite-handed DJ LeMahieu at a fraction of the cost. Joe Ross is returning from a lengthy stint on the disabled list. I doubt he'll be sharp.
7 – Jose Peraza – SS – Cincinnati (FanDuel $3,200)
Recently, it seems as though speedsters make up half the bargain plays. The trend continues today. Peraza will face Taylor Jungmann in his return to the big league rotation. Jungmann was hammered earlier in the season, but he since rebounded in Double-A. We'll see how the erratic righty performs tonight. I'm betting on a big day for the Cincinnati offense with Peraza leading the charge.
8 – Miguel Sano – OF – Minnesota (FanDuel $3,100)
Mariners starter Ariel Miranda has solid offspeed stuff. Unfortunately, his fastball leaves much to be desired. Sano doesn't have notable platoon splits, but he can hammer inadequate heaters. With his prodigious raw power, he's is a legitimate multi-homer threat tonight.
9 – Yasmany Tomas – OF – Arizona (FanDuel $2,700)
10 – Rickie Weeks – OF – Arizona (FanDuel $2,100)
Remember a thousand years ago (aka 2014) when Wade Miley was a Diamondback. The southpaw is now on his third team in the last two seasons. Righties have hammered him to the tune of .299/.356/.499 with 21 of his 24 home runs allowed (1.62 HR/9). Camden Yards is far from an ideal home park for Miley.
Tomas is having an interesting season. For all his success with the bat, FanGraphs still has him pegged at precisely 0.0 WAR. He's that bad defensively and on the bases. Luckily, we don't care about defense. Instead, we're looking at his .361/.418/.680 slash versus southpaws complete with a spike in walk rate and a Herculean 46 percent hard hit rate. Today's matchup couldn't be better.
Weeks hasn't started since August – even when lefties are on the bump. The club has been trying to get a look at Mitch Haniger. If Weeks is in the lineup, he usually hits between fourth and sixth against southpaws. Against left-handed pitching, he's batting .284/.368/.642 with big improvements in strikeout, walk, and hard hit rate. It's only 76 plate appearances so don't read too far into his 1.010 OPS.