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FanDuel MLB Bargains: Thursday

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 10 games tonight with David Price and Justin Verlander headlining the pitching slate. Personally, I prefer Verlander to Price since the Tigers will be playing the second game of a doubleheader. Minnesota remains a risk for spotty thunderstorms, but the games have to be played. Keep an eye on the weather reports in case it will affect Verlander's start.


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.


Editor's Note: Special FanDuel offer - Deposit today and you'll get five free entries to NFL beginner contests (up to $50 in value) -- finish anywhere in the top-half of those contests to win cash! .


Onto the bargain plays...


1 – Mike Clevinger – SP – Cleveland (FanDuel $6,000)


Clevinger is still an unfinished product. The Indians righty has the stuff to strike out a batter per inning. Unfortunately, his command remains a work in progress. Now that the Indians have a safe lead in the AL Central, they may be more willing to let Clevinger work beyond the fourth inning. The Royals are a good matchup for the 25-year-old. Their collectively aggressive approach at the plate should help Clevinger avoid free passes.


There are multiple downsides here – he may not throw five innings and/or he may melt down. If it all works out, he'll post about five innings, five strikeouts, and a win - roughly 33 to 42 points.


2 – Yasmani Grandal – C – Los Angeles (FanDuel $2,900)


Grandal remains the catching bargain for me. He checks all the boxes – a solid .223/.217/.488 line versus right-handed pitching, multi-home run power, and a winnable matchup versus Tyler Chatwood. Grandal's greatest flaw is a low batting average, but he more than makes up for it with walks and power.


3 – Albert Pujols – 1B – Los Angeles (FanDuel $3,000)


For the 14th time in his career, Pujols has reached the 30 home run bench mark. His nose for home runs should serve well against Mike Fiers at Minute Maid Park. Both stadium and pitcher are homer friendly, giving Pujols a legitimate shot at the coveted double-dong. If you want an even less popular play with a similar profile, try C.J. Cron for $2,700.


4 – Ryan Schimpf – 2B – San Diego (FanDuel $3,100)


Sometimes the bargain bin settles into patterns. Such is the case with Schimpf and Gordon (below) at second base. Schimpf is a regular home run threat due to high hard hit and fly ball rates. He's basically the keystone version of Grandal, batting .227/.348/.550 against right-handed pitching. Jeff Samardzija has allowed 1.22 HR/9 to left-handed hitters to go with a .273/.327/.475 line. Schimpf's high strikeout rate puts a lot of pressure on him to pop a home run.


5 – Dee Gordon – 2B – Miami (FanDuel $2,600)


If you prefer the high floor alternative, Gordon should have no trouble at all putting five balls in play against Josh Collmenter and a shaky Braves bullpen. The last time he faced the Braves on September 14, Gordon stole three bases. Another multi-hit, multi-steal night could be in the cards. Honestly, he just need one hit and a steal to justify this price.


6 – Jose Reyes – 3B – New York (FanDuel $2,700)


Here's a tip, Phillies starter Adam Morgan isn't nearly as exploitable as he was earlier in the season. He added a new pitch in August. Since then, Morgan has a sub-4.00 ERA to go with good strikeout and walk rates. That's not to say there's no chance he'll meltdown, he just isn't an auto-exploit.


In a small sample, Reyes has hit four home runs in 44 plate appearances against left-handed pitching. It would seem he's generating good leverage from his righty swing. Since it's such a tiny sample, I'm inclined to dismiss the power outburst. Then again, the matchup against Morgan and the Phillies bullpen is desirable. At this price, it's worth rolling the dice.


7 – Adam Frazier – SS – Pittsburgh (FanDuel $2,200)


Not only is Frazier on a near-minimum contract, he's projected to keep pace with the big bats at shortstop. Frazier doesn't have power, but he's a daily multi-hit threat. His opposite field approach and high line drive rate make him comparable to DJ LeMahieu. Frazier is a left-handed hitter, giving him an extra advantage with the high oppo-contact rate. With Josh Harrison and Starling Marte out of the lineup, he bats leadoff most days.


8 – Hunter Pence – OF – San Francisco (FanDuel $2,900)


Since returning from the disabled list on July 30, Pence is batting .286/.342/.429 while batting cleanup. His home run rate is down, but he's otherwise done his job while the rest of the lineup went into hibernation. Pence has the platoon advantage tonight versus Christian Friedrich. The Giants slugger has hit seven of his 12 home runs against southpaws despite taking more than two-thirds of his plate appearances versus righties. Petco Park is tough on right-handed power.


9 – Josh Reddick – OF – Los Angeles (FanDuel $2,900)


Reddick is facing a mediocre righty. Regular readers know this is when we point out his .320/.386/.479 line versus southpaws. Chatwood's greatest strength is keep home runs to a minimum. Reddick is still in a good spot to reach base multiple times and score runs. He usually bats sixth.


10 – Roman Quinn – OF – Philadelphia (FanDuel $2,500)


I wanted to recommend Quinn all last week, but FanDuel was very slow about adding him to the player pool. Now that he's there, the Phillies new second hitter is a daily bargain option. The profile is similar to that of Travis Jankowski. Quinn has a little too much swing-and-miss to be a traditional rabbit like Gordon, but he makes up for it with sneaky pop and elite speed. Seth Lugo shouldn't flummox him too much.

Brad Johnson

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