Welcome to MLB DFS Bargains. We’ll split the analysis into three groups: very cheap, mid-tier, and expensive. A greater emphasis will be placed on the lower end of the price scale.
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.
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Fourteen games are in the main slate tonight.
DIRT CHEAP BARGAINS
Jaime Barria – SP – Los Angeles Angels (vs Detroit Tigers)
A pitcher with a 6.63 ERA is usually somebody to avoid in DFS. In Barria’s case, it looks like a little small sample misfortune. Statistical estimators think he’s more of a 4.80 ERA guy. While that’s hardly encouraging in most matchups, a pairing against the lowly Tigers looks rather attractive. Barria, a right-hander, records about a strikeout per inning. The Tigers are especially terrible against righties.
VanMeter was one of the earliest minor league success stories this season. Unfortunately, it’s taken until recently for him to crack a regular role in the Reds lineup. He’s on an especially torrid mini-streak. Since making a start on July 20, he’s batting .500/.542/1.091 with four home runs in 24 plate appearances – mostly as the fifth hitter in the lineup. With power, contact skills, plate discipline, and a useful lineup role at homer friendly Great American Ballpark, VanMeter is an upper-mid-tier asset priced like a bargain.
Regular readers of this column know I like to look for fly ball hitters against ground ball pitchers (or vice versa). Biggio has such a matchup tonight. While it’s a shame it’ll be played at spacious Kauffman Stadium, there is still plenty of scope for a multi-homer game from an inexpensive bargain target. Biggio has posted fairly tepid stats to date, but his peripherals remain extremely exciting. In addition to possessing perhaps the best plate discipline in the league, nearly half of his contact is either a fly ball or classified as “hard.” Often both!
Dozier has a long reputation as a lefty masher. Sure enough, he’s batting .325/.404/.602 against southpaws this season. He also has a long history of waking up in the second half of the season. Since mid-June, he’s batting .263/.387/.505 in 119 plate appearances with nearly as many walks as strikeouts. Keuchel shook off a few months of rust with rapidity. However, he too has career-long platoon issues. It’s not that he’s bad against right-handed hitters – he’s just merely decent. Dozier, a fly ball hitter, should enjoy facing a ground ball pitcher.
MID-TIER MUST PLAYS
We’ve been getting extremely affordable Verdugo shares for at least a week now. Once again, he’s a near must-play. This time, he’s visiting Coors Field. Verdugo’s combination of traits – frequent hard contact, some pop, and acceptable plate discipline add up to a winner at sea level. Throw in a mile of elevation and this looks like the top bargain in the entire slate. I will note that Gray has pitched surprisingly well at home this season.
HIGH PRICED VALUES
Surprise? As sometimes happens with Mike Trout, the top priced hitter is also a massive bargain tonight. Bellinger is extremely likely to hit a home run against Gray and the bad Rockies bullpen – close to a 50 percent chance. He’s not a one-trick pony either. As we all know, he can fill up the score card in a number of ways. If there’s a downside to these Dodgers bargains, it’s that they’re so obvious. Ownership rates could be so high as to encourage a more contrarian approach – such as Rockies hitters against Kenta Maeda.