Welcome to my daily MLB article for FantasyDraft’s LockerRoom! Here you will find a breakdown for my favorite low budget MLB players for tonight’s main slate. Each article will focus on my favorite low salary starting Pitcher and my 3 favorite low salary batters. Although the title of the article is MLB Punt Plays, like the PGA Punt Plays written by another analyst of our DFS Karma team, they aren’t your traditional “Punts”. I truly feel that each player I include in this article is in a great individual spot and will allow you to fit in some of the other higher priced players. To ensure my players are always light on salary, my Pitcher will have a cap of $14,000 and each batter will be capped at $7,000 in salary.
P: Luis Castillo ($14,400)- Luis Castillo burst onto the scene a season ago, and he just hasn’t gotten off to a great start this season. He’s been getting pretty unlucky, his ERA sits at 7.31 compared to is 3.84 SIERA though his velocity is down a little bit as well. It’s mainly been the lefties that have killed him, and with Christian Yelich on the DL and Eric Thames exiting yesterday’s game early (monitor whether or not he’s playing) that really only leaves Travis Shaw to be scared of from the left side in the Brewers order. His price reflects his rough start, but he is a much better pitcher than that and he has strikeout ability. If Thames ends up sitting out this game as well that makes the matchup enticing enough to use Castillo as an SP2.
INF: C.J. Cron ($6,300)- C.J. Cron isn’t normally the type of player I like to use in DFS, but he gets everyone’s dream matchup with Martin Perez tonight. Perez is frustrating to stack against given his knack for generating ground balls, but he was worse over the second half of 2017 and he’s given up 11 earned runs in 8.1 innings to start 2018. Normally whatever team is playing against Perez jumps to the top of everyone’s DFS board for that day, but the case is different with the Rays. They are not a good team, and with them seemingly “tanking” and trading away some of their only good offensive players they are even more watered down than usual. Cron strikes out a lot, but he does have power and he posted a .267 ISO against southpaws in 2017. He has a 45% fly ball rate so far this season and I would like to get at least some exposure to the Rays offense against Perez.
OF: Brandon Nimmo ($5,600)- Jeremy Hellickson was not good last season, he posted a 5.37 SIERA and a 13% strikeout rate across 30 starts for the Orioles and Phillies. He will draw the start for the Nationals tonight, however, so we don’t have to see every lefty on the Mets maul A.J. Cole. HellBoy gave up over 2 HR/9 to left-handed batters a season ago so I’m hoping the Mets slot Nimmo towards the top of the order again today. His numbers were good against righties last season (.377 wOBA, .404 OBP) and he, like the entire Mets team, has been hot to start the season. He homered in yesterday’s game and he has a 46% hard contact rate to start the season. If he’s in the lineup, he’s one of my favorite value plays.
UTIL: Steve Pearce ($5,600)- Pearce has routinely hit near the top of the Blue Jays order against left-handed pitchers this season so I expect that trend to continue tonight against Eric Skoglund. The Blue Jays figure to be one of the more popular teams to stack tonight, they opened as -170 favorites in Vegas and have since jumped to -206. Skoglund allowed 40% hard hits to right-handed batters a season ago and Pearce has decent pop (.230 ISO) against southpaws. Like Cron and the Rays, it’s nice to get cheap exposure to the offenses that are in the best spots especially for cash games.
wOBA- Weighted on-base average
ISO- Isolated power
SIERA- Skill-interactive earned run average
xFIP- Expected fielding independent
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)