First post here in a long time, though I've certainly been playing. In fact I had my biggest GPP win ever and won a couple thousand in the FanDuel shot last week and also had a nice 2nd place finish to go along with some terrible days as well. I had stopped writing my NBA value blog because the playoffs have meant there's only 1 or 2 GOOD value plays each day, and everybody knows who they are(for example, I'm sure the herd will be on Biyombo today). However I also play MLB, and I always have an eye on value. One big pitfall of me trying to write about MLB values is that sometimes the best values and plays are the last minute scratches and unexpected lineup changes. Keep your eye on those, as it's often a good way to get a good value play that fewer people own. I had some good fortune playing Alex Presley in this situation when Domingo Santana was a late scratch the other day.
With that being said, I certainly have picks that I come up with well in advance every day and I'm hear to share some of those with you. These won't generally be "value" picks as I did with NBA but I'll try to stick to more contrarian picks. I often find myself keying in on guys that others ignore, and it's never without reason. As an example, I was 100% locked in with Josh Reddick yesterday and was shocked to see him at only 5.5% owned in the Grand Slam on FanDuel. I clearly have a little different perspective than others so here goes:
- Jose Fernandez $10,800 - As I said, I like to play as contrarian as possible in MLB DFS, but when looking at pitcher today I don't think you want to get too cute here. Vegas has the Marlins as a whooping 69% favorite to win this game against a struggling Wily Peralta. The game is indoors. The Brewers strike out a ton, and are particularly bad against RHP. Lucroy has been hot, but he's not even in the lineup today and I'm always a bit worried by Braun, but this is not a deep lineup he'll be facing. The top 3 hitters are all decent(Villar, Presley, Braun) but after that it's strikeout city. About the only thing I don't love is that Fernandez rarely goes over 100 pitches as the Marlins try to keep him healthy. Also, he's yet to pitch into the 7th both because of his pitch count issues AND his control issues. The strikeouts though completely null this concern for me. Otherwise, considering his price isn't THAT high, I think you can safely lock in Fernandez as your SP and worry about other positions today, even if he is the highest owned. The only other guy I like much at all is Steven Matz, but he finds himself much less likely to get the W even if he has a nice game, and only saves you $1100 which just isn't worth it IMO.
- Josh Phegley $2100 - Catcher is a terrible position today. You could go with a higher priced option, especially in a stack such as Vogt, Castillo, McCann, or Hundley if they get the starts, but Phegley is in the lineup today and while it's an EXTREMELY limited sample size he is 2-2 with 2 doubles and a walk vs Buchholz in his short career so far and is a better hitter than most realize. He's yet to homer this season which is bound to change soon enough as he possesses great power and would be starting on most teams that don't already have a Steven Vogt on the team. At near minimum salary, let Phegley help you fit some big hitters in other spots.
- (late addition) Alex Avila $2000 - He's back from the disabled list and batting 8th. My interest in him here is simple and provides a nice alternative to Phegley. In a fairly large sample Avila is 7-18 off of Colby Lewis with 2HR, 6BB, and a 1.319OPS. I tend to not get too BvP happy but that's a decent sample size of 24 PA and at dead minimum value he could be a great value today.
- Justin Smoak $2300 - Like catcher, I don't love many first basemen today. There's several I like(Justin Bour is my 2nd value pick for sure) but I think Smoak makes for a great contrarian play as I doubt many people are on him, but they should be. He's been getting hot as of late and he's going to be facing Jake Peavy who served up 4HR in his last start and looks like he's about ready for retirement honestly. While playing in AT&T park should often scare you off there's a 10mph wind blowing out to center field and Smoak isn't known for hitting cheapies.
- Eric Hosmer $3500 - If you've got a litter more cash to spend up with, I like Hosmer quite a bit here vs. Nova. His price doesn't yet reflect how hot he's been at the plate and this is a great spot for him with the short porch in right field at Yankee stadium. If you have the cash, go for it.
- Derek Dietrich $2700 - Fade Dietrich at your own risk. He's batting leadoff against a sub par pitcher in a game that could easily get out of hand. Dietrich will be one of my few full on locks of the night even with red hot Brandon Phillips facing a lefty. Just a few weeks ago Dietrich put up 28.2FDP against Peralta, and while he may not repeat that, I don't need him to to be a great value here. There's actually plenty of plays I like at 2B but this is just too good to pass up.
- Jung-Ho Kang $3000 - Kang clobbered 2HR in his season debut the other day and now faces Dan Straily, who probably should be a career AAA pitcher. Straily has been a bit better this year but is still a pitcher prone to giving up the long ball, and Kang has shown great power since hitting the major leagues, especially towards the end of last year.
- Nolan Arenado $5200 - Arenado is far from a bargain at $5200 but you very well may have leftover cash to spend if you take some of the great values today. Playing in Coors field against a pitcher who has struggled to get major league hitters out in his short career so far, Arenado makes for an Elite high price play today in the middle of the Colorado batting order.
- Zack Cozart $3600 - He's a little pricier than I'd like him to be, but batting leadoff and with great splits and facing a mediocre left hander he's probably my favorite play at the position. He's only 3-12 lifetime against Niese but I feel like he's gotten better while Niese has declined. Also Cozart is hot, which is part of why I'm gravitating towards him today.
- Trevor Story $4500 - Similar to Arenado, Story is just in a great spot here. Archie Bradley hasn't shown he can get major league outs, and the condition in Coors field always excellent. Story hasn't been in the majors long but he's actually shown reverse splits so far vs. RHP. The price is high but if you can afford him he's my favorite high priced SS today.
- Billy Hamilton $2600 - His price is just way too low, and he hits lefties well. Always a SB threat I like his chances of getting on base today and scoring some runs even if he doesn't get the stolen bases you might crave.
- Josh Reddick $3000 - Reddick is a streaky player and he's on a great streak right now. Facing a mediocre RHP who in a limited sample size he's had a 1.389OPS against and in Boston with the wind blowing out I love his chances of going yard today. In fact, I like the A's lefties in general quite a bit, but he's my favorite of the bunch.
- Gregory Polanco $3200 - Facing Straily is favorable to begin with, and like Reddick his price is just too low for what he provides batting 3rd in the middle of an order that's likely to score some runs today.
- Bryce Harper $4500 - Harper's price is at least in my opinion...too low at $4500. This is a great matchup for him and while he got really cold he's starting to heat up again. Still easily the best hitter in the national league, don't sleep on Harper today. He's already homered off of Sanchez before and today is a great chance to take him yard again.
- Carlos Gonzalez $3900 - The owner of some the most historically huge home/road splits CarGon is finally out of SD and SF and back at home hitting 3rd against a rather bad pitcher. The Story/Gonzalez/Arenado stack will likely be a popular one but that's no reason you should ignore it.