5 Daily Fantasy Baseball Value Plays for 6/20/19
With production being highly variable on a night-to-night basis, daily fantasy baseball plays a bit differently than other sports.
An 0-for-4 dud from a chalky high-priced slugger is a lot more common than a total dud from a top-priced NBA player or even than a stinker from a top quarterback or running back.
That means that it's not uncommon for value plays to end up doing the heavy lifting in carrying your lineup. The fact that they can be the difference between a good and a great lineup isn't much different than other sports, but value plays being able to make up for a whiff on a high-priced play completely is somewhat unique.
Let's get right into it and take a look at the top value options on today's slate.
Jake Cave, OF, Minnesota Twins ($2,200)
Sparkman's 42 2/3 major league innings this season are the biggest sample we've seen from him at this level, and he's struggled to the tune of an ugly 5.24 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA). That gives him a career average of 5.01 across 82 big league innings.
Jake Cave has struggled through 60 big league plate appearances this season, but considering his .388 wOBA and .231 ISO over 150 at the Triple-A level, we can probably expect a bounce-back from him.
His 2019 batted-ball numbers are awful, with a 72.7% ground-ball rate, but he held that under 50% in the majors last season, as well as at the Triple-A level in both 2018 and 2019, so we can expect serious regression on that front.
He also gets a big boost with the platoon advantage, as over 286 plate appearances against major league righties he has turned a 36.9% hard-hit and tiny 6.3% soft-hit rate into a viable .336 wOBA and .191 ISO.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Toronto Blue Jays ($2,800)
Vlad Jr. hasn't really lived up to the hype in his debut season with the Toronto Blue Jays, but don't let that undermine the impressive numbers he has posted.
A .323 wOBA and .182 ISO are both fine (if unexciting) marks, and there's plenty of room for those to improve. He's flexing a 40.2% hard-hit rate with a 34.8% fly-ball rate, and per Baseball Savant he has an expected wOBA of .362 while ranking 70th percentile or better in all of average, exit velocity, hard-hit rate, expected wOBA and expected slugging percentage.
Los Angeles Angels southpaw Jose Suarez will take the mound tonight. Suarez has a 5.09 SIERA over 16 major league innings and 5.84 xFIP over 23 Triple-A innings in 2019 and only managed a 4.54 xFIP in 17 Triple-A starts in 2018, so we can expect this matchup to be a boon for Toronto bats.
Eric Thames, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers ($2,700)
Thames may not be a consistent fantasy producer, but his upside against right-handed pitching can be tough to ignore, especially when he's up against a righty like Tanner Roark.
Roark has a middling 4.49 SIERA on the year, and he has a long track record of struggles against left-handed hitters. This year's 6.38 xFIP in the split is especially egregious, but he also hasn't posted anything better than 4.50 since his 2013 rookie season, with marks up above 5.00 in two of the last four years.
Thames has a hefty .366 wOBA and .252 ISO over 161 plate appearances against right-handed pitching this year, and since he returned to the majors in 2017 has racked up a .370 wOBA and .274 ISO in the split.
Ryan Braun, OF, Milwaukee Brewers ($2,900)
Sticking with the Milwaukee Brewers here, Braun may not have the platoon advantage, but that shouldn't scare you off with such a low price-tag.
Roark hasn't exactly been invincible against right-handed bats this year, giving up a 40.9% hard-hit and 12.2% soft-hit rate. He seems to be getting really lucky, with only a 2.9% home-run-to-fly-ball rate, which is way down from a 13.0% rate over the last four seasons. That 13.0% came with much weaker contact, too, with 24.0% hard-hits and 22.6% soft-hits. The long balls are going to start coming, and Roark's numbers against righties will plummet accordingly.
Braun is no stranger to success in same-sided matchups either, with a .350 wOBA in the split this season and an ISO of at least .180 against righties every year since 2015.
Derek Dietrich, 2B, Cincinnati Reds ($2,800)
A terrible June (.251 wOBA) has driven Dietrich's price way down, but don't let recency bias sour you on him too much.
Despite the struggles this month he's still showing an outstanding .383 wOBA and .364 ISO over 196 plate appearances this season. He was bound to be hit with regression -- a 29.5% HR/FB rate is not sustainable, but considering his career-high marks in both hard-hit (41.9%) and fly-ball rate (49.6%), his improved production in 2019 can't be simply dismissed as a fluke either.
He's especially easy to like when he has the platoon advantage like he does tonight as well. Dating back to 2015 he has made over 1500 plate appearances against righties, racking up a .350 wOBA and .200 ISO. Those marks obviously don't live up to that hot start from 2019, but they're more than good enough to offer plenty of appeal for sub-$3,000 salary.
Milwaukee Brewers righty Jimmy Nelson showed some real promise in 2017 before missing the entirety of the 2018 season due to injury. His return has not been a triumphant one, with a 16.2% walk rate over two starts, getting shelled for 4 earned runs in each.
Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.