3 MLB FanDuel Value Plays to Target on Thursday 5/12/22
With production being highly variable on a night-to-night basis, daily fantasy baseball plays a bit differently than other sports.
As a result of this, the primary method of selecting hitters is to "stack" certain teams in good spots to produce. Most of the top stacks on a given day come with hefty salaries. In addition to that, a vast majority of pitchers with the upside to win tournaments are high-salaried hurlers.
Therefore, crushing your value plays -- whether it be a pitcher unexpectedly piling up strikeouts or a low-salaried batter racking up points -- can be the secret sauce to taking down a tournament.
Which budget options stand out today on FanDuel?
Dan Vogelbach, 1B, Pittsburgh Pirates ($2,800)
Connor Overton's solid start may sway the masses off of the Pirates tonight. I'm not sure it should.
With a 3.75 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA), even Overton's peripheral ERA predictors are solid. However, there are two attributes in his profile that still make me feel good about targeting him. He doesn't generate many whiffs (5.3% swinging-strike rate), and a 43.3% hard-hit rate is higher than you'd hope for a low-whiff hurler.
With a 4.22 implied team total, the Buccos are a sneaky stack on this small four-game slate. As one could guess, there are plenty of value sticks in this pedestrian lineup, but big Dan Vogelbach stands out.
Vogelbach has brought to Pittsburgh the signature trait of his career -- mashing right-handed pitching. He's posted 147 weighted runs created plus (wRC+) and a whopping .264 isolated power (ISO) against them in 81 plate appearances this season.
Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, Ben Gamel, and Diego Castillo are also below $3,000 in the heart of the Pirates' order, so you'll have no problem pairing them with Dylan Cease.
Jonah Heim, C, Texas Rangers ($2,500)
Let's try this again.
Jonah Heim got the night off on Wednesday, throwing a wrench into the plan to use him as a value plug on last night's slate. However, he's almost assuredly back on Thursday with an equally good matchup.
Heim has arguably been the best bat in the Rangers lineup besides Corey Seager. The switch-hitter has a .780 on-base plus slugging (OPS) against righties, and that mark is an absurd 1.761 against southpaws.
That flexibility should be nice today against Kansas City. The Royals are calling up Jon Heasley to make today's start from AAA Omaha. His 4.44 ERA in Omaha this season isn't noteworthy, and he's only reached the sixth inning once in six starts this season. Therefore, we'll also likely see plenty of a Royals 'pen that holds the ninth-highest expected fielding independent pitching (xFIP) mark in MLB (3.95).
With low-quality arms on the horizon, Texas is a solid value stack. Heim, Kole Calhoun, and Brad Miller are all below $3,000 in salary, and Seager and Marcus Semien are just right above that mark.
Emmanuel Rivera, 3B, Kansas City Royals ($2,400)
Something's got to give on the other side of that matchup.
There's no doubt the Royals are terrible against left-handed pitching. They have bottom-five marks in wRC+ (81) and ISO (.095) against southpaws. But, Taylor Hearn isn't exactly a shutdown lefty, either.
Hearn limits flyballs (26.2% overall), but righties are still making excellent contact against him, posting a 46.7% hard-hit rate. Fewer of those line drives will find gloves moving forward.
K.C. posted eight runs in Texas last night, which was basically an entire week for them in April. Their offensive renaissance of late has to do with some of their young call-ups, including Emmanuel Rivera.
In 18 plate appearances against lefties, Rivera has tagged them for 200 wRC+ and a 1.007 OPS. He's been a bright spot so far.
With Salvador Perez the highest-salaried player (and a bargain) at $3,000, this lineup is a green light to reach one of Thursday's aces if you believe in their turnaround started last night.