3 MLB FanDuel Value Plays to Target on Wednesday 5/18/22

Despite the struggles in the box score, Jose Abreu keeps hitting the ball hard. Which other players stand out in Wednesday's bargain bin?

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 can be the secret sauce to taking down a tournament. That could be a low-salaried pitcher piling up strikeouts, or it could be a low-salaried hitter swatting a long ball.

Which budget options stand out today on FanDuel?

Santiago Espinal, SS/2B, Toronto Blue Jays ($2,800)

The Toronto Blue Jays might finally break out tonight.

Shockingly, the Jays have posted just 92 weighted runs created plus (wRC+) against left-handed pitching. On paper, this was the best (or second-best to the Yankees) right-handed dominant lineup in baseball. They've got a supreme chance to improve their numbers Wednesday against Marco Gonzales.

Historically, Gonzales is a low-whiff lefty. That's been no different in 2022 with a paltry 6.5% swinging-strike rate. However, he's lived off limiting hard contact, but he's ceded an above-average 41.4% hard-hit rate this season.

Amazingly, there are plenty of value bats in this scuffling Toronto lineup. Santiago Espinal is absolutely the brightest of them. He's posted a gaudy 1.204 on-base plus slugging (OPS) against southpaws this season.

Beyond him, though, Teoscar Hernandez, Matt Chapman, and Lourdes Gurriel are also at or below the $3,000 mark on FanDuel. In April, it would have been shocking to see the Jays as a value stack against a left-hander, but they are one on Wednesday.

Jose Abreu, 1B, Chicago White Sox ($2,700)

Speaking of shocking, I didn't expect to tab Jose Abreu in this column for a single day this season.

Yet, with just a .285 weighted on-base average (wOBA) and .117 isolated power (ISO), one of the top hitters in the game carries a meager $2,700 salary. Is he broken? Quite the opposite.

Abreu has been -- without argument -- the unluckiest batter in 2022. He's top-10 in all of baseball in hard-hit rate (55.8%) with a decent barrel rate (9.8%). Even with the hefty groundball-to-fly-ball ratio (3:1), he should have more knocks. He is just finding gloves left and right.

He's a value option in one of the top stacks of the slate. The White Sox draw Zack Greinke, whose latest pass through Coors Field actually improved his skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) to 4.98. That's still a poor mark, and Greinke's 6.0% swinging-strike rate would be the lowest of a career dating back to 2004 if it holds.

Even with studs amongst it, this stack can still help you squeeze in an ace. Abreu, Yasmani Grandal, Gavin Sheets, and Andrew Vaughn could all snag a decent spot in Chicago's batting order for this one.

Rafael Ortega, OF, Chicago Cubs ($2,600)

The wheels are falling off the Pittsburgh Pirates' pitching staff going into their series conclusion with Chicago.

Mitch Keller was next in line to start Wednesday's game, but he's performed so poorly they're opting for the bullpen -- including Keller -- instead. Considering it's a 'pen that has the fourth-highest expected fielding independent pitching (xFIP) in baseball (4.33), the Cubbies cut right to the front of tonight's best stacks.

While the bottom of their lineup can be pedestrian, Chicago actually has six possible bats in their lineup with a wRC+ north of 100 against right-handed pitching.

One of them is Rafael Ortega, who has posted a .322 wOBA at the top of the lineup for the Cubs. Ortega's $2,600 salary helps get back to Willson Contreras, but Alfonso Rivas and Frank Schwindel are also options below $3,000 with a little more power than Raffy.

Considering the half-dozen aces on the slate, those low salaries to access the Cubbies' 4.41 implied team total are wonderful.