Outside of a few marquee aces—it’s Clayton Kershaw and Matt Harvey day—several bottom-shelf pitchers will dazzle on Saturday, creating an array of noteworthy hitter picks.

Whether playing an afternoon or night slate, daily fantasy gamers should have little trouble locating enticing position players. The crowd of mediocre pitchers, however, also means DraftKings contestants should pay up for two high-level options.

Heck, Kershaw and/or Harvey aren’t even essential with Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Wacha playing the strikeout-prone Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs, respectively. Either way, all four of those options cost more than $10,000, so the hitter recommendations won’t highlight Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, Jason Kipnis and other A-list studs.


Danny Espinosa, 2B, Washington Nationals ($3,700) at Philadelphia

Over his erratic career, Danny Espinosa has rarely faltered against left-handed pitchers. The Washington Nationals middle infielder sports a career .277/.348/.466 slash line and 124 weighted runs created plus (wRC+) versus southpaws.

Those skills have come to light this year, during which he’s hitting .333/.415/.521 against his favored opposition. Washington faces lefty Adam Morgan, making his first career start after recording a 4.74 ERA and 1.22 strikeout-to-walk ratio in Triple-A. The untested 25-year-old is ripe for the picking, and Espinosa‘s recent success has awarded him the No. 2 spot in Washington’s lineup.

Still not sold? Look at this mustache. Also, he’s not too expensive at $3,700.


SS Brandon Crawford ($3,900) and Angel Pagan ($3,600), San Francisco Giants vs. Colorado

Facing Chris Rusin’s 5.03 ERA and .296 opposing batting average, a pair of San Francisco Giants stand out as advisable plays.

Brandon Crawford has decimated lefties this season, sporting a 1.028 OPS through 60 plate appearances. While nobody expected this season’s full-scale breakout, he hit .320/.395/.484 off of lefties in 2014, so that facet of his emergence is no fluke.

With Nori Aoki sidelined, Angel Pagan has vaulted to San Francisco’s leadoff spot. Take notice, as he’s a career .282 hitter posting a .410 on-base percentage against southpaws this season. They won’t have the benefit of teeing off the Colorado Rockies hurler at Coors Field, but Crawford and Pagan are cheap enough to target at AT&T Park.


1B David Ortiz ($3,900) and Pablo Sandoval ($3,400), Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay

Rookie Matt Andriese has struggled mightily against left-handed hitters to start his career. They’re crushing him for a .333/.373/.557 slash line and four homers through 76 batters faced. His 3.79 ERA looks better due to a bullpen stint; he has a 4.98 ERA through five starts.

Neither David Ortiz nor Pablo Sandoval have lived up to expectations this year. Both, however, can thank atrocious numbers against lefties. Ortiz has a .284 OPS against them, while the switch-hitting Sandoval carries a horrendous .333 OPS. 

Those failures have drained their price, and it’ll matter if Andriese receives a quick hook. Yet with both under $4,000, see if they inflict damage given at least a couple of plate appearances against the unassuming neophyte.

Alejandro De Aza is also a worthwhile flier at $3,100.


OF Chris Young, New York Yankees ($3,300) at Houston

With the New York Yankees facing lefty Brett Oberholzer, expect Chris Young to get the starting nod. The 31-year-old is hitting .379/.438/.682 against southpaws this season, making him a platoon player to ride whenever he gets the call.


Los Angeles Dodgers at Miami Marlins (RHP Tom Koehler)

The Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball’s best offense against righties, are all suspiciously cheap against Tom Koehler, who enters Saturday with a 4.66 fielding independent pitching (FIP).

Bargains are available across the board, with even Adrian Gonzalez ($4,000) and Joc Pederson ($4,200) costing less than usual. For $3,400, gamers can get Yasmani Grandal’s .902 OPS against righties at catcher after resting on Friday night.

What in the world does Justin Turner need to do to get some attention? If Robinson Cano had Turner’s numbers (.316/.390/.569 and 10 homers), he’d easily cost above $5,000. Yet Turner remains an affordable $3,900 despite often batting third and holding eligibility at second and third base.

He’s also red-hot this month, as noted by the team’s Twitter page before Friday night:

Keep playing Turner until the price reflects his sizzling performance. As usual, Andre Ethier ($3,100) also warrants consideration as a thrifty outfielder. 


SS Jhonny Peralta, St. Louis Cardinals ($3,800) vs. Cubs

Donn Roach will start for the Chicago Cubs tomorrow. Who’s Donn Roach? Good question. Hang on a second…

The 25-year-old righty worked 30.1 innings, almost exclusively out of the bullpen, for the San Diego Padres last season. During that time, he notched a 4.75 ERA, 17 strikeouts and 15 walks, but he’s carrying a lighter 2.29 ERA in Triple-A this year.

He also, however, submitted 33 strikeouts during 82.2 innings. Despite his heavy ground-ball tendencies, the St. Louis Cardinals can rough him up. Among St. Louis hitters, Jhonny Peralta represents the best value at $3,800.

Even in a neutral matchup, a shortstop hitting .300/.358/.485 with 11 homers is a nice play. 


OF A.J. Pollock, Arizona Diamondbacks ($3,800) at San Diego 

Is this a trap? Does DraftKings know something we don’t about A.J. Pollock, who’s hitting .304/.348/.468 with nine homers and 15 steals this year? While a more well-rounded batter against lefties, he generates his power against righties

Is it a Petco Park penalty? The stadium hasn’t suppressed offense much this year, and Goldschmidt didn’t receive a similar price gouge. He’s not marred in a slump, and it certainly shouldn’t be a sign of respect for Andrew Cashner, who has allowed 29 runs (22 earned) in June.


Note: Advanced stats courtesy of FanGraphs.

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