On a day dominated by pitching, daily fantasy baseball players will distinguish themselves by picking profitable hitters on DraftKings.

It doesn’t take a DFS genius to play Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, Madison Bumgarner or David Price. Don’t fill out a lineup without one of those aces as the anchor, particularly in cash contests. That of course, will compel gamers to get more creative with their sluggers.

With elite pitchers setting the table, the likes of Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, Paul Goldschmidt and Josh Donaldson will prove tougher to work into a budget. (Even at $5,700, Stanton warrants a long look while spending the weekend at Coors Field.) Let’s take a look at some affordable bats for Saturday.


Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals tweaked their rotation with Stephen Strasburg sidelined, causing the Chicago Cubs to all come at user-friendly price tags for Saturday’s bout with Joe Ross. The 22-year-old will make his MLB debut after notching a 2.81 ERA in Double-A.

Although Lance McCullers has recently skipped Triple-A with no repercussions, Ross’ first start presents an interesting opportunity with the Cubs all discounted:

Guys hitting .325/.445/.602 don’t cost $4,700 unless they’re facing a Cy Young-caliber ace. Yet Anthony Rizzo is there for the taking for $900 less than Goldschmidt. Kris Bryant, who has lived up to the hype with an .863 OPS against righties, costs less than 10 third basemen. He’s probably better than the identically priced yet shelved Adrian Beltre and Daniel Murphy. 

For those who can’t choose between the top aces and sluggers, have it all by inserting Junior Lake, who requires a minimal $2,500 investment despite sliding into Jorge Soler’s starting gig. Anyone who wants to stack Chicago must act fast, as the game starts at 12:05 p.m. ET. 


1B Justin Bour ($3,500), Miami Marlins, and OF Brandon Barnes ($3,300), Colorado Rockies

This isn’t to dissuade anyone from using the likes of Stanton, Gordon, Troy Tulowitzki, Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado. David Phelps and Chris Rusin will pitch at Coors, so it’s no secret to target the Colorado Rockies and Miami Marlins. Just be prepared to pay up for almost all of them.

A resounding replacement for the ineffective and injured Michael Morse, Justin Bour is hitting .333/.383/.573 with five homers through 33 games. Facing a weak righty at Coors Field is a dream come true for the lefty raker.

On Colorado’s side, Brandon Barnes is the cheap play if given the start. The 29-year-old has made the most of Coors plate appearances, going 15-for-30 at home while collecting three hits on the road. Leave it to Coors to turn a journeyman into a hit machine.


OF Andrew McCutchen ($4,600) and 1B/3B Pedro Alvarez ($3,300), Pittsburgh Pirates at Atlanta Braves

The Pittsburgh Pirates are weirdly underpriced against the Atlanta Braves’ Julio Teheran, he of the 5.54 fielding independent pitching (FIP). Take advantage with their two top sluggers, a discounted superstar and bargain-bin masher.

Andrew McCutchen‘s struggles are long behind him. Erasing his rough start, the former National League MVP is now hitting .295/.382/.497, yet he costs the same amount as Rajai Davis. While everyone else hopes Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich heat up in Coors Field, take the superstar for $4,600 against a subpar pitcher.

As for Alvarez, he carries a .497 slugging percentage against righties this season, hitting nine homers off of them through 169 plate appearances. Someone with such massive pop is a steal at $3,300.


C James McCann ($3,000), Detroit Tigers at Chicago White Sox

Selecting a catcher is usually as exciting as a tooth cleaning, but there are a few intriguing options on Saturday’s slate. Russell Martin and Salvador Perez are both high-level plays against lefties, and Brian McCann is worth a look when teeing off at Yankee Stadium. 

But come on, who wants to spend money on catcher when Kershaw and Felix are on the mound, Stanton’s swinging at Coors, and Rizzo and McCutchen are on sale? Save some cash with James McCann, who is 9-for-29 with two homers and three walks against southpaws.

A small sample indeed, but he’s worth a try against John Danks, who has a .584 opposing slugging percentage against right-handed batters this year. Don’t shy away because of his complete-game shutout over the erratic Houston Astros last weekend.


SS Brad Miller ($3,500) and OF Seth Smith ($3,600), Seattle Mariners vs. Tampa Bay Rays

Whenever the Seattle Mariners face an unimposing righty, Brad Miller and Seth Smith are worth a look. Each entered Friday night hitting .254 with five homers against right-handed pitching, and the power particularly makes them names to circle against Alex Colome’s 5.01 ERA and 27.4 line-drive percentage.

A high-upside hitter tailored for DFS, Miller boasts a .480 slugging percentage against right-handers with a .352 on-base percentage. A pure platoon bat, Smith holds a .465 slugging percentage against righties. This cheap pairing gives gamers a chance to purchase a star slugger elsewhere.


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