MLB Punt Plays: Thursday April 12

Welcome to my daily MLB article for FantasyDraft’s LockerRoom! Here you will find a breakdown for my favorite low budget MLB players for tonight’s main slate. Each article will focus on my favorite low salary starting Pitcher and my 3 favorite low salary batters. Although the title of the article is MLB Punt Plays, like the PGA Punt Plays written by another analyst of our DFS Karma team, they aren’t your traditional “Punts”. I truly feel that each player I include in this article is in a great individual spot and will allow you to fit in some of the other higher priced players. To ensure my players are always light on salary, my Pitcher will have a cap of $14,000 and each batter will be capped at $7,000 in salary.

P: Nick Tropeano ($10,800)

If you asked me at the beginning of 2018 if I ever envisioned writing up Nick Tropeano as a top value play I’m sure I would have said no, yet here we are. Tropeano has been announced as the starter for Angels in place of injured J.C. Ramirez, and he is just way too cheap for a Starting Pitcher at $10,800. Any capable human pitcher would be in play at this price, he’s cheaper than some batters! He’s coming off Tommy John, which isn’t good, but looking at his pre-injury numbers he’s pretty much the same pitcher to both sides of the plate. He relies on fly balls (49% fly ball rate) and that probably won’t kill him in Kansas City. I think there’s a good chance he is one of the top point-per-dollar plays today just based on his price and that’s why I’m looking at him. It’s a short slate with limited options, I don’t think he can really hurt you at that price.

INF: Miguel Sano ($7,000)

This is not the typical type of player that I recommend, because he is better suited for tournaments due to his high-strikeout tendency (37% strikeout rate, yikes!). But, the upside is too good for me to pass up on with it being a short slate. Lucas Giolito hasn’t strung it all together at the major league level yet, he posted a 4.66 xFIP and allowed 41% hard contact to right-handed batters last season. Despite his high strikeout rate, Sano has monster power (.223 ISO) and possess huge upside for his price.

OF: Brett Gardner ($6,800)

Our old friend Brett Gardner makes his punt play debut, as his price has fallen down below $7,000. He doesn’t have huge pop, which is something I weigh pretty heavily in DFS, but it doesn’t really matter for him when he’s at the top of arguably the most powerful lineup in the MLB. Rick Porcello allowed a .360 wOBA to left-handed batters in 2017, the worst mark on the slate and he allows a good number of hard hits as well (38.8%). The Yankees should be able to put up some runs tonight (4.6 implied total) and Gardner will get the party started out of the lead-off spot for cheap.

UTIL: Luis Valbuena ($6,300)

Valbuena and the Angels are in a dream spot tonight against Ian Kennedy. I love using Valbuena in tournaments because everyone always leaves him off their Angels stacks given his spot in the order (typically 7th) which causes him to go under-owned relative to the rest of the team when they are in good matchups. Valbuena has as much power as anyone on the Angels, posting the 3rd highest ISO on the team against right-handed pitching a year ago (.249). Ian Kennedy has a bad habit of giving up home runs, he allowed 2.24 HR/9 to left-handed batters in 2017, and it’s easy to see why when looking at his 52% fly ball rate and 47% hard contact. Valbuena has big upside in this matchup at his price and will be lower owned than the rest of the team.

Stat Key

wOBA- Weighted on-base average

ISO- Isolated power

SIERA- Skill-interactive earned run average

xFIP- Expected fielding independent

Ben Hossler; DFS Karma

Ben Hossler; DFS Karma

Ben can be found on FantasyDraft by his username “oatw” standing for “Ohio against the world”. He is a college student and the lead DFS analyst for He is a sports nerd who can often be found studying numbers late into the night. Mainly a cash game player, you can find him in the H2H lobby and in your 50/50s across the industry. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @BenHossler where he loves to talk sports, TV or music with his followers!

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