MLB Punt Plays: Friday, May 11

Welcome to the daily MLB Punt Plays article for FantasyDraft’s LockerRoom! Here you will find a breakdown of my favorite low budget MLB players for the day’s (or night’s) main slate. Each article will focus on my favorite low salary starting pitcher and my three 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 moving forward has a very solid chance to score you some points. To ensure my players are always light on salary, my pitcher will have a cap of $13,000 and each batter will be capped at $7,000 in salary.

P: Steven Matz – $11,900

Matz has had a few ups and downs this season, recording a 1-3 record with a .423 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP through six games. He has struggled to pitch deep into games, but he has been a slightly better pitcher in limited road games. He features tremendous strikeout potential, as he has recorded a 10.1 K/9 this season, while the Philadelphia Phillies rank second last on the slate in strikeouts per at-bat. The Phillies also feature a slightly below average team wOBA for this slate. Matz features an xFIP (3.79) slightly below his ERA (4.23), suggesting he could see small positive regression throughout the remainder of the season. He has also been an elite pitcher against left-handed batters, holding them to a .200 average with a .214 slugging percentage and a .278 wOBA. Philadelphia does not generally feature a ton of lefties in their lineup, but Matz has also found quite a bit of success against right-handed batters, as well. He’s an underdog in this matchup, but it is set at only 8 runs, suggesting both teams could struggled to score tonight. Matz is a boom or bust pitching option on this slate.

IF: John Hicks – $6,900

Hicks is a player that has been heating up recently, hitting for a .275 average with a .475 slugging percentage and a .793 OPS over his last 10 games. He also has four extra-base hits (two home runs) and six RBIs over that span. He has also recorded an impressive 50% hard-hit rate over the last 15 days, suggesting he is seeing the ball extremely well right now. Hicks gets an elite matchup against Marco Gonzales, and Hicks features 0.043 wOBA and 0.059 ISO differentials against left-handed pitching. Overall, he’s hitting .364 against left-handed pitching this season, and it is only a matter of time before his power matches his consistency. He’s an elite option in all leagues for his current price tag.

OF: Tyler Naquin

Naquin has been seeing the ball well recently, recording a 45% hard-hit rate over the last 15 days. He has also been playing at an elite level over his last 10 games, recording a .391 average with a .565 slugging percentage and a .982 OPS over that span. Furthermore, Naquin is hitting nearly .400 with an OPS north of .850 at home this season. He gets a great matchup against Jason Hammel, and Naquin has recorded 0.158 wOBA and 0.113 ISO differentials against right-handed pitching. He isn’t expected to hit high in the Cleveland offense, but it is tough to avoid Naquin whenever he plays a right-handed pitcher, especially when he comes with this low of a price tag. He does not always stay in the game against opposing team’s bullpens, but he should be an efficient player that can do damage in limited at-bats if need be tonight. He can be used in all leagues.

UTIL: Jose Martinez – $6,700

Martinez has been an elite hitter on the road this season. Through 14 road games, he’s hitting .358 with a .585 slugging percentage and a 1.020 OPS. He also has a 42.1% extra-base hit rate with 11 RBIs on the road. Furthermore, Martinez has recorded 0.151 wOBA and 0.214 ISO differentials against left-handed pitching, and he gets a great matchup against Eric Lauer tonight. In his career, Martinez is hitting .398 with a 43.2% extra-base hit rate against left-handed pitching. He is also expected to hit third in the Cardinals lineup tonight, and it is not often he will be this cheap in a great matchup. He can be used in all leagues.

Justin Bales

Justin Bales

Justin can be found on FantasyDraft under the name "balessjustin." He is a recent college graduate, who earned a degree in Sociology with a co-concentrate in Music Business. He has been playing and writing about fantasy sports for quite some time, including football, baseball, basketball, college sports, and MMA. He generally plays tournaments, but can occasionally be found in H2H's or 50/50s.

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