It’s Jackie Robinson Day! No matter who you pick in your lineup tonight, they will be wearing the number 42. There will be a ton of early baseball today, with the main slate of 12 games kicking off at 1:05 EST, so get your lineups together early for a great day of everyone celebrating one of baseball’s greatest icons. There are plenty of interesting pitching matchups today all the way across the board that could provide great value from Freddy Peralta all the way down to Steven Matz. Several fantastic offenses with decent matchups as well, including the Tampa Bay Rays, who are looking to bounce back after their first loss. Will they go 161-1? (spoiler alert: they won't). Let’s dive into some of my favorite value options of the day!
MLB DFS Value Pitchers
There are plenty of pitchers that intrigue me on this slate. I could see paying up for Freddy Peralta at the top. I also like Seth Lugo, Graham Ashcraft, Ryne Nelson, Tyler Mahle, but the following two are my favorite value pitchers of the day.
Anthony DeSclafani gets to face the Detroit Tigers today, and at this point, that might be about all you need to know to feel confident in starting a pitcher. Besides the matchup, though, there is a ton to love about what DeSclafani has been doing so far this season. He racked up 7 strikeouts against the Royals in his last start and made it to 88 pitches going 6.1 innings. He has had all his pitches working and has been getting plenty of strikeouts while also not walking a single batter this year. He should tear up this Tigers offense and could easily get 7 or more strikeouts again with a great shot at a win.
Steven Matz didn’t survive Coors in his last start, but who does? That is an easy write-off and I am not worried about it at all. He wasn’t great in his first start either, where he got beat up quite a bit by the Braves, but that is the Braves. Despite the two not-ideal starts to begin the season, he made it over 5 innings in both games and still got 11 strikeouts in those 11 total innings despite having to do them against Atlanta and then in Coors. I still believe in Matz and think he has a great chance to bounce back here against a weak Pittsburgh lineup. The price is super cheap because the bottom line hasn’t been good for Matz so far, but I don’t think that accurately represents how he has pitched or what he is capable of.
MLB DFS Value Hitters
There are some great matchups for strong offenses today. The main teams I am targeting are the New York Mets, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland Guardians, St. Louis Cardinals, and Cincinnati Reds. Here are my favorite value hitters for today.
I am a big fan of this Cincinnati Reds offense whenever they are playing at home. Great American Ballpark is Coors Lite being easily the second-best hitting park in the league and the best homerun park. Don’t get me wrong, I like Matt Strahm and do think he might end up being able to hold as a starter, but I think he is due for some regression, having not given up a run so far this year. While I do believe in Strahm long-term, I don’t believe in hardly anyone when they are pitching in Cincinnati. Tyler Stephenson hasn’t hit a home run yet but is still batting .311 and we know he has power in his bat, so the homeruns will come.
Yandy has never been much of a power hitter, but he already has four home runs this year as a part of this Tampa Bay Rays power explosion. He has quite a bit more power against lefties in his career as well, with a .453 SLG, so a good matchup here against Kikuchi. If he can keep up this power batting leadoff for what has been a juggernaut of an offense in Tampa Bay, he will be extremely valuable, but his price is still very reasonable. While there is no way the Rays keep up what they are doing, I do think their offense might continue to be pretty good, and I expect Yandy to be a big part of that.
My second straight non-traditional power guy I am highlighting. McNeil, like Yandy, doesn’t have much power, but he also has more power against opposite-handed pitchers, with a career of .480 SLG against right-handers. Fujinami has had a rough entrance into the majors with a 17.55 ERA and 2.25 WHIP. While he may still figure things out, I would bet it isn’t going to happen right away and this Mets offense should be able to take advantage of him. Despite the low home run upside (unlike Diaz, McNeil hasn’t hit a home run yet this season), I still think at this price, McNeil is a great value play.
Why is Isaac Paredes still undervalued so much? I am not going to complain about it, though, and if you haven’t taken advantage of it yet you should be. If you don’t know it by now, Paredes crushes left-handed pitching, and against a lefty like Kikuchi, I would consider playing Paredes even if he was among the top-priced third baseman. Paredes is crushing everything so far this season, but still even more so against lefties, with a 1.007 OPS against them. I don’t care if he is in a Rays stack or by himself, I would put Paredes in every lineup today.
I know he is the third Ray I am highlighting. I promise I am not a Tampa Bay fan there is no bias here, there are just far too many lefty killers on the Rays lineup who are being undervalued in this matchup, and Harold Ramirez is another one of them. If you thought Paredes had an impressive OPS against Paredes, you should probably sit down for this one. Ramirez has a 1.462 OPS against lefties this year. It isn’t just a great small sample, though, he has always hit lefties very well and I think these lefty killers will keep the Rays offense rolling in today’s matchup.
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