This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
The sample sizes still aren't particularly meaningful, but the season is well under way, and there are plenty of bargains to be had on DraftKings.
While some of the early value plays have predictably noticed a price jump – younger players in particular – there are now some struggling veterans carrying enticingly low prices.
A hot batter is obviously preferable to a cold one, but at this point in the season, historical performance still far outweighs anything a player has done this year.
Now, on to some of the top plays for the third weekend of the season…
David Price, TB (Thu. vs. NYY), $10,600 – I wasn't particularly high on Price in season-long leagues, and for that I'm already beginning to feel a bit foolish. Don't let the reasonable price tag fool you, as the lefty is off to as good of a start as any pitcher in baseball. Not only does he carry a 2.91 ERA and 22:2 strikeout-to-walk ratio through three outings, but Price faced the Rangers, Blue Jays, and Reds to start the season. Now, he draws a manageable Yankee lineup that drops off hard after the No. 5 spot.
Kyle Lohse, MIL (Fri. at PIT), $9,500 – Lohse probably isn't going to pile up strikeouts, but he posted a sub-3.40 ERA in each of the last three seasons, and is off to an excellent start – 3.05 ERA , 2-1 record, 21:7 K:BB ratio – through three outings. What's more, his most recent start came against this same Pirates team, and Lohse struck out nine (with no walks) over 8.2 innings of four-hit, one-run ball. While the price is perhaps a bit higher than you might expect, Lohse does get to face a mediocre offensive team in a pitcher-friendly stadium. That might just be enough to wean me off of Sonny Gray and Michael Wacha.
Corey Kluber, CLE (Sat. vs. TOR), $7,200 – Kluber started his year with an ugly outing against the A's, but he's since settled down to post a 14:0 K:BB ratio and 3.38 ERA over his last two starts. While Saturday's matchup isn't particularly appealing, this is still a fantastic price for a pitcher who struck out 136 batters in 147.1 innings last season. It's unclear whether Kluber will take the next step into the realm of near-acedom, but either way, he makes for a great daily play at just $7,200.
Yordano Ventura, KC (Sun. vs. MIN), $7500 – With 13 strikeouts and a 0.69 ERA through two starts, Ventura has unquestionably lived up to the hype. How he'll hold up over the course of a season remains to be seen, but it's of little concern to daily gamers at the moment. Ventura's talent is very real, his pitches are rather difficult to hit, and the Minnesota lineup is far from scary. I'm already excited for the possibility of a Ventura-Tanaka pairing on Sunday, a day that's otherwise littered with back-of-the-rotation types.
Other intriguing options:Sonny Gray OAK, $8900, (Fri. vs. HOU); Michael Wacha STL, $8900, (Fri. at WAS); Scott Kazmir, OAK, $9000, (Sat. vs. Hou); Shelby Miller, STL, $8300 (Sun. at WAS); Masahiro Tanaka, NYY, $10,200, (Sun. vs. Rays)
John Jaso, C, OAK , $2800 – Jaso has proven to be productive in a platoon role, and he currently has the better half of a timeshare with Derek Norris. At this price, Jaso and his excellent on-base skills are worthy of consideration in nearly any spot in the lineup, but the catcher is a particularly attractive option when he bats either first or second. With outfielder Coco Crisp still nursing a hamstring injury, Jaso should hit near the top of the lineup at least once or twice within the next week. All the platooning makes the A's an excellent option for affordable lineup stacks, and an upcoming three-game series against the Astros promises to provide favorable matchups. Also worth keeping an eye on in Oakland is outfielder Craig Gentry ($2200), who batted leadoff against Angels lefty Tyler Skaggs on Wednesday.
Miguel Cabrera, 1B/3B, DET, $5000 – Cabrera hasn't looked like his usual self at the plate thus far, with one home run, 11 strikeouts, and three walks through 47 plate appearances. While I'd prefer a hot Cabrera over a cold one, the cold one obviously comes at a more palatable price and is still a good bet to produce. Rather than spend $4500 or so on a hot player of a much lesser caliber, I'll pony up the extra $500 to get a stud who's in a bit of a slump.
Robinson Cano, 2B, SEA, $4800 – Sticking with the theme of slumping studs, Cano has piled up his fair share of singles, but he has no home runs and just five RBI through 14 games in an M's uniform. While his new stadium is far from ideal from hitting, it's not nearly enough of a factor to remove Cano from the elite tier of fantasy second basemen. Furthermore, a 7:6 K:BB ratio (61 plate appearances) indicates that there's nothing wrong with his underlying approach. Lastly, Cano gets to face a trio of Miami right-handers this weekend, and that group doesn't include Jose Fernandez.
Kyle Seager, 2B/3B, SEA, $3400 – Much like his teammate Robby Cano, Seager has yet to hit a home run but has a K:BB ratio (11:8) that indicates nothing is wrong with his approach. While obviously not the stud Cano is, Seager has never had much trouble against right-handed pitching, and he draws a trio of manageable righties against the Marlins this weekend.
Brad Miller, SS, SEA, $3600 – Miller has actually gone the opposite path of his aforementioned teammates this season, as he already has three home runs to complement an ugly 19:1 K:BB ratio. That ratio is perhaps a bit concerning, but Miller displayed solid plate discipline as a rookie last season, posting a 52:24 K:BB ratio alongside his .265/.318/.418 batting line. With friendly matchups in the near future, I'm betting on the left-handed hitters in the middle of Seattle's lineup to come up big. You probably get the idea by now.
Allen Craig, OF/1B, STL, $3600 – Craig's power may be somewhat of a question mark, yet there's no doubt this dude can hit. Coming off three consecutive seasons with a batting average above .300, Craig started the year 3-for-34 through his first nine games. In the five games since, he is 5-for-18 with a home run, two walks, two RBI, and five runs. The homer, his first of the season, was an opposite-field blast in Wednesday's loss to the Brewers. Now that the slump is over, jump on Craig at a low price while you still can.
Garrett Jones OF/1B, MIA, $3400 – Batting cleanup means more in some lineups than in others, but while the fish may lack for hitting talent, Jones still gets to bat directly behind Giancarlo Stanton, who figures to spend plenty of time on base. Sure, this isn't the same as batting fourth in the Cardinals' or Red Sox' lineup, but Miami is at least somewhat improved from last season, and Jones has always been able to hit right-handers. Just make sure the Marlins aren't facing a lefty before you slot the first baseman into your lineup.
J.B. Shuck OF, LAA, $2900 – With Kole Calhoun (ankle) and Josh Hamilton (thumb) both out for the next few weeks, Shuck and Colin Cowgill ($2200) will likely be regular presences in the lineup. One of the two figures to replace Calhoun atop the order, and Shuck handled the honors Wednesday against A's lefty Tommy Milone. It's certainly worth noting that Milone doesn't exhibit strong handedness splits, which means right-handed-batting Cowgill could easily get the leadoff nod over Shuck against lefties moving forward. Lineup placement will be worth keeping a close eye on here, but Shuck should at least bat leadoff against most right-handers. Though he lacks power, the 26-year-old Shuck posted a solid .293/.331/.366 batting line last season. All the talk about lineup placement carries added weight, given that the Angels bat Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in the No. 2 and 3 holes respectively.
Other intriguing options:Wilin Rosario, C, COL, $3600; Prince Fielder, 1B, TEX, $4200 Scooter Gennett, 2B, MIL, $2200; Todd Frazier, 3B, CIN, $3500; Pablo Sandoval, 3B, SF, $3600; Jean Segura, SS, MIL, $4200; Yasiel Puig, OF, LAD, $4300; Yoenis Cespedes, OF, OAK, $4100; Andrew McCutchen, OF, PIT, $4700; Chris Denorfia, OF, SD, $2800; Charlie Blackmon, OF, COL, $4100; Seth Smith, OF, OAK, $2800