This article is part of our FantasyDraft MLB series.
After a three-game schedule Sunday, 24 MLB teams kick off their 2017 season Monday, making for a massive slate with plenty of choices all across the price scale. FantasyDraft's unique roster construction offers you the flexibility to work in many of the appealing options available, so without further ado, let's dive into how you might best allocate your dollars on the first big day of MLB play...
Clayton KershawLAD vs. SD ($24,900): Kershaw stonewalled the Padres last season in two starts, shutting them out over 16 innings and generating a 23:1 K:BB and .078 BAA. He looked sharp this spring despite giving up four homers, posting a 28:7 K:BB over 24 innings. The Padres also struck out against southpaws at the second highest clip (25.3 percent) and sported the lowest wOBA (.293) and highest strikeout rate (25.9 percent) on the road in all of baseball in 2016, furthering Kershaw's case.
Kendall Graveman OAK vs. LAA ($11,200): Graveman gets the Opening Night call for Oakland with Sonny Gray (lat) on the shelf, and he's coming off a stellar spring that featured a 2.29 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 16:2 K:BB. He was solid over four starts last season against the Angels as well, generating a 1-0 record and 3.80 ERA. Graveman's sinker has looked sharp this spring and he was a much better pitcher at home last season, posting a 3.39 ERA over 14 starts.
Jose AltuveHOU vs. SEA ($9,200): Altuve hits out of a premium spot in the lineup, is a threat to steal anytime he gets on and sported a .395 wOBA , .196 ISO and 32.7 percent hard contact rate against right-handed pitching last season. Felix Hernandez has looked mostly like his old self again this spring, but Altuve has feasted off of him during his career, going 13-for-24 with four doubles, three RBI and two walks.
Justin Turner LAD vs. SD ($6,800): Zack Cozart ($6,600) and Danny Valencia ($6,400) are also appealing options at this price level, but Turner is priced very reasonably for a player that terrorized right-handed pitching again last season and hit .418 with five homers and 18 RBI over 62 spring plate appearances. Turner posted a .385 wOBA, .258 ISO, 22 homers and a 37.2 percent hard contact rate against righties in 2016, while Padres starter Jhoulys Chacin yielded a .342 wOBA against righties on the road last season.
Yonder Alonso OAK vs. LAA ($5,600): Alonso boasted a 36.3 percent hard contact rate against right-handers at home last season and wielded a red-hot bat this spring, hitting .389 with four homers and 12 RBI. The round-trippers were particularly noteworthy considering Alonso hit only seven homers last season, but he's reportedly made some tweaks at the plate that have been highly effective. Opposing pitcher Ricky Nolasco was also hit hard by lefty bats on the road last season, as he yielded a 37.9 percent hard contact rate and .323 wOBA to them away from Orange County.
Nelson Cruz SEA at HOU ($8,400): Cruz punished southpaws last season as usual, posting a .419 wOBA, .351 ISO and 39.4 percent hard contact rate against lefties. He was even better against them away from Safeco Field, with a .497 wOBA, .495 ISO and 42 percent hard contact rate against lefties on the road. Meanwhile, Astros starter Dallas Keuchel surrendered a .331 w0BA and 18 of the 20 homers he gave up last season were to to right-handed hitters. Furthermore, he has yielded three round-trippers and six RBI to Cruz over 22 career encounters.
Carlos Beltran HOU vs. SEA ($7,200): Beltran sports an appealing price and is coming off a spring in which he smacked a couple of homers over just 18 at-bats. That follows a bounce-back 2016 in which he hit .295 with 29 round-trippers and 93 RBI with the Yankees and Rangers. The 39-year-old smacked right-handed pitching around for a .340 wOBA, .204 ISO, 20 homers and a 33.6 percent hard contact rate last season, and could be an under-owned value play due to the matchup against Hernandez.
Matt Joyce OAK vs. LAA ($4,800): Joyce blasted 12 of his 13 homers last season off righties while also touching them up for for a .381 wOBA, .234 ISO and 38.1 percent hard contact rate. Angels starter Ricky Nolasco's problems against left-handed bats were highlighted in Alonso's entry, helping make Joyce a viable GPP flier with little price risk attached.
Trea Turner WAS vs MIA ($9,600): Turner makes for an excellent GPP or cash play given his ability to wreak havoc anytime he gets on base. He picked up right where he left off last season this spring, hitting .314 with three doubles, three homers, five RBI and six stolen bases over 74 plate appearances. Marlins starter Edison Volquez surrendered a .341 wOBA and 12 homers to right-handed hitters last season, while Turner punished right-handed pitching for 12 of his 13 homers, along with a .348 average, .413 wOBA, .258 ISO and 33 percent hard contact rate in 2016.
Mitch Haniger SEA at HOU ($6,800): If spring is any indication, Haniger won't be priced at this level for long, considering he hit .385 with 11 doubles, one triple, two homers and 11 RBI over 84 plate appearances during the exhibition slate. The slugging outfielder struggled some in his first brush with big-league pitching last season in a cup of coffee with the Diamondbacks but dominated at Triple-A Reno, where he hit .341 with 20 homers and 64 RBI. That's the player Haniger resembled this spring, making him a strong value option against a pitcher vulnerable to righties Keuchel.