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Interested in rostering either Felix Hernandez or Clayton Kershaw at about $25,000 apiece? You’ll need to look at some budget options elsewhere on the mound to afford one of them, but thankfully there are several on Friday. Edwin Jackson ($14,639) is the most obvious one out in San Diego, and while it’s easy to simply pick on the Padres regardless of the pitcher, it helps that E-Jax is also rolling. He has a 3.05 ERA in his last six over 38 1/3 innings, including a minute 1.80 ERA in three May starts with a 23-to-3 K:BB ratio in 20 innings. Don’t sleep on Hiroki Kuroda ($14,310), Bartolo Colon ($13,385), and Jordan Lyles ($11,194), either. All three are worthy secondary options to go with one of the super-aces.
Devin Mesoraco ($7,225) is down to “just” .415 after going 0-for-11 in his last three games, but Shelby Miller and his remarkably flimsy 2.78 ERA offer a chance for Mesoraco to break his mini-skid. Frankly, I’m reticent to even call it a skid given how great he’s been and the fact that it’s been just three games. He’s the second-most-expensive backstop behind Buster Posey ($8,151), but it’s worth the investment. Wilson Ramos ($5,151) is off to a slow start in his first 11 games of the season; however, I think he will be fine so I like him as a cheap option to ride out while he gets his legs back under him.
I can’t stop using Brandon Moss ($8,558), and he gets a treat on Friday with R.A. Dickey getting pushed back and Liam Hendriks filling in. Hendriks has allowed a .929 OPS against lefties last year and an .832 mark for his career. I generally spend big at first, so I’m also looking at a white-hot Edwin Encarnacion ($8,869), Chris Davis ($8,199), and Paul Goldschmidt ($7,468). Obviously, if you roll with Colon, you’ll want to move away from Goldy on Friday, but that price for him is quite enticing.
Derek Dietrich ($5,475) is smashing righties with an .871 OPS against them and all five of his homers, and he gets the very homer-prone Marco Estrada on Friday. I’m surprised that Howie Kendrick ($6,433) is running at such a low price given how strong he’s been this year. He’s the 10th-most expensive despite the fifth-best points-per-game total. Danny Duffy is a formidable opponent, but Kendrick hasn’t hit less than .295 against lefties in any of the last four seasons, and he has a .294 career mark against them.
Yangervis Solarte ($6,837) has been one of the best surprises of the season, and while his price has been adjusted to his big numbers, he’s still worth it on Friday facing Hector Noesi, who is allowing a 1.013 OPS to lefties so far this season. We haven’t seen a ton from the other New York third baseman, but David Wright’s $6,034 price tag is too juicy to overlook against Chase Anderson.
It hasn’t been a bad season for Hanley Ramirez ($7,444) as he’s pacing toward a 24 HR/81 RBI season, but it’s definitely under expectations so far. Roberto Hernandez is a nice remedy to get jumpstarted and the upside of Ramirez at $3,000 less than Troy Tulowitzki is strong. Ian Desmond ($5,360) is on fire of late with a .984 OPS and four homers in his last 10 games. He has eight homers for the season and Charlie Morton isn’t a particularly scary opponent.
Charlie Blackmon ($8,464) and Michael Brantley ($8,440) have been two of the biggest surprises of the season, but I’m buying into both. You’d have to go cheap on the mound to afford both, but you should be able to squeeze one of them into your lineup as one of your big bats even if you go for Kershaw or Hernandez. The change from Dickey to Hendriks also creates some buying opportunities in the Oakland outfield with Coco Crisp ($6,945) and Yoenis Cespedes ($6,977) both priced at potential bargain rates.
After an 0-for-12 in his first five games of the season, Billy Hamilton ($5,898) is hitting .281 with 16 SBs in his last 36 games. The beauty with Hamilton is that he can 0-for-4 with two fielder’s choices and still end up with a six or seven point day if he steals a few bases and scores a run or two. David Murphy ($5,064) is destroying righties to the tune of a .933 OPS this year and gets Bud Norris on Friday. Murphy has a history of hitting righties which made his .685 OPS against them last year rather surprising. He hadn’t been below .809 in any of his previous six seasons prior to 2013.
Looking to save money in the outfield? Allen Craig ($4,498) is hitting .340/.415/.468 in his last 12 games since getting a day off on May 7. Meanwhile, Desmond Jennings ($4,198) is only hitting .236, but his 2.65 PPG average is not bad at all for that price. And finally, Marcell Ozuna ($3,247) has flipped his platoon split this year with a .722 OPS against righties (up from .647 a year ago) and gets a crack at the home-run machine that is Marco Estrada.
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