The Kansas City Royals will enjoy a third straight quality matchup against a mediocre pitcher. Today, it’s Yovani Gallardo of Texas, who holds an exploitable .320 wOBA split against both righties and lefties. The shift to Globe Life Park only helps their cause in one of the more hitter friendly environments. The oddsmakers in Vegas seemingly agree, assigning Kansas City one of the highest team totals of the evening (4.55 runs).
I’m looking towards a stack of Alcides Escobar (leadoff man), Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Alex Gordon to do some damage tonight. You may want to pick your spots in cash games, siding with two of those options, but I believe the Royals deserve serious tournament consideration tonight.
NOTE: There appears to be some weather concerns in the Kansas City-Texas game tonight. Be sure to assess that situation closer to lineup lock before selecting any players.
This column will focus on the main slate, starting at 7:05 ET.
DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH
Mike Moustakas – 3B – KC (FanDuel Price: $2,700)
Out of that mini-Royals stack, Moustakas probably has the best combination of salary, upside, and lineup position (batting 2nd). There’s some opportunity cost at third base (as we’ll get into later), but definitely keep “Mous” on your short list at the hot corner.
Marlon Byrd – OF – CIN (FanDuel Price: $2,900)
This is one of my favorite matchups in baseball, a right-handed bat against Eric Stults. The southpaw owns a susceptible .342 wOBA split against righties, and I’m expecting Cincy put up some numbers tonight. Byrd is swinging a hot bat, going 8-25 with 3 homers and 8 RBI’s (7 walks) over the past week. Playing in Great American Ball Park doesn’t hurt his cause either.
Trevor Plouffe – 3B – MIN (FanDuel Price: $2,900)
Plouffe against a lefty is something I can sign off on, especially against a contact pitcher like Kyle Lobstein. The Twins’ third basemen has primarily served in the cleanup role, accentuated his RBI potential for a rejuvenated Minnesota lineup.
Also Consider: Kendrys Morales – 1B – KC
Alcides Escobar – SS – KC (FanDuel Price: $2,600)
It seems like shortstop is a difficult proposition most nights. That’s why I highly recommend taking the savings with Escobar in this slate. He’s batting leadoff for one of the highest projected scoring teams (4.55 runs), carrying multiple hit and stolen base upside. He has been rock-solid after a small injury absences, emerging as the safest value play of the position.
Seth Smith – OF – SEA (FanDuel Price: $2,400)
James Shields has been an excellent strikeout pitcher this season, but he has also given up his fair share of runs. Smith has satisfying splits against righties (.345 wOBA .175 ISO), and he should be position in the top half of the order (2-hole?). That’s more than enough to warrant consideration at this near-minimum price point.
Chris Colabello – OF – TOR (FanDuel Price: $2,400)
Do you remember who led the MLB in RBI’s after the first month last season? Yes, it was Chris Colabello, then playing for the Minnesota Twins. He’s one of those hitters who comes in waves, and I suggest you grab a surfboard to ride this one out. Baltimore’s Miguel Gonzalez is a fly-ball pitcher (41%) with a .320 wOBA against RHB and an inflated 1.60 HR/9. Colabello (and the other Jays) could take him deep tonight.
Kyle Seager – 3B – SEA (FanDuel Price: $3,000)
Seager hasn’t been bad, but hasn’t been exactly great over the past several weeks. For that reason, I believe he’ll fly under the radar for tournaments. Most people may think this is a tough matchup, but San Diego pitcher James Shields is a hard thrower that subsequently gets hit hard at times. For one of the first times all season, Seager is priced in bargain territory. Now may be the time to buy low.
Shin-Soo Choo – OF – TEX (FanDuel Price: $2,900)
After a very disappointing season in 2014, Choo is climbing his way back into fantasy relevance this time around. He currently owns a 12-game hitting streak, boasting a .333 mark in the month of May. The only downside for Choo is lineup security, as Texas doesn't have many RBI inspiring bats to drive him in (aside from Prince Fielder). However, the Rangers’ offense is starting to wake up, and that bodes well for Choo’s fantasy value from the leadoff spot.
Justin Maxwell – OF – SF (FanDuel Price: $2,900)
I’m expecting Maxwell to get the start tonight, as San Francisco steps in against lefty Brett Oberholtzer. The Houston southpaw owns a .313 wOBA 46% flyball rate against right-handed bats. That could spell trouble in the hitter-friendly conditions of Minute Maid Park. Maxwell has been a capable platoon bat against left-handed pitchers, holding a split of .334 wOBA .183 ISO.
Also Consider: Will Venable – OF – SD