5 Daily Fantasy Baseball Value Plays for Friday 5/14/21

Josh Bell may not be hitting for average, but he's still making lots of hard contact and draws a plus matchup against Riley Smith. Which other low-salaried players stand out?

With production being highly variable on a night-to-night basis, daily fantasy baseball plays a bit differently than other sports.

An 0-for-4 dud from a chalky high-salaried slugger is a lot more common than a total dud from a top-salaried NBA player or even than a stinker from a top quarterback or running back.

That means that it's not uncommon for value plays to end up doing the heavy lifting in carrying your lineup. The fact that they can be the difference between a good and a great lineup isn't much different than other sports, but value plays being able to make up for a whiff on a high-salaried play completely is somewhat unique.

Let's get right into it and take a look at the top value options on today's slate.

Joe Musgrove, SP, San Diego Padres ($8,000)

Even before considering salary, Joe Musgrove would be a top play on this slate, but when you add in the salary, it's just bonkers what a steal he is.

How often do you see someone in this salary range with a sub-3.00 SIERA and a strikeout rate bordering on 35%? That's exactly what we're getting here, and despite some less-than-stellar outings lately, there's little reason to overthink this.

Musgrove also has a better matchup than either Tyler Glasnow or Max Scherzer, as he's facing a below-average St. Louis Cardinals team with a 24.3% strikeout rate versus right-handed pitching. The spot also checks out when we look at implied totals, where St. Louis sits rock bottom at 2.81.

Randal Grichuk, OF, Toronto Blue Jays ($2,800)

It says something when it's a Coors slate and a non-Coors team tops the list of implied totals. The Toronto Blue Jays are that team tonight (5.99), and they're in a beautiful spot for dingers versus Vince Velasquez.

We're getting the usual deal from Velasquez, who is the pitching equivalent of three true outcomes: strikeouts, walks, and home runs. Of course, it's the last two we're interested in, and we're seeing plenty of both through a 15.2% walk rate and 2.28 home runs per nine innings.

Even better, Velasquez actually performs worse versus righties (4.60 xFIP), which plays into Toronto's hands as they're a team loaded with right-handed power. Randal Grichuk has one of the lowest salaries of the bunch, and he's settled into the five-hole lately. Grichuk has cut down on his strikeouts (19.3%) but has maintained a solid .183 ISO this season.

Clint Frazier, OF, New York Yankees ($2,000)

The New York Yankees are also in a plus matchup for dingers against Dean Kremer, and they offer plenty of sub-$3,000 options through guys like Gio Urshela, Luke Voit, and Gary Sanchez.

But we're once again highlighting Clint Frazier, who remains at the minimum salary. Frazier's surface stats aren't pretty, but he has a laughably low .164 BABIP that should rise over the long haul, and he's showing patience at the plate with a 16.4% walk rate. A double-digit barrel rate is encouraging for his power, too.

As for Kremer, he's having trouble getting right-handed batters out this season, producing a 4.97 xFIP and 15.2% strikeout rate in the split.

Josh Bell, 1B, Washington Nationals ($2,900)

The Washington Nationals are up against a low-strikeout pitcher in Riley Smith, who has managed a 10.7% strikeout rate this season, which is easily the worst mark on the slate.

That's especially good news for Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber, both of whom possess nice power but at the expense of high strikeout rates. Bell is another guy who has been subjected to an unlucky BABIP (.148), and his 41.4% hard-hit rate is impressive at a time when the league average hard-hit rate is down to just 31.1%.

Connor Joe, OF, Colorado Rockies ($2,500)

While I prefer the Cincinnati Reds' side of this Coors contest, it's hard to argue against a sub-$3,000 hitter in Denver who could bat as high as second.

Connor Joe has indeed moved up to second the past two games, and even if he's not up there tonight, he should be batting at least fifth or sixth. With just 39 career plate appearances, Joe remains an unknown commodity, but he's made a lot of hard contact so far and isn't striking out too much, which are encouraging signs for his staying power.