3 MLB FanDuel Value Plays for Thursday 7/20/23

Gabriel Santiago
Gabriel Santiago@gps_onthemic

Finding low-salary production is one way to get a leg up on the competition in MLB DFS. Oftentimes, filling out a lineup with quality value plays on the back end is the difference between cashing and going home empty-handed.

Here are some low-salary players to target on FanDuel for Thursday's main slate. Keep in mind: this main slate begins at 12:20 p.m. EST. Ya gotta love that matinee ...

Michael Lorenzen, SP, Detroit Tigers ($8,300)

Nine years into his MLB career, Michael Lorenzen has spent the majority of his tenure as a relief pitcher in the National League. Since coming over to the AL in 2022, he has transitioned back into a starter role. Now a member of the Detroit Tigers, Lorenzen is showing a 3.75 ERA over 16 games started in 2023.

One key to Lorenzen's newfound success has been his ability to avoid walking hitters. On the year, he's issued a free pass to only 6.7% of his total batters faced. That means Lorenzen does not beat himself, which should work well against a struggling Kansas City Royals side on Thursday afternoon.

K.C. is currently sporting the third-worst team OPS (.669) in the Majors. Only the Oakland Athletics have scored fewer runs than the Royals this year.

numberFire's model projects a considerable fantasy output from Lorenzen (26.0 FanDuel points) on Thursday, which bodes well for him at this salary. Worth mentioning: last time Lorenzen faced the division-rival Royals (June 20th), he produced 40.0 FanDuel points behind six strong innings on the mound, punching out seven hitters.

Austin Slater, OF, San Francisco Giants ($2,600)

Typically serving as the San Francisco Giants' leadoff hitter when the Giants are facing a left-handed starting pitcher, Austin Slater can provide some value today. Slater will face southpaw hurler Andrew Abbott and the Cincinnati Reds in an afternoon special on the Ohio River.

Astonishingly, Slater is boasting a 1.018 OPS over 59 plate appearances versus lefties in 2023 while hitting .365 in the split. The sample is small, but he's been outstanding.

Slater doesn't play every day for San Francisco. Still, he has hit safely in four of his past five contests. Over the current four-game series in Cincinnati, Slater appeared in only Monday's opener, crushing a third-inning home run 442 feet to center -- off a lefty.

On the mound, the rookie Abbott is yielding a skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) of 4.33 across just eight career starts. Considering it will be a day game at the very hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark, Slater is in a lucrative spot, and he'll likely be atop the order for a San Fran offense that is showing an enticing 4.82 implied total.

Daniel Vogelbach, 1B, New York Mets ($2,300)

Thursday offers a very talented pitching slate despite being just a seven-game slate. Of all players toeing the rubber on July 20th, Michael Kopech of the Chicago White Sox seems to be among the most vulnerable. He is currently yielding a ballooned 4.85 skill-interactive ERA.

Kopech is set to face the New York Mets in Queens, which puts slugging lefty Dan Vogelbach on my value radar. Through eight MLB seasons, Vogelbach has a lifetime .809 OPS versus right-handed pitching.

Vogelbach is one of those boom-or-bust platoon candidates, but given his frugal salary, it could be worthwhile to play him in an advantageous spot such as this. In 2023, Vogelbach has an impressive Statcast hard-hit rate of 48% -- that is quite thundering.

Like most venues, the baseball typically carries better at Citi Field during warmer daytime games. Thursday's forecast shows a balmy temperature of 85 degrees in Flushing, which is optimal home run conditions.

Kopech is permitting a 48.6% fly-ball rate this year, putting Vogelbach in a spot to do some damage.

The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.