Wish Upon a Shooting Starling

Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster on a jam-packed Wednesday:


Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays, $9,300 – Google defines the word “sure” as: “confident in what one thinks or knows; having no doubt that one is right.” When it comes to “sure” things versus LHP, there are few hitters I’d be more confident in deploying than Josh Donaldson. Of all players with at least 30 AB against LHP this season, Donaldson’s wOBA and AVG both rank fifth in baseball. To give you an idea, he is hitting .413 against lefties in 2015 with four HR. Only Giancarlo Stanton and Nelson Cruz have hit more home runs against southpaws. Jonathon Niese certainly does not strike fear into the heart of opposing hitters and the Blue Jays are -177 favorites with Drew Hutchison on the mound, which says they are expected to score runs. You can be “sure” Donaldson will factor into the final score in some way, shape or form.

Manny Machado, Orioles, $9,300 – Guess what? The Orioles face another horrific starter on Wednesday. This time, he comes by the name of Kevin Correia. In 12 big league seasons, Correia has a cumulative 4.57 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. How does he still have a job? Simple: it’s the Phillies. They allowed Jeff Francoeur to pitch on Tuesday because they were getting absolutely annihilated and their actual pitchers (Jerome Williams, Dustin McGowan) could not get outs. It should more of the same on Wednesday, as Correia is simply sub-par and these bats are clearly feeling it. All of the Orioles, including stud leadoff man Manny Machado, are all in play yet again.


Starling Marte, Pirates, $10,000 – In the Donaldson blurb, it was stated there are few “surer” bets than Donaldson against lefties. For those of you who have followed the Pirates the past few days, its evident Starling Marte is one of those guys. Nothing but laser beams have been leaving his bat. It’s getting to the point where you fire him up against lefties regardless of who they are, as his wOBA sits at an insane .506 versus lefties with .459 ISO this season. Four fifty-nine! In two games against the White Sox, Marte has faced two lefties and gone 6-10 with two RBI, two SB and three R. John Danks will pitch Wednesday and he is by far the worst of the three… maybe one of the worst lefty starters in all of baseball. Fire him up once again, especially in cash, although he’ll possess enough upside to warrant tournament consideration as well.

Chris Colabello, Blue Jays, $6,800 – Donaldson is obviously in play but the Blue Jays as a whole are by far the best hitting team LHP…period. Despite Donaldson’s superior career numbers against lefties, Colabello leads the team in wOBA, ISO and SLG against LHP this season on a team full of beasts. That’s definitely saying something and his price still sits at a minuscule $6,800. He’ll likely hit fifth, which will put him in an excellent run producing spot and he obviously has the skill set to get it done. The hitters that hit before him: Jose Reyes, Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion (and maybe Russell Martin). So yeah, some combination of that bunch should certainly be on base at some point and set up Colabello RBI opportunities. He’s by far the best value of the day.


Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers, $25,200 – I mean, is this really a shocker? The man leads all starting pitchers in K/9 and has just one less K than co-MLB leaders Chris Archer and Max Scherzer despite three less innings than either of them. Typically Kershaw is the largest favorite of the night because he’s the best pitcher in this game, but this line is even more ridiculous than usual: -260. A game with Wandy Rodriguez has an over/under of six runs. What in the world? Vegas loves Kershaw’s odds of throwing a shutout or close to it in this game, so I am going to hop on board as well. With plenty of aces on the slate, Kershaw is my strong preference facing the Rangers and their 22.40 percent K rate against lefties.

Michael Pineda, Yankees, $17,100 – On a slate that features David Price, Johnny Cueto and Felix Hernandez, the second starting pitcher mentioned is Michael Pineda? Yes, I will be going to battle with Pineda as my SP2 in cash games on Wednesday, not only due to the price discount, but also because of a superb matchup. Okay so Nathan Eovaldi was absolutely lit up by the Marlins on Tuesday (eight ER in 0.2 IP) but Pineda is not Eovaldi. He’s coming off a start in which he allowed six runs in 4.1 IP, but has a sub-4.00 ERA on the season with 78 K in 74.2 IP. The Marlins came into Tuesday ranking in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate and OBP versus RHP. They also rank just 11th in K rate, which is where Pineda should be able to take advantage. If he can keep Giancarlo Stanton in check, he has a great shot at a dominant performance.

Alex Wood, Braves, $15,600 – A lot of factors seem to favor Alex Wood in this game. First and foremost, he’ll be squaring off a bad pitcher in Joe Kelly. Although Kelly’s fastball velocity registers the third fastest of any SP in baseball, he walks too many hitters (3.55 BB/9) and only strikes out 7.5 batters per nine innings. Simply put, he has not put it all together yet and until he does he’ll remain a well below average major league pitcher. Secondly, the Red Sox rank bottom three in wOBA and wRC+ versus LHP. Lastly, even though his ERA doesn’t reflect it in June, Wood is improving each month (at least in counting statistics). His K rate and K/BB have now improved each month and his 1.29 WHIP in June would be his lowest of any month. He is simply a better pitcher than he has shown so far this season and it’s time for him to start proving it.

Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals, $15,200 – Matt Andriese and the Rays will head to Washington to face Jordan Zimmermann and the -153 favorite Nationals. The Rays youngster’s 5.2 IP in his last start versus the White Sox was his longest of the season. He wasn’t exactly a prized prospect and produced a 3.77 ERA with 4.24 FIP and 7.15 K/9 in his last full season in the minors. Put simply, he’s mediocre and Zimmermann is not. The Rays are a mostly right-handed team and their platoon preference is against lefties, where they rank as a top 10 team in wOBA. Against righties, they are nowhere near that type of threat, ranking in the bottom eight and strike out in the top ten. Zimmermann isn’t a giant strikeout pitcher (6.1 K/9) but has the upside to go seven or eight solid innings, which is good enough for me.


Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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