Prince Charming

The Prince is king on Tuesday as he’ll face susceptible right-hander Kyle Kendrick. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster.

Infield:

Prince Fielder, Rangers, $10,200 – Among active players with at least 30 AB versus RHP, Prince Fielder’s .405 career wOBA ranks fifth behind only David Ortiz, Joey Votto, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. Anytime he faces a right-hander he is worth consideration. Now put him in Coors Field (which is by far the best hitters’ park), plus factor in the fact that he’s facing a starter with a 5.94 season ERA, and you have the definition of an elite play. Kyle Kendrick not only owns a poor ERA but also a sub-par K/9 (4.72), WHIP (1.45) and HR/9 (2.12). Fielder should be locked into all lineups.

Jason Kipnis, Indians, $9,600 – A right shoulder injury forced Matt Garza to hit the disabled list prior to the All-Star Break, but he will be activated in time to start Tuesday’s game. Blame Garza’s struggles on the injury all you want, but he just has not seemed to have the same stuff this season when I have watched him. He throws a lot of straight fastballs that catch too much of the zone, which is partially to blame for his 5.55 ERA and 1.55 WHIP. His career numbers suggest he is better than he has pitched, but I suspect this is old age and almost 1,500 innings catching up to him. Therefore, who better to deploy than the hitter who theoretically has the best chance to see the most ABs against him? That’s right, leadoff hitter Jason Kipnis. In 215 AB versus RHP this season, Kipnis is producing a slash line of .358/.447/.540. Need I say more? There isn’t a much safer cash option outside of the game in Coors on the slate.

Outfield:

Hunter Pence, Giants, $9,300 – Even with the game scheduled in Petco Park, the Padres opened up as an underdog to the visiting Giants. This is likely because Odrisamer Despaigne will toe the mound for the Padres; he of his 3-6 record and 4.64 ERA. According to WAR (wins above replacement), Despaigne ranks almost exactly as a replacement level player. In other words, he is essentially the same as a player who costs no marginal resources to acquire… he’s a dime-a-dozen. I always look to get bats in against him and his 4.96 K/9, and Hunter Pence certainly fits the bill. Both on the season and for their careers, Pence’s wOBA ranks third on the team against RHP behind just Buster Posey and Brandon Belt (both of which are also in play). The reason I prefer Pence is because, according to FanGraphs pitch type linear weights, the slider is Despaigne’s only breaking pitch that rates above-average. Of the three aforementioned Giants, Pence hits the slider by far the best of the three. In fact, Posey barely ranks above-average and Belt actually rates below-average against the pitch. We already know Pence is a good hitter, and because Despaigne’s best weapon will not faze him, he’s my Giants hitter of choice.

Starling Marte, Pirates, $8,400 – It’s been a while since the Pirates have faced a weak lefty, so maybe the public has forgotten just how incredible Starling Marte is against them. In 61 ABs this season versus LHP, Marte sports a .402 wOBA, .279 ISO and .311 AVG. If it wasn’t for Francisco Cervelli’s monster season mashing lefties, those statistics would lead any normal team, but some of them rank second. For their careers, Marte’s wOBA outclasses Cervelli’s .366, so he has a longer history of dominance. There is nothing scary about the matchup with Jason Vargas, who will be pitching in his first start off the disabled list. Even when healthy, Vargas was allowing over a hit per inning along with a 4.10 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. A soft tossing lefty against Marte could mean some vintage line drive ropes coming off of his bat, hence the appeal of rostering him.

Pitcher:

Danny Salazar, Indians, $19,200 – Road favorites are usually solid pitching choices, considering Vegas puts a decent amount of weight on home field advantage. Another favorite trend of mine to play is an American League pitcher pitching in a National League park, because they get to face the pitcher as opposed to a designated hitter (DH). Danny Salazar will have the benefit of both of these trends, as he will be pitching in Miller Park against the Brewers. As mentioned above, Garza is coming off the disabled list and having a down season, therefore I expect him to allow a decent amount of runs. With Cleveland favored in an eight-run projected game, that leaves Cleveland projected to score over four runs in the game. The Brewers rank as a bottom-half team in wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, OBP and line-drive percentage. Most importantly they strike out at the 12th-highest percentage against RHP, because Salazar relies heavily on the strikeout. Only Clayton Kershaw, Chris Sale and Chris Archer have registered higher K-rates among qualified pitchers than Salazar. If he is able to whiff a healthy amount of Brewers, there is no reason to believe he shouldn’t end this game with at least 20 FP. He’s the safest pitcher to me on the slate and comes at an extremely reasonable price.

Michael Wacha, Cardinals, $16,800 – Both pitchers in this matchup are feasible options, but I prefer Michael Wacha (even though he is on the road). Unlike Salazar, he is playing the reverse split where he’s a National League pitcher heading to the American League, so he faces a DH instead of the pitcher. Luckily, the White Sox have scored the least amount of runs in baseball, so there isn’t a better team he could be at that disadvantage against. Wacha is not an elite strikeout pitcher (7.2 K/9), but he hardly walks any hitters (2.0 BB/9, 3.59 K/BB ratio) or allows many hits. In three major league seasons, Wacha has yet to register an ERA over 3.20. With the Cardinals listed as -130 favorites on the road against a pitiful offense, he makes a lot of sense, especially as a SP2.

Matt Shoemaker, Angels, $11,400 – No ifs, ands, ors or buts about it; Matt Shoemaker is amidst a disappointing season. In 136.0 IP last season, Shoemaker produced a 3.04 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and struck out 8.2 batters per nine innings. This season his numbers have worsened across the board: ERA, WHIP, hit-rate, HR-rate and BB-rate have all increased while the strikeout-rate has dropped. He’s averaging 11.69 fantasy points per start this season after averaging 16.15 last year. Instead of basing this on results, playing Shoemaker on Tuesday is purely based on price and matchup. The Angels opened as the biggest favorites of the night (-155) with only a 7.5 over/under. Although the Twins offense has been better lately, they still rank as a middle-of-the-road matchup against RHP in terms of wOBA, K rate, wRC+ and AVG. The Twins still rank in the bottom ten of BB-rate (which has hurt Shoemaker this season), OBP and line-drive percentage. Shoemaker’s ERA at home sits almost half a run better than on the road, so I think Vegas is onto something here. At a price barely over $10,000, the value is certainly there for the pitcher with the greatest probability for a victory.

Aaron Nola, Phillies, $10,500 – Rookie talented pitchers are always intriguing, especially in their first career starts before anyone knows anything about them. Pitchers always have the advantage the first time around the league, and especially the first time around the batting order in their first game. Aaron Nola will head into this start as a mystery to both Major League Baseball and the Tampa Bay Rays. Fortunately for Nola, the Rays make for just about the best possible matchup a RHP could face. They are the only team to rank in the bottom ten of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP and hard-hit percentage while striking out at a top-ten rate. Surprisingly, Nola did not strike out a batter-per-inning in the minors (137 K in 164.2 IP in two seasons) nor did he allow an opponents’ AVG under .240 (.241). Do not discount the element of surprise against a poor offense, especially with a talented pitcher (Phillies’ first-round pick in 2014). The price makes his awfully appealing in spite of no prior sample.

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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