Hunter Gatherer

Hunter Pence and the Giants have a date with Kyle Lohse and his 6.29 ERA on Monday, and your lineup should take notice. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster.

Infield:

Jose Abreu, White Sox, $9,300 – Red Sox probable Joe Kelly has not accumulated enough innings to qualify for statistical leaderboards among starting pitchers. If he had, Kelly’s 70.7 fastball percentage would rank fourth in baseball behind only Lance Lynn, Bartolo Colon and Mike Pelfrey. The White Sox possess two hitters that mash fastballs above and beyond the rest of the roster according to FanGraphs’ pitch type linear weights: Jose Abreu and Adam LaRoche. Coincidentally Abreu and LaRoche lead the team in career wOBAs against RHP. Overall Abreu is not only the more talented hitter, but Fenway Park plays slightly more favorably to right-handed hitters than lefties. The park plays among the top handful of parks in terms of AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS and extra-base hit percentage to RHH. Both of these White Sox hitters are in play, but the talent and park do favor Abreu, so pay for him despite the higher price. It’s not like there are any incredibly expensive pitchers on the slate worth paying for anyways.


Brandon Belt, Giants, $7,800 –
Heading into Sunday’s slate of action, Kyle Lohse’s 6.29 ERA ranked the absolute worst in baseball among qualified pitchers. As it turns out, Kyle Kendrick suffered through yet another atrocious outing and he ended the day with a 6.33 ERA in total (yet he earned the win thanks to 17 Rockies runs). The point of this whole introduction being Lohse has pitched miserably this season and it’s a great idea to start bats against him every time out. As a whole, the Giants rank third in wOBA against RHP, do not strike out very much and produce runs at an elite clip (they rank first in wRC+). Buster Posey ranks first in wOBA versus RHP, but only by a very slim margin to Brandon Belt. Posey does not compare to Belt in terms of ISO, where Belt’s .222 figure leads the team by over 20 percentage-points this season. Similar to the White Sox duo mentioned above, both hitters are in play, but this time the $600 discount catapults Belt to the slightly better value in my book.

Outfield:

Hunter Pence, Giants, $9,200 – Starting one hitter against “gas can” Lohse simply is not enough. To reiterate, the Giants continuously find ways to produce runs against RHP and Posey, Belt and Hunter Pence are typically at the forefront. Pence ranks third on the team in wOBA behind the other two both for the season and for their careers. In an extreme pitchers’ park, the over/under sits at 7.5 with the Giants listed as extreme favorites with Chris Heston on the mound. While Heston isn’t a bum, he is far from a top-tier pitcher and is very rarely as heavily favored as he is. This mean the Giants will be producing offense, and I would like to own the entire heart of the order if possible.

Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies, $8,000 – Some people tend to act like the Rockies offensive weapons fall off the face of the Earth when they leave Coors Field. Yes, the park shift typically is extreme, especially when playing other National League West teams. The shift to Wrigley Field is as minor as it gets because Wrigley has played as the second-highest scoring park over the past two seasons. The park shift is so minor that it’s kind of like eating a McDonald’s cheeseburger every day and then considering it a “diet” when you start ordering them without lettuce. Essentially it’s the same thing (or at least similar). Gonzalez will face a RHP, against which he sports a career .390 wOBA, and he heads into this game boiling hot. Five HRs in his past three games leaves his season total at 18, and when he’s hot there’s no stopping him. Kyle Hendricks is solid yet unspectacular, but baseballs must look like beach balls to Gonzalez at this time. He’ll likely end up under-owned due to playing on the road and it will be absolutely unwarranted.

Pitcher:

Anibal Sanchez, Tigers, $19,600 – Strap into the rollercoaster ride because Anibal Sanchez has had a rocky season. June is the only month so far this season in which he’s registered an ERA sub-4.44. In fact, both his April and May ERAs sat well above 5.00 (5.46 and 5.97). The weird part: his WHIP is still only 1.23. His matchup on Monday seems too juicy to not exploit, although his price is admittedly higher than I’d typically be comfortable spending. However, the Rays rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, ISO, and hard-hit percentage and strike out at the fifth-highest rate versus RHP. Tropicana Field plays as a substantially less favorable hitters’ park than Comerica Park. Even against a 5-5 Nathan Karns, the Tigers opened as underdogs, which suggests Sanchez is best left for tournaments. The potential is there for an elite tournament start, especially in terms of strikeouts, so he still warrants serious consideration.

Chris Heston, Giants, $18,300 – Speaking of pitchers I feel are overpriced, Chris Heston fits the bill. From the outside looking in, the ERA (3.18) and WHIP (1.15) lead one to believe he is a very attractive option… and he is. Nonetheless, the K-rate (7.18 K/9) limits his upside. In 19 starts, Heston has eclipsed the 20-fantasy-point plateau eight times and the 30-point plateau just twice (one of those was his no-hitter). This should not dissuade owners from rostering him in cash games, because the Giants did open as the third-largest favorite of the day (-161). As mentioned in previous tidbits, they also will be facing possibly the worst starter in baseball in Kyle Lohse. The productive Giants offense will almost assuredly back him up with a healthy amount of run support, so he’s an excellent bet for a win. Though unexciting, he does move the needle on a slate full of risky options.

Alex Wood, Braves, $14,100 – Have the cojones to attempt to drive straight into a storm in order to find the eye? Calling this matchup “challenging” is probably underselling it, because the Orioles rank eighth in wOBA against LHP with many of their hitters possessing solid platoon advantages against the handedness. They also rank in the top ten of wRC+, ISO, AVG and hard-hit percentage. So why go with Alex Wood against the upper-echelon offense? Well, the upside comes with the strikeout potential against the team that ranks ninth in K-rate against LHP (22.10 percent). Wood’s 6.7 K/9 this season is down over two Ks per nine innings from his 2013 and 2014 season totals (both 8.9 K/9). Wood has struck out at least seven batters in four starts this season, and it’s about time for the strikeouts to come more consistently. If he can establish his pitches early without being punished, he could establish a nice rhythm and push his season high in Ks. In this tough slate, I think he warrants consideration in all formats, but make sure to take your anxiety medications first.

John Danks, White Sox, $12,000 – Well… this just feels like it is going to backfire. All season I have been preaching to stack against Danks, but now it’s hard to overlook his recent success. After accruing at least 20 fantasy-points in three of the last four games, it’s time to give credit where credit is due. The Red Sox rank in the bottom ten of both wOBA and wRC+ so it seems like another solid opportunity to throw a gem. With all this being said, he’s still John Danks, so I don’t think I could ever take the plunge in cash games.

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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