This Means Schwar

Despite a limited sample size, it’s pretty clear Kyle Schwarber is a major league-caliber hitter and should rake yet again on Thursday against Chris Heston. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster.

Infield:

Kyle Schwarber, Cubs, $7,200 (Night) – As of Wednesday evening, Kyle Schwarber stood as the career leader in wOBA versus RHP. He has only taken 57 ABs against them at the major league level, but the scouting report on Schwarber has held consistent… his bat is ready, but his defense has come catching up to do. In fantasy, we couldn’t care less about the defense as long as it remains just adequate enough to keep him in the lineup on a daily basis. Last night Schwarber proved he can do it against lefties (homering off Jeff Locke) or righties; it just doesn’t matter. He’ll square off against Chris Heston, who has pitched well this season, in one of the top hitters’ parks in baseball. He’ll likely be hitting in the two-hole and have four opportunities to mash. In that ballpark, especially if the wind is blowing out, he’s a home run for his price… literally.

Adam Lind, Brewers, $7,800 (Day) – When you find a pitcher worth stacking against facing the Brewers, first instinct is to automatically plug Ryan Braun into your lineup. While Braun against lower-tier major league pitching is never a bad idea, there’s a better value to target against RHP: Adam Lind. Of all Brewers with at least 20 ABs vs RHP this season, Lind’s .384 wOBA leads the team by over 30 points, and he also leads the team in ISO, AVG, OBP and SLG. After a 2.95 ERA in April, opposing starter Odrisamer Despaigne has yet to produce an ERA under 4.00 in any month since. He has only struck out 56 hitters in 102.1 IP and only walked 22 hitters. Therefore, Lind should have a chance to swing the bat, and we’ve seen what he can do with it against right-handers. He’s by far the best value on a Brewers offense that should produce some runs and one of the best values of the slate overall.

Outfield:

J.D. Martinez, Tigers, $9,000 (Day) – Miguel Cabrera’s absence leaves outfielder J.D. Martinez as the Tigers’ best fastball hitter according to FanGraphs’ pitch type linear weights. The team will face Yordano Ventura and his upper-90’s fastball that he likes to try and blow by just about everyone. Last time Ventura faced the Tigers, he went six innings with 11 baserunners, four ER and four Ks (6.90 FP). The Tigers’ offense as a whole ranks 10th in wOBA against RHP, so I expect the team as a whole to have success. That being said, not only does Martinez hit fastballs at the highest rating, but he also leads the team in wOBA and ISO versus RHP without Cabrera. He’s the engine that is making this offense go, and squaring off against a pitcher with a 4.98 ERA should not deter you from using him. The price is steep, but that’s the market value for a hitter of Martinez’s caliber. Deploy him in all formats because that’s what the cool kids do.

Aaron Hicks, Twins, $7,200 (Night) – “Yeah, yeah Brian Dozier against lefties Ricky, we get it… wait what?” That’s how I imagine many reader’s reactions to be when noticing a Twins player being written about against a lefty. Mark Buehrle, even at age 36, is amidst a throwback Buehrle season. He sports a 3.32 ERA and 1.17 WHIP through 141.0 IP with only 70 Ks… not to mention the shortest average time of game per start of any starting pitcher. Okay, so I didn’t actually look that up, but I just assume it’s true. Anyways, Aaron Hicks quietly is leading the club in wOBA against LHP, although it is admittedly a small sample size. He hit .333 in AAA this season against LHP as well, so this appears to be a trend and not a mirage. Assuming he hits second in the lineup, he’ll possess power (.206 ISO) and speed upside along with an affordable price.

Pitcher:

Zack Greinke, Dodgers, $23,900 (Day) – Pitching tomorrow is incredibly weak, but thankfully Zack Greinke will toe the mound. Just look at the pitching options around him: Anibal Sanchez, Joe Ross, Yordano Ventura, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Garza, etc. and all of them are stuck with difficult matchups. Greinke, on the other hand, is an absolute stud and facing a Phillies team that ranks in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP and hard-hit percentage against RHP. There’s nothing more to say. He’s the safest option by far.

Michael Wacha, Cardinals, $20,100 (Day) – One other reasonably viable option is Michael Wacha, but even he comes with more risk than I’m really comfortable with. The Reds rank 11th in wOBA, hardly ever walk, and rank in the bottom 10 of K-rate versus RHP. Carlos Martinez felt their wrath on Wednesday, considering he only lasted 5.0 IP and allowed nine baserunners and three runs. I’m worried Wacha will suffer a similar fate on Thursday afternoon, but can’t find another trustworthy starter. For that reason, I’d just roll with Greinke and Wacha in cash games and try to separate yourself from the pack with your bats. As for tournament pitchers during the day time: “Good luck.”

Chris Heston, Giants, $18,900 (Night) – Like Young Frankenstein, the Cubs’ bats are alive. However, the night slate pitchers are even worse than the day slaters. When Jason Hammel is the most expensive pitcher, you know something is up. Considering Hammel is slated to face a Giants offense ranking in the top 10 of just about every statistic, I’d prefer to avoid him and use Chris Heston instead. The Cubs rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+ and ISO, but those statistics are also cumulative and don’t accurately depict the Cubs with Schwarber. Still, the Cubs strike out at the second-highest percentage of any team, which should stabilize Heston’s floor. Even if he gets creamed, he should register four or five strikeouts minimum. That’s exactly what you look for in a cash option pitcher.

Jose Urena, Marlins, $9,900 (Night) – Again, it is only because pitching is the stink that I’m sinking this low. Jose Urena, although a road underdog, has a couple things going for him. The over/under of the game is only 7.5 and the Marlins barely opened as an underdog (Braves -113). Matt Wisler, the scheduled starter for Atlanta, sports an ERA higher than Urena’s 4.37. Atlanta will be without their best hitter Freddie Freeman, and they’re already a bottom-10 wOBA, wRC+ and ISO team against RHP. Look, I don’t feel great about it, but I don’t think the Braves have enough offense to drop a six-spot on him. For his price, you’ll be able to fit all the hitters your heart could possibly desire, so he really just needs a positive outing. For that reason, I’ll be using Urena and just crossing my fingers.

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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3 Responses

  1. sacbillsfan says:

    Not sure Schwarber is a smart play at all tonight. Heston is a ground ball pitcher and Wrigley has NOT been a hitter friendly park this season, especially for lefties. Currently 16th homer friendliest park against a pitcher giving up less 0.47 HR/9 with the wind blowing in off the lake today? I think there is better value out there.

  2. Ricky Sanders Ricky Sanders says:

    Hey sacbillsfan, I don’t typically use single season sample sizes for ballparks especially Wrigley Field, The park becomes more hitter friendly as the weather gets warmer and the Cubs bats have also been struggling. With that being said, I write this the night before and it now appears the wind will be blowing in at 9mph or so. That certainly doesn’t help his cause. However, this kid’s bat is for real and he did homer against Danny Salazar and his career 38.7% ground ball rate earlier this season. All in all, it’s about the price in cash games and I’ll still probably use plenty of him despite the arguments against it.

  3. Ricky Sanders Ricky Sanders says:

    Sorry I researched the pitchers he’s homered against and mentioned the wrong one………Jeff Locke career 50.8 percent ground ball rate…….Salazar’s number suggests he’s a fly ball pitcher……my bad

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