Stop! Hammel Time

Can’t touch this… his arsenal of pitches that is. Jason Hammel is worth starting against the Brewers on Wednesday night. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster.

Infield:

Anthony Rizzo, Cubs, $10,400 – After hitting at least .314 in both April and May, June and July were not nearly as kind to Anthony Rizzo. In those months, Rizzo hit .269 and .250 respectively, but has rebounded nicely in August. He opened up the month 11 for his first 28 with three HR (.393 AVG, .679 SLG so far). Despite his struggles, Rizzo’s skills against RHP have held steady. Only rookie phenom Kyle Schwarber possesses a higher wOBA and ISO against RHP on the team… and Schwarber’s is a much smaller sample size. Opposing starter Matt Garza’s season is actually similar to Rizzo’s in terms of mid-season struggles and recent success. Still, this is a guy with a 4.91 ERA this season and 3.91 career ERA, 1.29 WHIP. Pitching in Wrigley Field, one of baseball’s best hitting environments, should prove to be a struggle. Do not be surprised if Rizzo hits HR number 17 against RHP this season in this contest.

Miguel Sano, Twins, $8,100 – Many teams rely on a LHH to propel their offense against RHPs. Typically there’s one stand out that just crushes righties and is the guy you want to start against them. The Twins’ offense, at least against RHP, is led by Miguel Sano and his reverse splits. Sano is right-handed yet possesses a .436 wOBA, .306 ISO and .306/.420/.611 slash line against RHP in 70 ABs. Nick Martinez, though only sporting a 3.91 ERA, will head into this game with the major’s third-worst xFIP. Martinez walks 3.37 batters per nine innings and Ks 5.29. Even though he doesn’t possess swing and miss stuff, he doesn’t always throw strikes either. This should be a matchup Sano is able to take advantage of, especially because Martinez allows one HR/9. Looking at the Twins’ lineup, there’s a great chance that if there’s one HR, it’s coming off the bat of Sano.

Outfield:

Mike Trout, Angels, $11,000 – If you read my articles often, you know I love going against White Sox starter John Danks. Beat writers have been harping on the fact that his velocity in the past few starts is as high as it has been since 2010… I get that. However, he still possesses a 4.79 ERA and 1.44 WHIP and will have to face possibly the game’s best player multiple times on Wednesday. Give Mike Trout enough tries (.393 career wOBA versus LHP) and he’s bound to deliver. He isn’t stealing as many bases this season (10 SB compared to, say, 49 in 2012), and a SB will be hard to come by against a lefty. However, there’s still plenty of upside considering his season line of .303 AVG, 33 HR and 69 RBI. There isn’t a safer player on the planet in this slate.

Jerry Sands, Indians, $5,600 – Need to save some dough in order to fill out your lineup? Look no further than Indians platoon hitter Jerry Sands. C.C. Sabathia will take the mound against the Indians. Sabathia is suffering through a difficult season due to diminished skills. If there’s a silver lining, it’s the fact that he has absolutely shut down LHHs this season (.187/.209/.302 slash line). Righties, on the other hand, have teed off: .387 wOBA, 21 HR allowed and .318/.366/.537 slash line. Sands’ career splits are nearly as drastic as Sabathia’s season splits. He owns a career .298/.359/.518 slash line versus LHP and a career .208/.296/.292 slash line versus RHP. He’s likely to be in the lineup, and maybe even hitting third, against the aging left-hander. It’s hard to find skills for him at such a bargain price, so make sure to take advantage.

Pitcher:

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers, $24,600 – If baseball’s strikeout title was a horse race, Clayton Kershaw would be winning “by a nose.” Kershaw’s 197 Ks are barely edging out Chris Sale’s 193, Max Scherzer’s 191 and Chris Archer’s 190. Sale still leads the league in K/9 by a hair (11.6 to Kershaw’s 11.5), but obviously Kershaw is as elite as they come. He’ll square off against the Nationals and their neutral offense against LHP. They rank in just about the middle of every single statistical category. Jordan Zimmermann, a pretty solid pitcher in his own right, will take the mound against Kershaw in Dodger Stadium. It’s no shock that the over/under of this game would be reasonably low considering it’s a battle of two upper-echelon pitchers… but the total is six. The Dodgers opened as -200 favorites as well, so like Vegas expects, you can expect Kershaw to dominate as usual.

Jacob deGrom, Mets, $22,200 – Something is up with the Rockies right now. Okay, so maybe that isn’t true, because they’ve faced Stephen Strasburg and Matt Harvey in two of their last three games… it’s no wonder they have scored two or less runs in two of three games. Unfortunately for them, and they are the number one wOBA team versus RHP in baseball, they’ll face another ace on Wednesday. In 11 starts, Jacob deGrom sports a 1.60 ERA at home. He has yet to allow more than three ER in any start this season in his home park’s friendly confines. It’s pretty obvious he is the staple of consistency and there’s very little to worry about, despite the difficult matchup. 15 fantasy points is probably his floor, and he’s lights out with the lights on at Citi Field, so start him with the utmost confidence.

Jake Odorizzi, Rays, $19,200 – The Rays are really annoying with the way they treat their starting pitchers. In order to keep them fresh, they give them the hook (or pull them out of the game) early regularly. Jake Odorizzi has not recorded an out in the eighth inning in 18 starts this season, and it’s due to this coaching staff. Therefore, his ceiling is somewhat limited, but the matchup here is too good to deny. It’s difficult to strike out the Braves, but they rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+ and ISO. Maybe, just maybe, he will retire this team on weak contact and actually pitch into the eighth. Regardless, I think he makes for a solid cash option at a discount to Kershaw and/or deGrom. Hopefully that will allow for the expensive bats to make their way into your lineup.

Jason Hammel, Cubs, $16,400 – Wrigley Field is never the prime spot to use a pitcher, but it’s time for Hammel to drop the hammer on the Milwaukee Brewers. Before the trade deadline, the Brewers moved both Aramis Ramirez and Gerardo Parra; two of the staples in their lineup (and two of their best hitters). Without them, the offense is a whole lot less potent. Hell, just Tuesday night Elian Herrera hit sixth in their lineup… the Elian Herrera who owns a .225/.290/.337 slash line against RHP this season. Their offense is simply a dumpster fire, and Hammel will be presented with a chance to exploit it. He has not been great recently (4.03 July ERA), but I think this is the start for him to get back on track. Likely he’ll end up under-owned due to his recent struggles, but the results will leave most shaking their head in disgust that they didn’t consider him. Don’t be one of those people: roster him.

 

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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