Beef Wellington

Rostering catchers is not an ideal practice with FantasyDraft’s flexible format, but Wellington Castillo is the exception Friday. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster.

Infield:

Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays, $10,800 – Sadly, the Blue Jays have finally been passed as baseball’s top team in terms of wOBA against LHP. The Tigers have absolutely raked lately and have their horse Miguel Cabrera back in the lineup. With that being said, the Jays’ lineup remains potent against lefties with none greater than Josh Dongaldson. Technically, Justin Smoak has registered both the highest wOBA and ISO on the team, but he’s done it in a limited sample size (21 AB versus LHP). Donaldson, in an extended sample size, sports a .458 wOBA and .345 ISO against southpaws. Opposing starter Hector Santiago relies heavily on the fly ball to retire hitters (lowest ground ball rate of any qualified pitcher). Good luck relying on Donaldson to lift the ball and expect it to return to Earth in a player’s mitt, considering he hits the ball hard 41.30 percent of the time against LHP. This is simply a terrible matchup for Santiago as a whole, as I expect Donaldson to be just one of many Jays to enjoy a productive evening.

Wellington Castillo, Diamondbacks, $6,800 – Quietly, Wellington Castillo is amidst a rather productive season… especially against LHP. Despite an OBP sub-.300 against RHP, Castillo is slashing .262/.352/.541 against lefties with a .376 wOBA. By comparison, both his SLG and wOBA edge out those of Andrew McCutchen. If it weren’t for super beast Paul Goldschmidt, Castillo would lead the team in both those categories. The team will square off against left-handed David Holmberg in the most HR-friendly park in the majors (Great American Ballpark). Holmberg has allowed a .390 wOBA and four HR to RHHs in 14.1 IP at the major league level. At AAA this season, he allowed a .294 AVG, 4.94 ERA, 1.52 WHIP and 12 HR to righties in 82.0 IP. At a sub-$7,000 price, the upside is massive with a HR not out of the question.

Outfield:

Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies, $10,500 – Typically the pitcher pitching to contact in Coors Field is a member of the Colorado Rockies, due to the lack of talent in the rotation. On Friday, Bartolo Colon will attempt to piece together a successful outing by pounding the strike zone in the altitude. It’s funny, because Max Scherzer leads all of baseball in strike percentage and he started Thursday’s game in Coors. Maybe the best pitcher in the National League (NL) threw six innings with 11 baserunners, three ER and seven Ks… a rather un-Scherzer-like showing. Not only does Colon pound the strike zone, but he throws the second-most fastballs by percentage in baseball (his 85.3 percent rate ranks slightly behind Lance Lynn’s 85.5 percent). According to FanGraphs’ pitch type linear weights, Carlos Gonzalez ranks by far as the team’s best fastball hitter. Coors Field allows 10 percent more runs than any other ballpark and ranks top-four in HRs allowed. He also leads the team in wOBA against RHP this season with a .415 tally. What more needs to be said?

Charlie Blackmon, Rockies, $8,700 – The whole Colon rant applies to Charlie Blackmon as well, except the price is a much better value. Although Blackmon doesn’t possess the same elite skills against fastballs or wOBA total, he hits in the prime leadoff spot. Therefore, he’s guaranteed to see as many (if not more) ABs than anyone else on the team. Blackmon’s .376 wOBA is nothing to sneeze at and neither is his .190 ISO, .309 AVG, .375 OBP or 24 SBs against RHP. I have a very difficult time not using him against a righty in Coors Field in almost any matchup (yes, I had shares of him last night versus Scherzer). In a matchup against a starter who will give him a chance to swing the bat every time up, there’s simply no reason to fade him. This is a prime day to take advantage of the Rockies’ offense.

Pitcher:         

Chris Sale, White Sox, $24,700 – The White Sox’ ace will experience a positive park shift when the team travels to Safeco Field for a date with Felix Hernandez and the Mariners. Although the Mariners rank as a mediocre matchup against LHP, they rank in the bottom 10 of BB rate and OBP. For a variety of reasons, Safeco Field prompts strikeouts. Taijuan Walker’s 2015 season is a personification of how taking advantage of a ballpark’s large dimensions and foul areas can cause a pitcher to become more aggressive and attack hitters in the park. The Mariners rank in the top ten of ISO, but only three pitchers have allowed lower percentages of hard contact then Chris Sale: Dallas Keuchel, Francisco Liriano and Sonny Gray. Sale also ranks second in baseball in K/9 and first in Ks. Nelson Cruz is a monster against LHP, but if Sale is able to keep him in check, I think he has an excellent chance to dominate per usual.

Madison Bumgarner, Giants, $23,700 – In a game with an over/under of seven, the Giants opened as -130 road favorites against Jeff Locke and the Pirates. The Pirates’ roster consists of a few beasts against LHP (Francisco Cervelli and Starling Marte), but it drops off the table from there. The Pirates rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, ISO and BB rate while striking out at 22.30 percent (seventh-highest) against LHP. Two things are working against Bumgarner in this matchup: the park shift and his home/away splits. PNC Park still ranks as a bottom-eight overall ballpark, so the shift isn’t too drastic. His 4.16 ERA on the road however, is a drastic increase from 2.05 at home. Due to the small differential in park factors between his home park and Pittsburgh, I wouldn’t worry too much about the splits. He owns a 0.71 ERA so far in August (three starts) and will have a great chance to build on that success in another plus matchup.

John Lackey, Cardinals, ­­$17,700 – The Padres are the most well-rounded matchup a pitcher could possibly want to face in the NL. What do I mean by that? Even though both the Marlins and Phillies have produced lower overall team wOBAs, the Padres are the only ones to rank in the bottom 10 of all these categories: wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP and line drive percentage. Best of all, they are the only team of the three to rank in the top ten of K percentage against RHP (21.40 percent). John Lackey will face this doormat offense in one of the two best pitchers’ parks in baseball (Petco Park). Opposing starter Andrew Cashner continues to struggle this season (4.20 ERA) and the Cardinals’ offense typically fares well against righties. With the team likely to back Lackey up with some runs, the cupcake matchup looks even better. There is no better alternative to save some salary at pitcher.

Gio Gonzalez, Nationals, $16,400 – ­It’ll take some cojones to stray from pairing two of the aces (or Lackey) in cash games, but Gio Gonzalez’s matchup deems him a reasonable alternative. The Brewers traded two of their best offensive talents at the deadline (Gerardo Parra and Aramis Ramirez) and weren’t even respectable against LHP before the trades. Without the two of them, the second-to-last ranking in wOBA against LHP may even be a little inflated. They essentially stink across the board and strike out at 22.00 percent. Gonzalez is suffering through a pedestrian season due to an uptick in the hit rate he’s allowing. What makes this matchup so juicy is the fact that the Brewers’ .222 AVG against LHP ranks dead last in baseball. The odds of them racking up the hits are rather unlikely, so Gonzalez’s floor is much higher than usual.

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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