Cast Away

Nick Castellanos and the Tigers’ powerful bats will have an opportunity to exploit Hector Santiago’s extreme fly ball tendencies on Wednesday. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster.

Infield:

Jose Abreu, White Sox, – In eight career bats against opposing starter Rick Porcello, Jose Abreu has registered two hits, one of which left the yard. This season, Abreu has yet again proven to be the staple of the White Sox’ offensive attack. He leads the team in wOBA, ISO, AVG, OBP, SLG and hard-hit percentage against RHP. Porcello, who signed a monster contract with Boston in the offseason, will be making his first start off the disabled list. He is already amidst an incredibly disappointing season, especially compared to his 3.43 ERA and 1.23 WHIP last season. In 2015, he sports a 5.81 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in 20 starts. There’s always the possibility the disabled list cured whatever was ailing him, but he’s also unlikely to pitch too deep into the game in his first start. Considering what skills (or lack thereof) Porcello has displayed this season, I think Abreu is a rock solid choice in cash games on Wednesday.

Nick Castellanos, Tigers, – Hector Santiago only lasted 3.2 IP last time out against the Blue Jays after throwing 48 pitches and allowing four ER in the first inning. Within the last week or so, the Tigers have surpassed the Blue Jays as baseball’s top-ranked wOBA offense against LHP. Now, wOBA isn’t the only statistic to take into consideration against most pitchers, but Santiago is literally baseball’s most extreme fly ball pitcher. Therefore, if teams possess a fair bit of power, they are likely to turn those fly balls into HRs. On the Tigers, no one has hit the ball harder (34.30 percent line-drive rate) against LHP than Nick Castellanos. Hitting in an elite lineup against lefties, Castellanos ranks second on the team in wOBA behind only Miguel Cabrera… and he’ll come at a much better value. Assuming Castellanos hits sixth and not seventh, consider him an excellent cash option and even better tournament play.

Outfield:

Jose Bautista, Blue Jays, – Sometimes rostering Jose Bautista can make you want to scream, as he is the definition of “hit or miss.” Squaring off against Colby Lewis in the Ballpark in Arlington on Wednesday, I think Bautista is very likely to “hit”… literally. Not only does Lewis own a career 4.43 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and 1.3 HR/9, but he has been owned by Bautista in the past. In 12 previous ABs, Bautista has homered twice and produced three total hits for a .333/.556/.833 slash line. Lewis, similarly to Santiago, relies on the fly ball to retire opposing hitters, and that just will not fly against Bautista. The man easily leads the Blue Jays in ISO against RHP(.304) and the offense includes such power threats as Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Edwin Encarnacion, etc. If Lewis makes one little slip up, expect Bautista to rock his third career homer off of Lewis.

Yasiel Puig, Dodgers, – Poor David Holmberg’s season ERA ballooned to 6.57 after his last start against the Diamondbacks. He went five IP allowing two HR, 12 baserunners and five ER. Many of Holmberg’s problems, and he’s had quite a few, stem from his inability to handle RHHs. So far this season, righties are slashing .347/.422/.639 against him, which partially accounts for his 1.74 WHIP overall. The Dodgers do not possess many RHHs, especially ones who mash LHPs, but Yasiel Puig fits the bill. Only Kike Hernandez wOBA  of .487 ranks higher on the team than Puig’s .376, although Hernandez’s sample size is limited. He also sports a .241 ISO, .377 OBP and .500 SLG against lefties. Add in the fact that he’ll be hitting in one of the most favorable HR parks in the game, and Puig has all the upside necessary to justify spending on him.

Pitcher:

NOTE: These were written on Tuesday morning so some situations have changed. Please check the updates.

Max Scherzer, Nationals, – Hmm, let’s see here; one of the game’s best pitchers against one of the game’s worst offenses in a below-average hitters’ park. Does that sound like a matchup you’d want to exploit? Well if it does, then Max Scherzer is your man! He opened as a -180 favorite against another upper-echelon pitcher (Tyson Ross) in a game with an over/under of 6.5. The Padres play as a favorable matchup to opposing pitchers in just about every category, including striking out 21.30 percent of the time against RHP. No pitcher has more upside than Scherzer on the slate, so using him isn’t a tough decision (despite plenty of other aces toeing the mound as well). UPDATE: Max Scherzer has had his start pushed back and Gio Gonzalez will start. I have Gonzalez as a top three pitcher in cash and Chris Sale now becomes the top option overall on the slate.

Chris Archer, Rays, – Looking for a pitcher equipped with a greater K rate than even Scherzer this season? Well, look no further than Chris Archer and his superb 10.9 K/9. The Twins will come to town and face Archer at home, where he has allowed a .201 opponents’ AVG this season. The Twins still rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, but have improved as an offense against the handedness since the call up of Miguel Sano. With that being said, Sano has still struck out 35.10 percent of the time against RHP, and we all know Archer possesses that ability. If it weren’t for Scherzer, Chris Sale and David Price pitching on the slate as well, I’d probably recommend having 100 percent shares of Archer.

Carlos Carrasco, Indians, – Do not rely on splits alone in this case, because Carlos Carrasco’s performance has been far superior on the road (2.41 ERA) than at home (5.00 ERA) this season. The Brewers, who will need to fill the DH position with a less than adequate hitter gauging by their roster, aren’t the same without Gerardo Parra and Aramis Ramirez. Parra was the engine that made this offense go, and the pair of Ryan Braun and Adam Lind can’t produce all the offense on their own. Ranking in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, OBP and line-drive percentage, it’s clear they aren’t one of the more difficult matchups in the game. Carrasco is heavily reliant on the Ks (9.9 K/9) and the Brewers strike out at the eight-highest percentage against RHP. The upside is absolutely elite, and he’s pitched at least 6.2 IP in each of his four August starts, so the floor looks solid as well. If you want to save money by fading one of the elites, Carrasco makes all the sense in the world. UPDATE: The Indians have placed Carlos Carrasco on the disabled list. Cody Anderson will fill in at a cheap price but I think this now leaves Chris Sale, Chris Archer, David Price, Johnny Cueto and Gio Gonzalez as the starters that clearly stick out in cash games for the slate.

Jake Peavy, Giants, – In his previous two starts, Jake Peavy has allowed nine earned runs in 11.2 IP. It’s strange, because he had put together three solid starts in a row beforehand, recording a 1.59 ERA during that stretch. The good news is that the strikeouts have been there recently (at least five Ks in three of four games) and the Cubs strike out at the second-highest rate (23.80 percent) against RHP. This is a tournament play only because the Cubs, led by Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo, Chris Coghlan and Kris Bryant, have hit righties hard recently. However, they’ll experience an extreme negative ballpark shift when heading to AT&T Park and Peavy will have an opportunity to register more Ks than usual. If you believe in game theory at all, Peavy should end up a very low-owned starter especially on this of all slates. He has the potential to catapult you up the leaderboards in tournaments while he’s rostered by very few.

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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