Green Eggs and Hamels

The Rangers will experience a negative park shift and positive league shift when they head to Petco Park to face the lowly Padres on Wednesday. Play Cole Hamels. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster.

Infield:

Jose Reyes, Rockies, $8,400 – Coors Field doesn’t look quite as enticing on Tuesday as it did on Wednesday, but that doesn’t mean it still won’t produce values. Since being briefly demoted on August 18, Chase Anderson has returned to throw 12.2 IP in two starts with two ER. Naturally, Coors is a whole different ballgame, and Anderson has allowed nine HR on the road in 12 starts this season. However, I think the play is to target the stolen base against him. Both Wellington Castillo and Jarrod Saltalamacchia rank in the bottom 20 of the catcher position (min. 250 innings caught, leaving 55 eligible catchers this season) in the rSB category, according to FanGraphs. Basically, the statistic calculates stolen base runs saved, and neither do their pitchers any favors. With Anderson not really allowing a substantial amount of power to either side of the plate in terms of SLG, go with the steady Reyes (or maybe even Charlie Blackmon) as high floor cash options.

Prince Fielder, Rangers, $7,400 – Prince Fielder came through last night and I am going back to the well once again. Petco Park’s reputation seems to be holding his price down, and as became evident last night, Fielder has the power to hit one out. Opposing starter Ian Kennedy has actually allowed more HRs at home (15 in 12 starts) than on the road (11 in 12 starts). He also has allowed a greater opponents’ AVG (.253 to .242) and ERA (4.48 to 3.48) at home. The aspect I like is the fact he’s allowed 15 HR to LHHs, and we know the type of power this vegetarian possesses (.402 career wOBA against RHP). Value looks to be the theme of the night, especially with the expensive pitchers on the slate, so hopefully rostering Fielder on back-to-back nights can result in back-to-back nights with a bomb.

Outfield:

Ryan Braun, Brewers, $8,200 – Not sure what this price is, but I never ask questions when I catch something that could play to my advantage. Ryan Braun is baseball’s career leader in wOBA against LHP (min. 40 AB) with a .437 mark, slightly edging out Paul Goldschmidt (.433). Jeff Locke and the Pirates will be the unfortunate recipients of Braun’s wrath. In five career starts at Miller Park, Locke owns a respectable 3.68 ERA but has allowed four HR and a 1.33 WHIP. Locke and Braun have met in 26 previous ABs, Braun racking up eight hits including three doubles and a HR. In HR-friendly Miller Park (ranks in the top eight or so of HR rate), Braun possesses all the upside in the world…well above that necessary to roster a player only costing you $8,200.

Andre Ethier, Dodgers, $6,400 – Well, well, well…. A usual suspect makes his way back into the Today’s Plays article. Once again, there is solid reasoning for rostering Andre Ethier beyond just the price. He ranks second on the team with a .389 wOBA against RHP, which typically deserves a price in the $8,000’s. Overall, he has slashed .306/.388/.517 against righties, but always carries the threat of being pinch hit for (like he was the other day in the sixth inning for Scott Van Slyke). However, as has been previously mentioned in other articles, Ethier just lives for hitting in Dodgers Stadium. He’s hitting over 70 percentage points higher at home with a .420 OBP and nine of his 13 HRs overall. He’ll square off against a pitcher (Mike Leake), whom he’s produced seven hits off of in 15 career ABs, including two dongs. I understand relegating him to tournaments only because of the downside, but he stands out to me by far as the value of the night.

Pitcher:

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers, $25,400 – How perfect would it be if Clayton Kershaw carried a user’s team to meet Clayton Kershaw? The narrative is too perfect to ignore. Oh yeah, and he’s probably the best pitcher in baseball.

Max Scherzer, Nationals, $22,900 – This price is a significant discount from Kershaw because Max Scherzer’s August ERA finished at 6.43. It’s hard to believe a pitcher the caliber of Scherzer could go through a poor stretch to that extent, but it actually happened. What goes up must come down and, in this case, the “what” coming down soon is his ERA. The Cardinals rank as a middle-of-the-road matchup in just about every statistical category, and Scherzer certainly possesses the talent to take advantage. If he finds his stride, he’ll exceed his price tag. He only threw 84 pitches in his previous start, so he should be fully recovered and ready to rebound.

Cole Hamels, Rangers, $19,100 – My pitching pick to click on this slate is none other than Rangers’ lefty Cole Hamels. He makes for a perfect complement to one of the studs or a valuable top starter in a lineup with expensive (likely Coors) bats. While his tenure with the Rangers began with a rocky stretch (nine ER in his first two starts combined), he has since turned it around. Each of his last three starts have been quality and he’s fresh off an eight IP, six baserunner and one ER gem against the Orioles. Now, in immense Petco Park, he’ll face a Padres offense ranking in the top 10 in wOBA, wRC+, ISO, AVG and OBP against LHP. Oh, and by the way, he owns a career 1.78 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in Petco as well. The icing on the cake is the 22.70 percent K rate, so Hamels’ ceiling sits as high as anyone’s. Roster him and celebrate.

Taijuan Walker, Mariners, $15,100 – In Taijuan Walker’s previous meeting with the Astros, he allowed three ER in 6.1 IP but struck out 11. Now, that start was in Safeco Field (which is much friendlier to those pitching in it than Minute Maid Park), so expecting a repeat is a little ambitious. With that being said, the Astros continue to strike out at a league-leading 23.80 percent against RHP this season. Walker’s season has had its peaks and valleys, but the one thing that’s remained consistent is the Ks. The Astros’ offense is quite powerful and I worry about the downside in cash. He makes sense in tournament formats though, because he owns the double-digit strikeout potential once again in this one.

Jeff Locke, Pirates, $10,800 – After touting Ryan Braun as one of the day’s best plays, I also think Jeff Locke possesses enough upside to run out there as well. He’s priced like a bum, which he typically is, but the Brewers as a whole do not hit lefties. They rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, BB rate, AVG and OBP against LHP, while striking out at 22.50 percent. Gerrit Cole seemed like a solid option yesterday, but was lit up by the Brewers. As a team, they hit RHP better, so I’m willing to give it another shot with a lefty. If he can keep Braun in check (or at least limit him to mediocre production), it should be clear skies ahead for ol’ Jeffy boy.

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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