With an over/under of 11.5, Coors Field simply cannot be ignored on Wednesday, and Denard Span should be one of the first players inserted into your lineups. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB contests.
Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks, $10,400 – Something is up with probable starter Alex Wood. He basically has not been right since July of last season. Here were his ERAs by month last season from July on: 4.91, 4.11, 5.08 and 2.57 (which was only one start in October). After the All-Star break, Wood put together a 3.95 ERA and he started this season with a poor outing (five earned runs (ER) and 10 baserunners in 5.0 IP). If that trend continues into Wednesday, Paul Goldschmidt is going to have a field day. Digging deeper into Wood’s struggles last season, he allowed a .343 wOBA to RHHs as opposed to a .228 tally to LHHs. Righties slashed .284/.359/.429 against him versus .219/.243/.274 to lefties. In other words, righties were a cause of the majority of his struggles. This is a problem for Wood considering only Nelson Cruz possesses a greater career wOBA among active players than Paul Goldschmidt. With Wood amidst the worst cold streak of his career (or maybe just severely regressing), Goldschmidt is as close as it gets to a lock for production, with a dong possible.
Daniel Murphy, Nationals, $8,100 – Red alert: Matt Wisler is the worst pitcher in baseball against LHHs…Seriously, that is not an overstatement whatsoever. Literally no pitcher allowed a higher wOBA to opposing lefties last season than Wisler’s .419 tally. Hell, he allowed lefties to slash .320/.416/.569 against him. Even with an incredibly limited sample size, Wisler allowed a .471 wOBA to the Cardinals’ lefties in his first start of the season. We have enough of a sample size by this point to identify this as just a major flaw in his game. Obviously this puts Bryce Harper firmly in play but do not sleep on Daniel Murphy either. While Murphy didn’t set the world on fire versus RHP like Harper did last season, he did produce a respectable .342 wOBA and hit .290 versus the handedness. So far, both of Murphy’s HRs this season have come against RHP and he’s hitting .471 to begin the year. In literally the best matchup he could ever ask for, there is a strong case to be made for rostering him in all formats including GPPs.
Denard Span, Giants, $9,300 – No, I did not forget about Coors Field. There is a game being played there on Wednesday night that opened with an over/under of 11.5 runs. Basically, this is the norm for Coors Field, and while games certainly don’t always turn out to be high-scoring, the field is such an anomaly that it always has to be taken seriously. If targeting against one of the starters, going against Jordan Lyles is the preferred option as he sports a career 5.15 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. Lyles pitched in Coors on Apr. 8 and the Padres lite him up for five ER in 3.1 IP. Guess what: the Giants are a much superior offense against RHPs than the Padres. The team’s leader in wOBA is Denard Span and he’ll hit at the top of the lineup, so in theory, he has the best chance for the most ABs. Given the matchup, those ABs should be productive and Span is a building block for cash games.
Gregory Polanco, Pirates, $8,700 – Although Matt Wisler allowed the highest wOBA to opposing LHHs among all qualified pitchers, five pitchers with a minimum of 30 IP versus the handedness actually allowed worse totals: Eddie Butler, David Buchanan, Michael Lorenzen and Wednesday’s probable starter Shane Greene. Yes, Greene allowed opposing lefties to hit a whopping .357 against him in 40.0 IP which would have led the league by more than 30 percentage points among the qualified starters. Gregory Polanco’s platoon splits drastically favor facing RHP as he produced a wOBA nearly 90 percentage points greater versus righties as compared to lefties last season. Sure Polanco doesn’t hit for much power but he did steal 27 bases last season. In each of the past four seasons, Tigers catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia has rated below average throwing runners out according to FanGraphs rSB (stolen bases run saved above league average) statistic. With a solid matchup against both the pitcher and the catcher, roll with Polanco in any format in which you can make his salary fit.
Josh Reddick, Athletics, $7,600 (Early) – In 2015, Matt Shoemaker allowed a sub-4.22 ERA in just one month last season. Yes, in all five other months his ERA sat in the mid-4.00s all the way up to 6.00 in April. Similarly to the aforementioned Alex Wood, Shoemaker also was lit up in his first start of 2016 as he allowed six ER in 3.0 IP. Righties actually hit Shoemaker slightly better last season, but that is sort of nitpicking, because everyone hit him well. As long as Josh Reddick remains healthy, he rakes against RHPs. Last season he led the team in wOBA against the handedness among all season-long members of the team. He also struck out a team low 10.40-percent against RHP and knocked 15 HRs out of the park against them. With Shoemaker unlikely to strike him out, look for Reddick to put the ball in play, and his 21.3-percent line drive rate against RHPs last season suggests he’s going to hit the ball hard.
Carlos Carrasco, Indians, $23,100 – If not for Coach Terry Francona leaving Corey Kluber in yesterday to pitch the eighth inning, his start would have looked a whole lot more impressive. Kluber made it through seven innings with just one earned run before allowing a HR to Logan Forsythe and Cody Allen allowed another one of his baserunners to score. The point being Kluber dominated this time for the majority of this start and yet another over-powering righty will toe the mound for the Indians on Wednesday: Carlos Carrasco. Only two starters on the Rays produced wOBAs of .350-plus in 2015: Corey Dickerson (aided by Coors Field) and Hank Conger (likely to hit ninth if in the lineup). The rest of the team drastically struggled and the team struck out at the 10th highest rate versus RHP. In a matchup with that sort of strikeout potential, the sky is the limit for Carrasco. I can’t believe I am saying this but I actually prefer him over Stephen Strasburg if choosing between the two.
A.J. Griffin, Rangers, $15,300 (Early) – In my Tuesday piece for RotoCurve, I covered A.J. Griffin and my grim outlook for the remainder of his season. To summarize, Griffin is a fly ball pitcher stuck in one of the worst parks for his skill set. On Wednesday, however, he will pitch in Safeco Park which is perfectly suited to his skill set. Griffin can get away with relying on hitters to make contact in the air in a larger ballpark. Furthermore, the Mariners ranked below average in terms of wOBA, wRC+, AVG, OBP and line drive rate against RHP last season and struck out at the fourth highest rate (21.8-percent). Relying on Griffin for double-digit strikeouts or anything close is like waiting on a unicorn, but the overall environment should be conducive to a quality start. With most flocking to Taijuan Walker in this game, Griffin is an interesting alternative (for this one game only).
Phil Hughes, Twins, $14,400 – Recommending a pitcher on an 0-7 Twins team does not come with much win potential but I never prefer to chase wins in the daily fantasy game anyways…at least not with FantasyDraft’s scoring system. To be fair, the Twins are -106 favorites in this game as they’ll square off against young lefty Carlos Rodon. First of all, many of the Twins bats favor hitting lefties so he may get some run production. When it comes down to the matchup though, the aspects I like are the fact that the White Sox ranked in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, OBP and hard hit percentage last season versus RHP. Phil Hughes pitches to contact and is one of the most extreme fly ball pitchers in the game…even more so than Griffin. Since the White Sox do not possess much power and do not hit the ball hard all that often, it’s unlikely they’ll make Hughes pay. For these reasons, I feel very confident rostering Hughes at this mid-tier price. Bold prediction: Hughes and the Twins actually win this game.
*Stats are accurate as of Tuesday, Apr. 12