In a matchup against Mike Pelfrey, Colby Rasmus has some serious potential on Friday. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB contests.
Robinson Cano, Mariners, $8,800 – Can you say “revenge game”? At this point, it has been over a season since Cano has played for the Yankees, but Yankee Stadium has played as a top eight ballpark for opposing lefties in terms of SLG, HR-percentage and extra base-hit percentage, per RotoGrinders Park Factors. Still, players seem to get a little extra revved up to face their old team and Robinson Cano has been red hot to start this season. Of all infielders on the slate, Cano’s 10.0 fantasy points per game (FPPG) to this point is tied for 24th (with Buster Posey). Furthermore, the over/under in this game is eight runs with the Yankees only listed as slight favorites. Opposing starter Luis Severino fared worse both at home and against LHHs last season. All-in-all, the matchup is extremely favorable and a revenge dong certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
Albert Pujols, Angels, $8,000 – The price on Albert Pujols is simply too cheap and, for that reason, he needs to be considered for cash games. After starting the season with four hitless games out of his first five, Pujols has now registered a hit in four consecutive games including at least two RBIs in back-to-back contests. Only Ryan Braun, Paul Goldschmidt, David Wright and Andrew McCutchen own higher career wOBAs against LHP than Pujols among active hitters and Pujols sports a career .317/.407/.565 wOBA versus the handedness. On the other hand, his upcoming opponent Tommy Milone allowed a .331 wOBA to RHHs last season including 14 of the 17 HRs he allowed. There is simply too much talent to pass on in a superb matchup so I am locking and loading him into my cash game lineup and I recommend you do the same.
Colby Rasmus, Astros, $8,000 – Why is Mike Pelfrey still in baseball? Over an 11 year sample size, Pelfrey’s career ERA sits at 4.55 with a 1.49 WHIP. One point four nine. In fact, the last time Pelfrey produced a WHIP under 1.40 was 2010 (1.38). In other words, he has been quite horrible for a long time and yet teams keep giving him an opportunity. For his career, he has allowed a .348 wOBA to LHHs including a .282/.359/.433 slash line! This sample size stretches over 630.2 IP. Considering how hard lefties have crushed him, and the fact that they’re reaching base at nearly a .360 clip, Colby Rasmus is firmly in play in a ballpark that allows the fifth highest HR-percentage to LHHs, per RotoGrinders. Ramus relies mostly on his power to provide fantasy value and he is likely to provide some in this matchup. Typically Rasmus is best reserved for GPPs but he is cash appeal in a matchup against one of the game’s worst starting pitchers.
David Peralta, Diamondbacks, $6,400 – Okay, so I get this game is being played in one of the game’s best pitchers parks, but David Peralta at only $6,400? Peralta is one of the most underrated talents in the game against RHP as he accumulated a .397 wOBA versus RHP last season…only nine percentage points behind teammate Paul Goldschmidt. In this matchup, Goldschmidt costs an extremely affordable $8,800 but Peralta is $2,400 cheaper despite the small differential statistically. Additionally, James Shields was absolutely ripped by LHHs last year: .278/.368/.522 slash line with 23 HRs allowed and a .380 wOBA. Dollar-for-dollar, Peralta is my favorite hitting play on the entire slate.
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers, $26,400 – Look, Clayton Kershaw is simply in a league of his own. Tier one of pitcher in baseball consists of Kershaw and only Kershaw. Beyond him, there is a gap the size of the Grand Canyon before you reach tier two which probably begins with Max Scherzer. Therefore, the price tag of $26,000-plus makes sense because you’re paying for the “Dom Perignon” of pitchers. Dodgers Stadium ranks as the sixth worst hitters’ parks over the past two seasons and the Giants struggle against left-handers. Nothing more really needs to be said about the best in the game. A bad game for him is probably 20 fantasy points so pay up for him if you’re interested in that sort of safety with 50 fantasy point upside.
Zack Greinke, Diamondbacks, $19,200 – To me, the most important pitching decision you will make on Friday is not deciding between Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale. I think the most important decision to make is whether you believe spending up on Kershaw is worthwhile because Zack Greinke can be every bit as good in this matchup. Then, the final choice is whether or not to roster both together or to use Greinke and a cheaper option in cash games to fit the bats. Why is Greinke’s matchup so enticing? The Padres may legitimately be one of the worst offenses I have ever seen. In back-to-back games, Jerad Eickhoff and Vincent Velasquez both looked like Cy Young Award winners due to their incredible futility. Both of Greinke’s starts to begin his Diamondbacks career have been ugly but they also have both been played in hitter-friendly Chase Field. Greinke will now take his talents to Petco Park which has ranked as baseball’s third most favorable pitchers’ parks over the past two seasons according to ESPN Park Factors. Starting him in cash games is going to take some cojones after two complete stinkers but it’s the right play in the most elite matchup any pitcher could ask for.
Edinson Volquez, Royals, $15,000 – Winning the $15,000 Home Run on FantasyDraft Friday evening will not be easy and will likely require some contrarian tactics. Most will probably gravitate towards the Kershaws, Greinkes, Chris Sales and Madison Bumgarners of the world, but many other pitchers possess upside on this slate. To open the season, Edinson Volquez has quietly produced back-to-back starts of at least 23.95 fantasy points, including 10 Ks versus the Twins on Apr. 10. Now, he’ll head to the American League’s top pitchers park and face a struggling Oakland Athletics offense. So far this season, only the Padres have produced a lower wOBA tally and the Athletics are only striking out at a hefty 23.5-percent clip. If you’re going to take a shot on a cheap pitcher, none are in a better spot than Volquez.
*Stats are accurate as of Thursday, Apr. 14