The Reds are favored at home against a vulnerable RHP so Joey Votto automatically warrants consideration. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB contests.
Joey Votto, Reds, $9,000 – Clearly, Rockies’ pitchers enjoy a positive ballpark shift any time they leave the hitter haven of Coors Field. Still, in a limited sample size last season, opposing starter Jordan Lyles actually allowed a 6.05 ERA on the road versus 4.55 at home. His career numbers suggest this is no fluke considering he has only ever played for Houston and Colorado and has allowed a combined .340 wOBA at home versus .346 on the road. Therefore, playing in the Great American Ballpark should not be a concern if rostering Joey Votto because Lyles is still susceptible on the road. Left-handed hitters have managed a .357 wOBA off of Lyles in 270.0 IP and Votto is third in wOBA against RHP among all active hitters (behind only Corey Seager and David Ortiz). While Votto and the Reds offense has struggled so far this season, at home against a middling righty (and -115 favorites) is the perfect time for them to break out of their funk.
Scooter Gennett, Brewers, $7,600 – A few expensive bats and costly pitchers are in play on Monday so value is going to need to be found at certain spots. When looking at opponents worthy of taking advantage of on Monday, Phil Hughes and his 29 HRs allowed last year look awfully enticing. Scooter Gennett ranks second on the Brewers in career wOBA against RHP, behind only Ryan Braun, with a .343 tally. In total, Gennett has slashed .307/.339/.458 against the handedness and he comes at a $400 discount to Braun. Certainly both are in play but Gennett hits higher in the order and his .419 OBP thus far has been money for cash games. While there is no doubt Braun is the superior cash play, Gennett is a very safe bet in a game with an 8.5 over/under and the team only a slightly underdog.
Mike Trout, Angels, $9,000 – Mike Trout has yet to truly break out in 2016 but I think this is the game it all comes together for him. Last season, Trout led the team in wOBA against LHP by a large margin and finished fourth in all of baseball behind only Nelson Cruz, Paul Goldschmidt and Joey Votto. Probable starter Carlos Rodon is at his best when he is getting opposing hitters to chase. The aspect I like best about Trout’s matchup is the fact that he walked at a team-high 17.1-percent against southpaws last season. If Rodon is wild, Trout should find his way on base via the walk. If Rodon pumps one in there, Trout is one of the best in the game at hitting the ball hard (41.1-percent hard hit rate versus LHP last season). At a price that has sunk more than $1,000 since the beginning of the season, take advantage of the discount while you can, because the price is going to shoot back up very soon.
Michael Conforto, Mets, $6,800 – This kid just continues to hit as he raised his average to .313 in the month of April with two RBI doubles on Sunday. In fact, the game marked his straight with a hit and also the third consecutive game the Mets offense scored at least five runs. After early struggles, the Mets are once again hitting on all cylinders which is bad news for Jerad Eickhoff. The Phillies youngster is coming off a dominating performance against the lowly Padres but, unfortunately for him, the Mets are not the Padres. In 2015, the Mets ranked eighth in wOBA versus RHP and also factored into the top 10 of wRC+, ISO, OBP and hard hit percentage…compared to this Padres offense which is one of the worst in recent memory. Although Conforto was not the only reason for the success, he certainly contributed. With the other staples in the lineup such as Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes priced in the $8,000s, Conforto has been as hot as any of them and is at least $1,200 cheaper.
Noah Syndergaard, Mets, $23,600 – Aside from Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer, it is clear there is no other starting pitcher packing more upside than Noah Syndergaard. Even in just his second season, he is just that darn good already. In just two starts, Syndergaard has made it incredibly clear that last season’s 3.24 ERA and 1.05 WHIP were no fluke. In fact, it seems those numbers were only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the potential Syndergaard may ultimately possess. In 13.0 IP this season, Syndergaard has struck out a ridiculous 21 batters to just two walks. Now, he’ll square off against a team that ranked bottom 10 in wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP and hard hit rate versus RHP last season and struck out at the sixth highest rate versus the handedness. Oh, and the Phillies do not seem to understand the concept of splits so they continue to roll out weird lineups with Darin Ruf playing against righties and Ryan Howard playing against lefties. All-in-all, Syndergaard is a pitcher you have to pay up for in cash games as you very well may be left in the dust if you do not. He is by far my favorite pitching option on the entire slate.
Jose Fernandez, Marlins, $22,000 – If Syndergaard is option 1A, Jose Fernandez rates as a distant 1B if only by default. It’s not that I don’t like Fernandez’s skill set but more that the matchup is just okay against the Washington Nationals. The Nationals have the best hitter in the world locked into their three spot in the order and he is an incredibly tough out. However, the addition of Daniel Murphy is nothing to sneeze at either. Beyond the two of them, this lineup actually isn’t really that potent; they would have ranked bottom 10 in wOBA, wRC+, AVG and OBP against RHP with this current roster construction last season and struck out 20.6-percent of the time against the handedness. In other words, as long as Fernandez doesn’t get killed by the monsters in the middle, it should be a productive outing. Fernandez possesses as much K upside as anyone on the slate not named “Syndergaard,” so confidently deploy him in all formats.
Hector Santiago, Angels, $14,800 – Beyond the two studs, there are a lot of question marks amidst the mid-tier starters. Carlos Rodon, John Lackey and Jerad Eickhoff all will face formidable foes while Chase Anderson will face a negative league shift (going from the NL to AL and having to face a designated hitter). That leaves Hector Santiago as the most appealing option of the bunch because of his bargain price combined with a favorable matchup. On Sunday, lefty Matt Moore shut down the White Sox in 6.1 IP, allowing five hits and two ER while striking out 10. Last season, the White Sox were simply horrific against LHP for a majority of the season as Jose Abreu was the only member of the team hitting them at an above average clip. The addition of Todd Frazier clearly helps this season but Moore reaffirmed yesterday that the offense still has a long ways to go. While I don’t love the prospects of a fly ball pitcher in U.S. Cellular Field, the wind is expected to be blowing in. Santiago is best left for tournaments only, but he has the upside to blow away his price tag while ultimately allowing you to roster stud bats at the same time.
*Stats are accurate as of Sunday, Apr. 17