Although a drooling dog does not come as part of the package for rostering Justin Turner, a big day in Coors Field likely does. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB contests.
Note: We are almost getting to the point where I am okay with using 2016 as a sample size. Until we reach 20-25 games, it is not a large enough sample and I will continue to rely on past statistics.
JUSTIN TURNER IS NOT IN THE LINEUP TONIGHT. ACT ACCORDINGLY.
Miguel Sano, Twins, $8,400 (Early) – Through 11 games, Miguel Sano had only managed a .143 AVG with zero HRs. In the six games since, Sano has raised his AVG to .263 and homered thrice including in back-to-back games heading into Saturday. The Twins and Sano will square off against Tanner Roark who relies on contact to get opposing hitters out. For his career, Roark has struck out 6.08 batters per nine innings but his that number has been on the decline over the past two seasons. In 111.0 IP last year, Roark allowed a 4.38 ERA and only produced a 5.68 K/9. In three starts, he is only striking out 4.76 batters per nine. Sano absolutely crushed RHP last season to the tune of a .397 wOBA and .273 ISO. He is picking up where he left off after a slow start considering two of the three pitchers he has homered off this season (Chase Anderson and Carlos Torres) are both right-handed. The early slate does not have many gas can pitchers so you’ll have to focus on taking advantage of the few weak links…and Roark certainly applies. When in the zone, Sano is viable in any and every format.
Justin Turner, Dodgers, $8,400 (Late) – Like Sano, Justin Turner is another RHH who actually favors the platoon split against RHP. Luckily for him, his team too will square off against a righty, except his matchup will take place in the hitters’ haven of Coors Field. After a 11.5 over/under last night (which ended with 12 runs scored), this game is projected at 11 runs even with Kenta Maeda on the mound for the Dodgers. In limited samples, opposing starter Tyler Chatwood has possessed reverse splits (meaning he allows a greater wOBA to RHHs than LHHs) in each of his past two seasons played. Overall, Chatwood has allowed a comparable wOBA to each side of the plate (.347 to LHHs versus .338 to RHHs). In fact, he has given up more HRs to RHHs than LHHs despite facing less righties overall. All-in-all the matchup would play favorably even in a neutral park, but clearly Turner will enjoy a far superior situation to just your run of the mill stadium. At just $8,400, Turner is a guy to lock and load in cash games. UPDATE: Justin Turner is not in the lineup. Literally target any of the other bats in the lineup as they are ALL viable.
Yasiel Puig, Dodgers, $9,600 (Late) – All the arguments that can be made for Turner can also be made for Yasiel Puig. Similarly to the pitcher Chatwood, Puig fares pretty similarly against each handedness. Over the span of his four year career, Puig has produced a wOBA of .373 versus RHP as opposed to .376 versus LHP. He slightly edges out Turner in terms of both career wOBA (.373-.351) and ISO (.195-.142) against RHP. When it comes down to it, they are both in a similar spot with similar skill sets, but Turner will bat higher in the order while Puig is a slightly superior hitter versus the handedness. It’s very difficult to choose between the two so why not start them both in a game that is projected to produce the most runs on the slate? In cash games, four or so hitters from this game is probably the sweet spot so do not fear to concoct a mini-stack even for double-ups and 50/50s.
Gregory Polanco, Pirates, $8,400 (Late) – Death, taxes and Rubby De La Rosa struggling versus LHHs are damn near the three surest things in life. After allowing a whopping .404 wOBA and .312/.382/.567 slash line to lefties last season, he is proving that was no fluke by allowing a .380 wOBA to the handedness this year through five appearances. In my opinion, he just isn’t very good and his days in the rotation are likely limited…at least as soon as Archie Bradley figures things out in Triple-A. Until that time, left-handers are going to continue to feast on him at the major league level and Gregory Polanco is no exception. Polanco is still young but he is showing drastic signs of improvement as his career wOBA against RHP sits at .330 but he currently sports a .407 tally this season. As a matter of fact, he is slashing a very respectable .326/.446/.478 up to this point. Oh by the way the Pirates will experience a bit of a positive ballpark shift in Chase Field. The choice will be difficult between Polanco and John Jaso as for who to use in cash, but considering the stolen base upside, Polanco is the easy choice for me in tournaments. Simply put, this whole Pirates offense is in an excellent spot and makes for a nice GPP stack.
Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees, $20,800 (Early) – In seasonal leagues, I wouldn’t touch this guy because he has been pitching with a shaky UCL in his pitching elbow since the middle of last season. However, to give him credit, he has been making it work. Until the elbow inevitably gives out, which all analysts testify it has to at some point, Masahiro Tanaka should continue to pitch like an upper-echelon major league starter. On the other hand, his opponent (the Rays) has struggled to hit RHPs since the beginning of 2015. Last year, the Rays ranked in the bottom 10 of wOBA, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP and hard hit percentage while striking out at the eighth highest rate versus the handedness. They haven’t fared much better this season as they still rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA and are now striking out at a whopping 26.2-percent. It should be another productive day at the office for Mr. Tanaka and you’ll want him anchoring your staff in the six game early slate.
Felix Hernandez, Mariners, $20,400 (Late) – I wrote about Felix Hernandez yesterday and then he ended up getting scratched. I apologize for having to do this but I am literally just going to copy and paste the tidbit because everything still applies:
“Let’s get one thing straight: I believe Felix Hernandez’s skills are amidst a steep decline. Hernandez’s average fastball velocity has dropped more than two mph from last season which already was a two mph decrease from his prime (2010). All-in-all, we are looking at a pitcher averaging 89.7 mph on his heater. Now through three starts, he does sport a 1.00 ERA but he is posting a 6.50 BB/9…which is nearly triple his career average. His current xFIP of 4.07 would rank significantly worse than his career average of 3.17 and his worst single season output of 3.83 (2008). Even with all of this being said, Hernandez still stands out as the top cash starting pitching on the slate. In my rotations article for RotoCurve this week, I touched on just how porous the Angels offense has been thus far. This table displays just how poorly they rank in important statistical categories:
Okay so the fact that they walk the most of any team is a little worrisome against Hernandez but his career numbers suggest the wildness is a mirage. Outside of Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, there isn’t much to fear about this Angels offense whatsoever and Hernandez should be aided by a pitcher-friendly ballpark (Angel Stadium). Despite his flaws, Hernandez is still worthy of a roster spot.”
Hector Santiago, Angels, $16,400 (Late) – Both pitchers in the same matchup are worthy of consideration especially because a win is only worth four fantasy points on FantasyDraft. If a pitcher puts together a respectable start and can rack up some strikeouts, such an outing is far more valuable than a mediocre start capped off by a victory. An article from the Orange County Register has morphed me from a believer to a super-believer in Hector Santiago moving forward. Essentially, the article talks about how Santiago believes he can consistently repeat his windup now so he feels comfortable giving maximum effort. By doing so, he can reach his maximum velocity which he had not been able to do consistently earlier in his career. Last season’s breakout campaign showed that Santiago could sustain production over a full season and there’s no reason to believe he cannot do so once again. The Mariners managed an above average wOBA against LHP last season but have not been able to mimic that sort of success yet in 2016. They currently rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, AVG, OBP, hard hit percentage and line drive against southpaws while Santiago currently sports a sub-2.70 ERA. Just because two pitchers are pitching against one another doesn’t mean you cannot use both. If I had to choose one for tournaments, I probably would choose Santiago considering he has been a rock solid pitcher for well over a full season.
*Stats are accurate as of Friday, Apr. 22 (aside from the table which was accurate as of Thursday, Apr. 21)