Mike Pelfrey is a serious threat to get lit up every time he steps on the mound and there is no candidate more primed to take advantage on Tuesday than Josh Reddick. 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.
Anthony Rizzo, Cubs, $9,600 – Jimmy Nelson isn’t the worst pitcher on the slate but he is squaring off against the best offense (in terms of run per game) in the league. Also, there is one glaring hole to Nelson’s game: he struggles mightily against LHHs. Last season, Nelson allowed a .298/.381/.495 slash to line to opposing lefties en route to a .376 wOBA. Anthony Rizzo, well, what is there really to say about him? He ranks second in the majors in homers with eight (behind only Bryce Harper) and he currently sports the 10th highest wOBA versus RHP. He is the anchor in the middle of this dominant offense and is one of the best players in the game. His price is actually down $600 from the end of last week so fire him up in all formats for what is still a favorable matchup.
Kendrys Morales, Royals, $6,800 – Though Jered Weaver’s ERA currently sits at 3.12, his FIP (5.75) and xFIP (6.23) suggest he has pitched far worse than his numbers suggest. Eventually, his 3.63 K/9, 90.9-percent left on base rate and 25.4-percent groundball rate will catch up to him. Considering the Royals always rely on contact, they should have no issues putting the ball in play against this depreciated version of Weaver. In two meetings last year, the Royals managed six and three runs in two starts versus Weaver respectively and his fastball velocity was an average of 2.9 mph faster than it has been so far in 2016. No player on the Royals produced a higher wOBA or ISO than Kendrys Morales last year and his major offensive flaw is striking out too much. Considering Weaver is punching out less than four batters per nine innings, his flaw is essentially negated in this matchup, and therefore Rockets should just be flying off the bat of Morales.
Starling Marte, Pirates, $10,200 – Starling Marte is one of a trio of Pirates that owns a career wOBA of .374-plus against LHPs. Apparently Jorge De La Rosa was dealing with the stomach flu on Monday night so he was pushed back to Tuesday. He likely will not be feeling 100-percent, but regardless, Coors Field has unsurprisingly not been very kind to him. De La Rosa allowed a 5.40 ERA at home versus 3.26 on the road in 2015 and his ERA in Coors currently sits over 8.00 (8.44) this year. Like many lefties, De La Rosa struggles against RHHs, as he has allowed a career .348 wOBA to the handedness. While Coors disappointed last night, the Pirates still managed six runs. Some may choose to ease their exposure to this game on Tuesday because the game fell short of Vegas’ projected total last night, but the Pirates offense is in a prime spot yet again. Andrew McCutchen is struggling so I can understand avoiding him but you shouldn’t disregard a five tool player (Marte) against a mediocre pitcher in a hitters’ haven.
Josh Reddick, Athletics, $7,800 – Gas can Mike Pelfrey is back and pitching once again! You know what that means…time to target against him. While Pelfrey only allowed three earned runs last time out, he worked out of bases loaded situations multiple times (allowed 13 total baserunners) and was let off the hook. To review, the last time Pelfrey managed a WHIP under 1.42 was 2010 and his career ERA sits at 4.51 with a 1.49 overall WHIP. In his career, he has allowed a .350 wOBA to LHHs compared to a .330 total to RHHs, but hitters of both handedness have managed career averages of at least .283. Josh Reddick took a step forward overall as an offensive player last year, especially against RHPs, as he hit .289 against the handedness with a .356 wOBA. Honestly, this is one of my favorite stacks because eventually Pelfrey is just going to completely implode and allow eight or so runs. Reddick’s talent and handedness matches up the best for this specific matchup but feel free to pair him with Chris Coghlan, Jed Lowrie, Stephen Vogt and the rest of the lineup because eventually Pelfrey’s early-season luck is going to end.
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers, $26,700 – The Dodgers opened as ridiculous -310 favorites against the Marlins in Dodgers Stadium but I’m not sold that this start is such a “gimme.” Currently, the Marlins rank first in wOBA against LHP and also rank in the top 10 of wRC+, ISO, AVG and OBP. If there is one saving grace about the matchup, the Marlins’ 25-percent K rate against lefties ranks fourth in all of baseball thus far. Clayton Kershaw is simply in a league of his own so fading him is always a scary proposition. Furthermore, the team will square off against Tom Koehler and I would guess the Dodgers bats do some damage against him as well. If only choosing to roster one between him and Max Scherzer, it’s hard to lean Scherzer with the way he has pitched thus far…at least in cash games. Scherzer is an elite tournament option, but any time a pitcher is listed as -300 or better, he is immediately viable for cash as Vegas is virtually guaranteeing a win for his team. Admittedly, this isn’t a bad spot to fade Kershaw in GPPs though just in case the up-to-date Marlins hitting statistics hold true.
Dallas Keuchel, Astros, $20,100 – After opening the season with two consecutive solid starts, Dallas Keuchel has knocked around for 13 hits by the Rangers last time out. The guy simply did not happen and that happens from time to time with major league pitchers. Erase that start from your memory because Keuchel will draw a matchup with a Mariners team that currently ranks in the bottom 10 of wOBA, BB rate, AVG, OBP, hard hit rate and line drive percentage . Their only favorable rating in any category I put any weight in is K rate…in other words, they have struck out at the seventh lowest percentage. For cash games, I’m willing to sacrifice a bit of the K potential for a Cy Young Award winner in the most pitcher-friendly ballpark (Safeco Field) combined with a favorable matchup.
Ubaldo Jimenez, Orioles, $16,500 – When Ubaldo Jimenez is clicking on all cylinders, he is dominating opposing hitters and racking up the strikeouts. Luckily for him, he draws a date with a Rays team that has struck out at by the far the highest percentage versus RHP so far this season. Beyond just the K rate, the Rays rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, BB rate, AVG, OBP and line drive percentage. On Sunday, the Rays displayed their power (they rank ninth in ISO versus the handedness) as they lit up Michael Pineda for seven earned runs due to four home runs off of him. Like any matchup, there is downside to this one, and volatility inherently comes with rostering Jimenez. However, like Taijuan Walker last night, if all goes well then he possesses some serious upside…especially for him price. While I wouldn’t do it in cash games, Jimenez is an elite GPP option as he’ll likely be low-owned and could potentially K double-digits.
*Stats are accurate as of Monday, Apr. 25