All hitters are viable against Mike Foltynewicz but he fares worst against hitters of the left-handed variety…Jake Lamb fits the bill. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB contests.
Manny Machado, Orioles, $9,900 – It’s not that I believe Kendall Graveman is such an awful pitcher, because I don’t, but the guy keeps drawing incredibly difficult matchups. Sunday will mark the third consecutive game Graveman will be squaring off against a team that ranks in the team 12 of wOBA against RHP. Leading the charge for the Orioles, of course, is their star hitter Manny Machado. He is one of the rare cases of RHHs who prefer the platoon split against RHPs as he currently sports a .459 wOBA against the handedness and a whopping .349 ISO. While Graveman attempts to keep the ball on the ground (career 51.1-percent ground ball rate and 53.9-percent this season), he has still allowed 1.57 HR/9 in five starts so far this season after allowing a 1.17 HR/9 rate in 2015. In other words, he can be beaten by the long ball and Machado’s elite ISO suggests he’ll happily be the one to beat him. Even at this expensive price tag, Machado is viable in all formats.
Jake Lamb, Diamondbacks, $6,800 – Yay, gas can Mike Foltynewicz earned himself another start somehow. After allowing 10 baserunners (including three HRs) and four earned runs (ER) in 3.2 IP last time out, the team decided he was worthy of another shot. This is excellent news for both Jake Lamb and the entire Diamondbacks offense. After his last outing, Foltynewicz’s career wOBA allowed to LHHs now sits at a ridiculous .417. Hell, he has allowed lefties to slash .328/.375/.610 in 52.0 IP. The sad part is righties have not fared much worse (.291/.362/.482) so it’s stack city against him every time he takes the mound. Lamb will likely draw a start in the two hole and his .363 wOBA versus RHP ranks fourth on the team thus far. For this price tag, his .363 wOBA against one of the league’s starting pitchers is an absolute bargain. Deploy him and the rest of the Diamondbacks offense with confidence.
Michael Saunders, Blue Jays, $7,500 – Surprisingly, the Blue Jays do not even rank in the top half or runs scored per game (4.19) this season as they currently rank 17th in the MLB. They are sure to move on up soon and a date with Ross Stripling should help expedite the process. Stripling does not possess swing-and-miss type stuff (7.33 K/9), walks too many hitters and 27.5-percent of balls put in play against him are of the line drive variety. Furthermore, he has not made it to the 6.0 IP plateau in any of his previous three starts after starting the season with back-to-back quality starts. Once tape developed on him, he became extremely hittable and Michael Saunders, currently hitting .289, should have not issues hitting him either. While Saunders doesn’t possess the speed of a prototypical leadoff guy, he possesses above average pop and should score plenty of runs assuming he gets on base…the big boppers hit directly behind him. It would not shock me if the Blue Jays manage anywhere from 8-10 runs against a mediocre talent pitcher so you’ll want exposure to them in cash games. Saunders is the cheap way to make that happen and he is easy to fit alongside the Cubs ace (we’ll get to that later).
David Peralta, Diamondbacks, $7,200 – Did I mention the Diamondbacks bats are a fantastic play on Sunday’s slate? Seriously, Foltynewicz may be the worst pitcher in baseball against opposing left-handers and David Peralta’s .397 wOBA against RHP ranked second on the team behind only Paul Goldschmidt. Considering there was only a nine percentage point difference and Peralta will cost you $2,400 less, he clearly ranks as the better value of the two in this matchup. To reiterate, you’ll want multiple Diamondbacks in your cash lineup so lock in all three if you want…they’re in an excellent position to produce.
Jake Arrieta, Cubs, $25,600 – Herein lies the conundrum every time one of the best starters toes the mound: the matchup is great and the talent of the pitcher is obviously elite but is there a cheaper alternative who will put up a similar total? In tournaments, this is a valid concern as $25,600 is not exactly chump change. However, for cash games, Jake Arrieta makes all the sense in the world. Even with hot-hitting David Murphy and all-worldly hitter Bryce Harper, the Nationals rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, AVG, OBP and hard hit percentage versus RHP so far this season. It should be noted leadoff hitter Ben Revere just returned from the disabled list and looked like a spark plug on Saturday afternoon. Still, Arrieta just isn’t human as he only allowed a 1.97 ERA at home last season which he has improved to 0.69 so far this year. Good luck trying to hit this guy as he is playing chess while the rest of the league is playing checkers. Eventually he is going to fall off, so there is some validity to not fully investing in tournaments, but I wouldn’t be able to stomach fading him in 50/50s or head-to-heads.
Jose Quintana, White Sox, $20,400 – Here was the exact argument I presented about the Twins yesterday…”Last season, the Twins were a tougher matchup against LHP. Sure Trevor Plouffe was activated from the disabled list earlier this week, which will help, but the loss of Torii Hunter has had more of an impact than expected. To this point, the Twins rank neutral in nearly every category versus southpaws and actually rank in the bottom 10 of line drive rate.” After a tough first inning, Chris Sale righted the ship and ended up shutting down the Twins for his final six innings. All-in-all, Sale struck out nine Twins and allowed four baserunners in 7.0 IP. Honestly, Jose Quintana has pitched like an ace so far this season so the matchup is not much different for him than it was for Sale on Saturday. Assuming he has his best stuff, he should be in line for a very productive afternoon. For cash games, I like the Chicago parlay.
Chris Tillman, Orioles, $15,200 – Something has gotten into Chris Tillman over the last two starts. Tillman’s season-high for strikeouts in a single start was five through four starts (one shortened by rain) before whiffing nine hitters in back-to-back games. Sure those games came against the Rays and Yankees, both of which rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA against RHP, but so does Tillman’s opponent on Sunday: the Athletics. In fact, the Yankees and Athletics possess nearly the identical K rate against RHP so far this season; 18.9-percent for the Athletics compared to 18.8-percent for the Yankees. According to FanGraphs’ Paul Sporer, Tillman’s success has been attributed to a combination of an uptick in velocity, hitting spots and mixing up his pitches. He believes this could be Tillman’s true breakout season which many have been awaiting for some time now. In a matchup against a subpar offense, his hot streak is worth riding out especially at this affordable price tag. He quite simply is an elite tournament option on this slate and can be considered for cash as well if you find the need to roster multiple top-tier (in terms of pricing) hitters.
*Stats are accurate as of Saturday, May 7