X Marks the Spot

Xander Bogaerts and the smoking hot Red Sox bats are once again in play on Wednesday against the sub-par Eric Surkamp. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB contests.

Infield:

Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox, $9,600 – Typically, chasing last night’s points is a losing strategy because baseball is extremely volatile from night to night. However, after scoring double-digit runs in back-to-back games, the red hot Red Sox will now square off against Eric Surkamp and his 5.59 ERA. Surkamp isn’t even a league average pitcher in terms of talent as he has walked 5.59 batters per nine inning so far and only sports a 4.19 K/9 to go along with it. Pitching to contact is a risky proposition against an en fuego offense in a tiny ballpark (Fenway Park) so I wouldn’t expect Surkamp to fare much better than Sean Manaea (2.2 IP, 10 hits, 8 ER) last night. If there’s one Red Sox hitter worth rostering, it’s the team leader in wOBA against LHP this season: Xander Bogaerts. After heading into Tuesday’s game with a .458 wOBA versus the handedness, Bogaerts put together a multiple hit game. He’s now hitting over .400 versus the handedness this season and has hit the ball hard a whopping 35.7-percent of the time. If there’s a prime respect to lead the Red Sox offensive charge once again on Wednesday, Bogaerts is guilty as charged.

Matt Carpenter, Cardinals, $8,400 – Despite playing on the road, the Cardinals opened up Wednesday’s tilt against the Angels as -115 favorites. Why, you ask? Well, the Angels will send right-handed Matt Shoemaker and his 9.15 ERA to the mound against a Cardinals team that ranks fourth in wOBA against the handedness. All season long the Cardinals have crushed right-handers, and while Matt Carpenter does not lead in the team in wOBA to this point, I would expect him to before it is all said and done. Last year, Carpenter’s .394 wOBA against RHP led the team handily. While his current tally only ranks fifth on the team amongst qualified hitters, .379 still isn’t too shabby. Depending on how Manager Mike Matheny is feeling, Carpenter will either draw a start in the leadoff spot or three hole. Either are prime lineup spots and he should draw two-to-three ABs minimum against a starting pitcher who is absolutely struggling. At just $8,400, Carpenter is a building block for cash games.

Outfield:

Mookie Betts, Red Sox, $10,000 – Speaking of building blocks, Mookie Betts certainly fits the bill. One Red Sox bat simply isn’t enough against Surkamp and his .385 wOBA allowed to RHHs so far this season. The best case to be made for Betts is the fact that he’ll have the opportunity (as the leadoff hitter) to theoretically draw the most possible ABs against Surkamp…and overall. Right now, this Red Sox team is just heading up to the plate with confidence. To this point, Betts has only produced a .145 wOBA against LHPs but things will correct themselves over a larger sample size. In 2015, Betts produced a .361 wOBA versus LHPs and slashed .311/.356/.486. Oh by the way, he hit a HR versus the left-handed Manaea last night so he clearly hasn’t just lost the necessary skills. A Red Sox stack in cash isn’t the worst idea in the world but the two most important pieces are none other than Bogaerts and Betts.

Josh Reddick, Athletics, $7,600 – The Red Sox offense as a whole is on fire and unfortunately the same cannot be said for the Athletics. Nevertheless, a certain member of the Athletics is seeing the ball incredibly well right now: Josh Reddick. After Reddick’s second AB on Tuesday, which resulted in his second hit of the game, he had hit safely in 15 of his last 22 ABs. The team pinch-hit for him in a blowout later in the game but ended up 2-3 overall. Although Rick Porcello has only allowed a .231 wOBA to LHHs so far this season, his career numbers (.347 wOBA allowed) suggest the recent success is a mirage. Expect Reddick to relish in the role of single-handedly correcting Porcello’s early season numbers against left-handers and to have himself another big day in hitter-friendly Fenway Park.

Pitcher:

Noah Syndergaard, Mets, $22,400 – Surprisingly, the matchup is better than it seems. For those who followed the statistics closely last year, the Dodgers were often a team to avoid starting RHPs against. So far in 2016, the story is completely different as the team ranks in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+ and ISO against the handedness. Maybe most importantly for Noah Syndergaard’s matchup, the Dodgers have struck out at the 10th highest percentage versus the handedness. Considering Syndergaard currently leads the league in average fastball velocity (97.6 mph), it shouldn’t be shocking that he ranks in the top four of K/9 (behind only Jose Fernandez, David Price and Madison Bumgarner). The effects of the park shift should be minimal as Dodger Stadium has nearly played as pitcher-friendly as Citi Field over the past two seasons, per ESPN Park Factors. Syndergaard is just so freaking good that his K floor should always provide a safe floor in cash games and he possesses elite upside in this matchup as well. He’s simply the top pitching option by far.

John Lackey, Cubs, $21,600 – A battle between the Cubs and Padres is similar to the biblical matchup between David and Goliath…except the Padres have much less of a chance. The Cubs are off to the best start for a National League club since the 1977 Dodgers (24-6). On the other hand, the porous rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG and OBP versus RHP and have struck out at the third highest percentage (26-percent) versus the handedness. Chasing wins isn’t a great idea, especially with a scoring system that puts more weight on the counting stats, but Lackey is as close to it gets to a lock for a victory. This price is a little steep for his skill set, but considering the matchup, he’s definitely worthwhile.

Jhoulys Chacin, Braves, $12,300 – If attempting to be contrarian and/or hitting is simply a priority for you on this slate, Jhoulys Chacin makes a nice, cheap alternative to the two aces. Amazingly, the Braves are 1-16 at home so far this season so the fact that the Phillies are slight favorites makes a little more sense with that context. People will look at Chacin’s 5.40 ERA and 1.39 WHIP and just assume he stinks but he just completely imploded last start. Prior to the eight ER in his start versus the Mets on May 4, his ERA sat at 3.27. The Phillies are a much easier matchup than the Mets as they rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP and hard hit rate versus RHP. Also, the strikeout upside is still there for Chacin as the Phillies have struck out at the eighth highest percentage versus RHP. Those who like to get ahead of the curve will disregard Chacin’s previous disaster and start him for what should be a productive start against a weak opponent.

*Stats are accurate as of Tuesday, May 10

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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