Miguel Sano and the Twins should ball out against a pitcher who struggles to miss bats (Mike Pelfrey). Expect some frozen ropes, Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB contests.
Manny Machado, Orioles, $9,200 – With an 8.5 run over/under, the Mariners/Orioles game on Tuesday is tied for the third highest projected total. The reason: both starting pitchers will head into the game sporting 4.87-plus ERAs. Opposing starter Wade Miley’s glaring weakness so far this season has been his ineffectiveness against RHHs. In 33.1 IP against right-handers, Miley has allowed them to slash .290/.331/.496 with a .356 wOBA. On the other hand, Manny Machado leads the Orioles in wOBA against LHP this season with a .388 tally, slightly edging out Nolan Reimold (.388). Considering seven of the eight homers Miley has allowed have come to right-handers, and his ERA is more than an entire run greater on the road (5.48 versus 4.29 at home), Machado looks primed for a monster night.
Miguel Sano, Twins, $7,800 – After a battle between Jose Berrios and Jordan Zimmermann turned into a 10-8 Tigers victory on Monday, gas cans Phil Hughes and Mike Pelfrey will do battle as an encore. While yesterday’s game wasn’t expected to be incredibly high scoring, Tuesday’s tilt is tied for the highest projected total on the slate. Heading into last game, Pelfrey had allowed exactly five earned runs (ERs) in three consecutive games before only allowing two in 5.1 IP versus the Orioles. We’re talking about a pitcher with a career 4.55 ERA and 1.49 WHIP so essentially he is due for a relapse. Since Pelfrey doesn’t miss many bats (5.11 career K/9), no one is a more likely suspect for a monster performance on the Twins than their 2015 leader in wOBA against RHP. Although Sano has struggled so far this season, he has registered a hit in four of his past five games including a HR in three of those contests. In fact, he’s coming off a two hit performance that included a HR last night against another starter who doesn’t miss bats (Jordan Zimmermann and his 5.25 K/9). Sano’s biggest weakness is his propensity to strikeout, so with that downside negated, Sano possesses serious upside once again in a fantastic matchup.
J.D. Martinez, Tigers, $7,800 – Speaking of players who went nuts in last night’s Twins/Tigers contest, J.D. Martinez’s 28 fantasy points led all players involved in the game. He produced three hits including a double, a triple and a HR and even walked once and scored two runs. Phil Hughes has long been known susceptible to the HR ball as he has allowed 1.25 HR/9 for his career. This season, that total sits at a whopping 1.73 HR/9 to this point as he has simply been unable to prevent fly balls from leaving the yard. Why has it been so difficult? Opponents have made hard contact what would be a career high 35.8-percent of the time. Similarly to Sano, Martinez has struggled a bit to start the year, but he did lead the team in hard hit percentage versus RHP last season…and he clearly is starting to come around. Now factor in he’ll probably draw the spot in the two hole in the order and he connects all the dots. Martinez is a premiere play on the slate in any and all formats.
Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox, $7,200 – Unlike the others, Jackie Bradley Jr. is best left for GPP formats because it is improbable that he bats in the top six of the Red Sox order. For that reason, his AB potential is a bit limited and rostering him isn’t really playing the percentages. However, he’ll enter Tuesday’s game against the Royals amidst a 21-game hitting streak. The Red Sox rank as the top wOBA average team against RHP this season and Bradley’s .405 wOBA against the handedness is certainly a huge contributing factor. Peripherals suggest Yordano Ventura is lucky to be posting a 4.62 ERA to this point as he really has pitched like one of the worst qualified starters in the league. Despite playing on the road, Bradley and the Red Sox are favored (-112) in a game with an over/under of 8.5 runs. In other words, Vegas believes they should be a safe bet for four-plus runs. At this price point, it feels foolish not to attempt to ride out the hit streak in tournament formats.
Max Scherzer, Nationals, $24,600 – Coming off a 20 strikeout performance, I expect Max Scherzer’s ownership percentage to be a bit lower than normal because Clayton Kershaw pitches on this slate as well. While Kershaw will be forced to battle an Angels offense that strikes out the least of any team versus LHP, Scherzer will draw a matchup against a Mets team that strikes out at the 10th highest percentage versus his handedness. Sure the Mets rank in the top 10 of wOBA as well but Scherzer regained his mojo in his last start. When he is going well and has his swing-and-miss stuff working, no one can hit him…especially not a team that Ks at a well above average rate. There is some downside to this matchup but the K floor severely limits his downside. Although he isn’t my favorite pitcher on the slate, he is a rock solid play in all formats and one that I’ll probably end up deploying in cash games alongside this next guy…
Madison Bumgarner, Giants, $24,400 – There are certain things in life that never let you down: Jimmy John’s deliveries are there in a half hour or less, your bed always being comfortable and pitchers facing the Padres. Yes, the Padres rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, BB rate, OBP and line drive percentage against LHP while they strike out at the highest rate of any team. For his career, Madison Bumgarner is 9-5 against the Padres with a 3.26 ERA and 1.10 WHIP for what that is worth. In a matchup against them earlier this season, Bumgarner racked up 28.20 fantasy points due to 6.2 IP with nine Ks. Expect similar numbers in this game from the safest pitcher overall on the entire slate. Play him everywhere.
Cole Hamels, Rangers, $20,400 – Looking for a cheaper alternative to Scherzer in cash games to try and save salary to spend on bats? Look no further than Cole Hamels in his date against the Oakland Athletics in the Oakland Coliseum. Not only is the stadium an extreme positive ballpark shift for Hamels but the Athletics rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP and hard hit rate versus LHP. The issue with them is they only strike out at a rate of 18.2-percent versus the handedness. Since the K potential is somewhat limited, the 4-0 Hamels is best served for cash formats only. While the level of volatility feels low in this matchup, meaning most roads should lead to a solid game from him, few of those roads lead to 30-plus fantasy points. For that reason and that reason alone, I would avoid Hamels in GPP but start him with the utmost confidence in your 50/50s, head-to-heads and double ups.
*Stats are accurate as of Monday, May 16