The title of the article literally says it all as David Price is simply too cheap in a matchup at home where he’s listed as a gigantic favorite against a sub-par opposing pitcher. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB contests.
Chris Davis, Orioles, $8,400 – Typically a guy hitting .237, especially one with a .254 career AVG, is not a consideration for cash games. However, this is an excellent spot to deploy Chris Davis against a pitcher who has been blasted by LHHs. Specifically, opposing starter Doug Fister has been ultra-susceptible to the long ball against lefties as they have hit five of the six HRs he has allowed to this point. Furthermore, lefties are slashing .315/.362/.546 against him with a .389 wOBA so they have just flat dominated him beyond just the power they are displaying. Considering Davis has launched at least 47 HRs in two of the last three seasons, and ranks second on the team with eight HRs versus RHP this season, he is the prime candidate to exploit Fister’s weakness. His .352 OBP makes me feel a lot better about his floor for cash games so take advantage of his boom-or-bust skillset in this matchup…All factors suggest this is going to be the “boom” version of Davis as opposed to the “bust.”
Brandon Belt, Giants, $6,800 – Okay so I understand AT&T Park isn’t a favorable ballpark whatsoever but this price tag is just way too cheap. Probable starter Andrew Cashner will head into Tuesday’s matchup sporting a 4.93 ERA and misleading splits. Though RHHs have produced a .432 wOBA against him this season, almost 140 percentage points higher than LHHs, his career numbers suggest this is just a deceptive small sample size. In fact, left-handers torched Cashner last year to the tune of a .287/.379/.517 slash line and a .383 wOBA, and also have produced superior numbers against him versus right-handers for his entire career. Consequently, Brandon Belt and his .368 wOBA (second on the team behind Hunter Pence) against RHPs should be priced in the upper $7,000s for fair value. Since he is nearly $1,000 cheaper than the skills should dictate, he presents an excellent value in all formats especially if rostering dual ace pitchers.
Hanley Ramirez, Red Sox, $8,400 – The Red Sox are listed as whopping -236 favorites at home against the Rockies in this matchup in a game with a projected 8.5 over/under. Essentially, Vegas is implying 5.3 runs out of the Red Sox against Jorge De La Rosa and his 10.18 ERA. While his peripherals suggest luck hasn’t exactly been on his side, he still owns a 6.00 FIP to this point. In other words, he has pitched miserably no matter how you look at it and unsurprisingly RHHs have been his kryptonite. In 15.0 IP against the handedness, RHHs are slashing an insane .395/.465/.684 with a .488 wOBA. Fenway Park is a scary spot for a LHP to struggle against RHHs due to the “Green Monster” being placed little more than 300 feet away from home plate in left field. Routine fly balls in other parks turn into doubles off the way in Boston especially off the bats of powerful hitters. Not only is Hanley Ramirez hitting for power versus LHPs this season (.475 wOBA), he is hitting .385 as well. In this elite matchup, most of the Red Sox bats are viable, but Ramirez and Xander Bogaerts are my two preferences.
Miguel Sano, Twins, $8,100 – Here is a situation where closely examining the numbers should give you an edge because both the pitcher and the batter possess reverse splits. RHHs have produced a wOBA more than 100 percentage points higher (.357) than LHHs against Volquez and Miguel Sano managed a wOBA 20 percentage points higher versus RHPs versus LHPs last season (over a larger sample size than this year). Factor in the Vegas implied run total (3.9) and Sano is sneakily one of the best hitting play on the entire slate especially for this incredibly reasonable price tag.
Chris Sale, White Sox, $26,700 – A developing trend this season, in direct contrast to a trend last season, is the Indians’ ineffectiveness against LHP. So far, the Indians rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate and line drive percentage versus LHP after ranking in the top 10 of literally every single one of those categories last season against the handedness. The new, more efficient version of Chris Sale must be looking at this matchup and licking his chops. All of these statistical categories present a favorable matchup for Sale but the icing on the cake is the Indians’ 21.9-percent K rate against southpaws. While Sale has yet to register double-digit strikeouts in any start to this point, each start has resulted in both at least 20.60 fantasy points and a win. Sale faced the Indians earlier this season and went seven strong innings, earned a victory and produced 20.95 fantasy points. The main issue with Sale is his costly price tag since it severely hampers the quality of bats you can afford especially if you roster another $20,000-plus pitcher. Still, Clayton Kershaw proved last night that top tier pitchers still reign supreme in the daily game when they are in the zone. Sale will head into this game having topped 30 fantasy points in three consecutive games and is one of the streakier pitchers in the game. Basically, if you fade him, you do so at your own risk.
Justin Verlander, Tigers, $21,200 – The safe option to pair Sale with in cash is Justin Verlander against the lowly Phillies offense. Although Odubel Herrera continues to flash all the signs of a drastically improved hitter, the offense still stinks as a whole; they rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP and hard hit rate. Whenever a team is relying upon some combination of the aging Ryan Howard and/or Tommy Joseph as their cleanup hitter, they are worth targeting against. Though Verlander’s velocity is down, it’s encouraging to see his strikeout rate back up around 9.50 (9.47) per nine innings. After suffering through two starts with seven earned runs (ERs) in a five game span, Verlander has settled down and strung together three consecutive quality starts with at least eight strikeouts a piece. There should be no hesitation using Verlander wherever you see fit especially since the Tigers are listed as -168 favorites at home against Jeremy Hellickson.
David Price, Red Sox, $17,200 – My, my, how the mighty have fallen. Having begun the season in the $22,000-$23,000 price range consistently, David Price has pitched himself into the regressed price tag of just $17,200 at home against a bad starting pitcher (Jorge De La Rosa). The Rockies actually rate as a difficult matchup on paper as they rank eighth in both wOBA and ISO against LHP. Nevertheless, there is a glaring weakness to their offense against the handedness and it’s the fact that they strike out at a 25.4-percent rate. Price, like Verlander, has suffered through depreciating velocity this season but he is still managing to miss bats at a near league-leading efficiency (11.39 K/9 ranks third behind only Jose Fernandez and Max Scherzer). In this matchup, his strikeout floor alone is enough to entice me to want to roster him in cash games. Now factor in the aforementioned fact that the Red Sox are listed as -236 favorites and he clearly has a great chance to win the game as well. Rarely is one ever able to roster a -200 or better favorite at a sub $18,000 cost so take advantage of the opportunity when it presents itself…especially in cash games. Dollar-for-dollar, Price is my favorite pitching play on the entire slate regardless of format and I won’t be shy about my shares of him despite his 5.53 ERA heading into the ballgame.
*Stats are accurate as of Monday, May 23