Aledmys Diaz and the productive Cardinals offense draw an elite matchup against Wily Peralta and his NL-worst ERA so you will not want to overlook them on this slate. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.
Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays, $9,300 – In order to determine if you are using Josh Donaldson on a given slate, here is the one question you must ask yourself: “Is Donaldson facing a lefty?” If the answer is yes, then starting him is almost assuredly the correct move. Donaldson’s career .416 wOBA against LHP is tied for the fourth best career mark in the category behind only Ryan Braun (.435), Paul Goldschmidt (.426) and David Wright (.422). This season alone, Donaldson sports a .463 wOBA, .318 ISO and .341/.453/.659 slash line against southpaws and he’ll draw a matchup against C.C. Sabathia on Tuesday evening at home. Strangely, Donaldson is hitting exactly 90 percentage points higher at home (.304) than on the road (.214) this season so he certainly has felt more comfortable hitting in the Rogers Centre. To this point, Sabathia more closely resembles the version of himself in his prime as opposed to the struggling version we had seen since the beginning of 2013. Even so, he is averaging a career worst 87.6mph on his fastball and he just faced Toronto in his last start. In other words, he will not be a mystery to one of the most potent lefty killers of our generation in the hitting environment he prefers to hit in. Advantage: Donaldson.
Aledmys Diaz, Cardinals, $7,600 – Yet again, Aledmys Diaz made an error on a routine play last night which has to be driving the coaching staff crazy. However, they are not starting him due to his fielding prowess but rather because of his productive bat. The Cardinals as a whole rank first in terms of wOBA against RHP in the National League and Diaz, a rookie, ranks second on the team in wOBA against the handedness (min. 80 ABs). Stacking the Cardinals is going to be a popular play on this slate because they’ll square off against Wily Peralta and his National League worst 6.62 ERA. The reason I prefer Diaz to, say, Matt Capenter is because Peralta owns reverse splits this season as he’s allowed a .378 wOBA to LHHs compared to .461 versus RHHs. At a price in just the mid-$7,000s, Diaz and his .339 AVG versus the handedness this season should be a building block for cash games.
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies, $10,200 – Even though a right-hander (Dan Straily) started yesterday’s game for the Reds, Carlos Gonzalez ended up homering off of a left-handed reliever. Still, the percentage play with Gonzalez is to deploy him in his platoon advantage against RHP and Jon Moscot definitely applies. Although Moscot’s ERA now sits at a somewhat respectable 4.02, his FIP (7.58) and xFIP (5.89) suggest luck alone has kept it from rising higher. He has not missed bats at all (3.45 K/9), has issues finding the strike zone at times (5.17 BB/9) and relies on fly balls to record outs (36.5-percent GB rate) so Coors Field probably isn’t a great fit for him. Oh and he has allowed a .373 wOBA to LHHs so far this season compared the .296 tally allowed to RHHs. For those reasons, the Rockies are implied to score a ridiculous 6.3 runs which is one of the highest totals I have seen in 2016. Heading into this game, Gonzalez has homered in three consecutive contests and he’s one of the streakiest hitters in the league. Sure the Cardinals are option 1B in terms of stacks, but the Rockies (and specifically Gonzalez) are absolutely option 1A. This isn’t a night to get cute and fade any of the staples in their lineup especially in cash games.
Miguel Sano, Twins, $8,100 – Add Eric Surkamp to the list of gas can starters to target against on this 12 game slate despite the struggles the Twins have endured against LHPs so far. Miguel Sano seemed to prefer facing RHPs last season but that trend is evening itself out over a larger sample size; his owns a wOBA of .428 versus LHP this season as opposed to .335 against righties. On the other hand, Surkamp has allowed a .382 wOBA to RHHs along with a .290/.402/.507 slash line in 16.2 IP. Even though Sano will experience a negative ballpark shift playing in Oakland Coliseum, follow power hitter Khris Davis doesn’t seem to have any issues hitting the ball out of the park. In this one, I don’t think Sano will either as I think he’s a virtual lock for at least one extra-base hit in this one with a HR entirely possible.
Jake Arrieta, Cubs, $25,200 – After allowing a 1.97 ERA at home in 2015, he is following that up with a 1.73 ERA in Wrigley Field this season as well. Amazingly, he has actually fared better on the road in each season but that’s simply because we’re talking about one of the games’ best. Since he allowed an uncharacteristic four ERs in 5.0 IP last time out, and Jose Fernandez will pitch on this slate as well, I expect his ownership to be lower than normal…which makes it an excellent time to pounce. Arrieta draws a very promising matchup against a Dodgers team that ranks 19th in wOBA, 18th in wRC+, 24th in ISO and 17th in AVG versus RHP this season. Among qualified pitchers, only Tanner Roark has allowed a lower hard hit rate than Arrieta’s 21.6-percent. Therefore, this becomes a matchup of a team that doesn’t hit the ball hard against a pitcher who almost never allows substantial contact. Even as the most expensive pitcher on the slate with a slightly cheaper logical alternative available, I prefer spending up on Arrieta as he draws the much more preferable matchup to Fernandez.
Joe Ross, Nationals, $16,400 – Rockies bats and Arrieta are the two top priorities on the slate so finding a cheap SP2 to make it all work is going to be key…especially one with upside. Look no further than Joe Ross to fill this role against a lowly Phillies offense. Not only is Ross underpriced but the Phillies rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP and hard hit rate. As if that weren’t enough, the Phillies strike out at the 11th highest percentage versus RHP. Odubel Herrera is a bit of a concern due to Ross’ reverse splits but at least he has dominated righties to the point where you almost do not need to worry about Maikel Franco’s potential against Ross…which further limits the Phillies already limited offense. It’s very difficult to pass on Ross at this price point in one of the best possible matchups he could ask for.
J.A. Happ, Blue Jays, $14,800 – If Ross’ price isn’t affordable enough, the case can be made for rostering J.A. Happ at $1,600 cheaper in all formats. In 10 starts this season, Happ has failed to register a quality start just one time en route to a 3.20 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. In fact, his numbers are a bit misleading due to the one awful start (2.0 IP, eight ER) considering his ERA would sit at 2.15 if not for the one blowup. Now factor in he’ll square off against a Yankees team that ranks in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, AVG, OBP and hard hit percentage and there is a whole lot of value packed into this sub-$15,000 price tag. Hell, Happ is averaging more fantasy points per start than names such as Matt Wisler, Scott Kazmir, Mike Leake and Joe Ross…all of which cost more to roster on this slate than Happ. Dollar-for-dollar, he is my favorite pitching play on this entire slate.
*Stats are accurate as of Monday, May 30