After the Rockies bats went nuts last night against a right-hander, expect Ryan Raburn to lead the offensive charge against a lefty on Wednesday. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.
Brandon Belt, Giants, $8,000 – In 59.1 IP against LHHs last season, opposing starter Williams Perez allowed a .374 wOBA and .300/.377/.487 slash line. So far in 2016, he has shown substantial improvement against the handedness considering he’s only allowing a .299 wOBA and .240/.325/.351 slash line. However, the sample is limited this year (19.1 IP) and both the HRs he has allowed have come off the bat of left-handers. Looking closer at the numbers, Perez is allowing a line drive rate 7.5 percentage points higher against LHHs (29.0-percent versus 21.5) and a line drive rate more than 10 percentage points high to lefties as well (19.7-percent versus 9.5 percent). In other words, regression is on the horizon and this is the start to get ahead of it. The prime candidate to start the revolution is none other than left-handed Brandon Belt (.379) who ranks second on the team in wOBA against RHPs slightly behind only the right-handed Hunter Pence (.376). With a team-leading .407 OBP against the handedness, Belt possesses a solid floor for cash games, while his .470 SLG suggests the upside is there for GPPs as well.
Jung Ho Kang, Pirates, $7,800 – After a string of three excellent starts out of four, Adam Conley has fallen off a cliff over his past two starts and allowed at least nine baserunners in each while failing to eclipsing 5.1 IP. In one start, his control was off and he just fared like a pitching machine and allowed eight hits (nine baserunners) in 4.1 IP in the other. Although LHHs sport a .420 wOBA off of him to this point, all three of the HRs he has allowed have come off the bats of RHHs. His numbers overall are inflated due to a nice streak but, unlike Perez, he is already in the process of regressing back to the norm. For this reason, I love Jung Ho Kang and his team-leading .469 wOBA in this matchup hitting in the cleanup spot. Sure his .522 ISO is going to come back down to Earth but it shows just how dominant he’s fared against the handedness to this point. While Conley isn’t one of the first names most will look to target against on the slate, I love the Pirates as an under-the-radar stack on Wednesday. UPDATE: Kang is not in the lineup on Thursday. The logical alternatives are Jordy Mercer (leading off) and David Freese (hitting third).
George Springer, Astros, $8,700 – Since moving into the leadoff spot, George Springer is 16-35 (.457) with a .513 OBP and three HRs. Now, his recent surge due to the lineup move will coincide with a matchup in his platoon advantage….aka he’ll square off against a LHP. Probable starter Robbie Ray owns a 4.67 ERA so far but a 10.38 K/9 is rather impressive. If things go poorly for Springer in this matchup, it’s because Ray exploits his weakness, which is his propensity to strike out. If Springer manages to make contact, Ray’s 1.38 HR/9 and 26.5-percent line drive rate allowed suggest the ball should go a long way. Considering Ray is allowing a .377 wOBA and .288/.390/.480 slash line to RHHs this season, and George Springer’s .405 wOBA against the handedness ranks third on the team, the advantage goes to Springer in this matchup. Make sure to lock him into your cash game lineup or you could be left in the dust.
Ryan Raburn, Rockies, $7,200 – The Rockies offense absolutely exploded for 17 runs last night and yet the matchup looks similarly enticing against left-handed John Lamb tonight as well. Like last night’s starter Jon Moscot, Lamb sports a poor ERA parlayed with bad peripherals suggesting his struggles have been no accident. Also similarly, Lamb has struggled to miss bats (5.32 K/9), walked too many hitters (4.56 BB/9) and struggled with the long ball (1.90 HR/9) partially due to his fly ball tendencies (39.8-percent GB rate). Fantasy owners should read this statistics and begin licking their chops at the prospects of rostering Ryan Raburn and his career .358 wOBA against LHPs…a tally which currently sits at .386 so far this season. In the best possible hitting environment against a mediocre starter, a fair price for Raburn would be $9,000-$9,500. Since you can roster him at a fraction of the cost, you’re only hurting yourself by passing on that sort of value. He is the best dollar-for-dollar hitting play on the entire slate.
Max Scherzer, Nationals, $25,600 – Last night, Joe Ross managed seven innings of one run ball against the Phillies and the task will only get more difficult for their bats on Wednesday evening. Instead of Ross, they’ll have to deal with Max Scherzer who isn’t so far removed (May 11) from a 20 strikeout outing. Earlier this season, the Phillies knocked around Scherzer to the tune of 11 baserunners and three ERs in 6.0 IP. Nevertheless, this Phillies team ranks in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP and hard hit percentage against RHP and have struck out at the 11th highest percentage. On paper, Scherzer looks like he should cruise through this lineup and the last outing against them was nothing more than an outlier. Even with Coors Field on the slate, Scherzer is a lock for SP1 in cash games.
Felix Hernandez, Mariners, $21,200 – Ugh I really would prefer not to pay this high of a price for the 2016 version of Felix Hernandez but it’s hard to overlook the matchup against the Padres. San Diego is so terrible against RHP this season that they have actually sunk below the Braves for sole possession of last place in wOBA against the handedness. They also rank in the bottom 10 (mostly last) in wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG and OBP while striking out at the fifth highest percentage against righties. Oh and by the way Hernandez will experience a positive league shift because the game will be played in the Padres’ home field. While Hernandez’s decline in velocity and K rate are well-documented, he somehow, someway is holding strong with a 2.86 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. In any other matchup I would probably recommend fading him at this cost but any “Joe Schmo” could reach value at this price tag against the lowly Padres in Petco Park. UPDATE: Felix Hernandez has been placed on the disabled list prior to Wednesday’s start. Jon Lester now emerges as the top SP2 option versus the Dodgers at home.
Tyler Chatwood, Rockies, $14,400 – Recommending a pitcher in Coors Field? What the hell? It’s a risky proposition but I actually do not mind taking a shot on Tyler Chatwood at home against a Reds team that has struggled to hit RHPs. First of all, the cheaply priced options are largely unappealing and therefore should be avoided totally for cash games…You’ll want to spend up on some combination of Scherzer, Hernandez and even Jon Lester. With that being said, expensive bats are in play, especially if you want to go back to the well with a Rockies stack against a mediocre opposing pitcher. In order to fit them, you’ll have to take a shot on someone like Chatwood and, honestly, you could do worse. Chatwood will head into this game with a 2.69 ERA and he has easily pitched the best of anyone in the Rockies rotation. The top reason he is viable even in Coors is due to his 59.1-percent GB rate which limits the possible damage in the thin air. Guys who give up fly balls struggle because those turn into homers in Coors Field but Chatwood (0.85 HR/9) doesn’t have to deal with that issue as a ground-baller. Furthermore, the Reds rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, BB rate, AVG and OBP against the handedness so they’ve been struggling in all other ballparks (including their hitter-friendly home park). Sure Colorado is an excellent place to hit but hard contact still needs to be made in order for runs to be produced. I’m not sold the Reds will be able to do that against a productive pitcher and therefore would consider Chatwood a solid GPP option. If there’s one thing we know, he will be low-owned, so you can really separate yourself from the pack if he happens to go off.
*Stats are accurate as of Tuesday, May 31