Pitching is brutal on Thursday night’s slate but Wade Miley stands out above all others as the top option due to a matchup against a struggling Padres offense in San Diego. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.
David Ortiz, Red Sox, $10,800 – With the lack of aces available to roster on the slate, paying up for hitting makes all the sense in the world. By now, you probably realize David Ortiz is just about the best hitter on the planet versus RHP as he leads the league in wOBA against the handedness (.473) among all regulars (min. 75 ABs in the split). Even more impressively, he leads all players in HRs versus right-handers with 13 already this season. On Thursday, the en fuego Red Sox will square off against Ubaldo Jimenez and his 6.36 ERA. Everyone has ripped Jimenez so far this season but none have hit him harder than LHHs; they’re slashing .344/.432/.510 with a .407 wOBA in 22.1 IP against him. Considering Ortiz himself is slashing .338/.428/.739 against RHP, I love his odds to make some noise with his bat. Other than those playing in Coors Field, Ortiz is the top overall hitting play on the night.
Brian Dozier, Twins, $7,200 – Although Matt Moore was once a top pitching prospect, he has pitched like anything but so far this season. Through 57.2 IP, Moore sports a 5.31 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and 1.56 HR/9 rate while allowing a career-worst 35.8-percent hard hit rate. Some of the other pitchers discussed in this article as ones to target against fare much worst against one specific side of the plate…Moore does not. He has allowed a .349 wOBA to LHHs and a .344 wOBA to RHHs so the split is pretty even. The one number that does jump off the page is his eight HRs allowed to RHHs as compared to two against lefties. Brian Dozier is amidst a disappointing season overall (slashing .202/.294/.329) but he still has been quite productive against LHP. Among all Twins regulars, Dozier ranks first in wOBA (.403), BB rate (11.5-percent) and OBP (.423) versus the handedness and will not hit third in the order due to the injury to Miguel Sano. For his talent level in a matchup like this, a fair price for Dozier would be in the mid-$8,000s. Since you can roster him for more than $1,000 cheaper than fair price, the value is simply too juicy to pass on.
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies, $10,400 – On Tuesday evening, the Rockies offense set a precedent on how they might fare against a poor RHP in Coors Field. After absolutely lighting up Jon Moscot, Colorado will now face a matchup against the pitcher sporting the worst ERA (9.60) in the majors (min. 40 IP). In fact, Simon’s FIP ranks second to last among all pitchers that have thrown at least 40 innings, suggesting there has been no element of “unluckiness” to his numbers. Simon is walking 4.24 batters per nine innings, allowing a career-high 32.0-percent hard hit rate and owns a 2.01 HR/9 rate without having pitched in Coors Field yet. This start is likely to result in a similar disaster to the Moscot start and Vegas agrees; the Rockies opening line implies them to score a whopping 6.8 runs. If they are going to approach seven runs, the middle of the order is certainly going to contribute, deeming Carlos Gonzalez a core play on the slate. Simon has allowed a ridiculous .453 wOBA to LHP this season so Gonzalez is as solid of a bet to hit a bomb as anyone has been in any game all season.
Charlie Blackmon, Rockies, $10,000 – Speaking of lefties worth using against gas can Simon in Coors Field, Charlie Blackmon is a necessary complement to Gonzalez in all formats. Since he hits leadoff, he by default will earn at least the most possible ABs against Simon, which typically leads to productivity. This season, Blackmon is slashing .308/.347/.585 at home and .305/.346/.508 versus RHPs. Unlike Gonzalez, Blackmon is a threat on the base paths as well as he stole 43 bases last year and 28 the season before. Therefore, he presents a threat to reach 15-20 fantasy points in a multitude of ways and you have to believe he gets there in this dream matchup. There is no chance in hell I’ll be fading this guy especially in cash games.
Carlos Carrasco, Indians, $20,000 – A player’s first start from the disabled list is always a scary proposition due to pitch count and the matchup against the Royals isn’t overly enticing. Still, I like Carlos Carrasco for cash games only for a multitude of reasons. For one, the Indians are listed as -156 favorites in a game with a projected 7.5 over/under. Secondly, the Royals do not strike out much (18.4-percent) but they also rank last in BB rate (5.4-percent) by a large margin, so a pitcher can pitch deeper than usual against them if they get rolling. To be honest, he is only an option due to the alternatives (Rick Porcello, Jerad Eickhoff and Chase Anderson to name a few) but he has enjoyed a fair amount of success in this matchup. Last season, Carrasco went 4-0 and produced a 1.55 ERA against the Royals in four starts, so dominating them is certainly not an impossible task.
Wade Miley, Mariners, $17,400 – Wade Miley’s skillset would be suboptimal for cash games on mostly ever other slate but the alternatives are absolutely brutal on Thursday night. So far this season, Miley owns a 4.95 ERA, 5.10 FIP, 4.35 xFIP, 1.80 HR/9 and 7.05 K/9 in 60.0 IP. The reasons to roster him are more due to factors out of his control: ballpark and opponent. As if his home park wasn’t pitcher-friendly enough, Miley and the Mariners will play in Petco Park in this one. In essence, Petco Park is just the Safeco Field of the National League, which also includes the luxury of facing the pitcher instead of a designated hitter. Overall, it’s probably the most favorable place in the entire MLB for a pitcher to take the mound all things considered…especially when you factor in the matchup against the lowly Padres. San Diego ranks in the bottom half of wOBA, wRC+, AVG, OBP and hard hit percentage while striking out at 26-percent (second highest percentage in the bigs behind only the Mets). The Padres don’t hit for a ton of power and Petco is a very difficult park to hit the ball out of so it will be difficult for Miley’s opponent to take advantage of his inflated HR rate. If he keeps the ball in the ballpark, and his offense provides him with runs as Vegas projects (Mariners -143 favorites), then Miley should come away with a productive start. That’s really all you can ask for from any pitcher on this night.
Matt Boyd, Tigers, $12,600 – This play is by no means for the faint of heart considering I am recommending a pitcher with a career 6.85 ERA and 2.55 HR/9 rate. In Matt Boyd’s case, I am more betting against his opponent (the Yankees) than I am really relying solely on his skillset (or lack thereof). In 2016, the Yankees’ leader in wOBA against LHP is none other than…Austin Romine (.376)? Aside from him, only Alex Rodriguez owns a wOBA greater than .350 (.351) and Didi Gregorius (.346) is the only other player over .330. It’s no wonder the Yankees rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, AVG and OBP against the handedness considering their poor individual numbers. All Boyd needs to do is last five respectable innings and he should leave with a victory because the Tigers offense should tee off against Michael Pineda and his 6.92 ERA. Rostering Boyd will allow you to use multiple $10,000 players including all of the aforementioned hitters. With hitting clearly the priority on the slate, using Boyd comfortably can make it all work.
*Stats are accurate as of Wednesday, June 1