Logan Forsythe is a fantastic hitter agianst left-handers and will be leading off against a mediocre pitcher of the handedness on Monday. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.Infield:
Logan Forsythe, Rays – Due to the resurgence of Evan Longoria this season, the elite skill set of Logan Forsythe continues to get overlooked. In any given matchup, the masses will look to roster Longoria, but Forsythe is the most talented hitter on the team versus LHPs. On Monday, the team will square off against struggling lefty Eduardo Rodriguez and his 6.41 ERA in 26.2 IP. So far, Rodriguez has fared as an extreme fly ball pitcher (33.0-percent GB rate) with a depreciated K rate (6.41 K/9) and inflated BB rate (3.71 BB/9). If rostering Fosythe, the number that stands out is the fly ball rate, which combined with his 34.1-percent hard hit rate, should open some eyes. Facing an opposing hitter with a .442 wOBA, .308 ISO, .359/.390/.667 slash line and 35.5-percent hard hit percentage against the handedness, Rodriguez appears to be overmatched. Assuming Rodriguez lasts reasonably long in this game, which could be a stretch, Forsythe looks like an excellent bet for an extra-base hit at least once. He is a staple for cash games.
Carlos Santana, Indians – Powerful leadoff hitters are the theme of the infield because Carlos Santana find himself in an excellent spot against John Gant as well. Santana’s 13 HRs versus RHPs this season leads the team (slightly edging out Mike Napoli’s 12) and Gant has struggled to quiet left-handed bats. In 15.2 IP versus lefties, Gant has allowed a .281/.348/.492 slash line and a .359 wOBA including two of the three HRs he has given up overall. While Santana isn’t exactly Ichiro Suzki in the AVG department (.241 versus RHP), he currently sports a .373 wOBA, .278 ISO and 40.5-percent hard hit rate against righties. Even on the road, Cleveland is listed as -170 favorites, which makes sense because they’ll had into the game having won nine in a row…mostly due to their offense (6.67 runs per game during that stretch). Not only does Santana have bomb potential but he possesses both RBI and runs scored potential in the game as well. Despite his low AVG, he is going to be a staple for me in all lineups, regardless of format. UPDATE: Santana is out of the lineup but Jason Kipnis is an easy pivot.
Michael Saunders, Blue Jays – The prospect of the Blue Jays playing in Coors Field is only slightly dampened by the fact that they’ll face the Rockies ace: Jon Gray. Obviously the matchup is Coors Field helps and it shows in the numbers; Gray sports a 5.02 ERA at home versus a 4.65 tally on the road. Even though he throws hard and has some nasty stuff, Michael Saunders is a professional hitter and is simply hitting everyone right now. Although the reigning American League MVP is on his own team, he is only two percentage points away from the team lead in wOBA against RHP this season (.395 to Josh Donaldson’s .397). Hell, Saunders is slashing a ridiculous .304/.379/.554 against the handedness and he hasn’t even had the opportunity to play in Coors Field yet. If spending on for just one hitter on the slate, make sure that man is Saunders.
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies – As per usual, one hitter from Coors is simply not enough, and my second preference among hitters in the matchup is the other cleanup hitter. After leaving Friday’s game with a wrist injury, Carlos Gonzalez proved he was fine on Saturday, going 2-5 with two doubles. Not that Coors Field fits many skill sets but this atmosphere is the absolute worst possible for probable Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada. While Estrada is inarguably amidst a monster season, his 35.3-percent GB rate ranks seventh lowest among qualified pitchers. In other fields, contact induced by Estrada is almost solely fly balls. Meanwhile, Gonzalez feasts off RHP as he’s already hit 10 HRs against them with a .405 wOBA and .340/.392/.575 slash line. Yeah, he’s in a great spot.
Jake Arrieta, Cubs – When an elite pitcher toes the mound in a positive matchup, what is there really to say about them? I’ll just go over the numbers; the Reds rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, BB rate, AVG and OBP while striking out at a rate of 22.2-percent (10 highest against the handedness). Probably due to his recent struggles, Jake Arrieta and the Cubs are only listed as a toss-up (meaning the odds are even) in Cincinnati versus Dan Straily. This season, Arrieta has posted a 1.84 ERA on the road including a .157 opponents’ AVG allowed. Looking at his recent performances, he’s in a bit of a funk. He has only pitched into the seventh inning once in his past four starts and his ERA sits at 2.35 currently in the month of the June. If that’s a bad streak, then I really don’t feel bad deploying him once again, especially considering he’s struck out 32 batters in 23.0 IP this month. Use Arrieta as you normally would.
Ieff Samardzija, Giants – Following a brutal 2015 campaign, Jeff Samardzija has rebounded this season with numbers resembling his career averages. Most importantly, his GB rate is back up above his career norm after dipping to career-low 39.0-percent last season. As the nightcap of Monday’s slate, Samardzija will toe the mound against the Athletics in the pitcher-friendly environment of AT&T Park. The Giants are listed as -175 favorites against 0-3 Daniel Mengden in a game with a projected 7.5 run over/under. Heading into this game, the Athletics own the lowest wOBA amongst all American League teams, and they will be without their designated hitter in a National League ballpark. Additionally, they rank in the bottom 10 of wRC+, ISO, BB rate, OBP and hard hit percentage and are still without arguably their best hitter against RHP (Josh Reddick). Unsurprisingly, Samardzija’s ERA is nearly a run better at home this season, so continuing to use him in a location where he’s been successful should once again yield solid results.
Matt Shoemaker, Angels – If Samardzija doesn’t float your boat, maybe Matt Shoemaker and his 2.50 June ERA will. One aspect to Shoemaker’s matchup in direct contrast to Samardzija’s is the fact that there is a healthy amount of strikeout potential. Instead of facing a team striking out around 17-percent of the team, Shoemaker will face an Astros time striking out at exactly 24-percent versus RHPs. The downside to the matchup is the fact that the Astros possess serious pop and rank in the top 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, OBP, hard hit percentage and line drive percentage. For these reasons, Shoemaker is probably best left for tournaments, but the K floor is certainly enticing for cash games. For about two months straight now, Shoemaker has pitched essentially like an ace, so he could be worth the risk in cash games as well if you’re willing to take the chance.
*Stats are accurate as of Sunday, June 26