The Indians offense as a whole is in a fantastic spot on Wednesday evening but Lonnie Chisenhall stands out as the best individual value on the team. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.
Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays, $10,800 (Turbo) – On the turbo slate, there is absolutely zero reason to get cute and fade Josh Donaldson. In this matchup, one of the best hitters against LHP in the game (.414 career wOBA) will square off against a southpaw in by far the best hitting environment in the majors. Sure Tyler Anderson sports a 2.55 ERA, 1.62 FIP and 2.47 xFIP in 17.2 IP and still hasn’t allowed a HR but that is bound to end over a larger sample size (especially at home). Without any aces available on the slate, Donaldson could be priced at $13,000 in this game and he’d still be an auto-play.
Jose Abreu, White Sox, $7,800 – Over Ricky Nolasco’s career, the White Sox have been his kryptonite; they’re activate hitters are slashing .362/.398/.552 against him in 116 total ABs. Overall, Nolasco spots a 6.29 ERA and 1.69 WHIP over the span of six career starts and 34.1 IP against the team from the south side of Chicago. One of the players who stands out against him is Jose Abreu who has homered twice and managed four base hits in 11 career ABs versus Nolasco. Furthermore, Abreu easily leads the White Sox in career wOBA against RHPs with a .374 tally. In fact, other than Tim Anderson’s small sample size in SLG, Abreu leads the White Sox in every aspect of the career slash line against RHP: AVG (.298), OBP (.353) and SLG (.528). After a slow start to the season, Abreu is back to slashing .310/.357/.563 overall in the month of June with five HRs and 20 RBIs. He should be up to the challenge of facing a weak right-hander that he has crushed in the past.
Lonnie Chisenhall, Indians, $7,600 – Following Lonnie Chisenhall’s 11 fantasy point performance on Tuesday evening, he has now eclipsed double-digit fantasy points in five of his last six games. Of all offenses on the night slate, the red hot Indians team is in the best spot (in my opinion) against a pitcher who has produced a 4.68 ERA and 1.49 WHIP in 57.2 IP at Triple-A this season. Heading into Wednesday’s tilt, the Indians have scored five-plus runs in nine of their last 10 games and six-plus runs in eight of their last 10. Additionally, they will enter the game on an 11 game winning streak. Baseball is unpredictable but it seems incredibly improbable the streak would end in a game featuring ace Danny Salazar versus a scrub. The entire Indians offense is in play but Chisenhall is the best combination of upside and price as he moved up to the five spot in the order last night. Assuming he remains there, or even hits six, he’s a virtual lock for production at an extremely reasonable price tag.
Max Kepler, Twins, $6,900 – Targeting bats against James Shields is a fine idea judging by his 6.22 ERA and 1.70 WHIP in 81.0 IP but he appears to be beginning to turn it around. Shields is still a pitcher with a 3.83 career ERA and 1.25 WHIP so it’s hard to imagine his skills have eroded this drastically in a short period of time. He simply went through a terrible stretch where he couldn’t find his mechanics. Having watched the start against the Tigers on Jun. 13, he began to find a rhythm late in the start. Unfortunately, he ran into a red hot Indians offense immediately following but rebounded with a decent outing against the Red Sox. All of this is a long-winded way of saying he’s still fine to target against but it may not be worth going too crazy. If there’s one bat to target, it’s Max Kepler and his team-leading .376 wOBA against RHP for a bargain price tag below $7,000. Right now, Kepler is the only hitter on the team with a wOBA above .355 and one of only three hitters over .335. All-in-all, the Twins struggle against the handedness, but Kepler should be the lone bright spot if nothing else.
Max Scherzer, Nationals, $26,000 – On paper, the Mets are an incredibly juicy matchup for opposing starter Max Scherzer. Despite the fact that Lucas Giolito only struck out one Mets hitter in 4.0 IP in his Major League debut last night, the Mets have struck out at the eighth highest rate versus RHP this season. The allure of the matchup doesn’t end there because the Mets also rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, BB rate, AVG and OBP versus the handedness. Against an elite pitcher, what more do you need to hear? Scherzer’s 11.57 K/9 ranks second best in baseball behind only Jose Fernandez’s 13.12 so he is obviously an elite strikeout pitcher. For the most part, Scherzer’s numbers are in line with his career averages other than his inflated 1.68 HR/9 rate. Without Michael Conforto, Lucas Duda and even David Wright, the Mets are not nearly the treat they were to begin the season. If Scherzer did not end with six-plus innings and eight-plus strikeouts, it would be a colossal letdown.
Danny Salazar, Indians, $23,600 – For cash games, starting the two aces appears to be the optimal play on this slate. Danny Salazar is in a fantastic spot with an en fuego offense behind him, facing a bad pitcher making his Major League debut and squaring off against the worst offense in baseball. While Scherzer is priced $2,400 more than Salazar, he has averaged just 2.15 fantasy points more per start than the Indians’ youngster. As long as Salazar can avoid the walks (4.48 BB/9), his swing-and-miss stuff (10.32 K/9) and career-best 1.30 GB/FB ratio should propel him to a solid, if not spectacular, start.
Aaron Sanchez, Blue Jays, $12,800 (Turbo) – Recommending a pitcher in Coors Field is never the most preferable approach but there just isn’t a favorable alternative on the turbo slate. Archie Bradley feels like a lock as a SP1 against the Phillies so complementing him with Aaron Sanchez at the cheapest price you’ll ever find him seems like the only play with the limited alternatives. Sanchez averages the most fantasy points per game of any player on the slate and is priced like a scrub obviously because of the matchup. If there’s anyone who could come away with a quality start in Coors, it’s a pitcher with a 58.1-percent GB rate. According to FanGraphs’ PITCHf/x, Sanchez only throws his slider 0.1-percent of the time and his changeup 9.4-percent of the time. Those two pitches tend to break less in the thin air of Denver so the fact that he barely uses them is key. Most of what Sanchez throws is some form of fastball whether it be the four-seamer, two-seamer or cutter. If he can focus on mixing those pitchers and keeping them down, he should be able to come through at this price tag, even against an extremely difficult Rockies lineup. Even more enticing is the fact that the offense behind him filled with elite hitters against LHP will square off against a lefty in a hitters’ haven. He should be provided plenty of run support and come away with the victory.
*Stats are accurate as of Tuesday, June 28