One thing that will not remain quiet on Wednesday is Jake Lamb’s bat because there may not be a hotter hitter in baseball right now. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.
Jake Lamb, Diamondbacks, $10,400 (Late) – One of the hottest hitters in baseball heading into Wednesday evening is none other than Jake Lamb. While he didn’t make the lineup last night against a left-hander, Lamb will enter tonight’s contest against Colin Rea on a six game hitting streak. During the streak, Lamb has mentioned at least 10 fantasy points in each game including a HR in four of his last six games. While Rea doesn’t top the list of pitchers to target against, he’ll experience an extreme negative ballpark shift heading into Chase Field, and LHHs have fared better against him (.320 wOBA) than RHHs (.311 wOBA). Lamb handily leads the Diamondbacks in wOBA (.426) and ISO (.336) against RHPs while slashing a hefty .314/.377/.650 against the handedness. The Diamondbacks are favored (-127) in a game with a projected 9.5 run over/under so runs should be aplenty on both sides. If there’s one hitter to spend up for in the matchup, it’s the red hot, ultra-talented third basemen in the middle of the Arizona lineup. UPDATE: He pinch hit on Tuesday and tripled…the guy is simply en fuego.
Anthony Rizzo, Cubs, $9,200 (Early) – In a limited sample size, opposing starter Anthony DeSclafani looks like a much improved pitcher. Though his career ERA currently sits at 4.06, DeSclafani has produced a 1.78 ERA in five starts this season. By diving deeper into the numbers, DeSclafani’s 84.2-percent strand rate seems unsustainable while his peripherals (3.70 FIP, 4.66 xFIP) suggest regression is on the way…and even though he has pitched well, lefties are still hitting him as hard as ever. So far, right-handers are only slashing .178/.327/.209 against DeSclafani while left-handers are slashing .324/.352/.507 with a .360 wOBA. Among all the regulars, Anthony Rizzo leads the team in wOBA against RHP…and he’s one of the few left-handers in the Cubs lineup. Essentially, Rizzo connects all the dots versus a pitcher bound to come crashing down to Earth beginning with this start against an elite offense.
Stephen Piscotty, Cardinals, $8,800 (Late) – Stephen Piscotty ranks seventh in wOBA (.474) among all hitters with at least 45 ABs so far against LHP. Judging by talent alone, Piscotty’s skill set should dictate a price around $10,000 against almost any left-hander. Now, he’ll square off against a LHP (Jeff Locke) who has already allowed 10 HRs to RHHs as well as a .272/.340/.485 slash line and .352 wOBA. In his career, Piscotty is unsurprisingly 3-5 (.600) off of Locke with a HR and two RBIs. Additionally, Piscotty has preferred hitting at home this season as he’s hit six of his 10 HRs in Busch Stadium and hit for 26 percentage points higher. All-in-all, this matchup is just too juicy to pass on, so find the salary to spend up for Piscotty regardless of format.
Brett Gardner, Yankees, $6,800 (Late) – Over his last five starts, Miguel Gonzalez has pitched well in every other start. This upcoming start will be following a quality outing so his recent trend suggest this should be a beat-down. But seriously, why is Brett Gardner so insanely cheap in this matchup? Jacoby Ellsbury is priced $1,200 more with a similar skill set and Carlos Beltran is priced over $2,000 more. None of the pricing conundrum makes sense considering Gardner’s .348 wOBA against RHP edges out Ellsbury’s .346 and Gardner leads the team in OBP against the handedness. If looking for power, Beltran is the favorite for a dong, but Gardner probably possesses the safest floor of the bunch. Meanwhile, four of the seven HRs Gonzalez has allowed this season have come off the bats of LHHs and they have produced a .346 OBP against him. Also, Dioner Navarro has ranked exactly average in terms of throwing out runners this season, per FanGraphs’ rSB statistic, so Gardner should have a fair chance for a stolen base as well. There’s simply too much value to be had at this price tag and rostering Gardner fills a spot with upside while still maintaining the ability to roster a duo of aces.
Johnny Cueto, Giants, $22,800 (Late) – Heading into last night’s game against Madison Bumgarner, the Rockies had scored a combined three runs in their previous four road games (and had lost them all). Bumgarner dominated them once again and it’s just becoming abundantly clear that they are a completely different team on the road. On the other hand, Cueto is amidst a monster season: 12-1 record, 2.57 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 4.65 K/BB. Furthermore, Cueto has allowed a wOBA 22 percentage points less at home as opposed to the road. This makes sense because AT&T Park is arguably the top pitchers’ park in all of baseball. Cueto is projected as a heavy favorite (-225) against Jorge De La Rosa in a game with projected 7.0 run over/under and I concur with their analysis. For cash games, locking in Cueto as SP1 feels like the only way to go.
Michael Pineda, Yankees, $20,400 (Late) – Apparently the lightbulb has clicked on for Michael Pineda because he’s looked like a new man over his past six starts. During that span, Pineda has struck out eight-plus in five out of six games (including four consecutive) and registered four quality starts. In fact, the only starts that didn’t count as “quality” only missed the cut by one to two outs. This recent string of excellent starts has led to at least 18.15 fantasy points in six consecutive starts so his 15.55 fantasy points per game (FPPG) overall is a little misleading. His opponent, the White Sox, rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, AVG, OBP, hard hit rate and line drive percentage against RHP. Pineda is sort of like the pitching version of the aforementioned Jake Lamb as he’ll head into the game on a roll and face a mediocre opponent. Tonight is just one of those slates where rostering the two most expensive pitchers makes the most sense.
Sonny Gray, Athletics, $11,700 (Early) – Jacob deGrom is the obvious play on the early slate but Sonny Gray is actually my favorite dollar-for-dollar pitching play of the afternoon. Not only do the Twins rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, ISO and hard hit percentage but Gray is criminally underpriced. After suffering through a terrible May, Gray settled down and produced a 3.23 ERA in June. Gray is simply a better pitcher than his numbers suggest and the Twins are one of the best possible matchups he could ask for. Continuing a trend from last season, Gray has thoroughly enjoyed pitching during the daytime for whatever reason, because his ERA in the split sits at 2.78 (compared to 6.39 at night)…after producing a 1.78 ERA during the daytime last season. One final ongoing split working in Gray’s favor is this season marks the second consecutive season that his ERA is actually better on the road. The upside simply does not match the price tag and Gray should easily out-produce his cost while simultaneously opening up salary to spend on big bats.
*Stats are accurate as of Tuesday, July 5