Talk to the Hanley

Hanley Ramirez should be a primary target of daily fantasy players on Saturday afternoon against a homer-prone LHP in his favorable home ballpark. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Miguel Sano, Twins, $9,200 (Late) – Over the course of probable pitcher Nick Martinez’s short career (287.2 IP), opposing hitters have produced reverse splits against him. Since Martinez is right-handed, the hitter who immediately jumps off the page against him is Miguel Sano. In a career 138.2 IP versus RHHs, Martinez has allowed a .289/.356/.477 slash line and .361 wOBA to the handedness. Meanwhile, Sano is coming off a monster season against RHPs where he produced a .397 wOBA and .273 ISO. While his bat hasn’t been quite as potent so far this season (.332 wOBA, .213 ISO versus RHP), he clearly possesses the ability. I love his chances to flash his talent in this matchup specifically because Martinez rarely ever misses bats. The K rate this season (3.22 K/9) is a career low…even for a guy with a less-than-stellar 5.07 career mark. If he isn’t forcing Sano to swing and miss then Sano will have the chance to make contact multiple times. Considering his power stroke, he is a virtual lock to create havoc, and is one of the safest plays of the entire day.

Hanley Ramirez, Red Sox, $8,800 (Early) – Quietly, Hanley Ramirez leads the Red Sox in virtual every meaningful category against LHPs this season: wOBA (.445), ISO (.258), AVG (.364), OBP (.447), SLG (.621) and even hard hit percentage (46.3-percent). Opposing starter Matt Moore struggled through a brutal month of May (7.36 ERA) but recovered in June (3.72) and even so far in July through one start (2.70 ERA). With that being said, he has a tall task ahead of him pitching against the Red Sox in Fenway Park. RHHs have a distinct advantage against Moore in Fenway because of the short dimensions in left field and the fact that Moore has already allowed 14 HRs to the handedness. Even if Moore does continue his hot streak, the individual matchup against Ramirez will give him fits. The advantage goes to Ramirez and he belongs in daily fantasy lineups of any and all formats. UPDATE: Ramirez is not in the lineup Saturday so Xander Bogaerts emerges as my favorite RHH in the Red Sox lineup.

Outfield:

Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins, $10,800 (Early) – Remember this guy? He’s baaaaack. After hitting just .231 in June and homering thrice in 24 games, Giancarlo Stanton is hitting .348 and has already hit four bombs in just six July games. Even including his early season struggles, Stanton still ranks eighth among active hitters (min. 100 ABs versus the handedness) in wOBA against LHPs with a whopping .412 tally…slightly edging out Miguel Cabrera and Andrew McCutchen. Playing at home in Marlins Park may keep his ownership down since it’s one of the more difficult parks to hit the ball out of. Judging by John Lamb’s numbers allowed to RHHs this season, there should be no hesitation to rostering Stanton; he’s allowed 10 HRs to righties already with a .271/.357/.511 slash line and .370 wOBA. We’ve seen Stanton rock the ball out of this park plenty of times and he’s the best bet on the entire slate to do so once again early on Saturday.

Shin-soo Choo, Rangers, $9,900 (Late) – The Twins/Rangers nightcap is a contest worth heavily targeting in terms of offense as it’s supposed to be hot and will feature a battle of two middling pitchers. Crazily, the aforementioned Martinez may not even be the better of the two pitchers to target against because Ricky Nolasco will oppose him. People who believed in Nolasco after a 3.25 ERA in April have been flung back into reality following a 7.12 ERA in May, 5.35 ERA in June and 4.50 ERA in one start so far in July. As Dennis Green once famously said, “they are who we thought they were,” except this time “they” is actually “he.” Shin-soo Choo will hit in the prime lineup spot (leadoff) against Nolasco who has allowed a .291/.331/.447 slash line to LHHs on the road in 2016. He’s probably best suited for cash games due to just three HRs versus the handedness so far this season but his combination of run, hit and steal potential provides him with an incredibly safe floor.

Pitcher:

Max Scherzer, Nationals, $26,400 (Late) – Only one pitcher jumps off the page on the late slate and his name is Max Scherzer in a matchup against the Mets. Last night, Stephen Strasburg shut down these very Mets to the tune of five baserunners and one ER in 7.0 IP to go along with nine Ks. Before being shut down by Strasburg, the Mets already ranked in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, hard hit rate and line drive percentage versus RHP, so those numbers will look even worse when they refresh in the morning. The last time Scherzer faced the Mets was at home on Jun. 29 and he dropped 38.70 fantasy points on them (7.1 IP, 10 K). Really the question will be the pitcher to pair with him and good luck with that task. If it were me, Brandon McCarthy looked awfully good in his first game back, so utilizing him against the Padres is probably the next best option (by a wide margin).

Jose Quintana, White Sox, $20,400 (Early) – Is it possible that Jose Quintana is in the process of passing Chris Sale as the White Sox ace? Something is going on with Sale as he already was sporting a career worst FIP and xFIP before the eight run beating he took on Friday night against one of the worst hitting teams against LHP. Unlike Sale, Quintana has only failed to reach 11.35 fantasy points twice this season so he has remained virtually immune to the ultra-implosion. The fact of the matter is this Braves team is not very potent against the handedness as they rank in the bottom five of wOBA, wRC+, ISO and OBP against LHP. Sure their bats got hot last evening but Quintana should be able to quiet them back down in concurrence with their overall numbers. Even if you were burned last night, the smart play is to go back to the well with another Sox lefty.

Lance McCullers, Astros, $18,800 (Early) – Following an extended absence with shoulder inflammation, it was to be expected Lance McCullers would take a while to regain his dominant form. McCullers put together 20.2 mediocre IP in May and has followed that up with a descending ERA in each month since (3.20 ERA in June and 1.29 so far in July). Last year, McCullers pitched like one of the nastiest in the game, and he is officially trending in that direction once again…while striking out more batters per nine innings (11.21 compared to 9.24 in 2015). Amidst his stride, McCullers will face off against an Athletics team whose wOBA ranks dead last in the American League. Additionally, the Athletics rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate (very important), AVG, OBP and hard hit percentage. The last time McCullers faced Oakland, he produced 27.15 fantasy points, and McCullers much prefers pitching at home (2.17 home ERA versus 6.89 on the road). In other words, this start could easily match or proceed his prior meeting. Priced as SP5, McCullers easily rates as my SP1 in terms of value.

*Stats are accurate as of Friday, July 8

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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